The Louisville Cardinal

Gender-neutral gift guide for any budget

By Sarah Rohleder–

Under $10

1. Plaid Scarf, price varies

Plaid scarves are universally appealing and they pretty much never go out of style. Not to mention, the plaid scarf from Walmart is probably just as good as the plaid scarf from J Crew for most folks. Get this look at Old Navy or even your local super market on a tight budget.

2. Home Classics fleece throw blanket, $7

A fleece throw can turn a snow day into a Disney=movie-watching day, or a study session in the library into a less-miserable study session in the library, at the very least. Pair this item with the plaid scarf, the tea kettle and the fire pit if you care about coziness as much as I do. Or, if nothing else, this gift could be a gateway to Netflix and chill.

3. Faded Glory button down, $7.88

You know what’s better than warm, plaid blanket? The wear-able version: flannel shirts. I’ve stolen at least three from my brother’s closet. He likes wearing flannles with jeans, I like wearing oversized flannels with leggings, and it’s a win-win.

Under $20

1. Pampered Chef large micro-cooker, $12

This bad boy will steam your veggies, cook a box of pasta or heat a can of soup in the microwave — but that’s not all. The lid also doubles as a  strainer so you can just pour water out by flipping the steamer upside down, and the bowl does not get hot to the touch after heating. It’s a perfect find for the college student whose only cooking skill includes using the microwave. This option holds two quarts, but a smaller Pampered Chef one is available online for $8 as well.

2. Hamilton Beach electric tea kettle, $19.99

Let’s be real: school is stressful sometimes. Give the gift of stress relief with this electric tea kettle, which heats up to 1.8 liters of water quickly, and automatically shuts off after a period of time (unlike that hair straightener you nearly burned the apartment down with by leaving it on all day). You can even use it to heat water for oatmeal, instant cocoa or soup. Add a mug and some tea bags for a complete(ly satisfying) gift set.

3. A framed cover of their favorite book, <$20

Find out your friend’s favorite book and snag a copy of it at Half-Priced Books for a bargain. Then, carefully cut the cover off with an Exacto knife and frame the cover with a discounted frame from Hobby Lobby. To knock the price even further down, grab a frame from the Dollar Tree.

Under $50

1. Mainstays fire pit, $49

What does a college student love more than a good bonfire? Not much. But this is Jefferson County, and you can’t just have a raging fire in your back yard for some reason, so this is the next best thing. Throw in a bag of marshmallows in lieau of a holiday card to make it an ideal present.

2. Vince Camuto leather watch, $47.50

Okay, I’ll admit: this one isn’t exactly gender neutral, because you may want to buy the watch in the style of the appropriate gender for the recipient. But nonetheless, watches in general are really popular for just about anyone. If you’re buying for the college senior who is trying to figure out this whole adulthood thing, this is a step in the direction of at least looking like a grown up.

3. Pair of tickets for a Headliner’s show, about $40

Some of my favorite shows have been at Headliner’s Music Hall — including two Glass Animals concerts — and they have all been under $20/ticket. Purchase a pair of tickets to a rad show at this venue, and I really doubt your friend or family member will be disappointed.  Not into concerts? You can even catch a stand-up act or burlesque show at Headliner’s. The unique venue itself is a gem, then add a full bar and a cool band, and you have yourself a good time.

Graphic by Mallory Siegenthaler / The Louisville Cardinal