11 Fun (and Practical) Gifts Your College Student Will Love

November 12, 2021

Sometimes it's difficult to buy for your college student when they live minimally in the college dorm. That was my challenge while my oldest was away at college. Those dorm rooms are only so big. If that is your dilemma, never fear -- I have found some fun, yet practical gifts your college student will love. They are small enough to pack and take back to college -- or they can show up later at their dorm room door.

Oh, and the disclaimer. Yes, there are links that if you click and decide to buy, I get that very small commission from Amazon. But hey, it all helps. Other links are simply for ideas and your convenience.


 Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Kitchen Helpers

On weekends it’s hard to get up early and make it to breakfast. A mini waffle maker can make a convenient breakfast (or lunch), and they won’t have to leave the dorm. The Dash Mini Waffle Maker from Amazon comes in several colors, has a 4.5-star rating, and is affordable at $17.99.  Walmart has not only a mini waffle maker but a waffle stick maker and even an animal circus waffle maker! To complete the gift, add a bowl, whisk, and some packages of easy waffle mix. Try the Birch Benders Waffle mix. All that has to be added is water.   

If your student doesn’t have a microwave in their room, a small popcorn maker will be fun for them and their roommates too!  The Presto PopLite Hot Air Popcorn Maker pops fast and doesn’t require oil. With a bag of popcorn kernels, it will be less expensive than microwave popcorn.

Most college dorms provide a mini-fridge. But if your student lacks this item, consider an affordable mini fridge/cooler combination that they can use in their room or while on the go.

A mini Keurig is a popular request for today’s college students! Available in several colors, choose the best one that matches your student’s dorm décor. Have a box of assorted coffees sent to their college address, and they will be ready for next semester!

Mini blenders are popular for college students to make their own smoothies and protein shakes in their room before heading to morning classes. An affordable choice is the Hamilton Beach Personal Blender. It gets the job done when making simple shakes and smoothies.


Indoor light strands are the latest dorm room décor trend. They provide a relaxing atmosphere and aren’t intrusive to roommates. A rechargeable book light with 3 brightness settings (plus case and cable) will be helpful on late study nights.  

Food Delivery

Sending pizza, Dash or Uber Eats gift cards anytime will be appreciated – especially when it’s a weekend that your student has to hunker down and study.

Cozy Lounging

With the colder weather approaching, a soft fleece throw blanket can be welcome when the dorm is chilly. A red buffalo print sherpa fleece or a waffled texture fleece blanket in their favorite color are great ideas, both under $20.

Loungewear is the most popular clothing at college. Pick comfortable sweats (for guys) and leggings (for gals) that are also appropriate to wear to class. For colder areas of the country, look for sherpa-lined sweats and hoodies.

Subscription Boxes

One of the best gifts that show you care are the unexpected care packages. Treat your student to a monthly or bi-monthly snack subscription box, so their cabinet is stocked every month! Choose one of the subscription boxes through Amazon or get other ideas from the My Subscription Addiction blog, where they have rated the best snack subscription boxes for 2021. You can pick the fancy or not-so-fancy box – whatever best fits your student.

Want to Save Money on Shopping? 

Use the Honey browser extension! With this extension in your browser, it will not only let you know if there is a coupon or better price somewhere else on the internet, but as a member, you earn points at hundreds of stores, regardless if there is a sale. For every 1,000 points you earn, you’ll get a $10 gift card to a favorite store. Get all the details at the Honey website. The service is free and can be used on your favorite web browser.

What has been your favorite item to send back with your college student after the holidays? Tell me in the comments below! 


1 comment:

  1. This is a really good list! I'll be sharing as thave a number of friends with college kids.

    And some of the ideas would work well for my studio too.


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