During my days as a college student, money definitely wasn’t growing on trees, so I was delighted each time a free meal, care package or gift card came my way. But now there’s so much more to choose from, most of which you can easily buy on Amazon and have shipped straight to the dorm.
Just as important as ramen and energy drinks are new necessities, from extra chargers and earbuds to coffee makers that save students from forking over what little they have to Starbucks.
Here are some great standbys that just about any college student on your list would be happy to receive.
The world temporarily stops for a college student (or any other smartphone addict) when his phone dies and he’s without his charger. But you can help alleviate the stress with the gift of a super charger that extends his smartphone’s battery life. Extra computer cords are also a great gift, because they can cost a small fortune to replace (on a student’s budget). They have a tendency to be left behind at coffee shops by students pulling all-nighters.
2. Soda maker
Soda might not seem like an essential, but to those students who go through a 6-pack of Diet Coke a day, a soda maker could be a lifesaver, not to mention the money and time it will save them on trips to the grocery store to stock up. There are a number of flavors available, or your student can try making up his own. Has anyone tried coffee soda yet?
If you’ve ever carried around an entire semester’s worth of work or a major project on a tiny flash drive, you can understand the constant concern for its safety. Just imagine looking into your backpack only to see the flash drive’s top has come off and it’s sitting in that pile of dirt and crumbs of unknown origin that seem to be at the bottom of every bag. A message in a bottle flash drive will help your student feel more secure and avoid horror stories about hours of lost work. Its size makes it harder to lose, and your data is much better protected.
For the barista who enjoys whipping up smoothies, blended coffee drinks and frozen alcoholic beverages, a high-quality blender makes the perfect Christmas present. Sure, you might want your student to cut back on the daiquiris, but just think, at least he’ll be eating some fruit!
5. Food and gas gift cards
While this gift usually demonstrates a lack of originality, or that you were crunched for time, your student won’t care. In fact, the gift of money is the one thing that the recipient is guaranteed to use, every time.
For students going to school far from home, the high cost of airfare around the holidays can be prohibitive. Many end up spending Thanksgivings in the dorm, and a few weeks of wages to buy a ticket home for Christmas.
If you have a lot of frequent flier miles, think about transferring them to a student on your Christmas list. If you don’t have your own frequent flier miles, you can buy them. Find out the student’s airline of choice, or do some research on the best deals for flights between school and home. It’s a heartfelt gift sure to be appreciated.
The next time your student is running late for class and needs a quick boost, this convenient and easily operable coffee maker will get the job done in record time. Or he can set the programmable clock so his coffee will start brewing 20 minutes before the alarm is set to go off. The smell of coffee will certainly make it easier to get out of bed and to that early morning class on time for a change.
You don’t have to go overboard with Beats by Dre, Bose or any of those luxury brands (though if you can afford it, by all means, do!). A simple pair of high-quality earbuds will help block out noisy roommates and help your student get down to some serious studying.
Avid readers who prefer ebooks will enjoy a Kindle, but they have added benefits for students. Since many textbooks are also available in ebook format, you could be saving your student’s back by cutting down on the weight she totes around every day to and from class and the library.
10. Messenger bag
These stylish totes are ideal for both sexes on your shopping list, as they can carry all the essentials — books, laptops, e-readers — while keeping them close at hand. And if your student’s campus has been experiencing a wave of Apple picking (when a thief snatches an Apple device, like an iPhone, right out of someone’s hands), giving him the ability to walk and talk or listen to music while having his iPhone neatly tucked away in the safety of his messenger bag is a beautiful thing, especially considering what a weeping mess he’d be if it were stolen.
11. First aid kit
First aid kits are often overlooked by college students when they’re outfitting their dorms or first apartments, and that’s exactly why they make such perfect gifts. Too many students don’t realize they have no bandages until they get a nasty paper cut or slice a finger while chopping onions for some guac and chips. Throw in some antiseptic and some Motrin, and you’re done.
What gifts have been a hit for the college students on your list? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
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