It’s finals week, Christmas is right around the corner, and we are still currently in the middle of a global pandemic. Phew! Hopefully all that added stress won’t affect our students too much. December is the time to prepare for finals as well as Christmas by going to the stores to get gifts for family and friends. You may be having trouble figuring out what gifts to buy and being in college, you may also be on a budget. Thats why I’ve gathered ten of what I consider the top best gifts that are affordable, thoughtful and practical for students to both give and receive this Christmas.
1. Papale Hats
Know someone that is a young girl or woman who wants a Papale hat which is woven in a traditional Hawaiian style and is sold at the Surf shop near Target or in local shops on Maui. I know a few friends of mine who make Papale hats as a business or hobby. My cousin is obsessed with these hats and she really wants one so hopefully one of her friends or family is able to get it for her since its on her Christmas wish list.
This is a popular gift that teenagers or young adults love since some come pre-paid and are easy to use. For the teenagers, go to Target, PacSun, or American Eagle for trendy clothing. Food is a great option to, and locally-owned Poi by the pound just recently opened back up and have food gift certificates available. Their food is phenomenal and worth the trip. Sam Sato’s food gift certificate is a delicious island favorite as well. If you are buying gift cards, I encourage you to look at local businesses first then corporate or big name stores while keeping the person’s interests in mind. Websites like Giftly.com or Giftrocket.com are cool sites that make it super easy to search up specific businesses and purchase gift cards or certificates, so you can use these sites to search local business’s instead of having to drive around to them!
Give the gift of aromatherapy. Candles are a great gift to give to your significant other, best friends, or any family member. In most households, candles are a home essential and are easy to use and be used for cultural traditions or for when guests come to your house during pre-covid times as a welcoming invitation! My favorite place to shop for affordable candles are Ross or Tj Maxx. They always have a variety of good brands and scents for super low prices! My favorite type of candle is called a wood wick. Wood wick candles have thick wicks made of wood that let out soothing crackling noises as they burn, giving a fireplace like sound-effect.
4. Throw Blankets
Throw Blankets are super soft, comfortable, and cozy! I went to Target a few years ago and saw this throw blanket for only $10.00! These blankets are great for the downstairs living room while watching movies with your family and friends or going Upcountry or Haleakaka to stay warm with the high elevation and wind chills. Also, it’s great for taking pictures as the props. These blankets are a great gift if you don’t know what to give to your family or friends! I would love to receive a blanket for christmas! Even better, there are websites like Shutterfly.com which allow you to customize and personalize blankets using your own photos! This ads a super sentimental touch to a seemingly simple gift. If you are in the spirit of giving, buy a few extra blankets and pass them out to the homeless or to a church drive by in your community since this season is about giving and not receiving and being thoughtful for gifts!
5. Homemade Craft/Art Supplies
I went to Walmart and got my cousin an “E’’ that I painted in purple and added a glitter tree and a soccer ball and she hung it up on her wall by her bed! For those with young children, your children might paint you a picture or make a homemade ornament and make sure to keep it for the memories to look back on past christmases and to look forward to the future and pass it down to your grandchildren for the next generations. Arts and Crafts are fun even though you may not be a great artist like me, if you put some effort into it and have fun that is what matters and is important! Go to Ben Franklin, Walmart, Target or any store that sells art supplies. It’s a great gift by itself by getting a handful of different art supplies and then wrapping it into a present and giving it to your friend who is artistic.
Who doesn’t love to sink their teeth into delicious sweet or sour candy treats! There are all different types of candies for any type of person, one person may like chocolate candies and the others may like sour candies. Everyone has a sweet tooth and at least one of your friends will be grateful if they received their favorite candy and favorite soda or juice as a Christmas gift. Island candies are especially my weakness and since the pandemic, some people have started small businesses selling candy! In Hawaii we love to eat different types of gummies drenched in Li-hing mui sauce and I have friends who have created mouth-watering local fusions that will almost literally broke-da-mout. Find these niche sellers at Maui farmers markets, on Maui’s community facebook or even instagram. Pictured above are photos of candies form an instagram seller. Get your orders in at Instagram account @souza.lace for the island-style candies pictured above.
7. Hydro Flask
Next on the the list is for all your favorite sports athletes in your life! Hydro Flasks are sustainable and good for the environment. In hawaii, the weather is always hot so having a cold beverage while at school or running around doing errands is essential. Hydro Flasks is a popular new trend and instead of using water bottles that some people litter, these hydro flasks remain cold throughout the day and students in school carry it around in their hands or backpacks and its portable for any occasion. I have multiple hydro flasks and it’s a great simple gift especially for those loved ones who are always busy and don’t drink a lot of water during the day! These are available at sports equipment stores, Walmart, Target, and mostly any grocery store!
Need a gift for your smart, bookworm best friend? If you have friends and family who have nothing to do over the winter break or when you see them they always have books in their hands, gift them books from their favorite series or a book on their wishlist. My personal favorites are To All The Boys I loved before series. I liked was To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Giver. We only have one book store on Maui which is Barnes and Nobles and while they have a great selection of books you may need to order online with this one. A totally awesome idea is that you could also gift someone a book subscription! Type book subscriptions into Google to browse thousands of book clubs that for a monthly subscription, will send someone book boxes and crates each month filled with new reads, treats, and other fun book-related novelties!
Clothes are a need, not a want! I recommend getting a head start on your Christmas shopping during Black Friday with all the good sales and discount codes if you’re shopping online for specifically clothes. There is an extension on most types of computers which is Honey where it helps you save money by generating through the computer for discount codes and its very easy to use and you’ll be happy since you are saving money and not paying for things regularly priced at clothing stores. Every store at the start of November have new arrival of their winter collection with the jackets, sweatpants, long sleeves, crewnecks, sweaters, cardigans, gloves, christmas socks, beanies, and much more clothing and clothing accessories. In recent years, I would ask for clothes for christmas since I want to change my style each year and stay on the popular trend. And of course, we have so many island brands that local students love to wear. What better way to represent your home town than by repping it on your clothing? Shop island wear online or in our local malls.
Jewelry is a perfect sentimental gift and if you receive it that means you have a special impact in the individual’s life. Here in Hawaii we love our jewelry from Hawaiian bracelets, to Tahitian pearls. There are often pop up shops around the island that feature island style jewelry crafted here on Maui by local jewelry crafters. Recently my cousin bought some for her nieces. Jewelry is an accessory that is shiny and will bling your whole appearance. Check out sites like Mauimehawaii.com pictured above for gorgeous and trendy pieces that will have any jewelry lover on your list stoked to the core!
I hope these gift ideas made it easier for you to create a Christmas gift list for your family and friends far and near. The essence of Christmas is about giving to others who may not have the funds to buy presents or get a Christmas tree for themselves. These gifts will make anyone happy. If one of these gifts represents one of your family or friends then don’t wait till its too late and shop now! Have a Maui-Christmas!