As the weeks wind down to the holidays, the rush to find the best gifts intensifies. When it comes to gift giving, I pride myself on getting just the right presents. But, with my limited budget – hey, I’m a poor college kid – and busy schedule – hello…projects, papers and exams! – things get a little crazy. Yet, through all this madness, I think I’ve found some pretty cool and rather inexpensive gifts for the hippest of the hip.
The Cool Collector
My friend Jason is one of those guys who I often look to find out what’s hot. Even before you read about it in the glossy pages of a magazine, or see it toted around by celebs on the OC, he knows about it. So, what do you get a guy like this?
This was a tricky one, but I think the solution is to dress up that sweet little iPod of his with a carrying case. More and more companies and individuals are designing funky little satchels for the devices.
Catherine’s Pita Shop at has over 20 iPod cozies each for $25. Each one is handmade and will keep any iPod safe from scratches. They are trimmed with colorful stitching and decorated with patches, fur and clear vinyl. The one that ultimately caught my eye was none other that the “Horny Pickle” cozy.
The Girly Girl
A couple of weeks ago my friends and I drew names for our yearly “Secret Santa” gift exchange, and I got the girliest one of them all, my friend Erin.
With one thought in mind, I headed straight to Eastwood Towne Center . Destination: Victoria’s Secret.
What girly-girl doesn’t love getting new bras and panties?
I browsed the store a bit before finding the new Angels Uplift. It’s feminine, slightly padded and comes in pink. Perfect. And, for $36 to $38, it was exactly on budget.
The Music Buff
My friend Chris knows more about music than most radio DJs. He has an eclectic taste that spans The Doors, Radiohead and Death Cab for Cutie. He can also hold his ground in a debate on almost every genre of music.
I quickly picked up a little something white and stripey from his favorite band, The White Stripes. Jack and Meg’s first live DVD entitled “Under Blackpool Lights” has just hit shelves. Filmed in Blackpool England in January 2004, the DVD includes over 25 songs, including previously unreleased material. The coolest part of this best buy (bought at Best Buy, where else?) was it only set me back $12.59.
The Clueless Cooker
My dear friend Andrew can’t cook to save his life. You know the kind, Easy Mac and frozen dinners every night. All of that can’t be good for a person. I really don’t think he’s inept, just unmotivated about making good meals.
So to solve his eating dilemma, I made a trip to Grand River and popped inside Curious Book Shop. This place is an awesome used-book maze. Rows and rows of books arranged by subject are packed inside the tiny alcove of a store. I found the cookbook section and browsed through the different types of cookbooks: Italian, Chinese, healthy/diet and then finally the fast and easy recipe cookbooks. I found “Betty Crocker’s Microwaving for One or Two.” Complete with tons of pictures, I cannot think of a better cookbook for someone who relies on the microwave so much. For $6.50, this used cookbook is a steal.
The Eclectic Stylist
Last, but not least, there’s Audrey who makes weekly thrift store runs. She is always at her sewing machine, adjusting garments and making things like gloves out of wacky scraps of material. She buys new clothes from JCrew and the Gap, maintaining a very hip, yet grown up look.
Shopping for her was not the easiest of tasks. But I managed to find the absolutely perfect accessory to compliment her chic style in Lansing’s Old Town.
In Absolute Gallery I found unique jewelry from Beijing in a display case: a gorgeous potato pearl and colored glass bead bracelet .I knew right then that the $20 bracelet was destined for Audrey’s wrist.
And the cherry on top
Say goodbye to boring, old run-of-the-mill stocking stuffers, these are the ultimate.
“Garden State” can be pre-ordered at for only $19.95.
Talib Kweli’s “The Beautiful Struggle”, for only $12.99, has good beats and rhymes.
Boons Farm Wine, at only $3 per bottle, is fun and fruity…c’mon, just admit that you like it!
Trojan Shared Pleasure Warm Sensations Condoms for when you just have to be naughty. Plus, they’re only $12.99 for a pack of 12.
Starbucks Gift Certificates can fill any stocking with warm, caffeinated goodness.

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