Holiday gift guide — all under $20

Image by: Anna Maria Li
Gift giving doesn't have to break the bank.

Gift giving during the holiday season can be a major source of stress and confusion. As university students, we can end up in a giant web of present giving that can be quite damaging to our wallets. 

To avoid breaking the bank, here’s a complete guide to buying the perfect holiday gift that’s under $20. Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box; gift giving doesn’t necessarily mean you need to buy someone an extravagant gift. 

Something homemade and sentimental will make a much more personal and memorable present, while keeping your wallet happy. 

For him

Gifting apparel or accessories is always great for guys. Specifically, patterned or funky socks are a stylish go-to for any man, while simultaneously offering comfort and warmth for the chilly season. One pair of fancier socks is a nice gift if he attends several formal events or has a job that requires wearing a suit. You can keep it simple with striped socks or try something slightly out of the box like polka dots. If you buy socks with a loud pattern, try to create balance with neutral colours.  

For her 

Stackable necklaces are a huge trend right now and you can find them for some great prices. Buying a combination of these necklaces (I suggest two or three) will help to create a unique set of jewelry any girl will love. You can also grab earrings that match the necklaces, so pairing the two will complete the gift.  

For your parents

What do you buy for the people who have it all? A fantastic option is putting an old family photo in a nice frame. Your parents can place your framed photo on a mantel or in their office at work. Printing a photo (size dependent) is under $1 and frames can usually be found on sale at any home outfitting store. Another spin on this gift is finding an old drawing or card you that you can frame as well. Parents love to reminisce about your younger years, and it’s a nice reminder for them while you’re away at Queen’s.

For your bestie

Novelty mugs make hilarious and personal gifts, which is why your best friend will love them. Choose a mug with quotes from their favourite show, book or movie and fill it up with candy or hot chocolate! Many online stores feature sassy and spunky mugs with illustrations of your favourite celebrities and movies. 

If you’re looking for a more classic gift, a patterned china mug or travel mug in neutral colours will be a welcome addition to your bestie’s household. 

For an acquaintance

If you find yourself gift shopping for someone you don’t know very well, perhaps because you drew their name in Secret Santa, remember to keep it simple. 

When shopping for an acquaintance, focus more on the practicality of the gift rather than the sentiment. This is a time when giftcards make great presents. Fellow students will always appreciate a giftcard for CoGro or iTunes and a boss or coworker will love a giftcard to Starbucks or a popular restaurant (you can never go wrong with Milestones)! 


Christmas, gifts, Holiday, Holidays, Presents

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