The Cord picks: Best holiday gifts we’ve ever received


Photo by Madeline McInnis

Alyssa Di Sabatino ~ Opinion Editor

Last year for Christmas, my boyfriend surprised me with a pair of concert tickets to see Vince Staples and Tyler, the Creator in Toronto.

The concert was in February, so there was a significant time period between me receiving the gift and actually getting to go to the concert, but I loved having something to look forward to, and he and I made an event out of our Toronto trip.

Vince Staples is my favourite artist, so seeing him live was incredible and I was immediately star-struck upon seeing him on stage.

Tyler, the Creator is also an amazing stage presence, and the crowd absolutely loved him; it was a very unifying experience.

I think the best part about this gift was the fact that I had told my boyfriend in passing that I had wanted to go to the concert, but I had no actual intention of initiating the ticket purchases myself.

He picked up on the fact that I wanted to go and orchestrated the whole thing for the two of us.

The gift was more than just a material purchase; it was the experience that came along with it that made it so great.


Hayley McGoldrick ~ News Editor

A record player from my sister. It was one of those things I always wanted but when I would’ve had enough money to buy one I always spent it on something else because it wasn’t a necessity, yet listening to music on one is unreal.

When she first gifted it to me, I coincidentally had one record, Ariana Grande’s “My Everything”, that I had bought before even having a record player because it was purple and I thought it was pretty.

I’ve now got a collection of most of my favourite albums on vinyl due to it, including Vampire Weekend, Arkells, Childish Gambino, Bon Iver, Kings of Leon, Tame Impala, John Mayer, Arctic Monkeys and even Harry Styles’ records that just take you to another world when listening to it.

I also get to spend a lot of time in cool record stores now because of it, and though paying $30+ a record is a hefty price tag, the experience of hearing your favourite album played on vinyl for the first time is priceless.


Emily Waitson ~ Arts and Life Editor

I always say that I love giving people gifts more than I like receiving them and that’s completely true.

I get a thrill out of putting effort into a gift for someone I care about, which is why I always feel so awkward opening the ones that I get — and I’ll probably cry over it since the thought of people putting thought into a present for me makes me emotional.

Although I’ve been very lucky to have been given the most thoughtful gifts by so many lovely people in my life, one of my favourites is from my grandpa. A few Christmases ago, my adorable, 92-year-old grandfather picked out a stuffed rabbit wearing a dress that has “Emily” stitched on the front.

It looked exactly like a bear I used to love and take everywhere with me as a child. Pair that with the card he had very shakily signed with “Love Grandpa” (my mum typically fills out his cards now because he’s unable to do it himself, so this would have been a challenge for him) and it was so unexpectedly sweet to open that Christmas morning that, lo and behold, I got teary-eyed over it.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most heartwarming, and it’s a gift that I plan on keeping for the rest of my life.


Garrison Oosterhof ~ Web Director

When I was growing up, hockey was everything to me.

I would blow out the candles on my cake thinking about getting a new hockey stick or eat a double folded chip wishing for the newest set of gloves.

By far my favourite present was when my Dad got me a hockey net for Christmas.

When it was my turn to open a present all he said was to go check the garage (so I knew it was big!) and the anticipation as I ran there only built my excitement.

I stayed there for the rest of the day shooting puck after puck.

The net ended up lasting me many years and endured all kinds of dents and marks before a final fatal slap shot broke it altogether.

The crossbar still hangs ceremoniously above the garage door as a symbol of my teenage years.


Madeline McInnis ~ Features Editor

Honestly, I’ve received a lot of great gifts in my life, and it’s difficult to pick just one. The best gifts are always the ones that I never expected to get in the first place. 

Back in high school, I really wanted to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.

I was in London literally hours before it opened its doors for the first time, but we had to fly home and I obviously didn’t have tickets.

The next Christmas, I opened a gift and behold! My parents had bought me tickets to go on March Break.

My mother is a flight attendant, so we were able to hop back on a plane and fly back to the United Kingdom together for a few days to have that experience.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I still dream about the experience to this day.


Aaron Hagey ~ News Editor

It’s hard to pin down a single “best gift ever,” because the truth is, my girlfriend’s family has been incredible to me for the past four years that I’ve known them.

Growing up, I always hated receiving gifts because no one ever knew what to get me and I never felt like I deserved anything regardless.

Making the transition to a family who has taken the time to learn what I enjoy, would want, but would never get myself, has been something that I’m still not used to.

From little things, like my favourite chocolate, to the most generous and unexpected things, like gaming systems, they’ve become masters at deciphering exactly what will put a big, stupid grin on my face come Christmas morning.

The Waitsons have gone out of their way to make me feel loved and special and it never fails to make me feel completely overwhelmed when they spoil me each year.

It’s easy to see where their daughter gets her ridiculous affinity with gifts from since she clearly learned from the best.



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