Holiday Gift Guide

6:44:00 PM

During the holidays, I often find myself stumped as to what to get certain people in my life. Some friends are much easier than others because I know exactly what they collect or what they may cherish more; while other friends are such open books that finding the perfect gift for them is hard!

I decided to put together this list in an attempt to help anyone facing the same dilemma as I often face; with Christmas only 12 days away, hopefully you'll find something for any blank spots on your list, whatever their personality or your price range may be!

For the Book Lover:
Books are always a good gift for bookish types as you and I can both attest to; however, how can you be sure that the book you're getting this person is one they don't already have? Afraid a gift card will seem to impersonal? What if you want to be more unique or outside the box when it comes to their gift? Woe no longer! Here are some of the perfect gifts that will perfectly say "I acknowledge exactly how much reading means to you"!

  • Bookmarks: $2-10+ – Probably only of the best gifts to give a book lover is a bookmark, because they will always need one! Plus, it's a great way for them to be reminded of you every time they use it. You can find neat bookmarks just about anywhere, from bookstores like Barnes & Noble to Books-a-Million, or if you'd like to go the extra mile you can find some really unique bookmarks on Etsy like these or these.
  • Tote bags: $5-10+ – Something I find that I never have enough of are totes, and that's because they're the perfect thing to carry books in at different bookish conventions and events! Sites like RedBubble and Society6 will offer super cute, hand-designed bags but may be on the pricier end of your budget. If you've got a knack for designing, then maybe a tote from your local craft store and iron-on print transfers will do the trick!
  • Bookish jewelry: $10+ – A very elegant and unique way to show love for certain books is through jewelry like necklaces and bracelets. Etsy is a treasure trove for jewelry in all price ranges and fandoms, too.
  • Book swag: $5+ – You can never have enough book swag! Be it stickers, buttons, pins, shirts, posters, or other miscellaneous swag, there's always going to be room for more!

For the Artist Type:
We probably all have at least one friend or family member who never leaves home without their sketchbook, who is constantly DIY-ing anything and everything they can, or who is simply a more creative type. If you've ever wondered what to get that one artist in your life, here are some suggestions!

  • Art supplies: $5+ – I have a lot of friends who are visual arts majors at school, and things they are always in need of is new art supplies. Paint brushes, micron pens, oil paints, sketchbooks, and a multitude of other supplies are things they are always going to appreciate. Plus, you can control what you get on your budget. You can also get them a gift card to their favorite craft store and watch for potential tears of joy as their creative endeavors become funded once again. Being an artist full time is expensive, yo.
  • Film: ~$20– I know a lot of people whose hobby is photography, myself included. If you know anybody who uses an instant camera like a Fujufilm Instax Mini, we are always in need of more film! Plus with cool designs available in their Mini series, it's a great way to personalize your gift. If your friend is even more old school, rolls of film specific to their analog camera are an equally great option. Bonus points if you toss in a personalized camera strap, too.
  • Mugs: ~$5-7 – Over the summer I had a friend wake up one morning and text me saying she accidentally drank paint water off her night stand the night before, mistaking it for her water glass. I vowed to make her this mug set, which I found on Pinterest, for her birthday as a result. Super easy to make, all you need is a couple of craft store supplies like blank mugs and a porcelain pen, following the directions on the pen to cure your design. And the paint water design is totally optional, too, you can make them a mug with anything your heart desires on it!
  • Bonus: DIY wrapping paper: $free! – When you're wrapping up the gift for your artist friend, a cute idea would be to use the inside white side of your wrapping paper or plain butcher paper to wrap your gift in, and then go to town using markers and sharpies to add a personal design or doodles onto your wrapping paper!

For the Athlete:
I know I'm certainly not the sporty type, and since I go to an arts school we don't have any sports teams of our own. However I have plenty of friends who are much more athletic than myself, so here are some of their favorite things!

