It’s the Thought that Counts

Can you hear the bells jingle, Comets? It’s December, and soon finals week will come to a close, giving you a whole new playing field for what to stress over next, and I’m not talking about deliberating over the best way to ask your parents for more money next semester. The holidays come with a particular kind of headache that can be hard to shake. You’ve spent your last paycheck on Red Bull and over-the-counter cold medication, and you’re in no condition to be purchasing extravagant Christmas presents for your loved ones. Not to fear, because in the spirit of holiday cheer, I’ve come up with a few gift ideas for a college student on a budget.

If you’re looking for an encouraging kind of present that will leave you with more than potato chip crumbs to eat for the months to come, head to any abandoned alleyway behind a pet store, and more likely than not, you’ll find this holiday gem: an empty rabbit cage. You can’t afford a rabbit, but what you can afford is the potential. This is a great gift idea for any kids in your family. What better to motivate your little sister to save up for a rabbit than a ready-made reminder that your broke ass couldn’t afford to buy her one?

Are you ripping out your hair, trying to find the perfect present for someone in your life who just seems to have it all? Look no further and curb that frustration, because I have the end-all gift suggestion for your predicament: a set of novelty dildos aptly named “breakfast,” “lunch,” and “dinner.” Novelty items are symbolic in nature. They express that you connect with the recipient on a personal level. You won’t be doling out enough cash to leave you hungry on the holiday with this gift, but it will bring you closer together.

Pre-holiday breakups can be kind of messy. Usually you hope it ends poorly enough that you don’t speak for six months, so that you don’t have to worry about getting a gift. Unfortunately, sometimes things end amicably right before the giving season sneaks up on you. Now you’re stuck in an awkward post-breakup friendly obligation to get a present. Don’t waste another minute on figuring it out, because why not just get them a hot dog slicer. You know… the kind that slices hot dogs into thin little pieces. What a thoughtful gift that tells your ex – while you’re not in each other’s lives anymore – that you’re still thinking of him on the holidays.

For your favorite TV junkie, don’t go the extra mile and get the whole boxed set when all you need is the final season of Lost on DVD. Technically, you’re being kind. Who has the time or energy to sit through the trials and tribulations of six entire seasons? Your considerate gift puts minimalism in a new light. Now, your loved one can just read the episode synopses for seasons 1-5 and experience the finale in person.

For your current significant other, turn your financial distress into an opportunity to send a message. You don’t have to give her your heart on platter or expensive jewelry when you could just get her a single Wii remote. Promise her you’ll get the other one on an upcoming birthday. Perhaps you’ll even get her the console at some point. Nothing says commitment like a multi-part present.

Let’s face it. You’re a sucker for sentiment, but you’re pulling out the bottom of your pockets for spare change. You can’t exactly splurge and get your dad a vinyl of his favorite band. Try settling for a vinyl of his fifth favorite band: one that he doesn’t totally hate but over which he fluxes from indifference to short-lived nostalgia. So what if an Eagles record is out of your reach? A Steve Miller band vinyl is just a trip to your local discount bookstore away, and more importantly, well within your fiscal limitations.

Print out Buy My Silence coupons and give them as last minute gifts that your co-workers have wanted desperately all year. One coupon equates to one whole day of you shutting the hell up. This crowd favorite really brings a tear to the eyes of its relieved recipients.

Nothing pulls the heartstrings like a blast from the past. Pull out your old stuff from middle school that’s been sitting tight in a storage bin. If you’re the type of person who hasn’t taken out your trash in half a decade, you’re in luck. Start digging for that first generation iPod Touch case. Disregarding the fact that this present is practically useless (unless you’re shopping for the rare few who still have a first generation iPod Touch for some reason), it accomplishes the two main considerations of buying presents. First and most importantly, irony. Second, digging it out of your crap drawer is way more economical than, say, getting out there and buying a brand new present.

Do you find yourself weeping over the amount of plastic waste that piles up during the festive months? Is the death of the planet yet another thing weighing down on your already-overwhelming worries about paying off your credit card bills from all those happy hour Thursdays? The perfect gift idea for you is going to be an even bigger deal than Soylent: hand-knit sandwich bags. Yes, you’ll have to learn how to knit, but hear me out. What other present could so perfectly encapsulate the environmentally conscious initiative for the holiday season? Just give it some time, and these will be all the rage in the lifestyle blogosphere.

Gift-giving in style doesn’t have to entail taking out a loan. All you have to do is venture above and beyond your comfort zone. Take some risks, get a little creative, and keep it legal. Happy holidays and good luck to all of you fixing to go home and explain your current bank statement to your parents.