Buying gifts for a College or University student can be tricky and while we all love a good gift card, sometimes you just wanna buy something that has a bit more thought and effort behind it.
A few days ago I posted my Stationery Gift Guide which is filled with gift ideas that would work for any student, but I also wanted to do a more through guide to help you buy something useful but also thoughtful for the student in your life. I’ve split the list up into four categories – lifestyle, homewares, study and miscellaneous – to help you find the perfect present!
Again, like all of my posts – any link marked with a * is an affiliate link!
PORTABLE PHOTO PRINTER/INSTANT FILM CAMERA
Technology has evolved to the point that we now always have a camera within arms reach but the downside to this is we no longer print out our photos and appreciate them. A portable photo printer, like the HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer* is the perfect gift for a student since it gives them a way to print out memories and appreciate them! If you want to go a little cheaper, the Instax Mini Camera’s* are super popular, too!
REUSABLE COFFEE CUP
Coffee is an essential as a student but disposable coffee cups are literally destroying the environment. In order to get that guilt-free caffeine hit, the perfect solution is a reusable coffee mug. My absolute favourite are the Keep Cups* because you’re able to customise it, there’s a variety of types and colours and you can buy individual pieces, so if you lose or break your lid, you don’t have to replace the whole cup!
Sometimes all you need after a long week filled with classes and deadlines is a little bit of self-care in the form of pretty smelling soap or a colour changing bath bomb. Lush are the master of cool bath goodies and they’re often slightly out of budget for students, which makes them a great gift! They have a bunch of different gift sets available for Christmas for a variety of budgets!
This is something that I will admit, you do need to approach with caution. Not everyone’s skin is the same and not everyone reacts in the same way to products but I feel like skincare is something students overlook because it’s not often that budget friendly. If you want to buy someone some skincare I’d highly recommend checking out the Skincare Addiction Reddit Forum as they have an amazing recommendations section, broken down into skin types and skin issues. Personally, I feel like you can’t go wrong with a product or two from The Ordinary as they’re not only super cheap, but there products are super simple and easy to use too!
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
If there’s one thing I know about students, it’s that we tend not to drink enough water. These days there’s so many cool, reusable water bottles out there but the S’well bottles* are ridiculously popular. They come in a variety of sizes and designs (You can even buy personalised bottles on Etsy!) which makes them the perfect gift for students!
WALLET OR CARD HOLDER
The thing about being a student is that you tend to amass a lot of cards – student ID, bus pass, public transport card, Bank card, store cards, the list goes on. A wallet is a nice gift, since it’s something that most people overlook buying for themselves in favour of buying other things. Personally I use, and love, my wallet from Guess* which has lasted me over four years now. A card holder* is also a handy gift for those who don’t want to carry cash or want to carry their cards separately. There’s a lot out their on the internet, ranging from the super expensive to the super cheap, so you’re bound to find one that fits into your gift buying budget!
NETFLIX OR SPOTIFY PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION
All work and no play leads to student burnout, so the perfect gift for a student is a Netflix or Spotify Premium subscription, obviously! Not overly expensive and there’s several plans to fit every budget, buying the student in your life a Netflix or Spotify Premium subscription will definitely go down a treat!
PERSONALISED PHONE CASE
There’s always that one person that has everything and is ridiculously hard to shop for. Enter, the personalised phone case to save the day! My favourite place to buy phone cases is Casetify, who not only have a huge range of cases for a variety of technology, but they also do personalised cases! A perfect and unique present for anybody!
I feel like once you hit 20, gifts like pyjamas, socks and underwear are finally appreciated because they’re things you don’t want to spend your own money on. This makes them the perfect present for cash-strapped students! My all time favourite place to buy pyjamas is Peter Alexander. They have the nicest, softest most comfortable pyjamas that don’t fray, break down or fade in two or three washes. They also not only stock the basics but have changing ranges based upon current trends!
There’s nothing nicer than getting into bed with brand new, clean bedding. Alas, this is another one of those things that us students don’t tend to buy ourselves very often. A set like this one* makes the perfect present to help change up a dorm room or bedroom and makes decorating super easy since it’s all together! If you don’t want to go all out, a new duvet cover* or comforter also make good presents, as do novelty pillow cases*!
Students spend a lot of time at a desk, so what better present than a desk organiser? My personal favourites are the acrylic desk organisers* but I also love these sets from OfficeWorks that not only have desk organiser but also a pen organisers, paper organiser and a magazine holder. Cheap and useful, there’s no student out there wouldn’t appreciate a desk organiser this Christmas.
There’s no better way to decorate a dorm room or first apartment than wall prints! Redbubble is a hugely popular site for inexpensive prints and there’s so many different ones! From quotes, fandom favourites and illustrations, you’ll find something for everyone! Bonus if you add in some 3M hooks or velcro and a frame to make displaying the print even easier!
Everyone loves a fluffy throw blanket* and if they say they don’t, they’re lying. A cute and stylish way to jazz up a dorm room, bedroom or even living room, a throw blanket is a cheap and cheerful gift that every college or university student will love. Obviously there’s a million out there, but I’m low-key in love with this bulky knit one*… hint, hint family.
