It’s a huge relief for everyone to be able to return so some sort of social normality, but it applies especially to college and university students. After all, any misty-eyed person in their 30s, 40s or older will tell you that college days are magical times, and the social events will linger in the memory far longer than the content of any lecture. 

We’ve also had to re-learn a few social graces, however, one of which is the art of gift-giving. It wasn’t really practical with everyone living in bubbles, but now, birthdays need to be commemorated once again. Stuck for ideas? Stick to something funny, and questions of whether it’s useful or appropriate become irrelevant. Here are some ideas to get you back in the swing of things.   

Water FightGetting wet is always amusing  

It’s not the most sophisticated form of wit, but let’s face it, anything that involves getting covered in water guarantees plenty of laughter. There are plenty of options here, including all sorts of high-velocity water pistols. But for organised chaos, try this water balloon Russian Roulette game. You can even fill the balloon with some alternative liquid if you are feeling exceptionally evil.  

We know what you’re doing 

Got a friend with a secret vice that’s not so secret? Nothing says friendship like bringing it out into the open. For example, many will know someone who indulges in the occasional cigarette of the exotic variety. A novelty grinder in the shape of a skull or a hand grenade proves that you care – and that you know exactly what they get up to on a Saturday night!   

Literally anything to do with flatulence  

Another comedy staple, the noble art of flatulence gets laughs whether you’re 2 or 102 – so it’s a surefire winner at university. There’s a whole gift industry that’s grown up around farting, from remote controlled fart machines, which received some marketing gold at the snooker a couple of years ago, to books, to a remarkable invention called flatulence filtering underwear. You’re really spoilt for choice in this area.   

Something useless for the kitchen  

Students and haute cuisine don’t often go together, so if you’ve got friends fending for themselves in their own accommodation, there are all sorts of comedic opportunities here. This chainsaw-style carver could be a perfect choice for meat that doesn’t quite fall off the bone Delia Smith-style.   

Drinking games 

If none of the above quite hit the mark, then thank goodness there’s this old staple to fall back on. They come in so many kinds, from basic card games that are only a step removed from “spin the bottle” or “truth or dare” to drink-related games of traditional party classics like Operation, Jenga or even Twister. 

Let the fun begin 

There has been precious little to laugh about over the past year or so. Now that things are starting to return to normal, we can inject a little joy and frivolity into each other’s lives once again. A birthday gift provides the perfect opportunity to do so.