Who needs Amazon when there’s a winter wonderland of Anteater-connected goodies, gadgets and stocking stuffers? From Stardust lipstick (created by a bio sci grad) to cooking lessons to dazzling novels to Swedish massage sessions, our 2018 holiday gift guide has something for just about everyone on your shopping list. 

Alternative transportation

Courtesy of Oru

Foldable kayaks: Inspired by the Japanese art of origami, Oru makes lightweight kayaks that fold up into a compact package that you can toss in the car or take on a hike. Ardy Sobhani, a 2004 economics alum, co-founded the company and serves as its CEO.

Courtesy of Waterborne

Land surfing: When bolted to the front wheels of any skateboard, the Waterborne adapter creates the sensation of surfing on land. Inventor Patrick Dumas, a UCI senior in business information management, developed the gadget after experimenting with couch springs, shopping cart casters, scrap metal and other “Frankenstein” parts.

Gastronomic delights

Courtesy of Tea Drops

Tea without teabags: “Ditch the teabag” is the motto of Tea Drops, a company that makes compressed organic teas, , blended with spices and sugar, that dissolve in hot water. Created by economics alumna Sashee Chandran ’07, the product comes in flavors ranging from citrus ginger to cardamom spice. There’s also a Thai iced tea kit that combines Tea Drops with packets of condensed milk.

Eco-friendly cookbook: Download UCI’s gratis College Sustainability Cookbook and treat your loved one to a nutritious meal made with guilt-free ingredients and methods. The guide was compiled by undergraduates.

Culinary classes: UCI Campus Recreation offers two- and three-hour cooking lessons to students and Anteater Recreation Center members. The classes cover vegetarian cuisine, cookies, noodles, soups and more. A lineup of winter-quarter courses is expected to be posted in mid-December at the link above.


UCI’s storied M.F.A. Programs in Writing has produced some of the nation’s best-known wordsmiths, including “Game of Thrones” co-creator David Benioff, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa and novelists Alice Sebold, Michael Chabon and Richard Ford. Among the newest titles by Anteater alumni:

Clockwise, from top left: Awayland by Ramona Ausubel (Penguin Random House); Holmes Entangled by Gordon McAlpine (Seventh Street Books); Rosarium by Hannah Dow (Acre Books); The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop (Grove Atlantic); This is Where I Won’t Be Alone by Inez Tan (Epigram); The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen (Penguin Random House).

Holmes Entangled, by Gordon McAlpine
A 70-something Sherlock Holmes, retired and disguised as a college professor, investigates a plot to kill author Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Mercy Seat, by Elizabeth H. Winthrop
As an 18-year-old black inmate awaits his execution for (allegedly) raping a white woman in 1943 Louisiana, people in town reflect on the case and its meaning.

Awayland, by Ramona Ausubel
A Mars-bound chef, a homesick mother dissolving into mist and a lovelorn Cyclops are among the characters in this volume of short stories.

The Sea Beast Takes a Lover, by Michael Andreasen
An ill-advised field trip to a time travel institute and a rudely timed alien abduction are two of the yarns in this compilation.

This Is Where I Won’t Be Alone, by Inez Tan
Poet Tan’s first book of short stories, a best-seller in Singapore, features tales involving a sentient oyster, a pair of twins, a social experiment with ants and a future in which people have chips implanted in their heads.

Rosarium, by Hannah Dow
This debut poetry collection explores mysteries of faith, postcard prayers and various landscapes, from Mississippi to the Middle East.

M.F.A. alumni books due out in 2019 include Jen Beagin’s Vacuum in the Dark, Belle Boggs’ The Gulf and Grace Talusan’s The Body Papers.


Cosmetics: After studying chemistry as a biological sciences major at UCI and dabbling as a painter, Sheena Yaitanes ’06 created Kosas, a line of lipsticks, blushes and foundations that has been featured in The New York Times and assorted fashion publications.

Courtesy of The Hill UCI Bookstore

Anteater apparel: From hat to toe (socks, ISlide sandals) and everything in between (shirts, sweatpants, jackets, ties, earrings, scarves and watches), UCI-themed attire has got you covered – literally.

Health and recreation

Massage therapy: Unwind with a 50-minute shiatsu, Swedish or deep-tissue massage at the Anteater Recreation Center. Other kneading options include prenatal and trigger-point sessions. Gift vouchers, which can be applied toward massages and other Campus Recreation programs, can be purchased at the ARC sales desk.

Take a hike: Some of the best gifts cost nothing but time. For a panoramic view of the campus, city skyline and Pacific Ocean, take your loved one on a hike at the UCI Ecological Preserve. Trailheads with nearby parking can be found along Los Trancos Drive near Vista Bonita Drive and Locke Court. 

Get in shape: Just about every kind of fitness class imaginable – from aquatics and belly-dancing to sailing and Zumba – is available through UCI Campus Recreation. Gift vouchers can be purchased at the Anteater Recreation Center.

Anteater decor

Courtesy of The Hill UCI Bookstore

Trinkets galore: UCI-themed gnome tree ornaments, drinkware, license plate frames, blankets, stuffed animals and more are available at the Hill, UCI’s bookstore. Gift cards are also for sale.

Sights and sounds

Art museums: Catch the blockbuster debut exhibit from UCI’s Institute and Museum for California Art (through Jan. 5) and/or the nearby Beall Center for Art + Technology, both free, then enjoy a weekday lunch at The Green Room. Another no-charge UCI art showcase, The Irvine Museum Collection – which will become part of IMCA – operates off campus at 18881 Von Karman Ave., Suite 100, in Irvine.

UCI Symphony Orchestra, Steve Zylius / UCI

Concerts: There’s no shortage of music on campus next year. The roster of performers – some sponsored by the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, some by the Irvine Barclay Theatre – includes the Steep Canyon Rangers (minus Steve Martin) on Feb. 9, Kei Akagi & Friends on Feb. 15 and 16, the UCI Symphony Orchestra on March 8, and Tower of Power on April 18.

Theater and events: A madman, an opera, a musical and more. Here’s a small sampling of the plays and performances on tap in 2019: comic scientist Doktor Kaboom on Feb. 10, the Martha Graham Dance Company on Feb. 27, “certified lunatic and master of the impossible” Tomás Kubínek on April 26, “Die Fledermaus” on May 11 and 12, and “The Pajama Game” from June 1 to 8.

 Gift cards: For tickets purchased through UCI’s box office to shows sponsored by the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, discounted gift cards – no service fee – are available at www.arts.uci.edu/promos with the code ARTSGC. A full list of CTSA performances can be found at http://www.arts.uci.edu/events.

For a complete calendar of events on campus, including Irvine Barclay Theatre-sponsored shows, visit https://today.uci.edu.


Play ball: Watch Anteater athletes in action on the court (men’s and women’s basketball) and on the diamond (baseball) next year. Sports gift cards can be used to buy tickets to upcoming games.

Personal development

Guitar lessons: Budding rock stars can learn the basics through UCI Campus Recreation’s guitar program. Private lessons are also offered. Winter-quarter schedules should be posted later this month.

Continuing ed: You’re never too old for school with UCI’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which sponsors courses in art, literature, history, science and other subjects for people 50 and up. Membership is $225 annually or $150 per semester and includes as many as 12 classes a year.

The Gift of Giving

Food assistance: UCI’s FRESH Basic Needs food pantry welcomes donations to its program helping students who can’t afford to eat properly.

Campus support: The UCI Fund provides scholarships and other resources at UCI. Contributions can be made via the UCI Giving website.