I’m a huge fan of fairy lights. They’re just super pretty, super cheap and they make a space feel so comforting and cosy! My favourite are these copper string lights*, which I currently have draped over my bedhead but there are so many out there – from novelty, to colourful, to classic, fairy lights are such a cute gift to jazz up any space!
Candles are a inexpensive and easy gift for everyone! I’m not going to reccomend any since there’s a million places out there you can buy them from but I will say, if you’re a fellow Australian, the Target three wick candles are not only super cheap, they also smell amazing! Definitely pick some up if you can!
I said it above, and I’ll say it below in a moment, students love caffeine. Coffee mugs are a cute, budget gift that you really can’t mess up. You can choose between fandom mugs*, comedy mugs*, or even just a set of classic mugs for the student who may have moved out into their own place for the first time!
My caffeine addiction is clearly showing in this gift guide but goodness me, coffee makers are glorious. Buying a student a coffee maker is an extremely thoughtful gift, you’re not only helping them survive the long nights and early mornings but you’re also helping them save money and reducing environmental waste from disposable cups! I personally have a Nespresso Machine* and I adore it so much but a smaller and cheaper machine much like this* would be perfect for most people!
Being a student means that you’re constantly busy. This is when a planner comes in handy. There are a whole lot of planners out there to fit into every budget but you can’t really go wrong with the basic ring binder style planner*. They come in variety of colours and designs, the inserts are customisable and when the end of the year rolls around, you can replace the inserts and continue using the planner!
I’m not gonna talk about this one too much because I already have a whole gift guide dedicated to talking about giving stationery as a gift but I don’t think there’s a student out there who wouldn’t appreciate some new pens!
LAPTOP CASE OR SLEEVE
A laptop case or sleeve is the perfect gift for a student! We all tend to carry our laptops everywhere with us and as such, they need to be properly protected! I use this really pretty laptop case from Typo* but I’m also really in love with these clip on hardcases* that customise and protect Macbook’s. Laptop Sleeves* are also great as they offer protection without being bulky and they’re super cheap!
There’s nothing worst than your phone dying in the middle of a long day of classes. That’s why it’s handy to have a portable phone charger*. There’s are a great gift because they’re just so useful and anyone can use them, provided you have the right cord! Perfect for students who have long days or for those of us who are known to be pretty useless at charging our phones!
Printers these days are so cheap and if you’re a fan of printing notes instead of handwriting, then owning a printer can save you a lot of money printing on campus! I’ve loved and used both Canon and Epson in the past, but you can’t really go past the HP Deskjet for $35*!
Again, another really practical gift for students. I’d reccomend giving some noise cancelling headphones* for those hardcore library study sessions but if they don’t fit into your budget, a simple pair of in ear headphones* work great for a multitude of purposes!
I’m a recent convert to the backpack as my university bag after being a long time tote user. A practical but useful gift, I highly recommend the Mimco Backpacks if you can splurge but if you’re looking for something a little more budget friendly, these laptop bags* are practical and cute!
Everyone has a laptop at college and university, so why wouldn’t you decorate it and make it unique? Etsy has a huuuuuge range of Macbook and laptop decals, as do Ebay, so you’re guaranteed to find something to fit the person you’re shopping for!
EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
An extremely practical gift but so, so useful! External Hard Drives* are one of those things that are often overlooked when shopping for school supplies and then when you have the misfortune of losing a 5000 word essay the night before it’s due, you wish you had bought one and backed up all your hard work. 1TB is more than enough for the average person, obviously this depends on what you’re studying or putting on it!
CONTRIBUTE TO A BIG EXPENSE
Being a student means you’re always on a budget. Big expenses can be hard to manage and often come at the worst of times, so if you’re out of ideas, ask if there’s something you can help contribute to. Things like car servicing, new laptops or computers, textbooks, student loans, deposit for a rental or even flights home for the holidays are all big expenses as a student and having someone contribute can make a huge difference.
Small but always appreciated! Buying someone their favourite candy always goes down well!
If the person you’re buying for is an avid reader, you really can’t go wrong with buying a book or two! My favourite cheap bookstores are Amazon* and bookdepository.com and if you want to be super thoughtful, buy them or one of your favourite books and write in the cover the reasons why you think they’d enjoy it too! Easy, cheap and thoughtful!
If you want to do something special, organise a weekend away! It doesn’t have to be far, or expensive but sometimes a night or two away from the stress of school, work and home is the perfect thing to unwind! Add in a cheap hotel or motel, some good company and some chocolate and you’ve got the perfect weekend to remember forever!
DONATE TO A CHARITY IN THEIR NAME
If you cannot think of anything else to buy, this is a really thoughtful idea. Perfect for the person who has everything, donating to a local charity in someones name is really sweet and benefits someone in need! Extra brownie points if it’s to a charity that the person strongly supports!
There you go! My 2018 College Student Gift Guide! If you’re a student, let me know what you think of this list and if what you’re asking for Christmas in the comments below!