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It's the most wonderful time of the year. Image: Kai Holub/Fulcrum.
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Gift ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Snow has hit the ground, and the Michael Bublé Christmas album is haunting retail workers everywhere. It’s the holiday season. 

The task of buying gifts can be an overwhelming one. Some may elect to get their shopping done online and avoid the busy malls, while others were doing whatever it took to be the first through shopping centre doors on Black Friday. 

This year, the Fulcrum broke it down by categories of people students may have to buy gifts for, and gave some ideas for each. 

For the Secret Santa pick you don’t know that well (Acquaintances)

A set of coasters: I stole this idea from the 2013 edition of the Fulcrum’s gift guide. But there’s a twist! I am not providing specificity on the coaster set to buy. There are lots of options and levels of design. You can keep this as neutral as you want and find options ranging in price! This gift says: I assume you consume liquid to stay alive? Protect your surfaces with these coasters! 

Cookie kit mason jar: you can even make this yourself. Find a cookie recipe and put the dry ingredients in a mason jar, and on a tag tied around the lid, write the wet ingredients and cooking instructions. You can decorate the jar if you’re feeling creative.

For roommates

Art for their walls: university is a strange time. We move from place to place quickly, and some of us may leave our walls pretty bare. Folks also have different levels of commitment to their design choices. Some may be all in on goofy wall hangings, while others may want a cozy feel to their room. You can impose your will on the decor of their room, or make it small enough that it’s not a statement piece in their space.  

A scarf: Scarves are the perfect gift to tell someone, “hey, I noticed you have a neck.” (Ok, maybe it comes off creepier when written down.) Winter gets cold in Ottawa — cut down the number of times you have to hear about it, and help your roomies bundle up!

A board game: pick something you think your housemates would enjoy playing in the new year. It can be a game that incorporates drinking to play at your next party, or a strategy game for something more low-key. Whichever fits your household’s vibe best. 

For friends

A picture frame: get your friends a nice picture frame, and if you have time to go the extra mile, get a picture to put in it. Make them display a picture of you in their room. You can even insist they put it on their bedside table, like you are their child. 

Concert tickets: gift your friends a ticket to a concert in the new year, and they’ll have something to look forward to. Smaller venues can have some reasonably priced tickets for some super fun nights.

For family

University merch: if it’s your first year, gifts for your family are as simple as a trip to the University Bookstore. Get your parents the shirt all your friends wore ironically to the panda game! 

A gallery membership: this is a gift that can be used all year, and you can keep getting credit for it.

Holiday shopping is hard, but hopefully, we’ve given you a few ideas for what you can put under the tree this year. Happy holidays, good luck shopping, and take comfort in the fact that it’s the thought that counts.


  • Bridget Coady was the Fulcrum's news editor from spring to fall of 2021. Before that, she was the Fulcrum's staff photographer.