Cool Presents for College Students – for $100 or Less

Barry Lenson

Cool Presents for College Students – for $100 or Less

If you’re clueless about what to buy a college student for the holidays, your friends at StraighterLine are happy to offer some advice.

The first thing is, stay away from technology. Grandparents, be warned. You probably think it is a nifty idea to give something high-tech, like computer speakers or a solar cell phone charger. Don’t, because chances are pretty good that you will buy the wrong thing. The only safe way to buy technology is to ask your student exactly what he or she wants. (Don’t ask the student’s parents, they don’t know either.) Even better? Give a gift card to someplace like BestBuy. 

The second thing is, stay away from boxed DVD sets. Sure, they were a great gift idea three years ago. But today, college students are watching everything they want over the Internet and your boxed season of “Grey’s Anatomy” is going to look a little lame.

But don’t give up. Here are some safer gift choices – all priced at less than $100:

A refillable Starbucks Card. You can buy one in a Starbucks location, or order one online. Let’s face it – all college students need to stay caffeinated. The cool thing about this card is, you can go online and add more funds to it when it runs low – or at birthdays or other special times.

An gift card – In case you haven’t noticed, now sells everything from college textbooks to futons. That’s why virtually all college students shop there – and why an gift card can’t miss.  You can even go online and have a virtual gift card emailed to your recipient. What could be easier than that?

A neck pillow – Students study in the weirdest positions, usually while lying down. That’s why an orthopedic neck pillow makes such a great gift. There are many models available – some made from memory foam, some packed with buckwheat. One good choice: A Homedics Neck Support Pillow for only $19.00.

A shaving kit or shower caddy – Most students have to schlep down dorm hallways to take showers, usually while carrying shampoo, razors and emollients and goo. That’s why these gifts are perennial favorites. Good choices: The Montana Danielle Shaving Kit for $29.99 (for him) or the Bain D'esprit Affluiana Bath Collection 10 Piece Gift Tote for $29.80 (for her, and it comes with nice-smelling creams and goos). Both are available at

A massage or spa visit – All students are stressed and sleep-deprived. So find a spa not far from where your student lives and call up and order a gift card. When your student is wrapped in seaweed or getting kneaded, grateful thoughts will be flying your way.

Courses at StraighterLine – Your student can use our courses to test drive classes he or she will later take. Or take a course over the summer vacation months and keep ahead of the pack. If you are a generous soul, you can even give a freshman year of college at StraighterLine - for less than $1,000. Jaws will drop when your student tells people that your Christmas present was a year of college.

We’ll be beating the bushes in the next week, looking for more presents to suggest. If you have any suggestions, why not take a moment and let us know?

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