This holiday season you may have to purchase a present for the adjunct professor in your life. This guide lets you know which gifts adjunct professors will appreciate the most.

Ugly Sweater

A garish Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sweater (with a real light bulb nose) is great for a laugh at holiday parties with friends and family. But for an adjunct professor, Rudolph’s glowing nose can also provide much-needed illumination (and warmth) when reading the Academic Jobs Wiki while home alone on Christmas Eve after the power and heat have been cut off in their studio apartment. As a bonus, this inexpensive and highly flammable sweater can serve as a fast-acting fire starter if they decide to burn down the collection agency that’s been hounding them over the credit card debt they racked up in grad school.


Socks might seem like a boring present, but any enterprising adjunct professor can turn a sock into a mitten, a tiny pillow, a pencil case, or — when filled with pebbles from the campus parking lot — a rudimentary club that can be used to mug the university president on his way home from a fundraiser with wealthy alumni.

Lump of Coal

This classic stocking stuffer lets everybody know who you think is on Santa’s “naughty” list. It also makes the adjunct professor in your life think that you have read their recent journal article on literary representations of working conditions in Victorian coal mines (even though, like any sane person, you do not read academic journal articles for fun). At the same time, a lump of coal can provide minutes and minutes of valuable warmth in the unheated basement office that they share with a dozen other adjuncts, a family of raccoons, and several hundred square feet of asbestos.

Tree Trimmings

Is there anything more fun than making a festive wreath out of the trimmings from your Christmas tree? How about making several dozen wreaths, draping them over a warm photocopier in a seldom-traveled university hallway, and napping/quietly weeping inside this woodland nest during a rare break in a 14-hour teaching day? Does that sound like fun? No? Just hand over the garbage bag full of twigs, asshole.

All the Cheese In Your Refrigerator

Hey, remember when you went to the bathroom ten minutes ago? That was also when the adjunct professor you invited over stole all the cheese in your refrigerator. They’ll eat some of it themselves; the rest will be bartered with other adjuncts for lumps of coal. If you want to provide a special treat, purchase a 24-slice pack of Kraft Singles, which your adjunct professor friend can use either as Post-Its or a rudimentary advent calendar. Each day is more delicious than the last.

Your Credit Cards

Hey, remember when that adjunct professor stole all your cheese? Turns out they also stole all the credit cards from your wallet as well. You won’t be able to track them down at the university, unfortunately, since they just sent a resignation email from your new iPhone, which they also stole.

Your Passport and Social Security Card

Those too, I’m afraid.

Instant Pot

All that stolen cheese isn’t going to melt itself.

Your Identity

You’ve had a good run. Nice job, nice house, nice family. You went to university for four years, not 14. And now “you” have absconded to an undisclosed foreign location with a low cost of living and shockingly lax international extradition laws. Now that the adjunct professor you were foolish enough to befriend has stolen your identity, you have no choice but to assume theirs. You’re going to have to start using phrases like “discursive construct” and “I heard there are free bagels here” in everyday conversations. You’re going to have to learn how to grade 300 papers while loitering in a crowded Taco Bell. And, most importantly, you’re going to have to make some rich friends who are dumb enough to trust you around their credit cards.