Here are even more suggestions on what to give the grad students in your life for the holidays from the rest of our authors!

Alex Galarza

Grad students can always use more Amazon credit. You may also consider purchasing a subscription to Amazon Student Prime to get free two day shipping and access to Amazon’s streaming content. Although it might be predictable, your grad student has the option to bank it and spend wisely or frivolously blow the gift card on awesome toys they wanted as a kid.

I would also highly recommend two books I reviewed for gradhacker: The first is Patricia O’Connor’s Words Fail Mean excellent quick read that will improve writing and thinking available on amazon for nine bucks!. The second is Greg Semenza’s Graduate Study for the Twenty-First Century: How to Build an Academic Career in the Humanities, an excellent overview of how to approach getting your PhD in the humanities available for twenty bucks.
I am keeping my fingers crossed for a new electric razor, socks, and some gift cards.
Andrea Zellner
One of the hardest parts of being a grad student for me is the lack of funds I have to donate to local, national, and international charities during the year. On my wishlist this year are a whole host of worthwhile organizations that I hope my friends and family would consider donating to in my name. As tough as grad school can be, I am aware every day of how lucky I am to pursue my dreams and intellectual development. In no particular order, here are a few organizations that I would feel so enriched by if someone donated to them:

      Haven House (Lansing, MI): This is a local (to me) shelter that helps homeless families. They recently had to have their boiler replaced just as the weather turned chilly. Consider donating to your favorite grad student’s local homeless shelter.

Ever since my undergraduate days, I have volunteered for whichever local literacy council was closest to me, teaching adults basic literacy or helping new immigrants learn English. For any man or woman of letters, giving the gift of literacy is a great way to honor his or her work.  Also consider the National Writing Project, which seeks to impact literacy K-16.

Other wonderful organizations that work internationally are Heifer International and Kiva: both organizations seek to bring empowerment to recipients.

My other favorite organizations to donate to are the folks who put on National Novel Writing Month (they do great stuff with young writers) and National Public Radio.

Cory Owen

To help me focus, I need some background music and in the library, I specifically need headphones to cancel out all the other noises.  I have a set of ear buds that are surprisingly comfortable for long periods of time, but they also have funky cool over-the-ear headphones as well.

Hydration is also important (and not on just caffeinated drinks!) so carrying an aluminum water bottle is key.  For me, giving it a little bit of flair is a fun way of reminding myself that I have a life outside of studying—they have premade fun designs and customizable bottles!

For those networking grad students in your life, a leather portfolio is always a good idea.  They’re helpful for meeting on campus, conferences, and just looking like an all-around professional.  Plus, you can find a portfolio to meet all price points from $15 online all the way to a couple hundred dollars if you’re looking to really spoil someone.

And if all else fails, pretty much anything from ThinkGeek is an automatic win.  As grad students, we often need a little bit of levity in our lives to help put things in perspective.  My favorites from this website include: the “Don’t Panic” towelmiracle berries for an awesome flavor tripping party, and the random guitar t-shirt which is sure to annoy everyone around.


From all of us at GradHacker, we hope you have a wonderful holiday. Drive safe if you need to travel back to family members. And this year, speaking specifically to our grad readers, try to put down the grant applications and papers and actually enjoy the holidays. We’ve all worked hard and now its time to enjoy a break with our loved ones. Happy Holidays, and we will see you again on January 2nd.

[Image by Flickr user D’Arcy Norman and used under Creative Commons license]


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