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Do you have college-aged students in your life and have not even the slightest clue about what to get them for a gift, or even what they like for that matter? Well, no need to fret, because I asked my college-aged intern to compile a gift guide for college students based on what she, her friends, and her brother would love to receive. Regardless of gender or year in college, these gifts are sure to please.
This post was updated in 2021 with new products and sure to please gift ideas
Gift Guide for College Students
The Wardrobe Oxygen team made sure that this gift guide for college students has items at every price point, from stocking stuffers to investment holiday gifts so you can find something right for each young adult on your holiday list. In fact, I think this list is so fun you may find something for yourself as well!
Gift Guide for College Students
Lamzac Inflatable Lounger by Fatboy
I first saw this lounger at a music festival, and now I see them everywhere from the beach to the dorms. Packs up to nothing, and you swing it in the air to fill it up for a comfy lounger. While there are many imitators, the Lamzac from Fatboy is the original and known to be the best quality. Several colors to choose from, this lounger accommodates up to 440lbs.
Since writing this gift guide, I got my kid a Fatboy lounger and it has been fantastic! We've taken it camping, to the beach, and yes to a music festival. It's fun to just enjoy in the yard. While the photo shows one individual in each Fatboy lounger, you can sit in it like a couch with two, sometimes three folks in it.
Luckies Project Yourself Projector
Such a fun and genius gift! This cardboard-based projector works by amplifying whatever is on your phone's screen. Project streaming shows, a slide show, and much more onto dorm room walls, a sheet hanging outside, and much more. The price is so nice you may want to get one for yourself!
A Stylish AirPods Case
Let's face it, your college student likely has their Airpods earbuds in 24/7. If you are looking for a great stocking stuffer, or hoping to have your student not lose their earbuds all the time, an Airpods case is a smart holiday gift. Not only will it make the case for the Airpods more visible, the case has a clip so it can be attached to their backpack, bag, or belt loops.
If you want to find the best quality and coolest looking Airpods and Airpods Pro cases, check out Case Mate. Offering cases designed by Rifle Paper Co., Lumee, Kodak, and Prabal Gurung as well as styles in leather, with cartoon characters, and with fun finishes, you can find a case that is the perfect choice for your college student. They even have a watch band holder to connect them to your Apple watch!
Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
For less than $30, your college student can upgrade their TV in their dorm, apartment, or even on vacation with the Fire TV Stick from Amazon. It plugs right into the HDMI port on the back of most TVs made in the past decade to be able to stream Prime, Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, HBO Max, Peacock, Spotify, Pandora, Sling, YouTube, and so much more. The remote makes it super easy to do all of this, even if one isn't terribly tech savvy.
JBL Clip 3 Waterproof Speaker
For less than $40, you get high-quality sound, Bluetooth capability, a waterproof casing making it great for the beach or even shower, and the convenience to clip it most anywhere. Durable, 10 hours of playtime, and available in a dizen different colors and prints.
Rapid Ramen Cooker
Ramen is a mainstay for college students, but can prove complicated without a stove. Enter Rapid Ramen, a way to make ramen in the microwave! Reusable for up to 5 years, the Rapid Ramen Cooker can make ramen in the microwave in just three minutes that has the same consistency and taste as ramen made on the stove.
Cooluli Mini Fridge
I have this one and can attest to the fact that it is awesome and that anyone who sees it wants it! It can be a desktop fridge to keep cans of soda or beer cold, a place to store skincare, and can even be a warmer to keep lunch the right temperature. Holds up to six 12 oz. cans. Ideal size for use at home, in the nursery, office or dorm room. The Cooluli Cooler & Warmer comes included with AC and DC power adapters – Easy to go from indoor 110V (AC) to car use by plugging the appliance into the car cigarette 12V (DC) adapter. Comes in a variety of colors as well as classic white and black so there is a style to fit anyone on your gift list.
Allbirds are cult-favorite shoes crafted out of with planet-friendly natural materials, like merino wool and eucalyptus trees. A certified B Corp, Allbirds cares for the environment; the company also donates shoes to those in need. Their Runners made out of super-soft merino wool have been nicknamed "the world's most comfortable shoes."
Now that you've heard of Allbirds you'll see them everywhere on some of the most stylish people. Heck, you may want to get a pair for your college student and a pair for yourself!
Fujifilm Instax Handheld Printer
This handheld SmartPhone can connect up to 5 phones to print, create collages, and customize photos with the ease of a highly-rated free app. Available in four colors, this is a gift that is fun for all ages, whether you are a college student, a teen, or adult!
These hand-poured soy wax candles offer a remedy for homesick senses. Available for all 50 states.
Custom Personalized Blanket
Every college student needs a throw blanket for extra warmth in the dorm, an impromptu picnic, watching the hottest show together in the common area, and for weekend getaways. And there's no better throw than one that is personalized for the owner! Baublebar has a great range of classic, fun, funky, neutral, and bold throw blankets that can be personalized with the recipient's name, initials, and more and they are all less than $80
AfterShokz Bone Conduction Headphones
AfterShoks headphones use bone conduction technology to deliver music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to ambient sounds for maximum situational awareness during long-term wear. These are great headphones for working out not only because the wearer can hear traffic and those around them, but they are also sweatproof, lightweight, flexible, and have a 6-hour battery. Highly rated and available in a variety of colors.
Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker
Great coffee while being small enough to fit in the most cramped of dorm rooms or the counter of the tiniest apartment kitchen. At less than 5" wide, this coffee maker has an auto-shutoff and can brew a cup that is 8, 10, or 12 ounces in size.
Magic Spoon Cereal
Cereal as a gift? Yes! This is one of the hottest food trends this year - Magic Spoon lets you enjoy the taste of your favorite childhood cereals with only 3g net carbs, 11g complete protein, 110 calories, and nothing artificial. You'll get major cool points for knowing about this product, and your college student will be grateful during an all-nighter study session or a case of the munchies.
PhoneSoap UV SmartPhone Sanitizer and Universal Charger
PhoneSoap’s revolutionary bacteria-zapping technology was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, tested and proven effective on the Discovery Channel. This unit houses two scientifically proven germicidal UV-C bulbs that completely sanitize your entire phone, killing 99.99% of all bacteria and germs. In addition, the unit offers one USB port and one USB-C port for charging.
The PhoneSoap 3 was created with smartphones in mind, but will sanitize anything that fits inside - pacifiers, smart watches, headphones, keys - you name it!
Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack
Highly rated for style, durability, and design, this water-resistant backpack from Dagne Dover is made from recycled water bottles available in three sizes and a multitude of colors. With places for a laptop, keys, small and large necessities, and even with a separate pouch for shoes or gym clothes, this is a bag that will go from class to gym to flights with ease.
I own this bag and it's my favorite for travel as well as working from a neighborhood coffee shop. My kid loves this bag for school, my husband has used it to pack up essentials for a weekend getaway.
A Planner from Appointed
Appointed is an Asian woman-owned paper goods company in DC. Everything is made right in our nation's capital, and the quality is stellar. Appointed's planners are brilliantly designed and high quality. The brand is very popular, and you are able to choose a range of sizes, colors, and even have the planner monogrammed. I have one myself and it keeps me on task and looks so chic when I pull it out of my bag to check my schedule!
Reusable Kodak Ultra F9 35mm Film Camera
Everything old is new again. If they're bringing back the fashions from the '90s it's no surprise other items from that period are back... and that includes film camera! This reusable camera from Kodak has a cool retro look to it, but plenty of tech like a wide-angle option, flash, and the ability to use color, black and white, or negative film. And in case you're wondering, drugstores like Walgreens and CVS still offer film processing!
A Treat from Goldbelly
Does your college student miss the iconic food from their home state? Want to relive that magical meal from your family summer vacation? Check out Goldbelly, where you can have your favorite foods from some of America's most iconic restaurants, bakeries, and food shops delivered to one's door. Search by region of the US, by cuisine, and more to get Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, Joe's Pizza in NYC, Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, and Pearl Snap Kolaches in Fort Worth delivered to where ever they may currently be.
You may also like: Gift Guide for Tweens and Teens Written by a Teen
This was so much fun to put together! I hope you find this gift guide for college students helpful. If you have given a great gift or received a great gift that would be good for a college-aged person, do share in the comments!
As a mom with 2 boys in college I appreciate that you have a list of items I haven’t seen on any other list AND all items are gender neutral. Thank you! Thank you!
I needed this – thank you! And I’m checking out that cereal for myself. 🙂
Karen W says
Camping hammocks and packable picnic blankets are a big hit with my college-aged daughter, especially now that Covid has moved ‘hanging out’ to the outdoors
Ann DD says
I see some great options here, even for people well into adulthood! Thanks for the updated list.
Mom shopping for her college son supports this list. Even though he’s in an apartment, many of these are still excellent ideas. He already has a waterproof JBL speaker and he never goes anywhere without it! Clothes and gift cards are always good but a ramen cooker wins the day!
This is such a great gift guide! I don’t have any college kids or young adults in my life, but I can tell how well thought out and great this is. I live that you put sustainable ethical companies in there and have a variety of price points!
My brother is now 25 and for the last … at least 6 years I’ve bought him a t-shirt for Christmas and for his birthday. I try to look out for ones during the year that have fun witty designs on – and because he hates shopping he’s doubly appreciative! (2x tshirts/year roughly keeps up with his rate of losing/ruining stuff..!)
I would second Scratchmap as being a great choice 🙂
Some great ideas here!
Pam S. says
Do not play Cards Against Humanity with your husband’s mother and auntie unless you know they are OK with offensive, dirty humor. It was mortifying. Considering the game has cards with dead prostitutes on them, I’d say this is R-rated at best. Also, it’s a riot of guilty hilarity if you don’t take it seriously. So, just beware.
Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen says
Bwhahaha I can imagine! But thank you so much for the PSA!!