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2011's Best Christmas Gifts for College Students

Updated on November 27, 2011

As the Christmas season looms, it's time to begin thinking about the kid who has everything except last week's homework. College students can be notoriously difficult to shop for, but this list offers ideas ranging from the latest technological trends to old staples. No matter your price point, Christmas can still be a magical time for the new adults in the family.

Livescribe Smartpen

This pen is a true marvel and a major study aid for those who appreciate it's capabilities. Not only does it function as an actual pen, it also records the strokes of letters and can upload them to a computer later. This means that students are now able to organize their notes digitally, search, and print them as needed. They can also record lectures while they write, up to 800 hours of audio at a time, and play them back either manually or by tapping the notes taken while recording. It's hard to describe just how great this pen is. You can install apps on it, like a dictionary or calculator, and the seamless technology makes it a dream to use. I love mine and recommend it to everyone who wants to add a new level of organization to their studies.

Digital Cameras

Smart phone cameras are improving with every generation, but nothing beats a real camera. College students are forming new memories every day, and with the rise of social networking, they love to share. Cameras are a great way to record events, people, and friendships for years and decades to follow.

A basic, small point and shoot is best for captures on the go; students can grab it before they leave without needing to worry about lenses or bulk interrupting the fun. However, if your student is a photography enthusiast or just a bit arty, you may want to consider upgrading to a mega-zoom or DSLR. Whether the photos are bound for Facebook or the school paper, students are bound to love having a camera around.

Dorm Organizers

Dorms tend to be cramped affairs, and are not conducive to neatness. Help your student with these compact storage tools, including a shoe rack, drawers, clothing hampers, and a shelf. Everything can be stowed under a bed or hung on the wall for maximum efficiency, freeing up space and preventing lost papers under piles of clothing. College students aren't renowned for their cleaning prowess, give yours a kick-start with these handy organizers!

The Staple-Free Stapler

College students print out and turn in a lot of assignments, but what happens when you run out of staples or forget to staple the assignment? With a staple-free stapler, it's never an issue! This nifty little device tears small strips of paper from the edge of the document and then uses them to tie up to five pieces of paper together. It's eco-friendly and surprisingly sturdy. I use one for all of my assignments and couldn't be happier with it.

A Mini-Fridge

Great for long nights spent studying, the mini-fridge keeps lunches, sodas, and maybe even fresh fruit (ha!) fresh in a tiny dorm. Small enough to fit under a bed, a mini-fridge will keep your student fueled through exam week and prevent cold, late-night trips to the student store for a refreshing Coke.

Bicycle Spoke Lights

Cars are expensive to run and find parking for. College kids often find that bicycles are a far better form of transportation. However, bikes aren't always safe on streets, especially at night. Spoke lights not only look cool, they also warn drivers of a cyclists like simple reflectors can't.

The Pocket Ref

Everything you could ever need to know is somewhere in this book. Conversions, maps, tables, graphs, and text all work together to provide even the most obscure of information. Average monthly temperatures by state? Check. Metal properties? Check. Knot instructions? Hand signals? Military Ranks? Shoe sizes in Europe versus America? Check. There are over 500 pages in this compact little book, all packed full of information. I recommend this not just for students, but for anyone who has ever had a question they needed an answer to.

New Dorm Bedding

As winter gets chillier, students may begin looking at their worn blankets and find them sadly wanting. One of the best gifts you can give is a new bedding set, for a fresh, warm start to the new semester.

Students may be tough to find gift ideas for, but you can't go wrong with study aids, goody baskets, and productivity tools. Remember, have fun with gift buying, and don't stress too much! Their best gift will be seeing friends and family again over winter break.


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