10 A+ Christmas Gift Ideas for Students

November 28, 2023
Gift Ideas
jason wolfe
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When it comes to shopping for students, well… grown ups can be clueless. After all, if your student is out of the house, you’re probably lucky if they even pick up the phone to call you more than once a week. It’s an exciting time in life – full of adventure, full of potential, maybe so full that they don’t have time to keep you as updated as you would like to be.

But regardless of what electives they picked for next semester and who they’re in the  “talking” phase with right now, there are some gifts that will be a hit with any student, end of story. We’ve scoured the internet to find the best Christmas gift ideas for students so you don’t have to!

1 - DoorDash

Brain Food for Those Late Night Study Sessions, And Comfort Food for When They’re Missing Home

Buy an Uber Eats gift card or DoorDash gift card

The hungry college student is more than just a myth. Even with parents helping out, that money they saved up for the school year dwindles quickly. And since not every meal in the dining hall is exactly a delicacy, a gift card to their favorite (or most available) food delivery service will be very much appreciated.

They can order a protein-packed burrito bowl from Chipotle after a long sweat sesh at the gym. Or maybe a steamy bread bowl of tomato soup from Panera to chase off the winter chill. It may not be as good as home good as home cooking, but it’s definitely a step up from what they’re normally having, which is why this on clocks in as are #1 gift idea for students.

Buy a digital Uber Eats gift card or digital DoorDash gift card

2 - Tickets to an Event in Their College Town

Concerts and Sporting Events and Comedy Shows, Oh My! 

Help them get to know their college town before it’s time to leave.

They might be at school to study, but everyone’s gotta relax every now and then in order to be their most productive. Four years seems like a long time, but it goes by so fast. Before they know it, they’ll be packing up their dorm room and moving on to wherever the job market takes them… which means the time to explore their college town is now, not later.

Students living in a major city should have easy access to cultural events like professional sports games, concerts, and even comedy shows. Even campuses in the middle of nowhere have their share of live events – if they want to get out of Happy Valley when the population more than doubles for game day, they can take a little road trip to the nearest city for a day. 

GiftYa Recommends: Complete the gift with a StubHub gift card so that they can choose their next adventure themselves.

3 - College Gear

Students Always Appreciate Nice New School Gear

This Vintage Pitt Panthers sweatshirt from 1965 is a little more unique than the plain t-shirts they sell at the school store – and we’d bet any college kid would be thrilled to have something like this in their closet. Image courtesy Vintage Brand.

College game day is a pretty big deal. Your student’s school might even bus kids to the away games to support their teams. And the biggest rule of college game day? You better bring your school spirit along with you… including in your outfit. 

Even when their team isn’t on the field, court, or ice, college gear is the official uniform of college classes. Classrooms and dorm rooms can get chilly, so having some extra layers never hurts. Above, the brand makes vintage-style shirts and sweatshirts for many American universities like the Alabama Crimson Tide, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Princeton Tigers, Villanova Wildcats, and many more. 

The University of Pittsburgh design above is from 1965 and features their mascot Panther leaping into action over the college’s name.

4 - Apple

For All Their Tech Needs, Work and Play

Grab an Apple gift card

Apple is certainly the more expensive option in just about every category – Macbooks vs other laptops, Apple Music vs Spotify. But those higher price tags mean exceptional quality. One Apple laptop should last your student through their entire college career – even if they matriculate a Master’s Degree, too. 

The best thing about an Apple gift card, though, isn’t the quality of the computers – it’s how very many things you can spend an Apple gift card on. Your student can pick up accessories like an Apple Pencil or some AirPods, buy games or study apps in the App Store, upgrade their low-fi study beats with Apple Music, or get an Apple TV+ subscription to catch the latest releases, featuring massive star power like:

Grab a digital Apple gift card

5 - Upgrade Their Tech

Trade in Those Worn Out Laptops and Tablets and Phones

Better tech means better work and better play for students – whether it’s taking notes, video chatting home, or playing video games to unwind after class and homework are finally done for the day.

While it’s a relatively new feature of higher learning, technology features heavily in a modern college curriculum. Whether it’s using Matlab to graph equations or a laptop to write lit essays, it’s going to come into play at some point during your student’s university career. Universities have computer labs, but if you are in a position to upgrade your student’s technology, it’s an investment that will certainly make their academic life easier for the duration of their degree.

