image of drawn gifts

If you have a new college student on your holiday shopping list, read on. The first few months of college are a time of major transition for most, bringing all kinds of change, some of it unexpected. With the season of giving in full swing, here are eight useful gift ideas for that new college student in your life.

A photo book or album

Whether you’re giving to a fresh-from-high-school college student or someone going back to school later in life, photo albums are a thoughtful gift that truly keeps on giving. Photo printing websites like Shutterfly and Snapfish almost always have coupons and sales. Create a photo book or print some of your and your loved one’s memorable photos and assemble them into a keepsake they can browse through when they need a pick-me-up.

A recipe book (plus accessories)

Even if a college student is mostly eating on campus, who couldn’t use a little support in the kitchen? A recipe book like “The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook” makes an excellent gift, as does a homemade recipe book with some of your personal or family favorites. A few “must have” kitchen utensils would be a welcome addition—like a knife set, toaster oven, baking sheet, pots/pans, plastic containers for leftovers, or a can opener.

Rechargeable battery

Sure, it’s practical, but a rechargeable power bank with a USB port is certain to get a lot of use for a college student on the go. Search around a little to find one that is compatible with most smart devices so it can be used to recharge anything from the smartphone to speakers to a tablet.

A fun outing

By the time holiday break rolls around, many students are just plain wiped out. A relaxing and special day together (if you live nearby) is sure to be meaningful. It could be anything: dinner and a movie, coffee and a hike, or even a night out.

A laptop bag

Most college students already have a backpack, but after a few months of trekking around campus, there might be room for a second bag that steps up its game in the organizational department. Look for a laptop backpack or messenger bag with pockets for a tablet, laptop, and any books and files, as well as zipper pockets for pens, chargers, and other gear.

A coffee maker or teapot

It’s part of the “study culture” to make something caffeinated before hitting the books. For coffee lovers, a Nespresso or Keurig machine (with pods) makes an awesome gift. For those who like a stronger brew, a French press or automatic coffee maker is a perfect choice. An electric tea kettle and teapot with stainless steel infuser and lid is a great alternative for the tea drinker—and that kettle will come in handy for many other uses.

College apparel

Any college student will appreciate a sweatshirt, pair of sweats, hat, or other type of merchandise from their new college. Most bookstores have all kinds of options, and you can usually shop online if you’re not on campus often. (Head here if you’re shopping for an FRCC student!)

Sleep stuff

Eat, sleep, study, repeat: That’s the mantra of most busy college students, and too often, the sleep part takes a backseat when students are juggling so many other responsibilities. Gifts like a good pillow, a relaxing sleep mask, sleep headphones, and a sound machine will be a big win for those who need a little help making sleep a priority.

As with anyone to whom you give a gift, it is the thought that counts. For your college student giftees, think practical, time-saving, or comfort-inspired choices. This is an exciting, challenging, and totally new time of life. Choose a gift that shows you understand and support your friend or loved one as they navigate these new waters.

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