You’ve lived through your fair share of awkward situations with your college roommate by now, whether you two have lived in the same room for a couple months, or have been bunking together for years in an off-campus place. Let’s make sure that this holiday season, getting them the wrong gift for the holidays isn’t one of them.
There are as many roommate situations out there as there are dorm rooms, but typically, your roommate will fall into one of a few categories. Are you two BFFS who have known each other for a crazy-long time, or know each other super well? Are you new-but-close friends who might have only met in September, but hit it off right away? Or are you two people who got thrown together thanks to a random dorm assignment - and need to make it work for the rest of the year?
Whatever situation you find yourself in, we’ve got you covered. Nailing a great holiday gift for your college roommate will make the fact that you have to share an apartment - or a literal room - for another four months way easier.
Ain’t nobody got time for going through the process of finding a new roommate for the winter semester.
Know Them Super Well
Photos of the Two of You
If you and your roommate are close, and you have sad white dorm room walls to cover up, getting photos printed for them would be a great surprise for the holidays! Instead of running to your latest Walmart photo centre, though, give Parabo Press a shot - you can order photos from the comfort of your phone, and they have printing options that will make your dorm room look more like a bedroom you’d find on Pinterest.
To really win at this gift, you need to know your roommate well. If they’re a sports fan, and would appreciate a blanket dedicated to their favorite team? That would make a great gift. If, however, they’re more into classic colors and designs, you can find them something cozy and cute to snuggle under during the cold winter study sessions. Try Etsy if you’re looking for something unique.
Friend Date Night
When you’re as close as you two are, you’re bound to have a zillion inside jokes and memories together. Instead of a typical gift, why not plan a throwback night for the two of you, featuring their favorite place to eat, the funniest activity you two have ever done together, or something else that’s quintessentially you?
New, But Good, Friends
Drinks and Glasses
As your friendship grows, it’s likely that you might have shared a drink or two with your roommate - and yes, coffee does count, I see you freshmen who aren’t legal yet. Whether it’s wine or coffee, pick up a set of two appropriate glasses and some nice drinks. You two will both appreciate not having to drink coffee - or wine - out of Solo cups next semester.
You and your roommate might be insta-besties, but even so, everyone needs to zone out and get into the studying groove sometimes (or maybe you just don’t want to listen to every episode of Big Brother they stream on their laptop anymore). You can grab headphones in almost any colour and price range, and it never hurts to have a spare pair lying around.
Hat, Scarf, or Mittens
Warm weather gear will always be appreciated - as long as you know your roommate’s style, that is. Take a look at what they have now, if anything, and help them prepare for the colder months (even if that means getting them a lightweight, fashionable scarf because you go to UCLA). They’ll appreciate it when they’re not freezing on their way to the library.
The “We Live Together But That’s It” Roommate
Homemade Coupon Book
Sure, it feels like a kid move, but if you and your roommate aren’t all that close, they probably don’t feel like they can just straight-up ask you to take out the garbage while they’re knee-deep in studying for their midterm unless it’s actually your turn. You can bust out the craft supplies and write them some specific IOUs they can call in anytime they need them next semester. (The trick is, you have to follow through!)
OK, even if you have nothing else in common, you both definitely go to the same school. Head over to the campus bookstore and pick up a t-shirt, hat or pair of sweatpants with your school logo and colors on it for your roommate. You can always use extra swag, and they’ll be able to rep their school over the holidays when they’re at home.
A Meal (or Pitcher!) Together
No matter how rough the adjustment to sharing a living space with someone you don’t know has been, you’ve still got four months - at least - stuck with each other. To make the best of it, and to clear the air before the holidays, take your roommate out to bond over a burger or a pitcher at your campus pub. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but the opportunity to hang out outside of your room might be just the ticket for a smooth second semester.
None of These Quite Right?
Whether you’ve known your roommate for what feels like forever, or you haven’t really connected with them at all, you know more about them than you think you do. If none of these gift suggestions feels like the right fit for you two, take a look back on the past few months. You can come up with great gift suggestions by realizing just how much you learn about a person from living with them.
- Do they have a perma-full bookshelf of a specific type of book? Check out the Amazon category that most fits with their taste, and find a recent bestseller that isn’t on their shelf.
- Are they always forgetting or losing a specific thing? Maybe your roommate can never, ever find a hairtie when she needs one, or he’s always misplacing his phone charger. Getting them a spare, or a stock of those things, could be a great and useful gift.
- If you’re close, does your roommate consistently borrow your favorite hat or sweater? Get them their own, in the same make and model. Can you say twinning?
Is there something they keep meaning to buy but it never seems like a priority? Think things like a desk lamp, or an organizer for their desk drawer. There are much worse gifts than something practical that they’ll actually use!