Now that we’re back from Thanksgiving break, the next holiday is just around the corner. The holiday season can be as stressful as it is exciting; once again, we find ourselves spending money we don’t have.

We want to make this season of gift giving as enjoyable as possible, because the holidays should be fun after all!

Having a hard time coming up with gifts this season? has released their Top Christmas Gifts of 2011. A few that stood out to us include Nordstrom’s recycled jewelry line, Amazon’s “Wacky Bathroom Accessories,” Personal Creation’s “Their Name in Photos Custom Art”, and our favorite, “Awkward Family Photos: The Board Game.”

[singlepic id=655 w=320 h=240 float=right]

First, here are some quick tips to make the holiday shopping a little easier on your wallet and your conscience.

Before you enter the hectic shopping world, make a list of whom you’re buying for and have an idea of what they might want. Creating a list beforehand saves you time and prevents you from dangerous impulsive purchasing.

KSC junior Chelsea Burke said she writes a list before she shops.

“I always have a budget,” she said, “and I plan out exactly what I’m getting for each person on my list.”

If you have a Smartphone, check out the Christmas List App which imports names from your contact list and allows you to set a budget and keep lists and notes.  It’s a quick and convenient way to get organized.

Velvet Young, a KSC sophomore, said she puts a lot of thought into her gift giving.  Young stated, “I wouldn’t give someone a gift card.”

Young explained she does most of her shopping at thrift stores.  She said, “I’m a thrift shopper; if you spend time looking you can find things at a real bargain.”

She continued, “Thrift stores are always inconsistent, you never know what you can find.”

Young said the gifts she finds at thrift stores are unique, which makes her presents heartfelt.

Another way to save during the holidays is to take the “soccer mom” approach and clip those coupons. Couponing is a growing trend; hundreds of websites boast great deals and steals. We’ve narrowed this collection down to the two sites we think are the easiest to use.

The first is Groupon allows you to specify where you live, so it can gather coupons from stores and shops in your area. The second is the Retail Me Not site, which provides coupons for popular department stores and chains like Urban Outfitters, DSW, and Home Depot.

If you’re shopping online, and looking for a good deal on men’s, women’s, and maybe even kid’s apparel, check out, where designer apparel goes up to 80% off year round.

KSC junior, Jackie Borrelli, said she always checks out the Gap and Old Navy with her sister.  She stated, “Their sales are always great.”

When purchasing clothing, don’t forget to ask for a gift box.  Many stores have clothing boxes they’ll give to you for free with your purchase. So, when you’re hectically wrapping (most likely last minute) before the holiday, you’ll be better prepared.

If you’ve got some time to shop in Keene before heading home, be sure to check out Ted’s Shoe & Sport on Main St. The store boasts a series of winter sales just before the holiday with shoes and snowboard equipment at discounted prices.

Kim suggests the gift that keeps on giving—magazine subscriptions. It’s a gift suitable for both guys and girls, and the initial cost of the subscription pays for itself with the gift of a magazine each month.

Julie suggests a gift that won’t last long but is sure to make your recipient happy. She recommends baking holiday themed candies and treats and giving them to a loved one in a festive bowl or plate.

Finally, remember to slow down and enjoy the holiday with your dearest friends and loved ones.

Keep calm and carry on, Keene State.


Julie Conlon and Kim Borkowski can be contacted at and

Share and Enjoy !