  • Headphones: $10-50+ – Whether they're going for a run or just working out, many people enjoy taking their music with them. However the right pair of headphones can be hard to find: a pair that won't tangle easily or get in the way, or fall out of their ears from the motion. Simple in-ear earbuds will often do the trick and cater to the lower end of your budget, whereas pairs like these are more pricey but are made specifically for active use.
  • Socks: $5-15 – I have a friend who runs track and something that she and her teammates like to do is wear funky socks to practice, and sometimes even meets if they can. I, myself, am a big fan of crazy socks, and make it my personal mission to avoid wearing plain socks. You can find a ton of cool sock options on Amazon or at Forever 21, or just stick to simple running socks that will keep their toes nice and comfy either way.
  • Running phone case: ~$10 – Going back to those who like to take their music with them when they workout, a running phone case is the perfect option. Those little arm bands you slip your phone into will free up their hands (and pockets) and help keep their headphones out of the way. And most of the time, you can find one at an awesome discounted price at places like TJ Maxx, Marshall's, or Ross in their phone accessories sections.

For your parents:
This one always stumps me because my parents return basically everything I get them, using the excuse of "it's the thought that counts!" for everything. I've learned over time that while they appreciate the little things from you, it's things like experiences that matter more to them.

  • Groupons/LivingSocial/Amazon Local offers: $20+ – Something I've learned about giving gifts to my parents is that they value spending time with you above all. Check out sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, or even Amazon Local to see what's nearby that you guys can do together. I plan on getting my dad a Groupon to an escape room experience, and a massage certificate for my mom. Spending time with their busy teenage kids, whether it's a simple lunch date for sushi or an adventure experience they'll always remember, it's probably the best present you could ever give them.
  • CDs $10-20 – My parents are big into music, especially new releases. New albums like 25 by Adele or A Head Full of Dreams by Coldplay make great gifts for your parents.
  • "Coupons": $free! – Okay, when I say coupons I mean the ones that you used to make as a little kid that would say things like "one free hug" or "one free night of washing dishes." Turns out, your parents will probably get a huge kick out of a present like this, and they will especially appreciate the sentiment behind it when you offer to do things like clean house or do groceries, or cook or bake something for them.

For your teachers:
I know they may not be on the top of everybody's list, but if you feel compelled to give a gift to your favorite teacher to show them you appreciate all they give you, here are some suggestions.

  • Coffee/tea/coffee mug: $5-15 – Something many of my teachers can't survive without is their morning coffee. If you get them a new mug or pair it with a bag of their favorite brew, or maybe some of those little Via packets that Starbucks makes, they'll appreciate the fact that you went the extra mile for them.
  • Homemade baked goods: $free-ish... – Always a lovely sentiment because they're made from scratch, something as simple as a bag of cookies or muffins will always brighten their day. And considering you likely have most, if not all, necessary ingredients already, they're practically free!
  • Gift cards to Starbucks or a local spa or salon: $20+ – This is something I always like to give my most favorite teachers as a special thank you for all they do for me. Besides showing them how much they are appreciated, something like a spa gift card or massage certificate is something they will almost always use to de-stress and will always appreciate.

For the person who has everything:
There's always going to be that *one* person in your life who you can't, for the life of you, figure out what to get!
  • Hearfelt DIYs: $5+ – The most unique thing you can give someone who has everything is something nobody else in the world has, because you made it. Trinkets like ornaments and other keepsakes are things they will always treasure because of the time and effort you put into making it, too.
  • Groupons and gift certificates: $20+ – Going back to what I said earlier about my parents, someone who has everything may not want a tangible gift but rather something they can experience. Spa trips, boat rides, dinner cruises, or just simple restaurant certificates are always great ideas. For more restaurant-specific options, check out a site like that refines the deals to just restaurants and bakeries alone.

I hope this helped you narrow down your holiday gift-giving list! If there's something you like to get that certain someone in your life, and I didn't list it here, let me know down in the comments below! Happy holidays, and happy shopping!

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  1. I love this list, and how you came up with free options too! :D

  2. Yesss! You seriously can never go wrong with a mug! 😊 This list is AMAZING btw! Never even thought of a Groupon as a gift but that would be awesome!!

    Thanks for the giftish help!!

    1. So glad you liked it! I hope it helped you with some last minute gifting!

  3. This is such a wonderfully compiled list. You've given me many ideas, thank you so much Giselle!


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Giselle has read 5 books toward her goal of 50 books.