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10 Of The Best Gifts For College Students: 2011 Holiday Gift Guide

December 1, 2011

It’s now December, which means that Christmas is only a few short weeks away. If you have any college students on your list (or soon-to-be college students), trying to figure out what to get them can be challenging. Well not to worry, because we’ve got you covered. Below are 10 awesome gift ideas for college students, with prices ranging from just $5 all the way up to a few hundred dollars. As a current college student, I can assure you that I personally would love to recieve any of the gifts on this list.

Magazine Subscription

Price: $5-$20

The best thing about giving someone a subcription is that the gift can last all year long. And although everyone is talking about digital magazines these days, it’s hard to beat the price of a paper magazine subscription (not to mention what happens if you spill coffee on it). Amazon currently has some pretty impressive deals on subscriptions, with prices as low as $5. It’s also just fun to receive mail when you are living away from home.



Netflix Subscription

Price: $7.99 for 1 month, $95.88 for 12 months

Like magazine subscriptions, a Netflix gift subscription is nice because it can last for the entire year. Netflix provides thousands of movies and television episodes, which can be streamed to laptops, smartphones, and televisions. On campuses across America, when a certain movie or tv show is referenced, a common follow-up question is: “Is it on Netflix?” Yep, Netflix is a pretty big deal to college students.


Target Gift Card

Price: Up to you.

Giving a gift card to a store such as Target can be a great idea, because it acts as the Swiss Army Knife of gift cards. If a college students needs some food, or laundry detergent, or video games, or whatever, a Target gift card is the perfect solution.


Water Bottle

Price: $10-$20

Many campuses are working to reduce plastic water bottle consumption, and in doing so they are installing water bottle refill stations. A high quality water bottle is a great way to ensure adaquette water intake, without the high cost of disposable water bottles.


iTunes Gift Card

Price: $15+

An iTunes gift card is to media consumption what a Target gift card is to food consumption. The nice thing about an iTunes gift card is that it can be used to purchase anything from the plethora of Apple’s media offerings. Whether a college student wants to rent a movie, buy a new music album, or catch up on a television show, an iTunes gift card is the easiest way to go. There are also many iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps that are super handy for college students, all of which can be purchased with, you guessed it, an iTunes gift card.



Bulk Granola Bars

Price: $15+

It may seem silly to give someone a big box of granola bars for Christmas, but it won’t when one of the granola bars, hastily thrown into a backpack, means the difference between energy to study and a 2 day fast. Granola bars also decrease a students dependency on on-campus food offerings, which are pretty much always a rip-off.

High Quality Earphones

Price: $30+

Anyone who has stepped foot on a college campus sometime in the last five years will attest to the fact that 90% of everyone on campus has headphones in. Headphones are definitely quite handy when it comes blocking out background noise while studying. Here’s the thing about the headphones that came with your iPod or smartphone, however: they suck. Not only is the sound quality bad, but they can actually increase the liklihood of hearing damage. Why? High quality earphones are much better at blocking outside noises, which means that you don’t need to turn up the volume quite as high on your device. Contrast that with low quality “included” earbuds, which I usually have to crank up most of the way to drown out the girls next to me in the library talking about Twilight. Any college student will thank you for some high quality earbuds, and there are even several sets with built in remotes, good for controlling an iPod or smartphone without removing it from your pocket.

Topo Designs Backpack

Price: $90

I came across this backpack a few days ago, and was struck with how well it is designed. Topo designs makes extremely high quality gear, and this backpack is minimalistic, while at the same time containing pockets for the four primary things that college students carry around with them: a laptop, smartphone, notebook, and writing utensil.


Amazon Kindle

Price: $79-$199

Amazon recently released a brand new line of Kindles, and they are making quite a splash. The cheapest $79 Kindle is the smallest and lightest Kindle ever, and is a great go-to option for students who want to try out Amazon’s recently announced Kindle textbook rentals. Amazon also released a Kindle Touch, which starts at $99 and features a touch-screen display, a great feature for readers who like to take lots of notes. Lastly, Amazon also released the Kindle Fire, their $199 7 inch color tablet aimed to take a swing at the iPad market. Though the Kindle Fire isn’t too great for productivity or reading, it seems to have hit a homerun with those looking to stream a movie or play Angry Birds.


Apple iPhone 4S

Price: $199-$850

Apple’s latest iPhone is its fastest selling device ever, and for good reason. The camera on the iPhone 4S is exceptionally good, with video and photo quality that rivals compact point and shoot camera. The 4S also features Siri, the voice-activated “digital assistant” that allows a user to dictate an email, add a reminder, and check the weather, all simply by speaking to the iPhone. Prices range from reasonable ($199-$399 if contract-subsidized) to quite high ($649-$849 if purchased outside of a contract). With thousands of useful productivity and education centered apps, not to mention Siri, the iPhone 4S is definitely one of the best all-around gadgets for college students.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ben permalink
    December 10, 2011 3:09 am

    DO NOT give a Netflix gift subscription. Your recipient will be required to enter THEIR credit card information (a prepaid credit card won’t work) which will authorize Netflix to charge for the subscription after the gift subscription runs out unless they remember to cancel first.

    • daniel permalink
      December 12, 2011 10:26 am

      Thanks for the info! This is definitely something to keep in mind before gifting a Netflix subscription; surely some people will mind this step, while others won’t.

  2. December 13, 2011 4:24 pm

    Awesome post. I really like the backpack.

    • daniel permalink
      December 13, 2011 4:28 pm

      Thanks! Isn’t that backpack so cool? I’ve been debating whether to buy it ever since I first laid eyes on it :)

  3. December 24, 2011 1:57 pm

    Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing in your feed and I hope you write once more soon!

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