You need gifts for your college student friend or family member, but have no idea what they actually need and would use? You’ve come to the right place! Here is my gift guide for college students.
After constantly worrying about Christmas gifts for my friends that were in College (or High School), I decided to ask them what they would actually need and use. Many of them, including me, get so much “crap” for Christmas, such as things that are gifted every single year and are just unnecessary (fluffy socks, candy, or even electronics).
Most people own soo many things, so it can get tough to find great gifts for them that won’t end up in the trash. That’s why I really tried to find and collect things or ideas that students really can use and they actually want.
These ideas are not just great for Christmas, but also for other occasions such as birthdays or graduation.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase via my link I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend things I use and love, but for any questions, refer to my full disclosure here.
Let’s get started!
1. Dorm Door Sign
If your college student doesn’t have a sign for their door yet, this is the perfect gift idea!
This one from Etsy is personalized, so it looks super cute! There are also various font styles available if you’re looking for something different than the picture below.
Tip: It would be helpful to know the roommate’s name (if applicable). But this is definitely a must-have!
2. Open When…- Letters
I love personal gifts! And I think open when letters are perfect for college students. Being away from home isn’t always easy, but if students have letters for specific situations with them, it can really motivate them and make them happy.
3. Personalized Mugs
You could totally make this idea yourself, but just in case you’re not as crafty, this Etsy shop makes beautiful personalized mugs!! (I want one too)
You can pick a name, quote, or whatever you feel like fits best. The color of the font and the mug are also customizable, which makes this perfect for anyone who is into this style.
4. A Projector
This gift idea is a little bit on the pricier side, but a really cool idea if you don’t wanna give mainstream gifts everyone already has!
Need more ideas? Check out these!
5. Wall Art
Wall art can be a great gift idea for any college student. There are quotes about pretty much everything out there, or you can print a large photograph and frame it.
What I personally love are motivational quotes that look beautiful and match my room theme!
If your college student friend or family member loves to be a girl boss, whether that is biz related or just a personality trait, this printable is perfect for them!
What I love about this one, is that you can just print the downloads at your local pharmacy or drugstore, get a frame for it, and voila!
This Etsy shop also offers other quotes and styles, so take your time to look through them and pick the best one as your Christmas gift!
6. Fun Online Classes
Yes, college students may have enough classes to do, but think about this as a fun activity, where they still learn something useful.
For example, you could get your college student an online course for something he/she enjoys doing. That could be growing social media accounts, photography, gardening, productivity, etc.
If you need a few course recommendations in the area of blogging, social media, or making money, check out my post gift ideas for bloggers and entrepreneurs for a list.
If you can’t decide on an online class topic for your college friend/family member, it can be a good idea to get them a Skillshare membership.
Skillshare is an online learning platform with over 25,000 courses that you get full access to with the premium membership.
With this link, you can get 2 months free! Feel free to take a look at Skillshare to decide whether or not it’s a good gift for your college student.
7. Water Filter
The next item on our gift guide for college students is a water filter.
To avoid having to buy purified water in plastic bottles (if you still do this I highly encourage you to check out some information about plastic pollution and what happens after you throw out your trash, thank you), it is good to have a water filter. They are very useful if the tap water is undrinkable or not safe to drink, either in bottle form or a bigger cartridge.
Students often think that things like that are expensive, but they are actually not too pricey! By getting them a water filter you can be sure it will be used.
8. A Polaroid Camera
College is supposed to be the best 4 years of your life, right? Whether that’s true or not, it’s always a good idea to keep memories. That’s why this next idea from this gift guide for college students is a polaroid camera.
You can get other kinds of cameras too, but I think polaroids give a whole other meaning to pictures.
9. A Day or Weekend Trip
Experiences and trips are such good gift ideas. Quality time over materialistic gifts. Always!
Here are a few ideas for a fun day or weekend trip. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money!
- Go to the movies
- Visit a national/state park
- Go to a border state
- A trip to the beach/a lake
- A color run
- Amusement park
- Spa day
- Cooking class
- and more!
Anything you enjoy doing together can be put on here. And besides trips, you can also do things at home or close to home, like a movie marathon. Get creative!
If your college student has a kitchen, it would be a fun idea to give them a cookbook, either with y’alls favorite recipes or in a category he/she likes.
That could be sweets, quick and easy meals, cheap meal ideas, party food, and more.
I made one for my mom a few years ago, with our favorite family recipes. We still hand it around and when I’m at college I get to take it. Hehe.
11. Photo Album
A photo album is an amazing personal gift! Whether its a small or bigger one, one where your college student can put in his/her own pictures or one that you made for him/her, I just think it’s a great gift.
Can’t forget the tapestry from this gift guide for college students! I think that decoration items are always a good idea if you know what the other person likes.
There are lots of basic tapestries though, that looks great even in colorful rooms, like these from Amazon and Etsy.
Letterboards are fun to have as college students! They can be hanged on the outside as a message board for floormates, inside the dorm for motivational quotes, or telling the other roommate information about what’s up that day.
14. Zero Waste Kit
Striving for a less wasteful and more sustainable lifestyle is (hopefully) everyone’s goal. Many people think that it costs a lot of money, but that is simply not true (if you do it right).
Getting a college student sustainable essentials is a great way to spread awareness and make their lives easier too.
You can get 10% off with the code “zsuzsanna10” for all of these great products:
- Reusable Straw
- Lunch Boxes/ Food Containers
- Bamboo Toothbrush
- Stainless Steel Razor
- Water Bottle
- Compostable Phone Case
- Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
For more sustainable items, read my post with zero waste school supplies. That will have some more gift ideas for students!
15. Essential Oil Diffuser
You may know that college dorms don’t allow students to have candles. If your college students still want some scent in the room, you could give away an essential oil diffuser!
Need more inspiration? Here are more gift guides!
Want more? Sign up for the best Christmas series! I will be sending my email subscribers a gift idea every day until December 23!
The fun is starting on November 23rd, so make sure to be signed up!
Comment below which gift idea you liked best from my gift guide for college students!
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