15 best stocking stuffers and gifts for college students

My college kid recently arrived home for the holidays with two suitcases stuffed with her belongings. My first thought: How is she going to have room in her luggage to take back the gifts she’ll get for Christmas?

This packing quandary — coupled with the knowledge that the room she shares with three friends doesn’t have much space — changed my shopping this holiday season. In the end, there will be more gifts for her in her stocking than under the tree. And that’s OK because good things come in small packages, right?

These gifts, especially curated for the college set, are fun, functional and small enough to easily transport come January when it's time for your kid to head back to campus.

When we release our 2018 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But, prices change frequently (yay, deals!), so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.

Gifts for college students

  • 1. Clarins 4-Color All-in-One Lining Pen, $32, Nordstrom

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Julia Roberts (mom to twins Hazel and Phinnaeus): “I try to call my mother, Betty, with more regularity because I think, What if Hazel didn’t call me for two weeks? I’m able to see her mothering now from a different vantage point.”

Clarins 4-color All-in-one Liner


This combination eye and lip liner has 4 colors — black, emerald, plum and pink — in one, ingenious pen. Made of a soothing blend of sunflower, jojoba and black acacia wax extracts, it makes creating different looks a matter of one simple click.

  • 2. Aiker Bluetooth Beanie, $20, Amazon

Bluetooth Hat Musical


Talk about double duty. This cute, soft, cozy beanie will keep them warm and entertained on those long winter walks across campus.

You Got This Pencil Set


This festive colorful set of six pencils printed with the saying "You Got This" are sure to help encourage your student when taking that next Stats exam. We also love the "Pep Talk Pencils" with sayings such as "Make Today Great," "Like A Boss," and "Choose Happiness."

  • 4. "Sesame Street" Oscar The Grouch Socks, $14, Bombas

"Sesame Street" Oscar the Grouch Socks


These will become their favorite pair of socks. Bombas socks are the best because they're soft, they stay up and they don't have a seam in the toe. And the "Sesame Street" Limited Edition collection is too cute (we had a hard time choosing between Oscar, Ernie, Bert and The Count). Also, for every pair of socks purchased, a pair is donated by Bombas to homeless communities around the country.

Try to always use reason not rage. Avoid fighting fire with fire. Be in control of your feelings and your actions so that your children can learn to be in control of theirs.

  • 5. Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, $6, Ulta

Clean Freak Dry Shampoo


Dirty hair? Don't care. This dry shampoo is a godsend for days when they want to extend that good 'do just a few days longer.

  • 6. Poo-pourri Before You Go Toilet Spray, $10, Ulta

Poo-pourri Before You Go Toilet Spray


Shared living quarters require spray etiquette. Just a spritz of Poo-pourri works by creating a barrier on the water's surface trapping odor before it begins! Tell your college kid to stash this in the bathroom for all to share.

  • 7. Mother’s Vault Bamboo Toothbrushes, $7, Amazon

Mother’s Vault Biodegradable, Eco-Friendly Bamboo Toothbrush


These eco-friendly toothbrushes have smooth bamboo handles and medium-soft BPA-free nylon bristles. We love that they say "Mother's Vault" on the handle — a subliminal reminder from mom to brush those teeth!

CB Station Makeup Bag


A durable, canvas bag that's perfect for makeup, jewelry or even those unruly phone cords and headphones. There are many colors to pick from and we love that you can get it personalized.

  • 9. Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder, $28, Amazon

Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder


Help them stay hydrated with this nifty little gadget. It attaches to any size water bottle and when it blinks, you take a drink. (Smart detection sensors remind you to hydrate at least once per hour.)

Don't clip your child's wings. Your toddler's mission in life is to gain independence. So when she's developmentally capable of putting her toys away, clearing her plate from the table, and dressing herself, let her. Giving a child responsibility is good for her self-esteem (and your sanity!).

  • 10. Lamp Bulb Flash Drive, $11, Amazon

32GB USB LED Light Flash Drive


This cute 32 GB flash drive actually lights up when you plug it in! We think it might inspire some must-needed "Eureka" moments while studying. It also comes with a keychain so it can attach to any backpack.

  • 11. Shakespearean Insult Bandages, $7, Amazon

Accoutrements Shakespearean Insult Bandages


Got an English or Drama major? Nothing like some Bard humor to make them giggle as they are tending to their cuts, scrapes and scratches.

  • 12. Jackery Portable Power Station, $30, Amazon

Portable Charger Jackery Bolt


Because kids today NEED juice. For their phones, that is. This compact phone charger is amazingly light and charges iPhones twice as fast as the iPhone original charger.

  • 13. Pon Travel Pillow, $22, Amazon

Pon Travel Pillow


This U-shaped memory foam neck pillow helps relieve shoulder and neck pain. Good for long plane or car rides but also for lounging in the dorm. It fits in a compact bag so it's easy to transport.

Read books together every day. Get started when he's a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents' voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

  • 14. Katana Safety Arc, $80, Amazon

Katana Safety Arc


This may be your priciest stocking stuffer, but oh what peace of mind it will bring a parent. This gadget attaches to your child's phone and provides three different kinds of security alerts for emergency situations. One is a piercing siren, another is a more discreet silent alert button, and a third notifies a circle of seven contacts what your location is.

  • 15. Wandf Foldable Travel Duffel Bag, $17, Amazon

Wandf Foldable Travel Duffel Bag


We love that this water-resistant nylon bag folds and fits into an envelope-sized carrying bag. So when they come home for the holidays, they could throw it in their luggage. Then when they leave, this would help them carry all those great stocking stuffers back to college!

Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. No matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list:

  • Gifts for makeup lovers
  • The best tech gifts of the year
  • Gifts for your fashionista friends

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