What to buy the college student? A 12hr pass from classes for naps? A $100 gift card that will cover the cost of…half of a textbook? Last year, when I was doing wishlists as a mini side-hustle, college students were one of my most requested guides.Since I bypassed that time in my life, I have to admit, even I had a hard time thinking up the right gifts for this one in the beginning. What they really need are practical things, but it’s the holidays and we want to make them happy. So how do you mix practical with fun and make it something that will get achieve that glowing Christmas smile when they open your gift?

Today you’ll notice my gift guides are just a tad different than usual. Today I’ve separated them into the girls and boys category — after several requests to do so. That said, a lot of the gifts can be unisex. I put a lot of thought into this one, trying to keep the items under $100 (so they could afford to buy it again if they loved it on that college budget), and trying to keep them from being large items that can bulk up a dorm room! So I hope this one helps you out in your quest for the perfect college student gift this year!

Ladies first, so let’s get going on my student picks!

  1. The College Dish Towel : One thing I’ve learned from my college graduate friends is that college pride lives long after graduation. So why not spoil your student with a custom college pride dish towel that they can have as a keepsake for the future too?
  2. The Mini Waffle Maker: First of all, this one is adorable and useful! Its small size is perfect for the dorm room, but will always be sure to get your student some major kitchen decor envy.
  3. The Jewelry Binder: This one is just genius. Almost all of us ladies out there are guilty of having a little too much bling; so when you are short on space, what better way to organize your favorite sparkles than a jewelry binder?
  4. The Mini Steamer: When I first moved away from home, the first thing I got was a mini steamer, and I still use it to this day. This gift is a huge helper for people who just don’t have the time or space to iron, but love their clothes to appear clean and pressed.
  5. The Best Year Ever Calendar: Calendars, journals, planners, and stationary are all the rage right now. They not only help you keep on task but also when they’re this cute they can also keep you motivated!
  6. Ideas, Notes, and To Do booklets: This one follows the same idea of gift #5, but takes it just a little further. Help your student stay organized with these adorable planners for day-to-day activities and to-dos.
  7. The Unicorn Cereal Bowl: Okay, so this one is a silly 100% non-necessity type gift. But, unicorns are one of today’s biggest trends, and this one is definitely going to achieve a smile and a giggle upon opening.
  8. My Cinema Lightbox: I have been seeing these all over Instagram, and they are so cool ( totally on my wishlist this year too). With interchangeable letters and several box sizes, your student will be able to customize their box to reflect whatever they have in mind.
  9. But First Coffee: The College girl necessity, the but first coffee mug. I live in a majorly college-age populated area, and I don’t think I’ve seen a single girl walking to class without one of these in hand!

Next, let’s check out what we’ve got in mind for the boys.

  1. The America Cookbook: A lot of our guys heading off to college are going to seriously be missing mom’s homecooked meals, so why not help them explore their culinary skills? This cookbook is especially awesome, it is a tour of all 50 states in one cookbook!
  2. Sports Care Detergent set: Most of our guys headed off to college partake in at least one sport, either for school or for fun. But sometimes it’s hard to take care of active gear, so why not help them out with this set of sports specialized antibacterial detergent?
  3. The Smart Phone Soap: In our digital world, almost all of us are attached at the hip to our phones…or the ear. That said, our excessive use of smartphones means our phones are most likely the germiest thing we carry around. So why not help our college students cut down the bacteria and maybe keep a cold or two at bay with this phone sanitation station.
  4. The Beard Kit: “Movember” may almost be over, but more than likely your college-age guy is gonna keep that mustache or beard around for a little while. Let’s help him keep it as clean and healthy as possible!
  5. The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Maker: From what I’ve heard, grilled cheese, ramen noodles, and pizza are a normal diet for most college students. This awesome grilled cheese or panini maker can be used in the oven, a gas stove, or even on a camping trip over an open fire.
  6. The Razor Sharpener: Razors are expensive, like outrageously expensive. But with this handy little razor sharpener and cleaner, you can supposedly save up to $250 a year in blade replacement! Help your favorite student save some extra cash and help save his face from dull blades!
  7. The BlueTooth Tracking Tag: We all know that person who is constantly losing their keys, phone, wallet and…shoes. Well, maybe that’s only me. That said, it’s always nice to know where your important items are when you need them most. With the help of this blue tooth tracking tag, your student will never be late to class due to loss of keys…or shoes maybe.
  8. Multi-Use Penknife: Including a bottle opener, corkscrew, can opener, penknife, and screwdriver, this 5 in one little pocket knife will make sure your student always has the right tool for the job!

I hope this guide has answered all your student shopping questions! If not, I hope it has at least inspired you to try something creative and useful for the college student on your list!