Tips for Parents

Holiday Gift Guide for College Parents

While your student might still appreciate getting the kinds of toys they loved when they were young, their tastes and needs have probably changed a little since they started college. As you start your holiday shopping, you may need to think outside the box to ensure your student receives something they love. Here are some great gift ideas that will help you hit the sweet spot between practicality and fun.

A goodie basket from home
Homemade goodies from home are always appreciated, whether as a care package or a holiday gift. Make some of your daughter’s favorite homemade treats. Fill a basket with local foods she loves. Don’t forget to make enough to share.

New smart phone, tablet or e-reader
College students rely on their smart phones more than ever. If your student’s smart phone is more than a few years old, chances are a new one would be a welcome holiday gift. A tablet can also be a gift that is both useful and entertaining. Many students use them in class to take notes or look up information, plus outside of class there are plenty of fun applications. An e-reader like a Kindle or Nook can also be a great tool for college reading.

College essentials
You probably sent your college student off with plenty of paper, pens, pencils and other essentials, but by this point in the year these items might be running low. Put together a gift basket filled with college essentials, and add a few gift cards to make it even more special.

Dorm room decor
While most dorms come with the basic furniture your student needs, they probably don’t have all of the conveniences of home. Help make your son’s dorm room comfortable with things like a mini-coffee maker, a new clock radio or a set of Bluetooth speakers.

Cash with a twist
Most college student need cash, but money can feel like an impersonal gift. Be creative by stuffing a new wallet with cash, movie tickets, gift cards and other fun surprises.

A plane ticket home
If your budget can handle it, a plane ticket home is sure to be a welcome surprise. If coming home was already the plan, you can purchase a voucher your college student can use for a fun spring break trip.

These ideas should give you a good start for your holiday shopping. Use your imagination, have fun, and think about the things your college student really wants and needs. Being away at college can be stressful and lonely. The right holiday gift can make those college days a lot more fun.

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter for additional tips and advice to help your college student succeed. You can also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our College Parents’ Facebook group. 

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