Holiday Shopping Beyond the Bookstore

The holiday season is a crazy time for everyone, but especially for college students. When you’re swamped with finals, it’s hard to find time to get creative, personalized gifts for family and friends. Many of us get caught in the Penn State rut, giving the people in our lives tees and sweatshirts from the bookstore, but there are so many places where you can find interesting, cheap presents right in State College!

The Nittany Mall

Here, you can find a store with something for everyone on your list. The mall has go-to’s like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, and Macy’s. For the readers in your life, go to Bradley’s Book Outlet, a new and used book store with great deals and a huge selection. No car? No problem — get on the HM bus.

Five Below

Just because you’re on a budget, that doesn’t mean you can’t give great gifts. Five Below has lots of fun gift items, and with their low cost, you can stock all of your friends’ stockings. The Himalayan rock salt lamp, seasonal blankets and winter hats.


You can find something for any loved one right downtown. Target is known for having just about everything, saving you shopping time since there are all kinds of gifts in one place. Anyone on your list would love the winter pajamas, body sprays and books.


If you want to give a unique present, Goodwill is your go-to. You never know what you’ll find here, but you’re sure to see interesting movies, records and room decor. Get on the R bus to Waupelani Drive and you will find that the State College Goodwill has a whole section of cheap frames that you can fill with a personal picture for a great present.

Urban Outfitters

Across from campus is this trendy store where you can get cute gifts for your friends or siblings. You can find graphic tees, socks or games to fit any personality on your list. This is the place to go for aesthetically pleasing gifts.

Appalachian Outdoors

This independent store sells outdoor clothing and gear for winter activities. If someone you are shopping for likes skiing or snowboarding, you can get them ready for a winter of adventure with a useful gift from here. You’ll find brands like Patagonia, The North Face and Columbia. Think you can get a better deal online? Appalachian Outdoors price matches online items to their lowest shipped price. The store is located downtown on South Allen Street.

You can get family and friends great gifts that don’t have “Penn State” branded across them. If you’ve already gotten your mom three shirts from the bookstore, you have other convenient options in State College. The holiday shopping season starts now, so get creative!


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