Whether you have been living with your roommate for a while and are best friends or don’t know each other well at all, you should talk about gift giving! The last thing you want is for one of you to give a gift around the holidays and the other be embarrassingly empty handed.

There are a couple of simple things to talk about that can help avoid any awkward situations.

Are you going to exchange gifts?

Maybe you will both decide that a gift exchange just isn’t for you two right now, maybe your budgets are tight or maybe you would rather to go for dinner together one night over the holiday instead! Sometimes trading in a hard to find gift for a fun night out can be way more fun and a lot less stressful! Whether you have known each other all your lives or just starting a friendship, time is the best gift you can give, and often one of the most appreciated.

What are you spending?

Before you make your purchases, you and your roommate should talk about what a reasonable amount is to spend. There are tons of fun gifts to give for as little as $20, and it’s the exchange that means something, not the price tag! Here are our top 20 gifts for under $20!

20. A Favourite DVD and Popcorn Treat!

19. Personalized Key Chain

18. Wine Opener

17. “Feeling Fresh” Package: Your pick of shampoo, body wash, deodorant, shaving cream etc.

16. New Bottle of Wine

15. Plant for an end table

14. Workout Accessory: Socks, headband, shoe bag, etc.

13. Magazine Subscription

12. Scarf or Hat

11. iPod case or new protective screens

10. Collection of car/ air fresheners

9. Gift card from favourite coffee house

8. Chocolates or other sweet treats

7. Favourite board game

6. Extra pillows or blanket for his/her room

5. Tasty cookbook

4. Mug for coffee or Tea with a bag of their favorite stuff

3. Book light

2. Travel Guide for their next dream vacation

1. Frame filled with pictures of friends or favourite places

When are you exchanging?

If you are gift giving, you should determine when your exchange would take place so that one of you is not left hanging.

Always remember

What ever you do, make sure that you give a gift that means something. It is easy to tell the difference between a gift that means something and a gift that is forced or given as if it was an obligation. If you are having trouble thinking of a unique gift, there is no harm in giving something the other person needs! It may not be glamorous, but sometimes the simplest things are the most appreciated.