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December 10th, 2010,

By Noël Rozny
Web Editor & Content Manager

The year is drawing to a close, and unfortunately the Great Recession is still affecting most, if not all of us. It’s a time when every penny counts, so you’ll want to maximize your gift giving this year and give people things they really need (not another chotcke to put in the china cabinet).

Students, new graduates, and job seekers alike may be in an especially tough place this year. With some careful thought, your gift choice can go a long way to reducing their stress level and focus on the task at hand in the new year. Our gift giving guide for 2010 includes suggestions to help you start that holiday shopping.

Gifts For Job Seekers

What a job seeker really wants this holiday season is a job, so give him or her the gift that will help them get there. Consider hiring a career coach or resume writer to help them update and perfect their job search materials. If there’s another item in their resume that needs help (is their website sadly out of date? Wardrobe looking a little dated), see what you can do to help them get what they need.

Gifts College Students

We all know that recession or not, college students rarely have cash, which is why your holiday gift can make a huge difference. In general, college students need three things: food, books, and cold hard cash. Costco can be a great place to buy their favorite food items in bulk (Easy Mac, anyone?), gift cards to their student bookstore can help offset book costs for next semester, and if all else fails, cash will be greatly appreciated (especially as the new year starts.

Gifts for Recent Grads

A decent amount of college students graduate early, meaning come January 1, they’ll be done with classes and ready to enter the job market. Get them something they can’t afford themselves, but that they’ll need as the step foot into the working world. A leather portfolio, dossier, or messenger bag/briefcase are great gift items, as they look much more professional at an interview than a back pack.

Gifts For the Newly Hired

Did someone in your life just land a job? New positions often require new clothes. A gift certificate to their favorite store will be much appreciated as they revamp their work wardrobe. If they’re going through an industry/culture change, there may be other work items than can benefit from as well. Those transitioning to an office job, for example, might appreciate a gift basket of cubicle essentials: snacks, tea, post it notes, Kleenex, moutwash, and anything else you like having handy around the office.