As the holiday break nears and we anticipate returning home to spend quality time with our loved ones or staying on campus to celebrate the break with friends, our bank accounts also anticipate losing lots of funds if you’re someone who partakes in gift-exchanging during December.

More often than not, the second hardest part about spending money on gifts is not being sure what gifts to spend it on. Whether it’s for a sibling you’ve grown up with your entire life, or a coworker you’ve spoken to twice that you have to do Secret Santa with, some people are just hard to buy gifts for.

So here are some general gift ideas that you’ll likely find in Kelowna stores without needing to shop online and waiting for more than a week for it to be delivered, panicking about how you should’ve clicked on express shipping or started buying gifts in October.

  1. Socks

Something’s gotta protect your feet in this cold weather. Socks are a fun way to make your gift-receiver stand out if they have funky designs on them, or you can get something comfortable for them to shuffle around in at home.

And if you have a foot fetish, you’ll probably have an excuse to ask your gift-receiver to take off their shoes and try on your thoughtful gift.

Check out Sport Chek and Foot Locker for athletic socks, and other clothing stores at Orchard Park Mall. Stores like Hot Topic, Spencers, and American Eagle have options that are both fuzzy and have unique patterns!

  1. Water bottles

Everyone needs to hydrate. Because guess what — you can die without water. And if someone is worthy enough for you to spend money on, I’m assuming you don’t want them to die. Buy them a water bottle, especially if they’re the type of person who forgets to drink at least eight cups of water a day, or is frequently seen toting around a plastic water bottle. 

Stores like Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Indigo have lots of options depending on what style you think your gift-receiver will appreciate. Lots of brands are also coming out with water bottles that have markings on them to indicate how much you should drink throughout the day to encourage the consistency of water intake.

  1. Blankets

As a university student, I’ve found that the number one method of shielding myself from all the stress of schoolwork is a blanket. I mean, it’s also pretty good at helping wipe your tears away when the clock ticks 11:59 p.m. and you’re still not done with your essay. With the amount of times I’ve also had to crash over at a friend’s place or they’ve had to crash over at mine, an extra throw blanket is a number one necessity for us university students.

Check out Winners, Homesense, and QE Home | Quilts Etc. for some super soft options. If you’re a particularly talented person, consider knitting or sewing together the blanket, so it’s a gift with a personal stamp.

  1. Pajamas

Who doesn’t love pajamas and loungewear? The great thing about flannel or satin pajamas is that it looks cute and is comfy.

Even if they’re secretly picky about what kind of colour or style they like their clothes to be, your gift-receiver doesn’t have to wear their pajamas out in public. As long as you choose an undoubtedly comfortable set of pajamas for them, high chances are that they’ll enjoy it. But if you’re worried they’ll make a face of pure and utter disgust upon opening your present, make sure you have a gift receipt tucked in the box too.

Check out stores like Boathouse, Aerie, Urban Planet, Old Navy, and Hudson’s Bay at the mall for unisex sleepwear options.

  1. Alcohol

Only if you’re of legal age to purchase alcohol and your gift-receiver is of legal drinking age! Friendly reminder that here in British Columbia, that means you have to be nineteen years of age to drink and purchase alcohol. I cannot stress that enough; I’m not ready to become an accessory to crime. 

Alcohol is typically a very expensive investment for many of us on our ‘broke university student’ funds. Since holiday parties and the completion of exams and final projects are just around the corner, this is a sure way to guarantee your gift-receiver’s fun if you know they partake in alcohol!

Consider wrapping up your gift-receiver’s favourite drink with a nice bow, or putting together a gift basket that includes a cocktail’s alcoholic ingredients and its how-to recipe. Nearby liquor stores like Franco’s on Academy Way and BC Liquor (locations throughout Kelowna) also sell mini bottles of alcohol if you don’t want to purchase a full bottle of liquor and aim for variety in your gift.

Just remind your gift-receiver to eat greasy food before consuming alcohol, drink lots of water throughout, and stay safe if they’re drinking a lot. And make sure they will be drinking responsibly!

  1. Quality time

If you’re comfortable and close enough to the person you’re giving a gift to, consider making the gift an experience with you. Grab a meal with them, your treat! Head over to McCurdy Bowling Centre or Scandia Golf and Games to engage in some friendly competition. If your budget is big enough to cover a day pass at Big White Ski Resort, go all out!

Quality time is often the most rewarding gift you can give to someone. After all, everyone’s time is valuable — especially during the holidays, when we want to spend it with the people we love and respect.