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2020 Holiday Gift Guide

What to purchase for a year like no other

Gift giving guide header
Illustrations by Lauren Fromkin / The Daily Princetonian

Trading in large gatherings for Zoom dinners, people worldwide will be experiencing a holiday season completely unlike that of past years. Combine that with Princeton’s calendar shift toward a much longer winter break, giving students more time to pursue non-academic activities and leisure, and some people may be stumped about what to get for the holidays to be equipped for free time. Enter this guide, composed of affordable gifts that Princeton students will truly appreciate for the extended winter break and next semester’s mostly online classes. Everything on this guide is best purchased at small businesses to keep them afloat, but if necessary, they are also available at the large retailers mentioned below. 

Blue light glasses

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With online classes, extracurriculars, and social life, eye strain has become an all-too-common problem for college students. Blue light glasses aim to filter out the blue light emitted from computer and tablet screens, and although the verdict is still out on their effectiveness, they may improve eye strain and/or sleep. These glasses are available to buy for $15+, depending on the brand, and they are available in a variety of styles and colors. 

Fluffy socks

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In most parts of the country, the holiday season means cold weather, and cold weather means fluffy socks. These socks bring loungewear to a new level of cozy and are available in pretty much any color and pattern under the sun, from retailers large and small. For students near the Princeton area, Limelite in Palmer Square has a great selection.



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Quarantine can get very lonely, especially for Princeton students living at home. If having pets is not an option — or if pets are not enough — becoming a plant parent is a great way to try to fill the hole left by Zoom interactions. Succulents are great for this purpose because they are small and require minimal maintenance, but larger plants are also an option for those with more ambition or experience. Plants are available to purchase at large stores like Home Depot or at small, local garden stores, which often have better products at a slightly higher price.

Puzzles and Games


With this year’s longer winter break, students have much more free time in between semesters. For those who are looking for new hobbies or ways to keep their brain active other than through academics, puzzles and games are a perfect option. Many varieties, including puzzle books, jigsaw puzzles, and classic board games, are available at bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and at local bookstores. Additionally, for friends and families who want to strengthen their bonds, the game “We’re Not Really Strangers” that retails for $30 is meant to encourage deeper conversations. It progresses through levels of play that help players reflect on each other and grow closer, which mirrors the ideals on which the holidays were founded.

Art supplies


Princeton classes often leave little room for outside activities, and for students who want to boost their creativity during the long break, purchasing art supplies is the first step. Depending on the person, a great artsy gift could be an adult coloring book, embroidery supplies to breathe life into old clothing, or a set of paints and canvases. All of these supplies can be purchased at a large art supply store like Michaels, or at a local art supply or children’s toy store.

Princeton small business gifts


Just because most Princeton undergraduates could not return to campus this semester doesn’t mean that they can’t shop at Nassau Street retailers. Many of Princeton’s most beloved small businesses have online shops that can ship merchandise across the country. Labyrinth Books ships their books, as well as merchandise, writing supplies, and more, and Small World Coffee ships coffee and merchandise. Other classic Nassau shops and restaurants are selling merchandise and/or gift cards for future use, and a gift from any Princeton business is sure to brighten up a student’s day and remind them that they are still a member of the campus community.