The holidays are here! Having trouble thinking of Christmas present ideas for the young adults in your life? Have no fear—here are 16 suggestions to help ensure your favorite student winds up with gifts that won’t be returned or regifted.
A phone that’s just a year or two old is incredibly outdated in the eyes of most students. Find out which phone they would like to own next by casually asking questions during normal conversations.
Computers are a requirement for students on most college campuses, but even laptops are a bit too bulky to tote around for non-classwork use. A tablet like the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Note or Google Nexus is a smaller, slimmer alternative.
3. Portable Wi-Fi hotspot
If the above-mentioned tablet—or if your student already owns a device—does not include a data plan, Wi-Fi will be a necessity that is not always available on the road. If they can’t tether their smartphone, a personal Wi-Fi hotspot that works on pay-as-you-go credits is a good alternative.
Closer to a laptop than a tablet yet much more portable, netbooks are popular with students that enjoy watching videos or surfing the Internet during their leisure time.
5. Smart pen
Smart pens such as the Livescribe system can be just as valuable as smartphones. An electronic device that looks like a traditional ballpoint pen, smart pens are embedded with computer and digital audio recorders. Students can take notes while recording audio—for example, writing things down while listening to a class lecture—and later import the data to see the notes that they took while listening to the corresponding section of the lecture.
6. Single-serve coffee maker
Coffee is the caffeinated beverage of choice among college students, but daily lattes add up quickly and brewing an entire pot of coffee every morning can be wasteful if just one cup is needed. A single-serve coffee maker can make the home-brewing (or dorm room-brewing!) process much easier while still saving money on trips to the coffee shop. Don’t forget the K-Cups!
7. Reusable water bottles
Help your student go green and stay hydrated with a reusable water bottle or two. Many come equipped with filters that can help tap water taste delicious.
8. External hard drive
“The cloud” is a storage device of choice among many, but helps your student ensure that their hard work—their computer files—are saved in more than one location with an external hard drive.
9. Thumb drives
If you’re a student, there’s no doubt about it—portable thumb drives always come in handy, too. They are great for saving work done at a computer lab or on a friend’s computer.
10. Camera memory cards
Build-in smart phone cameras are great for day-to-day use, but most students have a traditional camera for vacations and special occasions. Memory cards will most definitely be appreciated. Be sure to ask for a few photos!
11. Netflix account
Cable is not available in all residence halls and it can be expensive, anyway. Even the busiest academics enjoy TV and movies every once in awhile, and a streaming Netflix account is an easy way to give into that guilty pleasure for just a few bucks per month. Shows and movies can be watched instantly on a computer, smartphone, tablet, or video gaming device.
12. xBox 360
Speaking of video games, an xBox 360 is a great way to unwind after class. Not only can it be used for gaming, it can serve as a DVD player, used as a method to stream Netflix, a place to update your social media accounts, and so much more.
If your student is not a big fan of video games, consider giving them a Roku streaming media player. This tiny yet powerful box offers the ability to watch Netflix and Hulu as well as a variety of “channels” without a cable subscription.
14. TV shows on DVD
Nearly everyone has a favorite TV series. Why not supply your student with every single episode of their favorite show on DVD? The price of DVDs has dropped drastically in recent years, so this is a budget-friendly idea that will be loved.
15. Socks and underwear
Laundry sucks! So even though gift-wrapped socks and underwear get tossed aside when the recipients are children, multi-packs of socks and underwear are appreciated by college students.
16. Gift cards
Cash can look tacky—and will most likely be wasted on drinks or meals—but gift cards give students the ability to purchase their own presents. Nearly anything their heart desires be found at superstores like Target and Wal-Mart; or if the bookstore at your student’s school is a national chain like Barnes and Noble, you may even be able to chip in on next semester’s textbooks with a gift card.
Need a few other last-minute gifts? Although they may not fit into a traditional-sized stocking, toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel can make great stocking stuffers. So can non-perishable foods that store easily in dorm closets—snack-size packs of cookies, chips, and crackers will come in handy all semester long.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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