Christmas gifts for university students can be tricky. They often live in student accommodation, or they share flats with housemates. They’re frequently on tight budgets, so you don’t want to get them something expensive and make them feel on the hook to reciprocate. You don’t want to give them something that just takes up space and clutters their living area, but instead, give them something useful, but not too practical.
Christmas Gift Ideas for Uni Students
Food is always a welcome gift to a university student on a budget. It might seem too practical a gift, but there are lots of ways you can dress it up and make it fun:
- Create a box of all their favorite treats
- Give them a themed gift basket or hamper
- Make homemade food gifts like brownies, cookies, or even a lasagna they can freeze for later
- Homemade food gifts like hot cocoa or brownies in a jar make for fun and festive presentations while also not requiring immediate consumption so they can enjoy it when they want
- A snack box subscription is a gift that keeps giving, and provides healthy options when they’re studying for exams
Electronics are always a popular gift. They might be more than you’d like to spend on a flatmate, but if the student is your child, grandchild or sibling, you might be inclined to help them with their studies. A laptop or tablet allows them to do online research from anywhere, take notes in class, and write papers. Fun electronic gifts include a USB-powered mini-fridge that keeps a drink ice-cold during marathon study sessions. Small music players, ereaders, and small desk fans or heaters are other practical yet still somewhat fun gifts you could give in this category as well.
Spa Treatment at Home
University students are under plenty of pressure: exams, tight budgets, figuring out their futures, dating, occasional struggles with flat or classmates. Some work multiple jobs while also attending university. A gift that relieves some of their stress and tension will always be welcomed.
You could create a basket filled with a face mask, some bubble bath, body lotion and perfume, combined with a sponge or loofah, cooling eye mask, and bath pillow. Or give them some of your favorite relaxing essential oils and a diffuser, with instructions on how to use them topically and in a diffuser. A vibrating pillow that massages their neck, or a footbath might also be a welcome experience.
Even if your favorite university student is living in a residence hall, a homeware gift can still be a great idea. A personalised photo coffee mug with images from home or fun times had at university makes a thoughtful, very personal gift. A coffee machine and thermos is practical for long study sessions, while being available in a variety of sizes so as not to take up a ton of space, if that’s an issue. A smart phone projector can also be a cute homeware gift that they can also use to relax with friends.
Because of the enormous variety among books, they’re almost always a sure hit for a Christmas gift. There are many ways you can go when it comes to books:
- A textbook, though very practical, can be a great gift if you know they need it but can’t afford it themselves
- Bestsellers are always a good bet, because they wouldn’t have made the top of the list if they weren’t good reads
- First editions, signed copies, or simply a crisp new copy of a wellworn favorite can all be thoughtful gifts for a serious bookworm
- One of your own favorites gifted with the offer to debate, discuss, or otherwise enjoy it with them can help you connect
- While not a book, personalized stationary can be a thoughtful, personal gift. A nice notepad for taking notes, a memo pad for phone messages, a beautiful journal, or even some monogrammed pages for letters home can all be appreciated
- A student cookbook can be a great gift that not only ensures the student can cook, but usually offers recipes that can be made on a budget, making sure that the student can actually cook the recipes instead of just drooling over them.
For the gym-rat student, or the one who always talks about getting into shape but never quite follows through, fitness-themed gifts can be exciting, thoughtful, and even motivating.
Consider ideas like a gym subscription, even if it’s just for a few weeks or months. Workout DVDs, paired with some light handweights, resistance bands, or workout clothing are another good option. For a fitness-related gift that’s a little less obvious, you might get them a fruit-infusion water bottle to encourage healthy hydration without seeming like you’re trying to send any particular message.
Fashion or Jewelry
Clothing and jewelry can often be controversial as gifts. Everyone has their own style and taste, and a gift that doesn’t hit the mark might not be appreciated as much as one that does.
If you’re worried about figuring out the student’s style, consider gifts for which style doesn’t matter. A pair of cozy slippers, a thick plush robe, or toasty throw blanket will all keep your recipient nice and warm while they study. Replacing a wellworn favorite in their closet with a new version can also be a sweet gesture.
If you’re comfortable that you’re familiar with their style, then going all out with an expensive piece of clothing or jewelry that you know they wouldn’t feel comfortable splurging on for themselves can be a great way to go.
When it comes to flatmates, in particular, stocking filler gifts can be ideal. They’re usually inexpensive, which means you can buy a bunch of them and cover several people at once. They can be practical and/or fun, and you can even buy several different things.
Stocking stuffer ideas include cute headphones, assorted candies, USB drives, battery backups so they can charge devices on the go, Bluetooth speakers, book lights, or a back scratcher. More thoughtful gifts include a good quality pen for notetaking or a multi-purpose tool. You could also get them a selfie-stick, or a cute and clever case for their cell phone, tablet or laptop.
University students, and first-year students in particular, can often feel quite homesick. Whilst they may not be able to get home for the holidays, or stay for very long if they do get home, they can take a little piece of home back to university with them. Homemade gifts can be some of the most treasured gifts a university student receives.
A playlist of favorite songs, a knitted blanket or hand-sewn quilt, or a couple of platefuls of their favorite cookies, brownies, or fudge can give them a sweet and loving reminder of home. Personalized gifts with photos, monograms, or quotes that remind them of home can also be wonderful ideas.
Board, Card and Dice Games
University students are often swamped with their studies. But they do have some downtime, and sometimes, they just want to stay in and have some fun. Or perhaps the power’s out and they have no way to study or do anything else productive.
Board, card, and dice games give them some no-electronics-required fun that they can share with flat or residence hall mates or a few friends for a quiet party at home. There are tons of games to choose from, requiring varying levels of skill or knowledge, to make it as easy or challenging as you want it to be for them.
Subscription to Streaming TV
Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu and more all offer so much variety. You can binge entire seasons at once or watch a plethora of original or box office movies. For a student who spends a lot of time in class, studying and doing homework, a TV streaming subscription can be a great way to kick back and relax. Whether they only have a little while before class, can’t sleep in the middle of the night due to stress, or just want to spend a quiet evening with some popcorn and their favorite new series, it’s a great gift that doesn’t stop.
Whether you’re a university student yourself on a tight budget looking for gift ideas for a flatmate or relative who’s also in university, or you’re a relative or friend with a big budget, you’re sure to find something on this list that the university student in your life will love and appreciate. If all else fails, remember that gift cards are always welcomed, and gives the recipient the ability to get whatever they need whenever they’re ready.