Gift Ideas For Students

If you are like me, you struggle with what to buy others during the holiday season.  More than likely, most people have a variety of clothing, movies, books, and music that they have collected over years of celebration; hence, it gets a little hard to choose something that seems remotely authentic when you are shopping around for family and friends.  If you are buying for a student, cash might be an appropriate gift (although a somewhat offensive one – “thanks for the effort!”), or some sort of gift card to a book store where they can buy next semester’s books. However, if you try to narrow down a student’s interests by their discipline, you can really get creative.  I’ve got some ideas.  Check ’em out:

!) For your English Major:  You thought this would be easy, right?  Buy them a book!  Don’t you think that they might be swimming in books after years of having to buy fiction for school? There is a great chance that their dorm/apartment/room is stacked with them.  They are more than likely sick of them!  Buy something that will help English majors rekindle their romance with reading:  book perfume.  The scent of literature.  Eau de literature.  That aroma of a new book just opened and the adventure that awaits therein.  Literature majors will appreciate spraying this scent on any old, damp books, perhaps rekindling some sort of attraction to them.  Or they can use it to spray on a book by an author they hate, in hopes that the experience of reading will magically improve in seconds and they will be able to finish reading the horrid book in time for next semester’s midterm.

Ah, the romance...

Ah, the romance…

!) For your Science Major:  These are tricky ones, depending on their focus.  There is little use giving National Geographic’s Endangered Species Photography to a nuclear physicist. For science majors, you have to think of a gift that serves a wide range of interests, or a gift that narrows it all right down.  The latter item is probably the more affordable option.  Buy a gift that is in neutral territory.  Something that they all can appreciate, especially since their student careers will likely be long and burdensome.  Here it is:  a Dewar flask that functions like real lab equipment.  Dewar flasks can keep just about anything cold for eternity and; hence, will keep that beer cold until the end of their really long student career.  It is also virtually unbreakable, just in case you were wondering.


!) For your Psychology major:

Phrenology was a popular subject in the 19th-century that claimed to be able to determine a person’s character by examining the bumps on their heads.  Although considered pseudoscience today, it was the bumpy beginnings of the modern interest in the human mind.  Since psychology students tend to be quite a classy bunch (I genuinely mean that – they usually have much better style than me), here is something they might appreciate: a porcelain phrenology bust.  Classy.

$30-$70, depending on the make.

!) For your History Major:  History majors tend to be caught up in the details and the facts, so it seems most appropriate to give them a gift that can help them untangle those details a little and give them access to the outside world when the work begins to pile up.  History majors love replicas, especially ones that represent a major change in the world.  How about a vintage Crosley Black Candlestick Phone?  In our digital times, history majors might be longing for something from the past.  Give them nostalgia for Christmas:

Hello History Major!

HALLO History Major!

!) For your Women’s Studies Major:  When giving a Women’s Studies major a gift that is associated to their discipline, it is best to stick with the basics.  Find a general theme behind all of the knowledge gleaned from studying the history and social importance of feminism.  In other words, draw attention to the kick-ass aspects of feminism.  Here is a gift to remind them that they are not just studying ‘girl power’ but the evolution of the woman, in all her fierceness and fragility: A Feminist Kick-Butt Sledgehammer Necklace.

Sledgehammer Necklace: $20-$25

!) For your Theatre Arts major:  It’s true: not all Theatre Majors like Shakespeare, so don’t just rely on The Bard for gift ideas.  Expand your, and their, horizons.  Give a gift that will remind them of the importance and power of theatre.  In this day and age, when theatre shows are often over-priced while theatre majors remain underpayed, it can be hard to get front row tickets to a favourite show.  Give them the gift of (in)sight, which will hopefully inspire them to continue on their journey to the stage.  Opera binoculars will allow them to go to the most critically-acclaimed (and expensive) shows and still see the performance, despite being in the top back row (or ‘cheap seats’).


!) For your Mathematics Major:  Let’s all admit to it: most of us could never be mathematics majors (especially not us English Lit folk). For many of us, choosing a gift for a math major is rather difficult.  Instead of choosing a gift that reveals your lack of mathematics knowledge, give a gift that, despite your lack of knowledge, still shows them you appreciate that foreign language called math.  The most popular mathematics symbol: pie.  How about a little word play:  a pie-shaped pie cutter (which of course can also be used for pizza – a favourite of math majors, I suspect).  It’s infinitely relational and can divide just about any pie into smaller sums!  It all adds up, doesn’t it?


!) For your Computer Sciences Major:  There is no explanation needed for this one.  Work-Life balance, I suppose.


!) For your Education Major:  There is something about chalkboards that makes a teacher feel, well, important.  Chalkboards symbolize undivided attention.  Since education majors are likely as busy as their future selves will be, it would be beneficial for them to have chalkboard notepads, which can act simultaneously as an agenda and, you guessed it, a chalkboard.  They can practice their cursive skills on the boards so that when they finally do become teachers they will have neat writing.  An A+ gift.


!) For your Political Sciences Major:  For anyone who has ever seen the Game of Thrones series, you are well aware of the back-stabbing, grand-standing, egomaniacal political schematics that go on.  I would imagine that a Political Science student would not only appreciate this well-made series, but also glean some advice on how to not govern your people.  It will also remind them that scandals – of any sort – can lead to awful consequences (Red Wedding, anyone?). 

download (1)

!) For your Business Major: We all have to serve somebody.  There is two meanings to this.  Be ambitious enough to keep your shoes shining, but humble enough to shine another’s (I read that on a fortune cookie).


If you have any other ideas, feel free to write them below in the comments section.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Everyone!

About dontpanictrent

DON'T PANIC: A Trent Graduate Student Blog

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