It’s that time of year, folks. The time of year where everyone empties their pockets to buy gifts for friends, family and others. This is the time for you to show your loved ones how much you care about them by giving them something you know they will love. But, as students, we can’t always afford to roll out all the stops. Despite this, there are still ways to give some pretty great presents and, for everyone struggling to think about what they can buy, here are some tips:

  1. Pay attention to people’s interests

People can be fans of anything from TV shows, movies, books, video games and more. Think about the person you are buying a gift for. Do they ever talk about how much they love Marvel superheroes? Do they ever babble on about how they ship Harry and Draco from the “Harry Potter” series? Do they walk down the street flaunting their Game of Thrones shirt? Chances are they are part of a fandom. Some places you can find good fandom-related items include Hot Topic, Comics-N-Stuff, Barnes & Noble and Comics & Anime. Pay attention to what your loved ones are currently interested in and buy something related to one of their favorite fandoms. Just be careful that you don’t buy fandom merchandise they already own. 

Similar to fandoms, the person you are shopping for may already have a collection of particular objects. For this holiday season, buy some new things to add to their collection. Collections are not usually as specific as fandoms and finding things to add to them can be relatively easier. Sometimes you can find collectors’ items in thrift shops, flea markets or through surfing the web. Be sure that the person is okay with receiving gifts that add to their collection though. Sometimes people’s collections are also souvenirs of places they have traveled to and they may not want to add things outside of that theme.

  1. What do they need?

You don’t want your present to end up sitting on a shelf collecting dust and you don’t want your present to be the victim of regifting. Ask yourself: what could the person I’m shopping for use in their lives that they don’t already have? Think about what sort of hobbies the person you are shopping for enjoys. For example, if they like to bake maybe they would appreciate a new cookie cutter set or, if they like to read, they might want to receive a new book. Make sure to check if they set up a “to be read” list on Goodreads. Not all gifts have to sparkle, sometimes practical gifts are the best way to go.

  1. Be on the lookout for sales

Plenty of stores and websites give discounts and rewards to holiday shoppers. This can be a helpful way to get multiple gifts. Buy one get one free types of sales can especially help you save money when getting gifts for your roommates or for your friends. This will also save you time on trying to find something different for every person on your list. But, you can still personalize these gifts by writing each person a card with a handwritten message.

  1. Cards and other homemade gifts

Attaching a card to any gift is an opportunity to show your loved ones how much you know and care about them. Even if you aren’t the best writer, people will appreciate your efforts. Be creative. Decorate the card by drawing something festive, attach memes, try writing a poem or fold and cut the card into a fun shape. You don’t even have to limit yourself to the boundaries of a card. Write a link in the card to a YouTube playlist with videos that will make them laugh or create a Spotify playlist that they can listen to whenever they are sad or feel like dancing. 

  1. Lists

If you are really unsure what someone wants then ask them. This may ruin the element of surprise a little, but at least you will be certain that the person you are getting a gift for appreciates what you’ve given them. If you still want to add a little mystery element to the gift giving, ask them to write down around five things that they really want. This way, they will end up getting exactly what they wanted, but are still left wondering which item on the list you have chosen to buy.