By Elly Leavitt and Rebecca Deczynski

Published on November 2, 2018

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Illustration by Phuong Nguyen

At the risk of dramatic generalization, we think it’s pretty safe to say that most college students have limited space and work with a limited budget. Meaning that finding stylish decor or everyday essentials isn’t necessarily the easiest thing for them. Enter, holiday gifting. Help out a university student by giving them one of these chic pieces they’re sure to love—and actually use.

5-in-1 Travel Adapter in color Pin It
Courtesy of MoMA

5-in-1 Travel Adapter, MoMA Design Store, $35

Whether they’re gearing up for a study abroad or busily planning a spring break getaway, the wanderlusting college student should never be without a travel adapter. This stackable option is sleek and visually stimulating, so they won’t forget to toss it in their carry-on.

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courtesy of AIKA Atelier Stockholm

Folded Grid Paper Cushion Cover, AIKA Atelier Stockholm, $43

When appealing to a younger recipient, digitally inspired patterns are sure to please. The irregular grid of this cushion evokes a vaporwave feel while retaining a simple versatility.

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courtesy of Adam JK

OK Tarot: The Simple Deck for Everyone, Adam JK, $30

Tarot cards have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, as countless independent artists have produced their own take on the time-honored tradition. Illustrator and author Adam JK, beloved for simultaneously sardonic and sweet style, has made a minimalist-leaning deck that can easily become a handy tool in a student’s self-care routine (or social life).

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courtesy of CAP Beauty

The O’Clocks: The 8am, CAP Beauty, $68

Breakfast, unfortunately, isn’t always a reliable facet of a college student’s schedule, so they can use all the help they can get to power up for early morning classes. This adaptogenic mix is specially formulated with herbs that make waking up easier. Just mix it with coffee, tea, or hot water, and go.

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courtesy of Three Potato Four

Astrology Gift Set, Three Potato Four, $18

The growing popular obsession with astrology is showing no sign of slowing down, so there’s never been a better time to share your sign loud and proud. This delightful gift set can easily be broken up into stocking stuffers that will endlessly delight.

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courtesy of Mellow

Incense Bowl – M, Mellow, $60

Incense is an easy way to create a totally zen ambiance in an otherwise stressful space—but once it’s all burned up, it can leave a mess behind. This hand-painted incense holder keeps a space clean and aromatic. Plus, it can be used as a dish for jewelry or other tiny trinkets.

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Photography by FRAMEBRIDGE

Instagram Mini Frame, Framebridge, $39

For the Instagram generation, what better way to immortalize their avocado toast or group selfie than in a chic frame they can mount on their wall or prop on their desk? At just 5×5″ these cute frames don’t take up much space and are a great way to incorporate mementos into dorm room decor.

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Photography by COMING SOON

Oculus Mirror, Coming Soon, $125

As dorm room bathroom mirrors can get crowded (especially in the mornings), a small mirror they can keep to get ready in their room will prove undeniably useful. This one is also a candle holder, which turns this mirror into an on-trend decorative piece as well as a functional gift.

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Photography by GRAF LANTZ

Grey Felt MacBook Air Sleeve Case, Graf Lantz, $59

Given that they use it for literally everything from taking notes to writing papers to buying plane tickets home, a laptop is probably a college student’s most-needed item. Help them keep it safe from scratches and spills in a sleek case; this one made of wool felt with leather detailing is elegant and so much more unique than the synthetic counterparts.

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courtesy of West Elm

Lotsen Speaker, UrbanEars, $150

A speaker that actually looks like a decorative accent piece and not a clunky bit of technology is hard to find, which is what makes this colorful option such a great purchase. With multi-room capability, Bluetooth technology, and an auxiliary input that can plug into turntables and other devices, its technical features match up to its contemporary design.

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Photography by CUYANA

Leather Backpack, Cuyana, $375

We love a good tote bag, but after carrying heavy books and a laptop around all day, one shoulder will definitely be feeling the strain. Opt for a leather backpack with a timeless design they’ll be wearing long after graduation. This leather one by Cuyana was made in Italy and includes a detachable top strap.

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Photography by KATIE KIM STUDIO

Personalized Leather Bookmark, Katie Kim Studio, $14

College students read a lot (theoretically), and a stylish bookmark helps preserve the book pages—which is particularly useful if they’re planning on returning the textbook at the end of term. Get these handmade leather bookmarks personalized as a stocking stuffer.

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Photography by HOUZZ

50s Retro-Style Electric Kettle, Smeg, $130

Make their dorm feel a little more like home with an electric kettle. Having the ability to make tea in the comfort of their room is a little luxury that can make long nights (or cold early mornings) a little more bearable.

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courtesy of Uncommon Goods

Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses – Set of 4, Uncommon Goods, $28

For the over-21 college student, try these upscale shot glasses. They’re reusable, and due to their Himalayan salt composition are particularly perfect for tequila. They’ll never have to salt the back of their hand again.

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Photography by MADEWELL

Leather Card Case, Madewell, $25

Student ID cards are necessary to get into pretty much every school building, but can sometimes be costly to replace. Help ensure they keep track of theirs in a sleek leather card case that’s so small it even fits perfectly inside most wallets or small bags.

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courtesy of Anthropologie

Roped Fringe Throw Blanket, Anthropologie, $62

Spruce up dorm room bedding with a cozy throw, particularly useful if your college student attends school somewhere where the temperatures are chilly year-round.

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courtesy of Fat + Felt

Coffee Mug – Confetti, Felt + Fat, $54

When in doubt, go with a mug. To be used for tea with their electric water heater (see above) or even eating cereal on those mornings when they’re rushing.

This article was originally published December 9, 2017, it has been updated with new information. 

See more gift guides:

15 Fun and Trendy Gifts Your Sister Will Love
14 Innovative Gifts That’ll Revamp Any Office
18 Chic Gifts to Brighten Up Any Living Room