Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Useful Holiday Gifts for College Students

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Finding the perfect gift is a challenge no matter who you might be shopping for.  In addition, after receiving a gift, it’s sometimes difficult to make sure it’s put to good use. I want to preface by saying I am beyond grateful for what I have received in my life. However, as part of a very large demographic of young college-aged women, there have been some misconceptions about what is the perfect gift for people like myself.  In my escapades to find the perfect gift for someone, I like to ask myself if what I’m thinking of buying is useful, I also like to ask the person what they might need that they might not already have. This way, whatever I may get them can be something they want and use! I have noticed that I’m not the only one who may have similar thoughts, so I present to you: The 2017 College Student Holiday Shopping Guide!


Instead of: Clothing that will see the closet walls more than streets.

Try: Wardrobe basics.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

Many people like to buy their loved one’s clothing, which is a sweet, personal gift. However, I’ve seen that lots of people tend to be very particular about clothing: what color works with their skin, their hair, the perfect fit, cuts, the list goes on. However, a lot of students (myself included) avoid buying essential clothing like v-necks or leggings because they think they’ll manage on what they have. Meanwhile, many people have very intricate pieces of clothing that have been hanging in the back of their closet that’ll most likely be worn twice.  Wardrobe essentials are always a safe choice that is bound to work for everyone!

Tip: Great gifts that will work for any up-and-coming professional is professional clothing. I’m talking blazers, blouses, work shoes, and the like! A great way to make a first impression on the job is dressing the part and feeling your best. Your college student will sure love being able to be their best without breaking the bank!


Instead of: Makeup products

Try: Makeup brushes

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

Just like with clothing, makeup and beauty products are very thoughtful gifts that could end up backfiring. It’s hard to figure out what shades and tones of eyeshadow or lipstick might work with your loved one’s features, but I can attest to the fact that one makeup essential we know we need but never buy are makeup brushes. Brushes work for everyone and often are a forgotten piece when going on a makeup buying spree and having a good quality brush makes all the difference when applying makeup.


Instead of: multiple gift cards to lots of different places.

Try: One gift card safe to use anywhere.

This is a controversial gift, as many people see gift cards as an impersonal and last minute, but from what I’ve witnessed, they always have a good use in some respect. While gift cards to specific places are great, they can be spent awfully quickly. For example, a gift card to the movies is a great treat, but it can be spent so quickly considering how expensive it is to go to the movies these days. Sometimes, a gift card is gone before you even finish one trip to a store. I’ve had lots of luck with giving my friends Visa, Discover, and Amazon gift cards because they can be spent however they like. They come in handy if you’re suddenly low on gas, are out of school supplies, or even just want a quick Starbucks pick-me-up!


Instead of: Leisure books

Try: Books involving life skills

I’ve been an avid reader for a long time, so much that you can even read about it in my blog Beach Reads and Beyond! However, as a student, there’s very little time to read and therefore, all my books pile up and create a huge mess. As a result, I haven’t needed to enter a bookstore in well over a year because I have enough books to keep me busy until my thirties. However, there are two things I’m often reading whether I like it or not. Every college student knows the pain of watching their bank accounts drop at the beginning of each semester to shell out money for textbooks they probably will only use a handful of times throughout the term. Knowing someone they love has their back every time they crack open a textbook they didn’t have to pay for is a great feeling. It’s a two way street for success: they’ll be happy with a slightly higher bank account and you’ll be happy you contributed to them getting better grades.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Tip #1: College students have eating habits unlike any other demographic, we either have zero time to eat for three days or we’re noshing on a whole pizza at 3 am. It’s pretty easy to get tired of campus dining options, so having the time to cook is a real treat. Cookbooks solve the problem of often resulting in the same old pasta option!

Tip #2: In our society, young people are always keeping up with the news and are often expected to because of their high media consumption. One of my new year’s resolutions is to find new ways to consume my news, so I’m going to try to read more physical magazines like Time or The Atlantic. Organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post often promote and encourage sponsoring a student subscription to their work so they can be informed members of society at a young age, it’s a simple gift that goes a long way.


Instead of: Sports or band memorabilia

Try: Tickets to experiences related to these passions

Similar to books, people’s passions take up a lot of space. It’s very easy to have the “dilemma of duplicates”: multiple copies of the same CD, sports team t-shirt, books, etc. To avoid this problem, a great alternative that will be unique no matter how many times one may have it is the opportunity to experience your passion in person! Tickets to museums for the art or history buff, sporting events, Broadway shows, and concerts and festivals for the summertime will easily give your college student something to look forward to and they’ll always remember the experience you gave them.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay


Instead of: Knick Knacks

Try: Future products for a future home!

I love fun decor as much as the next person, in fact, the seasonal aisle is where I spend most of my time in the supermarket. However, I dislike that it takes up space without having much of a purpose. I live off campus, and I’ve learned a lot about what’s needed to function a home as well as my parents do. In addition, although we hate to admit it, your college student will probably be moving out sooner than you expect, so while accepting this fact might be hard, it can be the beginning to a fun and sentimental journey. Bed Bath and Beyond has become a paradise for me and like a lot of people, Target runs are my main source of cardio. Often, when my housemates and I are faced with misfortunes, we wish we had certain items that are usually found in our family’s home. Gifts like cooking supplies, dishes, curtains, laundry steamers, and other things that are taken for granted every day will certainly help the struggling college student in your life.

Photo Courtesy of Kaboom Pics

Though this guide doesn’t cover every possible gift option, I’m sure that the special someone in your life will appreciate any of these suggestions. It makes their lives easier in the long run and they’ll always think of you when they use it! Happy Holidays!

Kimberly Donahue is a junior at Hofstra University majoring in broadcast journalism. She aspires to constantly be sharing the stories of people across the world as a broadcast news reporter for a major network, but for now is exploring other realms of journalism and writing about her other interests including reading, dreaming, science, and more. Currently, she is serving as the News Director for WRHU, Hofstra University's two time Marconi award winning station. When she's not on the go she's falling down a Wikipedia black hole, you can find her binge watching YouTube segments from late night talk shows.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️