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Gift Ideas

Best Christmas gift ideas 2021

Avoid the seasonal stress and last-minute online shopping with our ultimate Christmas gift list, full of ideas that are perfect for the student budget.

christmas tree and gift ideas

Credit: Pipochka (background), Cara-Foto (tree), pianodiaphragm (Echo Dot), imagehub (perfume), Maxx-Studio (blender), Narith Thongphasuk (games) - Shutterstock

We've sifted through the weird and wonderful to uncover some of the most-wished-for and best-value Christmas gift ideas for your nearest and dearest.

Whether you're after stocking fillers or main gifts, this list can help you find the perfect present. Most of these can be found both online and on the high street, although we'd recommend ordering them from the comfort of your sofa to stay safe during the pandemic.

Try not to leave it until 24th December – you could end up paying a last-minute Christmas dash price premium!

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Cheap and thoughtful Christmas presents

Here are the best Christmas presents to buy for your friends and family this year:

  1. Books

    stacks of books in shop

    Credit: Petrychenko Anton - Shutterstock

    Hive offers a 10% student discount, so it's definitely worth looking there for books to get as Christmas gifts. They support independent book stores and have a huge range of texts for sale.

    You could maybe have a look at top titles like Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other, Florence Given's Women Don't Owe You Pretty and Christy Lefteri's The Beekeeper of Aleppo.

    Waterstones also offers 10% student discount so you could have a look on there as well to see if any books stand out as ideal presents.

    Failing that, you could have a look through Amazon's list of 'most wished for' books or our list of the best books about money for more inspiration.

  2. Computer games

    FIFA 21 (PS4 and Xbox One), Assassin's Creed Valhalla (PS4 and Xbox One) and Watch Dogs: Legion (PS4 and Xbox One) will be at the top of countless Christmas lists this year.

    Plenty of more family-friendly games like Just Dance 2021, Minecraft and Animal Crossing New Horizons are guaranteed to go down a treat, too.

    Have a look on CDKeys to see if they have any good deals on the top video games.

    Again, if you're still struggling for ideas, you check out Amazon's 'most wished for' games.

  3. DVDs and Blu-rays

    DVDs and Blu-rays are real staples when it comes to Christmas gifts.

    Great films to get as presents include MoanaLittle Women and Les Miserables.

    You could also consider buying popular TV boxsets for Christmas, like The Office US, Seven Worlds, One Planet and the complete Game of Thrones series.

    To save money, have a look at the selection of second-hand DVDs on Music Magpie. Or if you're still stuck for ideas, Amazon's 'most wished for' DVDs and Blu-rays is your friend again!

  4. Women's perfume

    perfume bottles with petals

    Credit: Liv friis-larsen – Shutterstock

    Calvin Klein In2U Her, Gucci Rush and Dolce and Gabbana 3 L'Imperatrice are very reasonably priced, with some great reviews to boot.

    We've linked to Fragrance Direct as they offer a 10% student discount, but Superdrug do too, so it's worth checking out their selection as well.

  5. Men's aftershave and cologne

    Men can smell nice too!

    We've found Lacoste Red, Calvin Klein In2U Him and Davidoff Cool Water at some great prices, and they all have really good reviews.

    Again, keep in mind Fragrance Direct's 10% student discount when looking for men's aftershave and cologne, and have a look at Superdrug as well as they offer the same student discount.

  6. Experience days

    Particularly as we've faced so many restrictions on going out in the past year, an experience day (for when the social distancing rules are eased) will likely go down very well.

    Whether it's the chance to drive a supercar, a relaxing spa day or a Michelin star food tasting session, there's something for everyone.

    Virgin Experience Days probably offers the biggest selection of experiences, but if you've already got a specific idea in mind, it's worth checking out Groupon's experience day offers. They'll often have great deals on gifts that would cost a lot more if you bought them elsewhere.

  7. Beauty and skincare gifts

    lit candle

    Can't afford to take your loved one to the spa? Take the spa to them!

    When it comes to Christmas gifts, a foot massager, a set of scented candles and one of these snug dressing gowns is pretty much the next best thing to a rural retreat.

  8. Kitchen gadgets

    Whether you go for the Aeropress coffee maker, this personal blender for smoothie fanatics or even something as simple as this cute little car-shaped egg cup, kitchenware and gadgets are among the very best Christmas gift ideas for culinary experts and rookies alike.

