9 Gift Ideas
College Life

No Strings Attached: 9 Gift Ideas for Special Occasions

One of my love languages is gift giving.

I love putting together little gift boxes, giving notes of encouragement, and most importantly preparing coffee for the special people in my life.

Receiving gifts is also meaningful to me. Once upon a time, I experienced a rather emotionally exhausting trial in my life. My classmate noticed and left some candy, trinkets, and note of encouragement at my door. The gift seemed heaven-sent. It was left anonymously, but later I discovered who left it and I thanked her for her kindness. Her gesture of compassion made my situation a little less bleak.

Throughout the semester, there are many traditional occasions to give gifts, such as for birthdays, holidays, and Fine Arts.

But you don’t have to wait for these events to give a gift.

Give a pint of ice cream to someone who seems a little crestfallen. Make a care package for your checked-in suitemate. Or just write Bible verses in cards for your RAs, as a small token of your gratitude for all they do to keep order on your hall.

You have lots of opportunities to give. But maybe you’re short on ideas. Here are some gifts to consider:

1.) Study Buddy

Do you have a tutor, tutee, or a faithful study buddy? Give your friend a pack of highlighters!

2.) Out of the Blue

Give a gift “out of the blue” to your favorite person. Fill a blue box or bag with things that are blue or come in blue packaging. Cool Ranch Doritos. Chex Mix. Oreos. Airheads. M&Ms. Blue pen. Blue sponge. Blue mug. Blue popcorn packet. Blue notebook. Blue paperclips—anything blue.

3.) Get Well Soon

It’s nice to know that your friends care for you when you’re feeling under the weather. Be a caring friend and give a “get well soon” gift!

Put together a small box or gift bag of lemon tea bags, Kleenex, lip balm, hand sanitizer, throat lozenges, warm socks, instant noodles.

Don’t forget to add something sweet (like hot chocolate or a candy bar) for when your ailing friend gets better.

4.) Message in a Bottle

Want to give someone an encouraging note, uplifting Bible verse or song lyrics, or a poem for your Fine Arts date—but you’re thinking a traditional card is too—well, traditional? Try this creative way to send a message: a message in a bottle!

Get an empty glass bottle and slip your rolled up message into it—then pour in some M&Ms or Skittles on the sides to conceal the note.

5.) The Pick-Me-Up

Have a friend who’s going through a rough week of projects? Give him a caffeinated pick-me-up to encourage him to persevere.

Get an empty coffee cup or Common Grounds transparent plastic cup (the kind used for a frozen drink) and fill it up to the brim with brown tissue paper.

Place a gift card for a local coffee shop, a $5 bill, or a Keurig pod on the brown tissue paper, and top it off with white tissue paper (meant to represent whipped cream). Put the plastic top on the cup and insert a straw. If the straw won’t fit all the way, cut the straw into a third, and insert it into the “whipped cream.”

6.) Sunday Sundaes

If you feel a certain listlessness starting to settle in, create some excitement by arranging a spontaneous gift for you and your favorite person.

After church on Sunday, set up a table in the Commons with a tub or two of ice cream and plenty of toppings: M&Ms, Reese's mini cups, gummy bears, honey, trail mix, cookies—whatever you like!  Bring some bowls and spoons and surprise your friend with this “cool” gift.

7.) A Token of Friendship

What better way to celebrate a friendship you’ve built than by building something together with LEGOs? Whatever the occasion is, get a small LEGO toy and have fun assembling it with your friend.

Building together encourages teamwork and communication, and the final product can serve as a small token of your relationship.

8.) Friendship Frame

So many memories are made with friends at college. The next time an occasion comes, give the gift of remembrance with a shadow-box encasing a memory.

Buy a shadow box from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. Print out some photos from your phone and mount them onto some scrapbook paper with a little glue or colorful tape. Add mementos: Fine Arts tickets, an old exam permit, a (clean) candy wrapper, dried flower petals, cut-outs from a magazine or newspaper, a used gift card, scrapbooking stickers, etc.

Arrange everything inside the shadow box and give it to your friend.

9.) Lit Literature

Not everyone is a bookworm—but almost anyone can appreciate some form of a book or another. Because books are personal, they make great gifts for people who are meaningful to you, like an outstanding roommate or best friend.

For those who excel in the art of having fun, a good book might be a book of puns, Mad Libs, hangman.

For artsy types, we like those meditative coloring books easily found in bookstores and craft stores alike. We also enjoy art books—especially those about unique styles or advanced techniques.

The history buffs are lucky. Bookstores have seemingly endless aisles of history books in all shapes and sizes and subjects! You’ll find a book. Or two. Or five. The hardest part will be choosing which one to get...

Shopping for a future teacher or pastor? Leadership and discipleship books are fantastic and insightful, and will probably be very much appreciated by your teacher or preacher friend.

There’s a book for everyone. And if you’re not sure—opt for a devotional book.

Oh, and if you happen to be shopping for a bookworm, you might want to buy him a bookmark. Most likely all of his are already in use.

Have a gift and an occasion in mind? Then go ahead and give it! And if you give one of these—please leave a comment below, sharing your experience with us.

The thoughts and opinions expressed in Life in the Nest are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Pensacola Christian College.
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