Sometimes, expensive gifts… are better

If you’re at NYU, there’s a decent chance that you know some rich people who helped get you here. Here are expensive gifts that are actually worth the money that you can ask them for.


Manasa Gudavalli

The holidays can be expensive. Here are some items that are worth the hefty price tag. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

Alexandra Chan, Alex Tey and Alex Tran

As winter break approaches, here’s a holiday gift guide to help you to take advantage of the rich people in your life. When they ask how to ease their conscience, you can answer them with a philanthropic venture — your comfort. 

AirPods Max — $549

Alex Tey

“$549 for some headphones??” you might ask. The answer is yes. And no, it’s not just Apple’s signature overpricing of their products and status symbols. In the audio world, these are a deal compared to the other top-tier headphones out there. Regardless of the value, though, it’s undeniably a lot of money. But the sound quality of the AirPods Max is competitive with headphones above their price point. You can also never underestimate the polished industrial design that Apple’s known for. They just feel so much better on your head than other headphones; even details like the buttons and headband adjustment are executed flawlessly. The multiple noise cancellation modes are nothing short of magical — you can toggle between muffling outside sounds, letting them through or blocking them out entirely. Plus, they come in pretty colors; I’m partial to the mint green. I hate to promote an Apple product for free, but I must reluctantly recommend these to anyone who can afford both the price and the shame of spending this much on headphones. (Not me — I just spent a lot of time with a pair in the Apple Store.)

BOOM 3 Bluetooth Speaker — $149.99

Alex Chan

On the subject of audio quality, this speaker is arguably the lifeblood of New York City K-pop dance cover groups. Filming in Times Square is a hell and a half, but this speaker can make NCT 127’s Lucas mumble-rapping in “Boss” audible over Showtime performers — an impressive credit to its name. It’s small enough to be handheld and according to the website, it can last for 15 hours on one full charge. Multiple rainy film shoots have put this speaker through a lot — but it survived — so I can attest to the advertised waterproof ability, but rain is not the same as submerging it in a pool so I can’t say anything about that. I borrowed one for the WSN staff party and it was very sufficient for my tiny apartment at half volume. If you somehow have enough pull to get more than one, multiple speakers can be connected to one device so you can have a truly deafening multi-level house party. Your neighbors might hate you, so I didn’t tell you to do that. 

Smeg electric kettle — $169

Alex Tey

You could get a perfectly serviceable $20 kettle. Or you could spend eight times as much and get something 10 times better. This one combines practical design features — it rotates on its base, the lid pops open smoothly, the inside stays hot longer while the outside is cool to the touch — with Smeg’s iconic design. With matte pastel colors and shiny silver accents, Smeg appliances bring retro 1950s aesthetics to your kitchen while leaving the more unsavory aspects of that period behind. It’s pretty, it gets your water hot really fast and even, and it costs a lot more than something that does basically the same thing. That’s what this list is for, isn’t it?

Herman Miller Aeron Chair — $1,645

Alex Tran

Let’s face it, NYU chairs just suck. Whether it is the rocky chair that they thought would be fun in awkward dorm common areas, or the ridiculously tall chair in Kimmel IT Laptop Lab or the Academic Resource Center, none of them fulfill their mission of being comfortable enough to sit in for more than 30 minutes. Introducing the Aeron Chair — the GOAT of chairs — whose “adjustable PostureFit SL pads provide lumbar support and stabilize the base of the spine” and “breathable fabric keeps you cool and comfortable,” according to its website. At $1,645, your premature back pain will surely be cured.

Prospera Neck and Shoulder Massager — $57.99

Alex Chan

Speaking of pain, I really miss this shoulder massager my family has at home. My exhaustion has permanently seeped into my muscles, and I long for the sweet relief of a chiropractor cracking my back like a glowstick. I have come to strike terror in the hearts of my colleagues when I turn to ask them a question and I have no popcorn to offer, only the bones of an arthritic grandmother and the vision to go with it. But that’s another topic. Some of the negative reviews on the website point to the limitations of this massager because it only taps, which I personally don’t see a problem with — I like imagining tap-dancing leprechauns on my shoulders.  Apparently some people have manufacturer issues, but perhaps this product can be found elsewhere. If anyone can point me to better massagers, I’d be happy to be enlightened.

Giant Classic Pocky — $25

Alex Tran

On Mar. 14, 2020, Giant Pocky was completely sold out at Hong Kong Supermarket while the toilet paper rolls stared in jealousy from the opposite aisle. Anyone shopping there that day had their priorities right and their bellies filled with chocolatey delightful goodness. Glico did not lie when they said giant — everything is the same as the O.G. pocky, just ten times as large. At $25 for 18 sticks, approximately 320% more expensive than the 9-pack limp pocky, they are worth it — I guarantee.

A Columbia University education — $331,552

If your parents really loved you, they wouldn’t have sent you to the purple school.

It’s been a rough year — might as well find someone who has the ability to throw away the equivalent of your entire bank account so that you can feel comfortable asking them to treat you!

Contact WSN at [email protected].