For the friend of a friend that you don’t really know:
Unlucky you—for this year’s Secret Santa, you were assigned the one person that you literally have never had a conversation with. Honestly, how did they end up in this gift exchange anyway? Wasn’t this supposed to be blockmates-only? You barely know this person’s last name, so trying to buy a cute, personal present is out of the cards. When in doubt, opt for a couple of chocolate bars from CVS, preferably the ones that come wrapped with foil in a fancy box, therefore making it look like you tried. Just hope your Secret Santee isn’t lactose intolerant.
For the estranged linkmate:
You two were super close for most of freshman year, but the years have not treated your friendship kindly. No longer sharing a dhall, combined with some internal drama amongst your linkmates, has put you in the awkward position of buying a gift for someone you used to know. Even worse, half the people in the room are still mad at them. Go for the ever-harmless, yet functional and necessary, gift of socks. A warm wool pair will help them survive Boston’s ice and slush, while a cute patterned pair will show how thoughtful and fashionable you are. Either way, it’s a win-win situation.
For the picky sibling:
You really want to get something your brother or sister will like, but their tastes are hard to pin down (or prohibitively expensive). Consider buying them a subscription to something you know they’ll like: whether it’s Netflix or The New York Times, Spotify Premium or Rolling Stone, they’ll be reminded of your sibling love once a month for a year—or until the student discount you used to buy it runs out.
For the new significant other:
Cuffing season hit you, and it hit you hard. You’ve gone into winter break with a new relationship, plane tickets to visit them in January, and no clue what to get them for the holidays. Concert tickets to see their favorite band, while on the pricier side, are a good way to show you care (and that you approve of their music taste). Plus, you’ll have a fun date to look forward to next semester, assuming you survive meeting the parents.
For the close friend who you inexplicably forgot to buy something for: