It’s December! I’m looking at a Christmas tree, drinking glögg and I just received my first gift – a box with food, tea, and a blanket – from my employer. I don’t really exchange a lot of gifts for Christmas, but I know it’s a big thing in other places. I do enjoy coming up with gift ideas, which I know can be difficult, especially now that most people have too much stuff. So this time I thought I’d try a different kind of post, and share a few inexpensive gift ideas for academics!
1. A domain name
Because many universities still treat emails and websites like they did 20 years ago. It’s easy to buy a domain name yourself, and then transfer it to a different owner. Setting up a website is not required – it’s possible to forward the domain name to an existing website, or use it for multiple email addresses. If you are in the Netherlands, I recommend versio.nl.
2. A paid subscription to a service
Because there are a lot of great services out there. Despite the monthly cost of about 2 cups of coffee, many people are hesitant to pay for apps, and settle for suboptimal solutions instead. Let them experience how helpful these services can be and buy them a paid subscription for Evernote, Dropbox, or Headspace. My most recent subscription is to focus@will.
3. A voucher for a day at the spa
Because we all need this from time to time. I get mine at Treatwell.
4. Getting things done
Because everybody needs to read this book. An updated edition recently came out, so it’s a good gift even for those who read it already. To save trees, get the electronic or audio version.
5. A wireless presenter
Because when I got one as a PhD student, I felt like a real scientist. I like the ones with a built-in timer, but I have this more affordable version:
6. A snuggie
Because sleeves. Appropriate for Netflix and grading papers.
7. Good tea
Because alcohol and coffee are great gifts too, but we probably are drinking too much of those already.
8. A plant
9. A donation to open science
Final words of advice
A word of warning: be careful when choosing a “nerdy” souvenir that might seem original at first, but has been done so many times it’s kitschy or even downright embarassing. Yes, this includes everything with puns involving Pi and caffeine molecules.
Other gifts ideas for academics
If you are looking for more ideas, do check out this guide to giving gifts by Tenure She Wrote and this list by Stylish Academic. Let me know if you know other posts with good gift ideas for academics!