Bruin guide to budget-friendly holiday gifts

by Rachelle Santos

Is December the most wonderful time of the year or the most stressful? Each time the holiday season rolls around in Westwood, UCLA Bruins scramble like elves in Santa’s workshop to turn in that last paper or cram in those last five minutes of studying. With everyone caught up in their own hectic snowball of work, it is difficult to focus on anything else. It seems like the annual struggle of choosing the right gift for our families, friends, and significant others creeps up on us just when we have the least amount of time on our calendars and the least amount of money in our pockets. But don’t worry about anyone being stuck with a lump of coal this year because the following list of 10 budget-friendly gift ideas for that certain someone will relieve some of your stress, leaving both you and your gift recipient jolly throughout the holidays.

1. For the True Bruin

We all know that one person who bleeds blue and gold. Whether it be your friend who loves basketball slightly more than Triple J or your dad who tailgates at every football game, the Campus Store on Westwood Blvd. has everything you need to deck them out in the best sports gear. From what I have found on Bruinwalk, this store consistently has better deals than the UCLA Store. Take advantage of that knowledge so you (and your wallet) won’t be drained by the time Christmas rolls around. Some of the most popular items I would recommend are new T-shirts that you can purchase for prices as low as $15, UCLA hats for $20, or even a UCLA Christmas sweater on sale for $25.99! Unwrapping these gifts this season will surely bring school spirit back home this season.

2. For the Beauty Bruin

If you’ve got a special someone in your life or a family member or friend who needs a little TLC, Ulta is the place for you to start your Christmas shopping. Located on Kinross Avenue in Westwood, this beauty stop has everything you need to step up your manicure, turn your bathroom into a spa, or make your skin glow. Some of my favorite budget-friendly options are the 4-pack nail polish that runs for $15 or the Sleep Tight Face Mask Trio that costs only $16. The recipients of your gifts will be thanking you and quoting Beyonce when they say that they “woke up like this.”

3. For the Hibernating Bruin

I don’t know about you, but when I am done with my finals, I am DONE. When fall quarter ends, I say goodbye to pulling all-nighters in Powell Library and instantly try to forget the pain my feet have endured from walking over 20,000 steps a day. When your friend is wiped out by the end of their finals and begins the 3-week long retreat back into their bed at home, be sure to grab them some fuzzy slippers and pajamas at the Target on Weyburn Avenue before they disappear. Walking into any Target is just like walking into a candy store—you can’t just buy one thing. But have nothing to fear because you can buy multiple pairs of fuzzy socks for anywhere between $3-$7 apiece. It’ll be a holiday miracle for both your gift recipient’s feet and your bank account.

4. For a Bruin-sized sweet tooth

Nothing represents the holidays more than gingerbread houses, sugar cookies, and even that weird fruitcake always sitting on the dinner table (usually untouched). For Hannukah, it’s all about the sufganiyot and their delicious jelly filling. If you have a Bruin in your life that just can’t get enough sugar, then grab them one of each cookie flavor at Diddy Riese, a UCLA staple. Yes, I said one of each flavor. It’s as cheap as it is delicious! Each cookie startlingly comes in at only 50 cents apiece, so you’ll be doing no damage even if you buy out the whole bakery. If cookies aren’t really your special Bruin’s thing, then take them to Saffron and Rose on Westwood Boulevard! Not only will they be intrigued by the unique flavors that range from pink rose to passionfruit, but you will also be pleased to know that an ice cream sandwich costs only $4.50.

5. For the Artist Bruin

If you want a foolproof place to get your artsy best friend, family member, or significant other a holiday gift, make sure you take a trip over to Michael’s. It is a short drive from campus and has everything you could imagine for that special someone who loves to draw, paint, or craft their own creations. Some of the most cost-effective gifts that artsy Bruins will love are new sketchbooks priced at $15, 36-pack acrylic paints for $16, and an assortment of colorful pens for $20. Get your favorite Bruin-inspired this holiday season and see what masterpieces they will produce over winter break!

6. For the Bookworm Bruin

Students at UCLA are some of the smartest people out there. They do go to the #1 public university in America, after all. If you take a quick trip to the first floor at Westfield Century City, be sure to stop by Amazon Books. There, you will be certain to find some of the best-selling books on Amazon for the fairest price. The best thing about Amazon Books is that you don’t have to spend hours scouring bookshelves to find the perfect piece to read while tanning at the beach or curled up next to a fire. With online ratings guiding your decision in the store, you will be able to find a book that will keep your gift recipient turning the page.

7. For the Foodie Bruin

One thing that I have noticed during my time at UCLA is the sheer number of Bruins who are obsessed with sushi or Asian food. While splurging on a nice sushi dinner at Ami may seem appealing in theory, it won’t leave your wallet happy. Kazunori in Westwood is one of the highest-rated sushi restaurants that specializes in hand rolls, and you can buy the LA foodie in your life a $25 gift card that will satisfy their hunger and your bank account. Don’t hesitate on what to get this year—head down to Gayley Avenue and give the gift of high-quality LA cuisine.

8. For the Musical Bruin

Times are changing, and so is the way we listen to music! There’s definitely been a resurgence in the use of record players lately as well as an increase in the number of students who have started their own vinyl collections. What would be the perfect place to buy modern music in a vintage format? That would be Urban Outfitters, of course! Not only do they have a huge selection in stores and online, but the records are reasonably priced! Even if the music enthusiast in your life doesn’t find a record player under their tree this year, the records themselves make amazing dorm decorations that will add a little flavor to their space.

9. For the Holiday Bruin

It’s that time of year again where everyone will be (safely) attending holiday parties. So why not purchase a unique and equally festive ugly sweater for the person in your life who becomes the living embodiment of the holiday season? Upon unboxing their sweater conveniently shipped from Amazon, they will immediately show it off to all of their friends and cuddle up in it while watching Elf and The Polar Express for the hundredth time. Luckily for you, you’ll only have to fish out anywhere between $20 and $50 for their next great holiday staple piece.

10. For the Sentimental Bruin

If all else fails in your gift search this year, reflect on your relationship with your special someone and put together a nice photo album of all of the special memories you’ve made together. Though one of the more budget-friendly ideas on this list, it is definitely the most impactful. Before you go home for winter break, take the time to sift through your camera roll and pick out a few of your favorites to print at the CVS on Westwood Blvd. They offer same-day prints for as low as 27 cents per photo, and they also have options to place your images on decorative wall tiles for $20. Make this holiday one to remember with the gift of a snapshot that will warm your favorite Bruin’s heart.

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