But beyond getting a new computer or a new Texas Instruments calculator, smaller tech upgrades can have a big impact on a student’s physical and mental health. A smart watch can help them make sure that they’re squeezing some movement in between chapters or guide the through breathing exercises to help them destress.

Music and reading are also great for mental health, so a tech gift like an MP3 player (yes, one that’s not attached to their phone with all it’s social media and distractions) or an eReader so your book worm can get some fun reading in as well.

GitYa Recommends: A Best Buy gift card is another great Christmas gift idea for students because it gives them the freedom to pick out their next tech upgrade when they need it. 

6 - Cool Analog Planner

There’s Something to Be Said for Writing Things Down

A physical planner can help your student stay focused and stay on top of their deadlines better than a digital planner can. Image courtesy Plum Paper.

There are lots of great digital planner tools – iStudiez Pro is the top dog, if your student doesn’t have it – but there’s something to be said for offline planners, too. Studies have shown that there’s greater brain activity after writing on paper than writing on a digital device like a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Translation? Your student will remember their schedule, appointments, and to-dos better if they put them in an old school planner.

This doesn’t have to be a boring gift, though. There are plenty of cool planner companies (not an oxymoron) out there that allow your student to customize it exactly to their needs. 

Papier planners come equipped with sections to help your student focus on what’s important, like Monthly Goals and Top Priorities

Plum Paper on the other hand has modular planners that can be customized from cover to cover, with optional pages for Ideas, Plans, and Goals, Contacts, Passwords, and even Pocket pages to hang onto reminder cards and other important things.

The Hero’s Planner turns your student’s to-do list into an adventure. With 52 weekly spreads and a multiverse-hopping storyline played out on color-able pages throughout the book, your student will have more fun than ever using a planner (and completing side quests).

7 - Calm

Keep Your Student Calm During Midterms and Finals Stress

Buy a Calm gift card

In a Gallup survey of 2,400 college students, 66% reported feeling stressed – in itself not necessarily a bad thing. Healthy stress can motivate you to achieve your goals. But 51% also said that they feel stressed “a lot during the day,” which might explain why the Stress in America report found that 46% of adults aged 18-35 are “so stressed they can’t function” most days. Yikes.

Part of college is learning to cope with stress and other emotions. One way to combat those difficult feelings is meditation using a tool like Calm. Calm’s users report:

And more, making it a gift that’s helpful for a student and will teach them valuable skills they’ll carry their whole life long.

Buy a Calm gift card

8 - Spotify

For Those Low-Fi Study Beats

Send a Spotify gift card

Does music help you study? Research is mixed, but it seems to come down to the type of music being played and individual preference. Reducing stress helps with memory and processing so, it might just help your student pull those As.

The best music for studying includes:

Send a Spotify gift card

9 - Lyft

Get Them Home Safely Every Time

Buy an Uber gift card or Lyft gift card

If we’re being realistic about the modern college experience, for most students, partying is a part of the picture. So make sure that whether they’re studying late at the library or they’re out on the town with friends, your student always has a safe ride home.

When you give them an Uber or Lyft gift card, they’ll have access to an on-demand designated driver. That means you’ll never catch them hopping in the car with a friend who shouldn’t be driving, or getting behind the wheel when they’re not in good shape themselves.

Buy an Uber gift card or Lyft gift card

10 - Visa

Give the Gift of Cash (Basically)

Build a custom Visa gift card

Accepted anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted, giving a Visa gift card is like giving cash, only it looks a lot nicer. With Gift Card Granny’s build a card feature, you can create a gift your favorite student will love in no time. Choose from an expert created design or add your own photo and message – maybe a nice family photo, or a not so subtle reminder to study hard? 

Most custom gift cards print the same day and ship out the next, so you’ll have the ultimate secret santa gift in hand before you can sing Mariah Carrey’s Christmas classic All I Want for Christmas Is You.

Build a custom Visa gift card

And that’s a wrap on our top Christmas gift ideas for students!

Upgraded tech to college town events, music to meditation to mmmrideshare apps, we’ve covered some gifts that we think any student would be happy to have. And don’t forget that if none of these feel like quite the right fit, you can visit the full GiftYa catalog for more – from their favorite local burger and fries joint to the national brand that makes their favorite gym clothes.

 Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season. Happy shopping!

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Written by

Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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