Gender Neutral Gifts

Pei Chi Teh

“I always have a tough time with picking gender neutral presents,” said Lauren Despins, freshman in event management.

In fact, Despins may have voiced out a problem that many other people are also facing for the holidays. Occasions such as anonymous gift giving or a gift exchange without knowing the receiver beforehand calls for gender neutral gifts.

Knowing some gifts that can be given to anyone can help people start shopping earlier and make decisions faster.   

“Books, food and gift cards are common gifts that couldn’t go wrong,” said Despins.

For James Judge, an English lecturer, gender neutral gifts also implied something that wouldn’t seem to reinforce gender stereotypes. 

“Instead of books, maybe blankets would be a good idea. Blankets in gender neutral colors. Maybe green or tan,” he said. “Depending on the time of the year, I’m guessing  cotton blankets are a safe bet. Some people maybe be allergic to wool, some people may be sensitive to acrylic, so if you get a cotton blanket that should be okay.” 

Another idea would be to incorporate humor into the presents.  Some people do appreciate a comical gift. 

“When I was younger, we used to have a Yankee Swaps.  One year, my cousin gave me a survival pack, which contains an emergency blanket, a water bottle, chips, a roll of toilet paper and a magazine in case I need to go to the bathroom,” said Despins.

“Something funny is really good, so it gives people a good laugh,” she said. 

Decorations can be considered to brighten up the receiver’s home. 

“My mum likes to get people table runners or table toppers. They’re beautiful and they’ll look good for festivals or dinners too,” said Polina Lysenko, junior in business. 

For people who are feeling extra generous for their loved ones, electronic devices can be a good investment.

“A phone is one of the suitable gifts for Christmas. I mean it’s only once a year. It’s also a trend thing I guess.  The iPhone has a new model every year. If the person’s mobile phone is in the brink of death, why not?,” said Armand Md Saat, senior in finance.

If all else fails, try looking ahead at items that people need for the next season.

“People can give out sunglasses too in preparation for spring break. Most Ray-bans are gender neutral.” Saat said.