Dec 082011
Authors: Lydia Jorden

I was caught rummaging through my car to find anything someone would look at as a gift. After dismissing the thought of offering toilet paper and old Pop-Tarts sitting on the backseat of my car, I settled on a Starbucks mug that I forgot to bring inside weeks ago.

The Scrooge of the neighborhood stopped me right as I was about to drive to school. She’s the last person who I thought would ever give me a gift. I had consistently complained to management about her children practicing their basketball skills at 10 p.m. in the apartment above my bedroom. She, besides my relatively understanding roommates, was the only person who knew of my embarrassing 7 p.m. bed time—yet she still allowed her children to participate in screaming contests at any hour of the night.

She handed me a Christmas gift and mentioned how appreciative she was to be my neighbor. Without thought I mentioned, “Oh, I actually have something for you too.”

Thoughts of “why?” and “what?” rushed through my head. Why on Earth would I say such a thing? I didn’t have a gift for her, nor did I care to provide one.

The idea of gift-giving always perplexes me. People hand out cards, candy canes and gifts to just about anyone they’ve corresponded with. The act of giving a gift has become expected without regard to the actual relationship developed between the two exchangers.

However, if you are anything like me, you really enjoy the feeling of giving a gift. The act of searching for the perfect gift for someone to show them that you care is fun, but it can be quite difficult.

Different people have different desires, and a gift-givers we try to appeal to the interests of each person. Without a wish list, this is a difficult task; still, I have come up with a few ideas of gifts for numerous people on a friendly college-student budget. My hope is that these ideas will kill your gift-choosing woes:
For the professor: Assuming you actually enjoyed the class, but your grade is sitting at an 89.9 percent, you may just want to show that you care a little more. Whether it be a book that made you think of the professor because the content paralleled what you learned in the class, or a gift card to a restaurant, it is sure to set a guilt trip. When they see just how close you were to the grade they didn’t give you (or you earned…), they may think twice. Or not. However you look at it, it’s great to show appreciation for those enthusiastic professors who are so rare.

For the roommate: The roommate requires little investment. But for the roommates who feel that they are renting a friend rather than a room, it’s nice to show that you “kind-of” care. For a female, buy a few mini beauty products—most can be found at Ulta for a reasonable price! Throw them into cellophane wrapping, tie some ribbon around them, and voilà—looks like you spent much more than you did. For a male, a gift card to that individual’s favorite place—it doesn’t have to be expensive, but it shows the thought.

For the boss man: This is always tricky. You don’t want to be looked at as the “suck-up” employee, but you do want to show that you appreciate the work your boss does. I would play it safe with a coffee mug and some quality coffee grounds.

The best friend: If you can, this is the person you should splurge on. My best friend deserves only the best. This is why I am making an investment and purchasing the book “Everyone Poops.” It’s enough to say “I love you” without going over the top.
The weird aunt: Remember the times you would open up that gift from your aunt and try terribly hard to keep your laughter to yourself? I do. I am thankful for the gifts I received, but opening up a poncho wasn’t what I was expecting as an eight-year-old. Seek revenge by gifting some toe-socks.

Finding just the right thing doesn’t always have to be difficult. Search around online for gift-giving guides. Show you care about someone by making it a meaningful gift that maybe only that individual will understand. You don’t have to even give gifts this holiday season to show you care about others; any random act of kindness will have an effect that has the potential to demonstrate holiday cheer.

Lydia Jorden is a junior business major. Her column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at

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