Unless you’ve recently graduated from college, understanding what’s practical and necessary for college students in 2023 can be hard.
In just the last decade, technology and college curriculums have changed so much that it may feel like 50 years have passed instead of just 10. That’s why I sourced an actual college student for the gift ideas shared below.
Regardless of gender, major, or location, there’s something for everyone in this ultimate holiday gift guide for college students for 2023.
As a college student myself, I can say it is definitely hard to shop for college students.
Being that they’re in their late teens or early twenties, college students can be quite elusive when it comes to giving direct answers and preferences, whether it’s about “how those grades are”, or what they want for Christmas.
To address these challenges, I have created a list of 20 gifts for this holiday season that are bound to be loved by any college student.
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Sunrise Alarm Clock, Wake Up Light Dawn Simulator, Bedside Lamp Color Night Light with USB Charger, Sleep Aid, Sunlight Alarm Loud Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers Adults, Gift for Kids Teens Boys Girls
A fantastic alternative to a noisy, annoying alarm clock, this alarm clock wakes you up by simulating a sunrise at any time of the day, with the option to choose between a light-only alarm, or to combine the light with a sound of your choice.
With a weekly calendar, thermometer, USB port, 7 different colors and lighting modes, and white noise machine built-in, this alarm is easily one of the best on the market and is sure to be a great gift to any college student.
JBL Clip 3, Black - Waterproof, Durable & Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Up to 10 Hours of Play - Includes Noise-Cancelling Speakerphone & Wireless Streaming
Whether going to a party, meeting friends to hang out, or just singing in the shower, music is a must.
A perfect gift for music lovers, this portable Bluetooth speaker has incredible sound, a built-in clip to attach it to anything you like, and is waterproof. Perfect for any occasion, this portable speaker is a must for any college-aged music lover.
LAPGEAR Designer Lap Desk with Phone Holder and Device Ledge - Aqua Trellis - Fits up to 15.6 Inch Laptops - Style No. 45422
Perfect for students who don’t like to sit at a desk for an extended period, a lap desk offers a comfortable way to do school work while on a computer in the comfort of your bed, sitting up, or lying down.
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker with Black Lid Pitcher, 1 qt
For Gen Z, hot coffee is much less popular than cold brew.
Therefore a hot coffee maker like a Keriug may not be the best choice for a college-aged student. However, this cold-brew coffee maker by Takeya is a fantastic gift this holiday season for any cold-brew coffee fan.
Spikeball Standard 3 Ball Kit - Spikeball Game Set - Sports & Outdoor Family Games - Includes 3 Regular Balls, 1 Ball Net, Drawstring Bag & Rulebook - for Lawn Games
Spikeball came onto the scene of college campuses with a storm, due to its simple rules, compactness, and ease of setting up. A great gift for creating memories with friends and family, a Spikeball game set is a great option for competitive and sporty kids.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 Instant Camera - Pastel Blue
Instant cameras have made a huge comeback in the past few years.
They are a great way to capture memories through photos that can be printed right after taking them.
Since college is some of the most formative years of a person’s life, an instant camera is a fantastic gift to give a college student to help them capture these moments in physical pictures, not just digital ones on their phone.
BedShelfie Bedside Shelf for Bunk Bed & Top Bunk, College Dorm Room Essentials, Loft Bed Accessories, Clip On Nightstand Snack Organizer, Bed Side Table Tray Shelfie Storage - Cable Catch, White
When it comes to finding a place to put your phone, water, or anything else you need near you before you go to bed, a college dorm offers little to work with.
That is why the bed shelf, which attaches to the bed frame, has become so popular in colleges across America.
A cheap, and great alternative to a standing nightstand, a bed shelf is a must-have for all college students, especially ones living in freshmen dorms or Greek houses, where they may have to use a bunk bed.
NEW Bose QuietComfort Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones, Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones with Up To 24 Hours of Battery Life, Black
Earbuds may not be everyone's cup of tea, but students still need a way to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and more without using their phone's speaker to do so.
The Bose QuietComfort Headphones are the perfect alternative to earbuds. These wireless, noise-canceling technology, with 24 hours of battery life are one of the best headphones on the market and make a great gift.
Vitruvi Stone Diffuser, Ceramic Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser for Aromatherapy | Ceramic Diffuser, Diffusers for Home, Oil Diffuser, Room Decor | White, 90ml Capacity
A great way to keep any dorm or apartment smelling fresh, while using natural essential oils that are beneficial to one's health is to use a diffuser.
This stone diffuser is a beautiful piece of decor, that is simple to use, pretty to look at, and can make a whole apartment smell like anything one wants, from orange blossoms to peppermint, and so much more.
A good idea for any student who is a few years into their college journey, this diffuser is great because it is made to last, and will be perfect for a house or apartment or for when a student graduates.
Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 15.3-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 512GB SSD Storage, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Silver
One of the best gifts for those looking to spend a little extra this holiday season, a Macbook Air is perfect for the current college student.
With pretty much all writing assignments, and the majority of assignments, in general, being done and submitted electronically, having a high-quality laptop in college is vital.
Therefore, the MacBook Air is one of the best options for a college student.
Lightweight, simple to use, reliable, and one of the cheaper Macbooks, this is a perfect gift for any college student, or high school senior going to college next fall.
Determining what a college student really needs from this list can pose a challenge.
My recommendation is to select a few items you believe they would genuinely like as a gift and ask them directly about their preferences.
Whether you’re assembling these gifts into a care package or giving them in person during this holiday season, college students will undoubtedly love receiving any of these thoughtful gifts.
And, for those who may think some of these gifts are more grown-up, and still view their college student as a kid, it’s worth noting that the growth and maturation they can undergo in a single semester can be surprising.