A definitive gift guide for everyone in your family

Well, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are over. If you’re like me, you had every intention of buying gifts for your loved ones that weekend….but somehow your closet grew, your wallet shrunk, and your shopping list for your family is still a blank page. If only there was a way for students to get discounts ALL the time, not just during Black Friday weekend….. SIIIIGH……..

Fear not. I have compiled a list of the best gifts for your relatives. And GOOD NEWS: you can get them ALL with your UNiDAYS discount. It’s like Black Friday every day (but without being shoved by old ladies or waiting in 2-hour long lines). So, without further ado, I present to you: your holiday shopping list (or at least some ideas that you’ll HOPEFULLY gather SOME inspiration from).


For mom, it’s all about practicality. I learned this after several consecutive years of buying my mom heart-shaped necklaces which I’ve never seen her wear (mom, if you’re reading this-- I get it, no hard feelings). Some of my biggest hits for mom have been the practical gifts. Does she drink tea? Add functionality and fun with a tea infuser like this manatee-shaped one from ModCloth. While you’re on ModCloth.com, check out this picture collage frame if you want to pull at her heartstrings. Add in some pictures of the two of you and you’ll have mom in tears- maybe she’ll hang it in the office, maybe she’ll hang it in the living room, but you can bet that she’ll look at it and smile every day. For the more glamorous moms, you can’t go wrong with a jewelry organizer. Even if she already has one, she’ll be thankful for the extra storage (and the excuse to buy more jewelry). Pier 1 has some great options, but my favorite has to be this glittery, vintage-style mirrored box. As for accessories, nobody can have enough nice, cute, professional tote bags (and make sure it’s roomy-- remember that a mom’s purse is more mysterious than Mary Poppins’s bag). And, the secret weapon that no mom can resist: the cozy throw blanket to enhance the living room. Warning on this one: it will most likely result in family snuggles.

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Alright, let’s be honest. There are many different types of dads. Sure, they all seem to make the same jokes, and most of them own at least one pair of dorky sneakers-- but not all dads are created equal. Unfortunately I didn’t write my college thesis on dad personas, so I’m really just dipping my toes here in the dad ocean here, but I’ve categorized the dads I’ve encountered into several categories. For the gourmet chef dad, check out Sam’s Club to find the one staple he’s missing from his kitchen. If you don’t know what he’s missing, maybe go with a classic utensil set...his old tools are bound to wear out eventually! Bonus: you’ll get a $25 eGift card (perhaps you could save it for a birthday present for dad…?). For the sporty dad, if you go to a school featured in the line, definitely go for American Eagle’s Tailgate Collection and get him some merch from your school. Dads LOVE repping their kids’ schools. If your school didn’t make the cut, New Balance is always a safe bet if you want to get him his new favorite sweatshirt that he’ll wear at least 4 times per week (as dads tend to do). The outdoorsy dad can always benefit from some Under Armour waterproof gear (especially if he’s too stubborn to buy a raincoat or an umbrella and mocks you every time you complain about the rain). The “cool” dad is a hard dad to shop for. This is the battle I’ve fought each year of my life. In my dad’s case, he’s a total music buff- so something from FYE like cool headphones is a good bet. FYE is a pretty great store for any variety of “cool” dad. For the dad who means business (aka the kind of dad whose interests you aren’t quite sure of because all he ever does is work), try a nice tie or some elegant cuff links. Even if all you get out of him is a grunt of approval, you’ll know you did a good job.

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Brothers are hard to shop for, especially since, in my experience, they won’t swallow their pride and show their gratitude for a gift (it would ruin their tough-guy facade, of course). Luckily, there are some basic go-to choices that you can get with your UNiDAYS discount that can’t fail. One good thing about having an older brother is that there’s a large chance he needs help adulting. Something that can help him organize his life, perhaps a kitchen organization station, is a safe bet. If you find out there are any home essentials he’s missing, go for those-- you know he won’t buy them himself! If he’s more of a put-together adult, I highly recommend something from The Art of Shaving (check out their gift guide here so you can decide what he’d like best). He’ll use it every day, and will honestly be excited about it. Younger brothers are a bit more difficult- there’s always some sort of video game or toy that they’re raving about- but they’re also working on building their “image,” and any help you can provide will surely be appreciated. Get him some sort of staple wardrobe item, whether he’s more of an Adidas kid or more of an American Eagle kind of guy. Your goal as an older sibling is to help him seem cooler among his friends, so get him that one article of clothing they’ll be jealous of!

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The good thing about sisters is that there aren’t many rules...speaking as an older sister myself, I’d be perfectly happy getting a hedgehog-shaped nightlight, even if it’s not something I need. That said, decor is always a win. My recommendation? Pretty candles! A pretty candle will last a while, look pretty, and won’t break your bank. Stationery is great as well- it’s decorative, but also functional. Get her a nice Moleskine notebook or day planner (loooooove this Alice in Wonderland one!) and she’ll be able to Instagram it AND put it to practical use! A great option if she’s into makeup is a nice brush set. She may want to pick out her own eyeshadow palettes and lipstick shades, but you can at least supply her with the basics, like this set from Sigma Beauty with their 5 most popular brushes. Younger sisters are surprisingly easy as well. As strange as it is, many of our younger siblings have cell phones these days- and if my younger sister is any indication of others, I know that they loooove decorative phone cases. Check out Casetify and get her a nice phone case that she can show off to all of her friends (and perhaps one that will keep her phone safe when she inevitably drops it...because she’s 10 years old…). Claire’s is aaaalways a good idea for a gift for a girly girl in your life, too. They have everything from plush toys to cute bags they can bring to school or use to carry their toys. And of course, stationary is always smart for the young student in your life. I love CottonOn’s stationery collection- they come in such fun patterns and graphics, and we ALL know that you do better in school when you like the stationery you’re writing on.

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I hope this was helpful to you, even in a small way. I know that everyone’s family is different and not all brothers are the same, etc….but hey, I’ve got my own gift shopping to do, I don’t have time to write everyone their own personalized list! Most of the gifts I mentioned come in several varieties, or can be adapted to fit different personalities- so it’s time for you to be creative! After all, it’s the thought (and the gift receipt) that counts. Happy gifting!!!

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