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Holiday Gift Guide for the IU Alum in Your Life

A gift wrapped in IU-themed wrapping paper

Whether you’re shopping for the candle enthusiast or the foodie in your life, we have gift ideas for you—all of which are from IU alum-owned businesses and the IU Alumni Association’s trusted corporate partners.


For the tea lover

Jar of loose leaf tea
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Big T NYC, the world’s first couture tea brand, was founded by Theresa Krier, MBA’09, in 2013. This online shop offers “calorie-free, delicious, and wellness-enhancing” tea sachets, loose-leaf teas, and cold brew iced teas.


For the movie buff

Illustration of the state of Indiana; text that reads Hoosier Films
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In 2018, Meredith McGriff, MA’14, PhD’16, and her husband, Thomas DeCarlo, launched Hoosier Films. For $18 a year, subscribers can access hours of content created by Indiana filmmakers.


For the grill master

Three bottles of BBQ sauce
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Rodney Robinson, BS’98, Lathay Pegues, BAJ’00, and Terrell Cooper, BA’05, started JohnTom’s BBQ back in 2006 after years of trying to recreate a secret family recipe. Bottled in Indianapolis, the company now sells four flavors—original, Hoosier Heat, Peppered Gold, and Sneaky Hot.


For the foodie

Box of popcorn next to a Christmas tree truck ornament
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Carly Swift, BA’96, and Mandy (Swift) Selke, BS’97, founded Just Pop In! in 2003. The gourmet popcorn company offers flavors such as Bavarian cheese and ale pretzel, dark chocolate sea salt, and spicy pepper pickle.


For the candle enthusiast

Green candle next to coffee and cookies
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The New Savant, a modern scent studio that creates handmade candles, was co-founded by Erica Anderson, BAJ’06, in 2020. Can’t decide on a scent? Purchase the brand’s discovery set, which includes eight tealights.


For the Hoosiers’ biggest fan

Folded IU shirts
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Homefield Apparel, launched in 2018 by Connor Hitchcock, BS’16, creates unique, vintage-inspired collegiate swag for more than 150 colleges and universities across the country. Of course, IU is their No. 1 selling school.


For the jewelry collector

Collection of gold jewelry
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Kyle Cavan is a women-owned business that offers jewelry inspired by IU’s iconic symbols and colors.


For the self-care guru

Red and green makeup pouches; red and green lipstick
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In 2021, sorority sisters Nicole “Nikki” (Porter) Lapidus, BGS’99, MS’07; Renee (Panicco) McGrath, BS’00; Kathleen “Kat” (Stewart) McPeek, BA’99; and Darcie (Lehmann) Cohn, BS’99, co-founded East Third Collective. This online shop is a place where customers can build their own gift boxes filled with self-care goodies (and so much more) from small businesses around the country.

East Third Collective also offers corporate gifting. For $500 off your order, fill out the ETC Gift Consulting form and note that you’re an IU alum to receive the discount. Minimum order of $2500 is required.


For the bookworm

Collage of books under a Christmas tree
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There are dozens of IU authors. Some have written children’s books, while some have penned best-selling thrillers. Check out who we’ve interviewed so far and read an excerpt from their books.


For the coffee connoisseur

Bags of BLK & Bold coffee
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Rod Johnson, BA’10, and his co-founder, Pernell Cezar, launched BLK & Bold, a specialty coffee and tea company, in 2018. Five percent of the business’s total proceeds go toward programs supporting youth in need.


For the admirer of art

A framed watercolor of a house
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Whether you want a watercolor of your childhood home or your four-legged friend, Skye Lee Smith, BAE’15, will paint it for you. Or you can purchase her ready-made artwork from her Etsy shop, Lovely Homes By Skye.


For the news consumer

Text that reads: The Newsworthy. The day's news fast, fair, fun
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Five days a week, Erica Mandy, BAJ’07, provides all the news you need to know in roughly 10 minutes on The NewsWorthy podcast. Become an “insider” for $5 a month and get the show ad-free.


For the outdoor enthusiast

Woman holding a bag
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Brian Carraway, BS’07, is the founder of Flying Squirrel Outfitters—a sustainable hammock and bag business that provides seamstresses in small villages across Northern Thailand with fair wages and flexible hours.


For the class of 2024 grad

IU diploma frame
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A Herff Jones diploma frame is the perfect gift for the soon-to-be IU grad in your life.

Written By

Samantha Stutsman

Samantha Stutsman, BAJ'14, is a Bloomington, Ind., native and a senior content specialist at the IU Alumni Association.

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