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Christmas Shopping: The Essential Student Guide

Jingle the bells, Christmas is here! Well, it’s almost here. This means festivities, food (so much food) and gifts are just around the corner. Now the gift part is great if you’re one of those smug, finished-by-August shoppers, but for those of us who are a little less organized *ahem*, we need a helping hand.

As students with a limited budget will know all too well, it’s often even more difficult to find that perfect gift when you can’t splash out on lavish gifts. As if shopping wasn’t stressful enough! But worry not, this guide is made for students just like you who are stuck for Christmas present ideas.

Wrapping paper at the ready, we’re about to get productive. We’ll start with gift ideas…

Gift Ideas for (Almost) Everyone in Your Life

Your parents

Gift sets are always a good idea for your mum and dad, but if a Boots or Superdrug gift set isn’t quite their taste then not to worry, you have other options!

DVDs are the ultimate gifts for parents. Head over to Amazon (their Under £5 section in particular) and pick up a few movies for them to watch together when the chaos of Christmas Day is over. Be sure to include a festive choice too – who doesn’t love watching Elf?

christmas in northampton
Another idea is a restaurant gift voucher. That way you can give them a joint present to enjoy together (and you can offer to babysit while they go).

Your close friends

IWOOT will be your saviour when it comes to buying gifts for your friends.
Their gifts are original and undoubtedly cool. They really do have something for everyone too so have a look and make the most of their 3 for £20 offer – that’s three gifts sorted!

From awesome mugs to funny novelty gifts, you’ll definitely find something (and you’ll probably want a few things for yourself too but stay focused – this isn’t about you!).

Your boyfriend/girlfriend

This can be tricky. You want to get them a great gift but at the same time you’re restrained by that pesky student budget. You have two options here:

  • Buy them a gift
  • Take them out on a festive date

If you opt for the gift buying option, think carefully about what they like and where they usually shop. That’s always a good starting place.

Still stuck?

More often than not, Amazon (trusty Amazon again) will have a book that’s relevant to them: whether it’s a cookbook, a cocktail guide, the latest fiction thriller or an autobiography. And who doesn’t love getting a book at Christmas? There’s usually great deals on books at this time of year too, so keep an eye out for those.

Option two – taking them out – has the potential to be more budget friendly (depending on where you take them). A trip ice skating at Beckworth Emporium will only cost you £6 each if you go during a half price period. Follow it up with a hot chocolate after and you’ve executed the perfect winter date. Well done you.

Secret Santas

Whether it’s a work Secret Santa or between you and your course friends, chances are you won’t know the recipient extremely well.

In this case, the standard Christmas gift sets will serve you very well. Not quite sure where to look? Wilko’s have a great selection to suit all budgets.

Best Places in Northampton for Students to Shop

So, you’re based in Northampton and you’re willing to face the endless crowds to get your Christmas shopping done in one big swoop? I commend you!

If you’re looking for quirky buys for your mum or aunty, head to A Most Marvellous Place To Shop. You’ll find all sorts of odds and ends, and all at a fair price. Great for those who are looking for a gift with a bit of a difference.

For stocking fillers, don’t forget about the Poundshop. A great idea is to put together a pamper hamper full of toiletries. Just be careful not to buy too much deodorant. They might think you’re implying something…
Boots often has great offers around this time of year. Their 3 for 2 offer on gifts is perfect for anyone with a few siblings to buy for, and they often have one large gift set on a half price offer once a week.

Minimal Budget: Making the most of eBay

So your budget this year is so minimal you’re considering sleeping through Christmas all together. Don’t worry, eBay is on hand to help out those of you who are really stuck for cash this Christmas.

Scarves: for the stylish

You can’t get a better seasonal gift than a scarf. Any age, any gender – it fits almost every recipient. Check out this listing for women’s scarves (most are £3.99) and this listing for men’s (around £4.99).

Retro poster: for the cool cats

These awesome posters than will only set you back around £3.99. You can either give the poster to your recipient as it is or head into Wilkos to find a simple frame. Maximum cool points, minimum expenditure.

The Joys of Wrapping (Yes, Really)

Don’t run off just yet. We’ve still got a little ground to cover.

Now, it’s easy just to buy the first wrapping paper you spot and go Sellotape mad wrapping it up but hold on, let’s think about this. If you want gifts to look a little more expensive, the wrapping really does make all the difference. Do expensive watches come in a sandwich bag? Of course not. Presentation, Presentation, Presentation.

A few tips on wrapping

  1. Wrapping ribbon is cheap and effective. Use the scissors to curl the ribbon (tutorial here) and even the simplest of gifts will look beautifully presented.
    Brown paper and string works well.
  2. If you want to go for the vintage parcel look, brown paper and string really will look good. Just make sure to include a festive tag so it doesn’t completely look like a lost parcel from sixty years ago.
  3. Tie a small tree decoration to your gift where the ribbons cross. Next time you spot a packet of miniature baubles or those glittery snow flakes, pick up a packet. They shouldn’t cost you more than a pound or two and it’ll spruce up your gifts to a luxurious level!

Happy Buying

Phew, we’re done. That’s a lot for you to bear in mind but hopefully you have a few more ideas for affordable gifts (and how to wrap them!).

Ah, I can feel the stress levels easing already.

What’s first on your Christmas shopping list?

I Moved to Northampton at the age of 4, grew up and studied Hospitality at Boothlane college. Went to London for 25years now back living in Northampton. Oh... and I love to shop! Don't be shy and have your say :o)
  • Thanks for the mention peeps. Many of our traders also offer 10% to all students and serving/retired police officers and forces members. We have thousands of vintage garments in stock at all times so you can get a great individual look without breaking the bank. Gilliy (A Most Marvellous Place to Shop) x

    • Hey Gillian,
      No worries – and thanks for dropping by and saying hello.
      We’ll sure spread the word about the 10% discounts available too.

      Have a GR8 2017


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