‘Tis the Season: Your Guide to Christmas Gifts

It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is just around the corner and it’s time to start figuring out the perfect gifts for your loved ones. Out of gift ideas? Here are some suggestions to help you brainstorm:To start off, gift cards are always an option when you’re unsure about what to buy. Think about what stores the person likes to shop at, stores they like but are usually too expensive for them, or something that would be useful. Magazine subscriptions are fun as well—a gift that keeps on giving for months afterwards. Along those lines, it’s also nice to sign someone up for a class. For example, you can give knitting classes for your mom, dance classes for your girlfriend, or language classes for your cousin who has always wanted to learn Spanish.Another way to get ideas is to actually research one of their passions, and then buy them a book, piece of equipment, or related item. If your boyfriend is really into skateboarding, surf the net to find an appropriate gift, or talk to one of his friends to see if there’s a skateboarding item he has been talking about a lot lately.A thoughtful idea that works for anyone is to give to a charity in someone’s name. Just give to a foundation they are really passionate about. This is especially nice for someone who seems to have everything, or has insisted that you don’t need to give them a gift.If those suggestions didn’t spark any gift ideas, here are some more specific ideas for certain individuals:For your girlfriend: Jewelry is always a winner. To make it unique, though, it’s important to figure out what she wears the most (earrings, rings, bracelets, or necklaces) and then look in boutiques and vintage shops.Other ideas for a girlfriend include a nice hardcover copy of her favorite book with a personal message written inside the front cover; a gift certificate for a professional massage, pedicure, or manicure (or better yet give her the massage yourself, but maybe buy her something too); or check out the Web site


. There, you can sign her up for a Flower of the Month Club, which will deliver a fresh bouquet of flowers every month.For your boyfriend: Some options include new iPod or computer speakers (do research first and make sure to get him top quality), or a barbecue cookbook for next summer. If he’s outdoors-y and you’re on a budget, he’ll appreciate one of hundreds of eco-friendly water bottles. A stylish and classy cardigan is a nice gift too. Depending on your price range, you can find nice ones at stores like American Eagle, J. Crew, and Banana Republic. (Trust me guys, girls love it when you dress well.)For your mom and dad: Luckily, we’re college students and parents are suckers for college attire, mugs, and pens. For dads, some other great ideas include a digital camera, a good-quality robe, or a home beer brewing kit (


has many options). Mothers, on the other hand, may appreciate other kinds of gifts. For a more expensive gift, I recommend giving her a gorgeous set of stemware (champagne flutes, wine glasses, etc.), while cheaper gifts could be as simple as a colorful pashmina scarf or a DVD set of her favorite TV show.For your siblings: For the younger boys and girls in your family, present-giving is usually less complicated. Some of the best gifts for little girls can be anything Hannah Montana or Twilight related. There is an awesome Edward Cullen Barbie doll that would be perfect. Girls (of all ages, actually) also love candy, and personalized M&M’s are fun treats for everything. A cheap gift for a girl is a homemade brownie or cookie mix. They’re easy to make—get a large jar, layer in the various ingredients, write out directions, and top it off with a festive bow. Some ideas for little boys include the new Beatles Rock Band game, graphic novels (check out The Watchmen or 300), a cozy plaid flannel button-up, or the new Guinness World Records 2010: the Book of the Decade.With all these great ideas, it’s important to remember that even though it’s cheesy, it is the thought that matters. Just keep in mind who you’re buying for, why you care about them, and what they would appreciate! Happy holidays and happy gift-giving!

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