How to buy the perfect holiday gifts for family and friends

Shopping for presents can be hard, but our gift guide will help.

The holidays are a time of cheer and companionship, and as the temperature outside plummets, spirits begin to rise. Presents are a great way to show your loved ones that you took the time to think of them this busy holiday season. Sometimes, it can be difficult to decide which gifts to get whom, but fear not! The Crier’s gift guide will assist you with all your holiday shopping.


Parents can be a bit of a mystery when it comes to gift giving, but there are still plenty of options. Mom and Dad will still love you if you get them each a can of sardines wrapped up in a red bow, but a well-thought-out present would be much more appreciated.

To get an idea of what your folks might want for the holidays, it’s always helpful to think of the necessities. Is the household coffee machine down? Could a piece of furniture benefit from renovation? Additionally, any newspaper clippings or saved articles on a gadget your parents have been looking at is a good indication. If you’re still stumped, the list below includes tried and true gifts that are sure to bring joy.

For Dad:

  • A new tie
  • Merchandise from his favorite sports team
  • A pair of nice shoes
  • Coffee machine
  • A new wallet/money clip
  • Shaving kit, complete with razors and shaving cream

For Mom:

  • Rich hand cream
  • Customized jewelry
  • A personalized family photo album
  • New handbag
  • Spa kit or a voucher to a salon


Although siblings don’t always get along, the holidays are an opportunity to put all of that aside and enjoy spending time with them. In selecting a gift for your brother or sister, try to think of what you would want—you are related, after all! Better yet, get tickets to a concert or sporting event and spend quality time with them. If your siblings are significantly younger, check out the newest toys in sales advertisements. Other options include:

  • Gift card (iTunes, Starbucks, Target, etc.)
  • Headphones
  • New phone case
  • Money in a card


Friends are a little easier to shop for. Over the years, you’ve probably gotten to know them and their interest. What bands do they like? Are they obsessed with a certain brand of clothing? Have they been talking your ear off about a certain makeup product? What about the jersey of their favorite athlete? If you’re still stuck, try asking their parents, who have been shopping for your friends for years. If it’s the day before Christmas and you still haven’t gotten anything, here’s a list of some possible presents:

  • Gift card. You can get a “mall card” at Woodfield, which is good for all of the stores.
  • A makeup palette
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • A bath set
  • A photo album
  • An assortment of their favorite candy

Other Ideas

Instead of going out and buying something, a homemade gift always makes for a wonderful surprise. A quick browse on Pinterest and a trip to the craft store will set you up for a successful present. Here are some ideas to get you started. Remember, if these don’t work out, you could always get a gift card!

  • Personalized mug. Get a plain coffee mug and doodle on it or write a message, such as a favorite quote or term of endearment.
  • If you have a family pet, set up a photo shoot and frame the pictures.
  • Try your hand at knitting or sewing and make a stocking, or maybe a simple scarf.
  • Make a coffee cup cozy.
  • Create a stuffed animal from scratch.
  • Make homemade body scrubs or candles.
  • Bake something delicious!
  • Make service coupons. “Good for 2 hours of chores, walking the dog, doing the laundry” etc.
  • Create a handmade Christmas card.

Lastly, don’t let all of these gift ideas overwhelm you. The holidays are hectic with shopping, wrapping, and arranging, but the focus should not be on material goods. Instead, let the company of your friends and family be the best gift of all.

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