What Twenty-Somethings Actually Want For The Holidays

Let’s be real. We 20-somethings don’t need any more drugstore makeup, ill-chosen giftcards or ugly room decor from misguided relatives. What we really need are practical gifts that will offer stability in our lives; the bare necessities to get us along until we finally get our big-kid paychecks, sudden inheritances, or rich spouses. Here is LD’s Practical Gift Guide for 20-Somethings.

A Netflix subscription. No matter how broke we get, no 20-something could survive without Netflix, whether through their own account or their friend’s boyfriend’s mother’s password. Netflix = non-negotiable, and it’s only $8/month (which makes your gift under $100 for a year!).

A $500 gift card to their favorite grocery store (hello to things in bulk and name-brand items). Please, and thank you.

A big Starbucks gift card to satisfy our latte habit.

An IOU for pet sitting. We know pets are our responsibility, but it’s nice to get away for a weekend without having to add a kennel fee to our costs. And our pups and kitties are basically our children, so pretend it’s childcare.

Two more hours in the day. We may have 24 just like Beyoncé, but I highly doubt Queen B has to deal with things such as buying groceries, paying rent, taking classes, and replacing broken ceiling fans. Seriously, if we could have a couple more hours to get things done (and squeeze in a quick nap, too!), life would be very merry.

A Get-Out-of-Jail free pass for any questions about what we’re doing with our lives, why aren’t we employed yet, how useful our major is, etc. For the entire holiday season.

A moratorium on asking about babies. For at least a decade.

One month’s check for our student loans. The ultimate prize.

An employment connection. Putting our resume on the desk of someone who could help us get hired would be the best.

Finances 101. One free session of passing on everything you’ve learned about finances, budgets, mortgages, and stock options.

A tune-up for our car on you, because let’s face it, that normally goes to the bottom of our financial priorities list.

A networking session. Arranging a coffee-date with your successful friends whose brains we can pick and get valuable networking from.

A year long hiatus on asking the question, “So, are you seeing anyone?”

A Grad School gift card. Pay for our application and GRE fees for graduate school.

A hefty gift certificate to Amazon, because let’s face it, books are hard to justify over rent, but our brains might be turning to mush without them.

Help furnishing our first apartment/house/hovel. If we’ve moved out and are on our own it’s highly possible we only have a futon to our name. A much needed attic raid to keep us from having to eat dinner on the floor would be awesome.

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multigenerational family in warm clothes enjoying celebration dinner together outdoors

Airfare to come home—it’s not that we don’t want to see you over the holidays (mostly) but for a lot of us we can’t afford the plane ticket there and back.

An interview suit, or the funds for it would help fill that gaping post-grad hole in our closets  of work appropriate attire.

Teach us how to cook something that doesn’t consist entirely of processed foods but doesn’t require a trip to specialty (expensive) grocery stores. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground for healthy and inexpensive food, so any and all pro-trips would be aces.

Monthly support in the form of reminders that it’s okay that we don’t know what the hell we’re doing half the time. We already expect our elders or even our more established peers to look down on us for our perceived inadequacies in the whole “major life decisions” field. Make our day (and our holiday season) with positive advice!

Our favorite alcohol, so we can continue avoiding responsibilities for a weekend, at least.

Baking and cooking supplies that didn’t come from the Dollar Tree, for the days we pretend to actually cook. And a matching dish set of real dishes to serve food on.

A willingness to deal with us trying to get our acts together, understanding that we don’t have it all figured out, and acceptance that our life projections likely won’t align to your own. Knowing that you’ll support and love us while we’re trying to become real grownups is the best gift we could ever receive.

View Comments (18)
  • This would be a great list, but while I am moved by all the other listings – two stick out that make me really cringe. These two, collectively, are just as bad as the others, collectively, are good. Really, someone today can not LIVE without a Netflix subscription? Yeah, it would be a great gift, but I’d not at all say that I will die with my lack of Netflix. I must be in the minority, but I feel that would have been better placed at the bottom of this list, right above Starbucks gift card. I would say, for sure, a gift card to a favorite grocer would not at all be comparable to a Starbucks gift card. In its usefulness, I would make the analogy of gifting a T model S car, insurance for the first year paid, to a 20-something compared to gifting a HotWheels model of the car to the person. Kids these days would prefer non-useful things because of their fun-ness. I agree with this, but I would value the more meaningful gifts any day. Netflix or Starbucks gifts would make me feel my family didn’t really care about me. “Here take this impersonal gift, err, I mean, money, uhh, actually, look – see? I wrapped it with my own two hands…”
    Maybe I have a chip on my shoulder because I do not live in a family as complete and loving as I’d like where everyone has all things you need and where things as extraneous as Netflix or Starbucks are actually something on which it is worth wasting money. I do not think these gifts do more than teach us “20-somethings” how to mismanage money. Like I said, though, it would be just fine if you are in one of those higher middle class families

    • Some of us find these things more important. I live in a city and driving to work every day followed by 4 hour long grad school classes at night, I survive on Starbucks. So a gift card would really help. Secondly, in order to avoid the high costs of cable, I have thrown out television so someone paying for my Netflix subscription for the year would be really nice since it’s all that some of us have for late night entertainment. People prioritize differently. Don’t hate.

  • the people on year that say this post is “i don’t know how to take care of myself” or this isn’t what a twenty year old wants.. must A) still live at home. B)parents pay for everything. C) have an amazing out of college/high school job which pays so good that don’t struggle at all….
    im twenty three and I would love all the ones where I get a little bit of financial help!

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