My mother asked me a few weeks ago what I wanted for Christmas; I played coy. A new laptop is out of the questions, it’s just too expensive right now. New clothes? I have a closet full of jeans and jumpers crying out for my attention. What about a new bag? My bedroom can’t fit many more of them. And thus I hit the internet looking for the perfect gift…. for myself and stumbled upon blogs and blogs offering ideas of really cool, interesting and different gifts. The only issue? I’d never really make much use out of any of them. And thus I set about making this practical list for those stumped when shopping for the students in their lives.
Sometimes the best Christmas gift ideas for the students in your life are the things that they will actually need to survive the final semester of the college year. Drop those novelty socks (I already have a 100 pairs), it’s time for some Christmas real talk.
The Big Spender
Ipad Mini 4
My number one college accessory is my ipad; it’s an extension of me during term time and even if the college student in your life doesn’t think they need a tablet in their life, they do. I use my ipad to store notes (just imagine all the money it saves me in printing!), for keeping up to date with my reading (Pdfs are far cheaper and easier to read then those 800 page nonsensicals us students are sometimes tasked with reading for assignments) and keeping up to date with my to do list (while trying to avoid the dangerous world of social media that likes to occupy too much of my time already) As a study tool it’s ideal but it also functions as a great travel companion; on long journeys I’ll watch my favorite films on Netflix and browse for news on the internet.
An iPad Mini 4 will set you back around €450 but the older iPad Mini 2 is still available is currently on sale for €289 in Harvey Norman!
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open” – Jawaharal Nehru.
One of life’s greatest gifts is the gift of adventure and none more than students love an opportunity to explore. Be it money towards the J1 or Inter-railing trip of a lifetime or enough to pay for flights or a hotel to an interesting city; travel is a great investment as presents go. Give someone the opportunity to experience something different and watch their awe and excitement as their world expands beyond the confines of this little island.
A Gym Membership
Believe me when I say this, the fresher 5(lbs) isn’t just for freshers; it’s as if the second I stroll through the college doors, my snack senses are tingling and I need to eat ever 15 minutes to sustain. This is not helped by the proximity of a sweet shop or the overly fatty and carb loaded food that’s served in the canteen. Thus I retreat to the WIT Arena of an evening to shake the excess calories off on the cross trainer. The gym is also an amazing stress and anxiety buster and during exams and deadlines, I have been know to hide from assignments in spinning classes and boxercise. Most colleges have dedicated gyms at great rates and those that don’t probably have a local gym with student rates near by. Give the gift of fitness (or healthy procrastination) this year!
An External Hard-drive (or cloud space!)
Not the obvious gift for a loved one, I’ll give you that but for my birthday this year I treated myself to another terabyte of data. Every student will at some-point experience the “oh hell no did I just lose that entire 5000 word essay because I’m a fool who didn’t back it up three times” or the dreaded dead of a pen drive with an entire years worth of a project lost forever to the datasphere. I also seem to write and consume data like I’m running out of time and thus I have worn out the space on my laptop and my spare hard-drive too many times over. An investment into a good hard-drive is worthwhile and for around €70 for a tb of data, something all students should own and treasure.
If a physical storage box isn’t for you or you’re just too techie to deal with us meer mortals, cloud storage is for you. I’m always a bit paranoid about security issues online and thus I like having data I can control. A one time fan of Dropbox, I now use the encrypted Sync when I need to store information in the cloud. 2tbs is only $8 a month (about €7.50) which is a good price for security and peace of mind. There are lots of great alternatives out there though if cloud storage is for you!
The Little Treat
The easiest way to win my love and admiration is through good music and ever better tv. When I was younger, my mother filled my Christmas stocking with the latest Now albums and the newest films and boxsets I stared at longingly every-time I passed Golden Disks in town.Today, I’m all about the streaming (but still love a good CD in the car) I am in a committed relationship with both my Netflix and my Spotify account.I try and cut my month splurges to a minimum but I am happy to pay the premium fr my ad-free Spotify and my endless ream of Netflix viewing. If you’re looking for something nice to help a stressed student out, the gift of music and tv will go a long way. You can purchase vouchers online or physical cards in most Tescos, Centras and Gamestops in Ireland.
Second only to handing someone a card with money in it as a gift, One4All vouchers do what they say on the tin. They are accepted by 100s of Irish retailers both in store and online and for a student can be spent on anything from grocery shopping to new shoes. A nice little stocking filler (and perfect if you are gifting to someone who has absolutely everything!)
Books, Books, Books
“A book is a gift you can open again and again” – Garrison Keillor
I love to read and I second, third and forth the above statement. To me, the giving and receiving of a book is such a personal experience; here’s something that will open your eyes. Here’s an escape from reality. Here’s something to show I care about your interests. I always try to find the perfect book that suits the person I’m giving it too and often will share something I’v read and adore in the past 12 months. This year some of my favorite books include Feminist Fight Club, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Room, Alone in Berlin and The Light Between Oceans. I usually use Book Depository to get the best reading deals but am also a fan of Awesomebooks, Kennys.ie and of course my local Book Center. For some recommendations or a quick glance at some of the books I’ve been reading; visit my Goodreads page!
Homemade With Love.
Christmas doesn’t have to be about buying the flashiest gift; some of the best presents I’ve even gotten are simple, home-made things that are filled with love and compassion. Why not make a care basket with some of their favorite things in it? How about a home-baked cake or brownies? Share a picture album of priceless memories. Home-craft a piece of jewelry if you’re crafty. Fill a notebook with memories. Promise a home-cooked meal. Simplicity is sometimes the greatest gift of all and just knowing that there is someone out there that cares can fill the heart with as much love and joy and the latest flashy piece of tech.