Twelve Awesome Gifts for Students this Holiday Season
December 3, 2014

As the dust settles in the aftermath of the Thanksgiving weekend, several analysts are sharing their numbers about how Holiday sales have been progressing this season. According to Ingrid Lunden:

  • E-commerce retail sales across the US and Europe were close to $130 billion – a record high
  • However, sales at physical stores for the same period dipped by 11 percent – from $57.4 billion in 2013 to $50.9 billion
  • Online sales in the US topped $1 billion on Thanksgiving and surpassed $1.5 billion on Black Friday – appreciating by 32 percent and 26 percent in comparison with 2013 respectively
  • Online sales this year touched an all-time high of $89 billion in comparison to the $78.7 billion mark of 2013 – up by 13 percent
  • The values of the average order on Thanksgiving and Black Friday were $125.25 and $129.37 respectively – dipping marginally by 1.8 percent and 4.4 percent from last year respectively

Thus, while the results are mostly positive, it appears that shoppers are exhibiting higher levels of patience as they wait for the right deal to show up.

As you go about preparing your shopping list for the holidays, you might be looking for something good to give your college student this year. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, here’s a list of gifts that you might want to check out.

1. A Portable Projector with a Wall-mounted Screen: Not all college students are interested in purchasing portable television sets. Many of them prefer catching up on their favorite shows and movies on their laptops. If this sounds like your college student, consider purchasing a portable projector with a wall-mounted projection screen. To catch their favorite shows on a big screen, students can simply mount the screen on the walls of the room, connect the projector and enjoy the action.

Price Range: $45 (for the projection screen) and $80 (for the projector)

2. Airplants (or Tillandsias): For the environmentally conscious, these trendy plants can be a great gift. Among the easiest plants to grow, these plants grow on another tree, host or object. They do not take in the nutrients from their host. Instead, they prefer to use the host as a home for growing on. Airplants have tiny vessels located throughout their leaves called trichomes. They use these vessels for capturing the nutrients and moisture from the air in the environment. Therefore, these plants could be simple and effective ways for decorating your room. At the same time, they will not need much by way of care and maintenance.

Price Range: $3 – $30

3. Trendy Sunglasses: Some of the branded sunglasses are quite expensive. However, have you considered purchasing sunglasses that were made of recycled bamboo? If not, check out these offerings from SOLO Eyewear. In addition to being environment friendly, each pair you purchase also helps in providing eye care to the underprivileged. The company provides these individuals with eye care solutions ranging from prescription glasses to eye-saving surgeries.

Price Range: $95 – $160

4. The Google Chromecast: This is ideal for students who like watching shows on the internet. All they need to do is to plug the Google Chromecast into their television sets. Then, they can sit back and enjoy shows from HBO, Netflix, GO, YouTube, Pandora, Watch ESPN etc. Chromecast works with Android tablets & smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Mac and Windows laptops. The Roku 3 Streaming Media Player offers a better streaming box with additional channels. However, it’s pricier than the Chromecast, at $85.

Price Range: $32 ($85 for the Roku 3 Streaming Media Player)

5. The Mophie Powerstation: Students these days rely a lot on their iPads, iPhones and other battery-operated devices. However, with life becoming increasingly fast-paced, not many students remember recharging their devices each time the battery charge drops. The Mophie Powerstation offers a 4000 mAh rechargeable power capacity with fast charging features. It can charge just about any USB device in the world.

Price Range: $80

6. A Tea Thermos: Many students might swear by their daily fix of coffee, but the number of students who love tea continues to increase. With the winters starting to come into their own, having a flask for keeping your tea hot can be quite handy. This is especially so when you’re outdoors in the cold. The Therm-O Tea / Water Thermos does not just keep your tea hot or cold when you’re on the move. It also comes with a removable, stainless steel strainer for the tealeaves. Made of double-paned glass, this thermos is comfortable to hold – regardless of the temperature of tea inside. It comes with a silicone seal for preventing leakage and can hold up to 500 ml of tea.

Price Range: $29

7. A Membership with Spotify: Many college students love their music. A premium membership with a digital music service might be the best gift you could give them. The Spotify premium membership enables members to stream or download millions of songs. Members can play any song anytime – without any ads or restrictions. That too, even when they’re offline.

Price Range: $10 per month

8. A Coffee (or Tea) Brewing System: For coffee lovers, the Keurig Coffee Maker is nothing less than a boon. It features a single-use water reservoir. When operating, it can brew a cup of your perfect beverage in under three minutes. All you need to do is to add water into the reservoir, pick your favorite K-Cup, brew your favorite beverage and savor it. You will need to purchase the K-Cups that contain the coffee or tea as well. In addition, consider purchasing the K-Cup Storage Drawer as well. It has a sliding drawer and can accommodate 36 K-Cup coffee pods.

Price Range: $75 (for the brewing system), $34 (for the K-Cups) and $17 (for the storage drawer)

9. Backpacks or Messenger Bags: College students often look for stylish and comfortable backpacks that can hold all their belongings. Herschel’s backpacks are quite popular and offer a wide range of colors and patterns. Or, if you’re looking for made-to-order messenger bags, consider checking out the products on offer from Timbuk2.

Price Range: $19 – $250

10. A High-Speed Blender: Many college students enjoy making smoothies. This Magic Bullet NutriBullet High-Speed Blender is ideal for them. It comes with a high-torque power base and a 600-watt motor. It can effortlessly pulverize fruits, vegetables, superfoods and protein shakes. The pack contains one tall cup, two short cups, one flat blade, one emulsifying blade, two re-sealable lids etc.

Price Range: $72

11. Amazon Prime Membership: Students get six free months of Amazon Prime membership, during which they can enjoy free two-day shipping. In addition, they can watch over 40,000 movies and TV episodes on their laptops or tablets with Prime Instant Video. They can also listen to over a million songs with Prime Music. Prime Photos allows them access to unlimited photo storage too. Once the six-month free trial expires, Amazon charges $49 per year for students. The Amazon Prime membership covers all the things that your college student will typically need. Your college student could save money on every order. In addition, your student could find all the supplies students need, ranging from textbooks and school supplies to groceries and electronic accessories.

Price Range: $49

12. The Space Bar: Not all college students have ample space on their tables for all their needs. The laptop and other peripherals could occupy enormous amounts of space, thereby leaving little space for other things. The Space Bar is a sleek desk accessory that helps minimize the clutter. It features a monitor stand that enables you to slide the keyboard into the space beneath the shelf. This allows you to keep other items, such as your keys, digital camera etc. on the top of the shelf. In addition, it comes with six additional USB ports too.

Price Range: $70

13. Bonus Gift Idea – A Student Loan Virtual Gift Card from

The numbers associated with national student loan debt continue to rise. The chances are that your college student might need a little push to get rid of that student loan as early as possible. Therefore, if none of the gifts listed above appeal to you, consider gifting your college student a student loan gift from

This student loan gift is nothing other than a digital gift card. The sender specifies the value of the card (from $5 to $500) and makes the payment. We credit the amount toward paying the recipient’s student loans. Therefore, the student loan gifts are similar to other cards – except that the money goes directly to the recipient’s student loan balance. Assuming that the average graduate with loans has a 5.4 percent interest rate with nine years left on the loan, a student loan gift worth $200 could yield a saving of $252 for your college student.

Given that the holiday season is just beginning, helping your college student achieve financial freedom might just be the best gift for your youngster. For more details on student loan gifts, click here.