The perfect gifts for everyone in your life

Finding the right present for everyone on your list can be a daunting task every holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be.

Especially around the University of Rhode Island, there are so many unique things to buy for every person you need a gift for. Here are a few ideas for gifts that can be found locally or ordered online.

For your parents:

Sometimes your parents can be hard to shop for, but most of the time they just want something simple. That’s why I think a gift from the Campus Store or from University Spirit in the Emporium is best. I get my parents URI merch every year and it never ceases to make them happy.

While the Campus Store can be expensive, the merch they sell is comfortable and made of quality material. University Spirit is much cheaper and friendlier to a college student’s budget. Grab a sweatshirt or, if your parents already have too many URI sweatshirts like mine do, grab a mug or hat. While you’re at it, grab something for a sibling if you have one.

A gift for the entire friend group:

When you’re shopping for all of your friends, the price can add up and some friends are always harder to shop for. I love getting my friends matching gifts that we can all get together. It’s often extremely cheap and easy to order.

Some of my favorites are custom mugs or lighters for the whole group. A lot of websites sell these types of things, including Shutterfly, Zazzle and Vistaprint. Put a photo of everyone together or add an inside joke.

Mugs come for under $10 each on many websites, which can cut down on the cost when you’re shopping for a lot of people. BIC Lighters come as cheap as $5 per lighter and are an extremely cheap gift for your friends.

For the person that has it all:

I know plenty of people that just have everything they want already. When I am struggling to find something, I like to go somewhere that has unique items. If you’re in South County and can’t find anything for a friend, go to the arts and crafts fair held by the South County Arts Association (SCAA).

The fair is a sale of the works of the SCAA’s members at the end of the year. You can find everything from a beautiful $10 mug to paintings selling for hundreds of dollars. There is something for everyone on your list here if you look around enough.

The fair will run until Dec. 19 on Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Another great place to find assorted gifts for someone is Purple Cow in Wakefield, which sells everything from mugs to jewelry to random stocking stuffers.

For the reader in your life:

One of my greatest discoveries in 2021 has been Caf Bar in Wakefield. Coffee and books under one roof is a dream come true. 

Shopping for books can be a stressful experience for someone who doesn’t read often, but at the Caf Bar bookstore, you can find beautifully bound books of a variety, from collectible pieces to old medical books to modern novels. When in doubt, ask the owner for a recommendation, she never fails to have a title for any reader. 

Even easier, get a mystery book from Caf Bar. With just a few descriptors on the book, choosing one becomes much easier. Buying these books has led me to find some wonderful novels.

As an English major myself, my favorite books are the old encyclopedias, dictionaries and compilations of old verse. For only $20, you can find some beautifully bound reads that are sure to keep your favorite English major warm this winter.

For the coffee addict in your life:

There are many choices for local coffee shops around campus, and one of the best gifts for a coffee lover is to get them a gift card for their favorite. You can get a card from places like TLC, which is right by campus, and Caf Bar.

If you don’t like the idea of getting a gift card, get your friend some great coffee to brew at home. One of my favorite well-known coffee brands is Intelligentsia, which has some wonderful winter coffees. One of the most recent coffees from Intelligentsia that I have been loving is the Otoño Blend which is super fruit-forward.

If the person you are shopping for is just getting into coffee, go with Chemex. Chemex is akin to drip coffee but has grown its own cult following. I believe that it is one of the best ways to brew coffee at home today. A Chemex goes for around $50 depending on its size, but if you are looking to really splurge, there are hand-blown ones that go for closer to $100.

For your significant other:

When shopping for a significant other, what you get and how hard it is to find something depends on your relationship. But there are a few staples that can go for your relationship.

For a new relationship, it’s always a great idea to pay for an experience. If you have a general idea of your new significant other’s interests this is an easy way to be a great gift giver. Do you both love the same band? Buy two tickets to their show. Are you over 21 and looking for a nicer date night? Book a wine tasting for two. Are you a domestic couple? Consider taking a cooking class.

If you are in a long-term relationship, a great gift should show that you want to be together for a long time. Oftentimes, this takes the form of beautiful jewelry that tends to be extremely expensive to show that you are in it for the long haul. I personally recommend something a little more unique. Go to your local wine shop and ask the resident sommelier or wine expert for a good bottle of wine to age. Set the bottle aside for the both of you to share for a big occasion. Who knows, maybe you’ll open the bottle after you walk down the aisle.