Wednesday, 18 December 2013

What To Buy Your Postgrad For Christmas

It's been a long term. But somehow, finally it's over, and your pet postgrad has emerged blinking into the dim, watery December sunlight, shivering and mumbling, "What, it's Christmas? No it's not. What day is it?"

They are too busy and confused to write their own Christmas list, so here are some suggestions of my own about what to buy them.
Paperblanks: because you need to feel important

A nice diary
A hardback one with an attractive cover, good quality paper, and lots of space per day for writing ESSAY DEADLINE!!! in pink highlighter and underlining it five times. Paperblanks and Moleskines are reliable favourites, and luxurious enough to make a really nice present. This diary will save your life (or degree, which at this point is essentially the same thing), because it will help you keep track of what day it is.

Collections of poetry and short stories
Because you don't have time to read whole novels any more, but maybe you can fit in a poem or two in between The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography, Photographs Objects Histories: On The Materiality of Images and Photography, Anthropology and History. Sob sob. These are on my list:

Coffee syrups
Anything to make your seventh coffee of the day go down easier.

Grad school breakfast.

Literary prints posters
These will make you feel like an intellectual in front of all your smart new PhD friends, and inspire you when you think 5000 words is impossibly long and you'll be writing this essay forever. Take "Write drunk; edit sober" to heart as thesis advice; it can only help.

Non-rustling library snacks
After hour 5 in the library, you will need more energy because you are starving and on the edge of tears, but whipping out giant bags of Doritos and popcorn, while emotionally satisfying, will swiftly turn you into the most hated person in Oxford. Consider decanting some yummy, energy-releasing snacks into cute portion-sized jars and pots from which they can be surreptitiously eaten under the desk. I can recommend these peanuts and dried cranberries drizzled with dark chocolate by my very own hand (it looks impressive, elegant and Christmassy, and took all of five minutes) - also try other dried fruit like mango or pineapple, bite sized brownies (although avoid crumbly foods), jelly babies, and caramelised nuts. Drizzle it all with extra chocolate, because really, I've been in the library for five hours. Have mercy.

graze box subscription would also work perfectly for this.

Because if you're going to take stop working long enough to eat something that takes more than 0.5 minutes to prepare, it had better be worth it. Failing that, you can look at the pictures and dream of the day you will have enough free time and money to make any of it. Here are some I have my wistful eye on:

Is this not the most beautiful cookbook you have ever seen
Because sometimes they let you out of the library and require you to interact with other humans, sometimes quite important ones at quite fancy occasions, and you need to impress them with your good taste in classic rich lady jewellery. I'm into gold knot earrings, and tiny ones with elegant, non-sparkly stones like these gold and garnet ones from Pia.

MAC lipsticks
Because feeling pretty sometimes is helpful in avoiding a total meltdown. I personally am hoping Crosswires (left) will give me a youthful glow, to help me blend in with all the 18 year old Brasenose freshers in the Radcliffe Camera.

A Spotify Premium subscription
Because nothing - NOTHING - ruins your essay writing flow faster and breaks your concentration more irretrievably than loud, inane adverts for Sourz shots, Ford dealerships, anti-wrinkle cream and Christmas compilation albums. Please just let me listen to the calming sounds of Yo Yo Ma playing Bach in peace, Spotify. Please.

Stuff with pugs on
It's the little things.

Urban Outfitters

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