    Have a read of our top kitchen gadgets for some more inspiration!

  9. Household gadgets

    Life's easier with gadgets. Fact.

    So why not give someone a Christmas gift in the form of a portable phone charger or, if your budget's a little higher, an Amazon Echo Dot? Or, for the Neville Longbottom in your life, how about a Tile Mate to stop them ever losing their keys again?

    The beauty of gadgets is that there's pretty much something for everything (and everyone), but if you're a little stuck for ideas, our list of the best gadgets should see you right.

  10. Premium tea, coffee and hot chocolate


    Is there anything more Christmassy than sitting down in front of whichever classic family movie is on TV that afternoon, accompanied by a mug of whatever hot drink takes your fancy?

    Well, nobody does premium tea, coffee and hot chocolate quite as well as Whittard of Chelsea, so whatever your friend or family member prefers, Whittard will have you sorted.

    Whittard's Tea Discoveries Treasured Blends, Coffees of The World and Luxury Hot Chocolate Gift Box gift sets can't fail! Scroll through the rest of the Whittard site for a whole load more delicious treats.

    Better yet, Whittard offers a 10% student discount.

  11. Vegan gifts

    If you have a vegan friend or family member and want to show them that you've really thought about their gift, why not get them something that's 100% free of animal produce and cruelty?

    Boots sell loads of vegan cosmetic and toiletry gift sets, while sell their fair share of vegan food and drink gifts, too.

    Remember that Boots offers a 10% student discount as well – so whatever you're after, if Boots sell it, keep this in mind.

  12. Beer and wine gift sets

    If you're looking for Christmas presents for a beer-lover in your life, you won't need to look much further than these beer gift sets – most of which are comfortably under a tenner!

    As for wine? Well, M&S is pretty much a guaranteed stamp of quality – so their prosecco and chocolate gift set is bound to be a corker (pardon the pun).

    But if chocolates are out of the equation for whatever reason, the rest of M&S' wine gifts are equally as appetising.

  13. Spirits gift sets

    gin and tonic

    Credit: Rimma Bondarenko – Shutterstock

    Sticking with the boozy presents (this is the last one, promise), Tesco's selection of spirits gift sets is very impressive.

    Whether you're buying a Christmas present for a Jack Daniel's fan, a gin and tonic drinker or a Grey Goose guy/gal, Tesco can cater to just about any tastes.

  14. Streaming subscription

    Even if the person you're buying a gift for already has a streaming subscription, you can still get them a gift voucher to act as credit. Who wouldn't want a few months (or even a year's worth) of free Netflix?

    NOW TV vouchers and Netflix gift cards are both great options (available at discounted prices from CDKeys), and if you head on over to eBay, you might be able to find even better deals if you're lucky.

  15. Magazine subscription

    There's a magazine out there for every hobby or interest imaginable, but we'll do our best to help you and avoid straying into the more niche end of the market here.

    Subscriptions to Cosmopolitan, Stuff and FourFourTwo are all reasonably priced and come with a discount compared to buying each copy individually.

    However, if none of these are quite what you're after, isubscribe have more offers than you can shake a stick at.

  16. Thoughtful decorations and homeware

    picture frames on wall with plant print

    World scratch maps, photo coasters or framed photos (with free photo printing) or film posters – they're all well within a student's budget, and all super thoughtful Christmas gift ideas.

  17. Card and board games

    If nothing else, the fact that the whole family's together at Christmas should pretty much guarantee that a card or board game gets used straight away.

    Cards Against Humanity is a student favourite, but the older generations enjoy it too! The same could be said for Scrawl, which is a great shout if you're buying for someone your age.

    But if you're after something a little more PG, the Taskmaster board game should be a safe bet. And it's hard to see how Pass the Pigs could cause anyone any offence, either.

  18. Unusual and fun gifts

    Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without some bizarre and completely unnecessary crap.

    If you're really stuck for gift ideas, why not plop for this Super Mario Piranha desk lamp or this tiny vacuum? Failing all of those, and I Want One Of Those (IWOOT) always have a few hidden gems!


Got more pressies to buy than you have monies in the bank? Not to worry – have a look at our list of presents you can cheaply make yourself.


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