Gifts for college kids

OK so I’ve got several college kids on my Christmas list & desperately need ideas. What gifts would be appreciated by young adults???

Gift cards.

Ask the kids what they want; they will probably want gift cards.



Gift cards for the campus book store




Depends on the college kid, but if you don’t know anything more about their interests or plans, money or a gift card to somewhere like Target or Amazon would be appreciated by almost any college student I know.

What’s your price range?

Non store-specific gift cards. Always welcome.

Amazon gift cards are the best.

$50 & I’m trying to avoid cash or gift cards (even though I know those are the most practical), because I always give them cash or gift cards & want them to have something to open, due to the circumstances. Any ideas for a gift that I can wrap & they can open, that isn’t cash or equivalent?

Recipes Every College Student Should Know for something to open, plus a smaller gift card, from Amazon or from some place close to where they go to college.

What are their hobbies and interests?

Do they like to skate? Do they like to go bowling? Or is their favorite hobby cutting and sewing?

Can openers.

Ask someone closer to them instead of randoms on a messaging board, and make sure it’s possible to return the gifts, and tell the recipients that.

I’m finishing a MA after being in school for 7 years. One almost constant issue during the first couple years of my undergrad was shitty backpacks. JanSport and similar crappy K Mart brands never lasted more than a few months. I finally ponied up for a good L.L.Bean messenger bag. It’s lasted me years — they sent me the wrong color and at the time I figured I’d wear it out and then get one in the color I actually wanted rather than hassle with a return. Well, that was 6 years ago and the bag is still in essentially new condition. It has some stains from leaky coffee cups and pens that didn’t get their caps attached tight enough, but the bag itself is perfect. I still use it daily as my man-purse. The one linked above is $60, so it’s just above your budget (which is damn good deal, I think I paid $110 for mine in 2012). But for $60 it’s hard to beat and I guarantee you that if these students are serious about school they’ll appreciate a good bag.

50 scratchers. More fun than giving just cash, and they could end up with more than $50. Or, you could give like 20 scratchers and something worth $30.

In the old days, I’d recommend a good dictionary. Or a watch. Or maybe an alarm clock or a decent camera. Nowadays…

Warm gloves? winter hat? leggings or whatever in this year? Or you can get them some really nice socks; kids would scoff but nice socks feel so good.

Sleeping pants and flipflops for the dorm shower. Or one of those kits at Walmart with toiletries. But, really I’d stick with gift cards. Wrap them up in a box with some candy and call it done.

I know you don’t want to do gift cards, but as a stocking stuffer along with a “real” present, a pair of Regal or AMC movie theater gift cards is a nice treat. You can buy them at a discount online from even if you don’t have a membership (they tack on a small percentage if you’re not a member, but it’s still a bargain. Receive them via mail, or print from home, or even buy in person at the warehouse if you’re a member).

I dunno about movies. Depends on the student. If the kid is a double-major or work-study, they may not have time all in one multi-hour block like that. Also, not all campuses would be close enough to one of those theaters… and we’re assuming student has a car or the town has decent public transportation.

Thinking back to my college days, esp. dorm life, the students were all chronically short on 2 things: space, and money.

So, crap they don’t necessarily need is an enormous PITA chore instead of a loving gift. My inner college student implores you to rethink the gift card stance.

Give them an interesting mug with some money inside.