Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Holiday gift giving guide

Collegian file photo
Collegian file photo

The holiday season is once again upon us, and while everyone loves giving gifts to the important people in their lives, figuring out what to get can make the Christmas countdown feel like a ticking time bomb. Being stuck on campus can also put some dampers on your holiday shopping. Because we’re stuck here until the end of the semester, it means there aren’t many options or time for scavenging the mall in search for the perfect gift.

This year, we’ve made your shopping easy by narrowing the scope and providing everyone on your list with an original online option that’s still within your student budget.

Redbubble Stickers

Give the gift of personalization with stickers from Redbubble. Redbubble has a selection of over three million stickers that students can use to decorate laptops, water bottles or any other surface in need of some individualization. From political statements to internet memes, the stickers provide a great way to show someone how well you know them. If you don’t want to make the choice for them, a gift card gives them the opportunity to pick out their favorites.

The web site also has a wide variety of phone cases, wall art, and home decor, and is a great place to start if you’re looking for something really original. Average gifts on range from $2 to $4, so they’re well within the college budget.

Adult coloring books

Coloring has been a proven form a stress relief for people of all ages. Researchers at John Hopkins University argue that it’s a better alternative to meditation and may even have anti-anxiety effects. The books come in a huge variety including floral, animal, story book and even swear-word themed coloring prints. In addition, there are anatomy and physiology coloring books that can serve as great stress-free study tools for science majors so they don’t lose all that info from cramming over finals! Adult coloring books can be found in a variety of places, including tried and true Amazon for anywhere between $4 to $20.

UMass library travel mug

For coffee-lovers without the luxury of dining dollars or a fancy expresso machine, the UMass library travel mug is the gift that keeps on giving. Rather than a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks card that any true coffee addict could blow through in a week, the travel mug allows students to get their coffee fix for only 99 cents every time they bring it to checkout. Your gift recipient will remember you every time they fill it up. This can be found for under $15 at the campus store.


A gift from Bustedtees is perfect for channeling a friend or family member’s inner nerd/ hidden corkiness this season. The website has hundreds of graphic tees for gamers, film-lovers and pun enthusiasts. Shirts average around $20 but you can also subscribe a loved one to the Shirt of the Month Club so they can order a new free shirt at the beginning of each month.  Tees range from $10 to $50 at

Water garden

If you have a friend looking to add a touch of nature to their dorm, a water garden is a beautiful decoration with limited work. A water garden is a fish tank with an herb garden growing out of the top. The fish and plant have a symbiotic relationship in which the fish provide nourishment for the plants and the plants help keep the tank clean. A water garden allows busy students to have the luxury of keeping both a plant and a fish without having to worry about forgetting to take care of them.  This can be found for $21.99 at Amazon.


Another fun and easy way to add a little greenery to a friend’s simple dorm room is by gifting a hanging plant or terrarium. Although they’ve become somewhat of a mainstream trend recently thanks to stores like Urban Outfitters, terrariums can be handmade with real or fake plants, beaded rope and other unique elements to really make your gift stand out. Supplies for making terrariums can be found at your local craft store, while fully made ones can be purchased from, Urban Outfitters and Pottery Barn for around $20 10 $35.

Smart Phone Projector

A smart phone projector can turn any night into a movie night, even without access to a television. While the higher resolution projectors may seem a bit expensive, the projector could be a great group gift for suitemates or apartment roommates who are longing for a TV set but either have never gotten around to getting one or find it too expensive. You can find this gadget at Amazon for around $50.

Lucy Matzilevich can be reached at [email protected].

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