Have a girlfriend or boyfriend who's in college? Are you in college yourself? Need a great gift idea that isn't too dorky and is within your tight budget and time restrictions?
- Online music gift certificates. Everyone has their favorite place online for music -- including your girlfriend or boyfriend. Get them a gift certificate for their favorite site so they can add some new songs or albums to their collections.
- Treat your partner to a night out -- off campus. You both probably spend so much time on campus that going off-campus happens maybe once a month -- if that. Treat your boyfriend or girlfriend to a night off-campus that you both can enjoy without bumping into ten million people that you both know.
- Sport for some clothes from your school or your partner's favorite school. Does your boyfriend or girlfriend have a favorite school sports team? Do they love the school they currently attend? Treat him or her to a sweatshirt from the campus bookstore, something from an online seller, or even college-themed items from a local retailer.
- Take your girlfriend or boyfriend out to his or her favorite club, bar, or restaurant. You both may hit the same places every weekend, but if you offer to splurge a little and treat for the both of you, it will feel extra fun and exciting. (Not to mention the free stuff many places give to people celebrating birthdays!)
- Take your girlfriend or boyfriend to a concert. Major concert ticket prices may be more than you wanted to spend, but think about what your partner likes best. Find something local and a little more low-profile, such as a slam poetry competition or a taiko drum performance.
Buy a book by your partner's favorite author. Being in college exposes most students to new and totally fabulous authors. Treat your girlfriend or boyfriend to a book by a new author they've recently discovered.
- Buy a book by a new author. You may have discovered an author you totally love but that your partner has never heard of. Or perhaps you have a professor who, say, writes poetry. Treat your significant other to something new and exciting that he or she might not otherwise be exposed to. (Added bonus: If you buy a book by your professor, you can ask him or her to sign it as well.)
- Go for a classic: delivery of flowers or a care package. Even if you're on the same campus, having something delivered to your boyfriend or girlfriend is guaranteed to be a hit. Who doesn't like receiving flowers or a care package? Consider the classic red roses or even something more fun, like a flower bouquet shaped like a cupcake or a bonsai tree. (Side note: With roses in particular, the color you choose can send an additional message.)
- Print out a hard copy of a picture of you together. You undoubtedly have tons of pics with each other -- on Facebook, on Instagram, on your cell phones, on your computers. But what about a nice, hard-copy printout with a nice frame? Check with online photo places for great deals and free shipping options. Remember, too, that you can print out pics you've already snapped by using websites that make Instagram prints.
- Give your girlfriend or boyfriend something that will make their college life easier. It may not sound romantic at first, but getting that little gadget -- a better bike lock, a jump drive, a wireless mouse -- that your boyfriend or girlfriend has been wanting may make them incredibly happy. As an added bonus, they'll think of you every time they use it and remember your gesture of kindness.