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A Terp Holiday Gift Guide

Student-, Alumni-owned Companies May Have Solutions for the Season

By Sala Levin ’10 and Carly Taylor ’19

Gift guide collage

Welcome to the doldrums of holiday shopping. Like us, you may be stuck between the adrenaline-fueled rush of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales and the last-minute panic of later this month.

We can help to un-stick you and share your Terp pride this gift-giving season. We've collected a variety of ideas for toys, clothes, beauty products, books and other items—all from companies owned by Maryland students and alums.

Consider supporting fellow Terps while you tackle your gift list here:

Epic Gifts for Fortnite Fans
The ultra-popular video game shifts off-screen with a new line of toys, released this past Saturday. Epic Games, founded by former Terp mechanical engineering major Tim Sweeney, partnered with toy company Jazwares to create Battle Royale-inspired playsets, figurines and more. The hot-selling collection is available at Walmart, Target, GameStop and Kohl’s.

Wear Your Pride
Ali von Paris ‘12 founded Route One Apparel as a one-stop shop for all your state of Maryland-themed sartorial needs, making its jackets, sweatshirts, baby clothes and more for avid Old Line fans. Old Bay, National Bohemian Beer, the state flag and our university inspire hundreds of other products.

Naturally Inspired Beauty
Want to give the gift of a natural glow? Longtime friends Mary Schulman ‘97 and Amy Carr’s ‘97 PYT Beauty preaches high-performance cosmetics without the “BS” (bad stuff). Inspired by heartbreak, Brianna Queen’s ‘19 vegan, alcohol-, silicone- and cruelty-free makeup BEE-Q-BOX is aimed at millennials looking for natural cosmetics. For body butters and scrubs made from wholesome ingredients, look to Slay Naturals, created by Breonna Massey ‘18.

Produce With Purpose
Give a loved one the gift of fruits and vegetables--virtuous enough on their own, but even more so if they’re a subscription service with a cause. Hungry Harvest, started by Evan Lutz ‘14, and Imperfect Produce, founded by Ben Simon ‘14, reduce food waste by turning “ugly” produce that would have otherwise been tossed out into curated boxes delivered straight to customers.

Say “Cheers”
From craft brews to cocktail tools, Terp alums have the perfect presents to lift holiday spirits. Crooked Crab Brewing Co., founded by 2009 graduates Earl Homan, Alex Josephs and Daniel Messeca, offers a range of ales, some with clever state-inspired names like “I Fought the Claw.” Eric Kozlik MFA ’14 channeled his passion for delicious cocktails to create Modern Bar Cart, providing products so that you can be the mixologist of your dreams. (Find a longer list of Terp-owned breweries here.)

Famous Terp Words
Comedian Sarah Cooper ‘98, bestselling author of “100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings,” is back with a satirical take on workplace dynamics: “How to be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings.” The former Silicon tech exec writes and illustrates to hilarious but scathing effect in chapters such as “How to Bring Your True Self to Work and Then Hide It Completely” and “How to Ace Your Job Interview Without Over-acing It.” Kids will get their own laughs out of the latest “Wimpy Kid” installment, “The Meltdown,” by Jeff Kinney ’93, or consider more social commentary in Jason Reynolds ‘05's new books, “Lu” and “Patina,” about kids of color balancing their personal lives with the commitment of a track team. Young adults with a poetic side might appreciate “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo MFA ‘15, which just won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Mature readers may enjoy the newest release from Emmy-winning writer George Pelecanos '77, “The Man Who Came Uptown,” named one of the best mysteries of 2018.

Captivating Activities
Are holiday parties on your calendar this month? Kick things up a notch by giving your hosts Wits & Wagers, the game from North Star Games and its co-founders, Dominic Crapuchettes ‘04 and Satish Pillalamarri ‘04, that combines the arts of trivia and betting. Have kids who haven’t quite nailed wagering strategy yet? Holly Hagen ‘89 has made pretending to be Superman or Wonder Woman a lot more real with Creative Capes. Her handmade capes and accessories—emblazoned with personalized initials and superhero symbols—-ignite kids’ creativity, confidence and pride.

Doing Good
Spread Maryland’s Do Good spirit this season by supporting a worthy cause in honor of a loved one. Just a few Terp suggestions: Give an Hour, founded by Barbara Van Dahlen Ph.D. ’91 connects veterans and other at-risk populations with mental health professionals for sessions across the country. Noble Uprising, started by former student Audrey Awasom, gives homeless women the tools and know-how they need to land jobs. Helping connect low-income people with critical medications, the James Hollister Wellness Foundation, created by Matt Hollister ‘18, prevents life-saving medicine from going to waste after its expiration date. And the Holistic Life Foundation, the brainchild of brothers Atman ‘02 and Ali ‘01 Smith and their friend Andres Gonzalez ‘01, helps children and adults living in distressed communities through yoga and other self-care techniques.  




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