What your college student really wants for Christmas:

A last minute gift guide

By Melannie Wurm
Reader Contributor

We loved Christmas when we were kids. We really did. We loved the craft fairs and cookie making and gift shopping. We loved listening to carols and making snowmen. We still like all that stuff, but we’ve just spent an entire semester running around frantically reading, writing, and shoveling cookies down our throats to calm the anxiety. We haven’t slept for seven hours straight since August. The last thing we want is a hectic holiday schedule. We want to sleep for ten hours, eat a home cooked meal, and be alone for a few precious minutes. We don’t need the perfect tree or the perfect gift. What we need is a break from the rapid-fire stress of college. It is the season of peace and there is nothing we want more.

Remember when you gave us socks for Christmas and we cried? Well those days are over. Please get us socks. We need socks. Every pair we have is full of holes and, for that matter, we haven’t seen a real matching pair in months.

Coffee. It doesn’t really matter if it comes in the form of a Starbucks gift card, a French press, or those little packets of instant coffee that you mix with hot water.  As long as it has caffeine, we will be eternally grateful.

Sometimes the best gift can be a break from those questions. You know which ones I mean. “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “Whatever happened to John, he was perfect?” “Why didn’t you pick a major with a better employment outlook? “Have you considered putting a little extra effort into your classes? Trust me, we think about these things all the time. We second-guess our ability to find a significant other, get good grades, and succeed in life on a daily basis. We wonder if we are good enough, and when you ask us these things, it sounds like our family has been wondering the same.  So give us a break, just for the day. We promise we are doing our best not to disappoint you. Christmas should be a day to spend with family, drink eggnog, and forget about our recent failures.

On the other hand, we’re not heartless hateful beings (in general). We want to talk. We want to tell you about our lives. It can be hard to find common ground for discussion without causing an argument, but it’s worth the effort. Ask us to tell you about our friends, most of whom you have never met. Ask us if we have any funny stories (we do). Ask us what presidential candidate we prefer and please, please, don’t get mad if our party affiliation has changed since leaving home. We know we are loved, but asking us questions goes a long way toward proving something almost as important, that you are interested in who we are as imperfect unique human beings.

Finally, we need a lock of your hair to wear around our necks and touch lovingly when we feel lonely. It will be a comfort and a reminder of home. Just kidding. Unless that’s your family’s thing, then by all means, share the hair.

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