Holiday and birthday gifts are not the same

Camila Zavala, Staff Writer

Hey Royals! Christmas is only a month away. The air is getting crisper, the days are getting shorter, and the malls are getting busier. Everyone is scrambling around looking in stores and online for the perfect presents for their loved ones.

But what about those whose birthdays are close to the holidays? Do their birthday presents get coupled in with their Christmas presents? That hardly seems fair. Or worse, do they get birthday presents that are Christmas themed, and not actually something personal that they truly love?

My best friend Caela Cabal ‘23 has a birthday in late November, and I would never dare to get her a tacky Christmas mug and ornament from Home Goods for her birthday. Instead, I like to choose the perfect gifts for the winter weather that also suit her personality and embody our years of friendship. 

For those who need a little inspiration for their gal pals celebrating their latest trip around the sun in this sunless season, here’s some of my favorite ideas:

No.1: Glossier Sets

The Golden Triad of lip balms. (Photo taken from

Glossier has been all the rage these past few years among teen girls, and their sets are the perfect gifts for your BFFs. One of their best sets is the Balm Dotcom Trio set, priced at $30. It includes three amazing lip balms perfect for this cold, dry weather that has been chapping everyone’s lips: birthday, swiss miss, and mint. Not only is the birthday flavor perfect for commemorating their special day with a subtle sparkle, but the swiss miss and mint flavors are also great options to switch up their looks, with a brown tint for the former, and an untinted moisturizer for the latter. 

One of my favorite 16th birthday gifts, but in a silver “Camila.” (Photo taken from

No.2: Dainty Jewelry

Dainty jewelry pieces are classic staples for teenage girls. They’re perfect for every season, but especially ideal for fall and winter. Layering necklaces is so in, and I don’t know a single friend who isn’t a fan of this trend. Etsy has the best custom jewelry that is reasonably priced, and its artisans are committed to adding personal quirks your friend is sure to love.   

No.3: Coffee & Tea

Caela’s beloved matcha present. (Photo taken from

Gen Z would not be Gen Z if they weren’t constantly fueled by heavily caffeinated drinks 24/7. Why not give the gift of coffee and tea to your favorite friend for her birthday? Caela absolutely adores matcha, and one of her favorite gifts she got last year for her 16th birthday was the Chamberlain Coffee Matcha Starter Pack. She uses it for hot tea in the fall and winter, and iced drinks during the summer. But for your friend who’s a little too picky to enjoy just any drink, Starbucks gift cards are the best way to go, and you can even choose the cutest card to gift them.

I actually made and shot this candle! (Photo taken from

No.4: Candles

Maybe I’m partial to candles because I actually work for a candle company, but candles are the greatest scent enhancers, topping incense and plug-in air fresheners. They’re decorative, suit every season, and can make any room smell amazing. I recommend buying your candles from small business websites instead of big brands like Target and Bath & Body Works. Small businesses usually promote less toxic products that are eco-friendly, while carrying selections of very unique scents like your favorite state, cereal, or even Disneyland ride. My go-to candle to give to friends during the cold seasons is black cardamom latte scented because it’s so comforting.

No.5: Fan Merch

Emma Silva 23’s mother rejoices for her Harry Styles Love on Tour crewneck. (Photo Credit: Emma Silva)

Finally, 2022 has delivered our generation a multitude of new albums, legendary concerts, and up-and-coming artists– all perfect opportunities to buy your birthday bestie her favorite singer’s merch. Taylor Swift and Harry Styles, arguably Gen Z’s favorite artists of all time, both sell extremely popular merch on their websites. Artists like Beabadoobee and Tyler the Creator even promote their own clothing lines meant for fashionable everyday wear, like Golfwang. Last year while shopping for some Golfwang accessories for Caela, I snagged myself a cardigan for the cold season.

Whatever gifts you decide to go with for your friends’ holiday birthdays, be sure to choose something from the bottom of your heart to share your appreciation for having them in your life.