Select Page

The Students’ Guide to Successful Holiday Shopping

The Students’ Guide to Successful Holiday Shopping

With the holidays coming up and finals right around the corner, making time for holiday shopping is not an easy task. Nobody wants to show up empty handed when heading home for Christmas break, so we’ve put together a quick guide including everything from Amazon’s holiday gift guide to simple DIY crafts.

Gift boxes

A Collection of Beautifully Wrapped Gifts by Carol Masiclat

Embrace Amazon

Amazon is our go-to site for speedy holiday shopping. With endless categories, the shopping world is at your fingertips. Between Amazon’s holiday gift guide and Oprah’s Favorite Things alone, you’ve got a lot of great gift options. We’ve rounded up our favorites to narrow it down.

There’s nothing like coming home for the holidays to the smells like Christmas. Nest Fragrances offers a candle that combines pomegranate, pine, cinnamon, and orange to create a warm winter scent.

Have a bookworm in the family? Check out Amazon’s 2017 best selling book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. The New York Times’ Dave Eggers said it is “Disturbing and riveting… it will sear to your soul.”

The newest Amazon Echo also makes for a great gift. The interactive speaker comes alive as your own intelligent personal assistant — known as Alexa — who will happily jot down your reminders, place Amazon orders, read audio books out loud, control your smart home appliances, and even tell you jokes, all at the command of your own voice.

Online shopping on Amazon App


Don’t forget to take advantage of Amazon Prime with those last-minute gifts. Prime grants members unlimited free two-day shipping, so you can have those gifts at your doorstep within 48 hours.

Shopping Around the SU Area

As one of the biggest shopping malls in the country, Destiny USA has numerous stores to cater to your gift list, making it easy to match the taste of each family member.

Shopping at Syracuse Destiny USA Mall filled with Christmas decorations

Destiny USA displays festive decorations inside. Photo by Downtown Decorations

To start, Sephora is a must. Sephora carries hundreds of makeup and beauty products. To make things easier, they’re offering holiday value sets, combining some of their favorite products in one package at a discounted price. Our two favorites are the Give Me Some Bold Lip set and the Meet Your Mask set. The first is a set of six lipsticks from different brands that is selling for $28, while the actual price is $78. The latter is a sample kit of six of the best selling skin care products and is priced at $25. Our final pick is by L’Occitane, beautifully packaged in a Christmas tree ornament package, for $14.00 you get a full sized Verbena soap bar, body lotion, and hand cream.


Best Buy is always a great spot for all sorts of electronic gadgets, such as the popular drones right now. The Parrot-Mambo Fly Quadcopter is a great choice at $99.99 and can lift items up to four grams. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Film Camera bundle is selling at a great value. For $74.99, the camera also includes film, batteries, a camera base, mini frames and comes with a Polaroid camera available in various pastel colors. It’s a gift that can also document your holiday memories.

Don’t forget- the mall offers a gift-wrapping service!

Gifts can also be found close to the Syracuse University campus on Marshall Street. Manny’s and Shirt World have great SU gear for friends and family. Another gem is J Michael’s, where you can find an array of clothes, shoes, and accessories. We suggest Ray-Ban Aviators for your dad or Vans sneakers for your brother.

The SU Bookstore at Schine Student Center also has tons of Syracuse gear. Their electronics section includes Beats headphones and iPads. Keep an eye out for their holiday deals.

No Spare Time? Try a DIY Gift

If you want to get creative, go DIY and make your own customized holiday cards. You can go farther and paint your own mugs, plates, or design your own t-shirt. Nothing beats sentimental value from a personal handmade gift. All the craft material and framing can be purchased at one of the three Michaels Stores in Syracuse, two of which are less than three miles from campus.

Holiday arts and crafts

Try making your own hand crafted cards.

To find the perfect card, head to the Syracuse Salt Market for handmade holiday cards by Katie Vaz. The cards can also be purchased online from her Etsy store.

If you’re looking for items to add to your own wish list, check out everything you need to get through a Syracuse winter, or consider a cheap winter vacation and treat yourself to a break.

For some last minute health tips before heading home, check out these easy steps to staying healthy so you can fully enjoy your break.

About The Author


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

Our Advertisers

Recent Tweets