What Are Good Christmas Gifts for College Students?

Written by College Cliffs Team At, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: March 22, 2024, Reading time: 11 minutes

Happy friends video calling and sharing a virtual gift online on their smartphones

Subscription Services: A Great Idea!

Technology-dependent learning environments emphasize the need for dependable and sufficient resources for students’ easy and uninterrupted access to course materials. Students had to deal with the pain points of adjusting to and navigating an uncharted territory. After all, education should make no room for disruption.

Indeed, while everyone had their share of the pandemic’s life-changing impact, college students encountered (and continue to encounter) unique obstacles and degrees of uncertainty.

And just like that, it’s the holiday season! It’s that time of the year for hardworking people to get what they deserve–college students included!

Consider getting something special for the holidays this year to make the college student in your life feel extra special!

This Year’s Great Gift Ideas

Shopping is a challenge in and of itself. Shopping for a college student, on the other hand, is an entirely different beast. You’ve been listing things, but you always seem to forget something. Trust us when we say that no amount of preparation and reading can prepare you for shopping for a pandemic college student.

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the college student in your life, a subscription service is a good option. It’s the kind of present that keeps on giving.

There’s always something for everyone’s likes, budgets, and lifestyles, with many subscription boxes and services available. Subscriptions are fantastic gifts because of their personalization and immersive experience. Plus, most of these subscriptions will help college students with their studies!

Choose something they’ll use or a fun extravagance they’re unlikely to buy for themselves to ease their college life. Whatever you choose, we’re confident that any of the ideas below will appeal to college students.

Masterclass Subscription

Is your college student interested in taking a Natalie Portman acting class, a Serena Williams tennis lesson, or James Patterson’s novel-writing strategies? MasterClass allows anyone with a creative yearning to acquire skills from professionals.

Unlike other e-learning systems, MasterClass focuses on teaching lifelong learners rather than hard skills like cloud computing or UX design.

Students can take classes in writing, food, athletics, business, wellness, and other subjects taught by experts.

MasterClass members have access to a library of more than 90 programs taught by world-renowned chefs, photographers, athletes, and others. Music producer Timbaland teaches beats, science fiction storyteller Margaret Atwood provides creative direction, and chef Gordon Ramsay provides cooking classes.

The annual MasterClass membership isn’t exactly cheap. For one year, the student has access to all of the classes on the platform and any new ones that are added.

However, considering the expertise of the instructors and the high production quality of each video, it’s still a fantastic deal.

Is it possible to buy a single class? This is a frequently requested question. Sadly, the answer is no. MasterClass can only be accessed through an annual membership.

Adobe Subscription

Adobe cloud
A more creative way of doing presentations and improving photography.

Students interested in working in the media sector will discover that most internships and potential positions demand some knowledge of digital design. Adobe Creative Cloud, which comprises Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, contains some of the best products in the business for this.

Photoshop is a must-have software for everyone with a creative side. Students don’t have to be graphic designers to get much use out of it. Marketers can create commercials and exciting emails, budding photographers may learn layering and blending, and anyone who enjoys drawing in their own time can progress to animation.

Users of Adobe’s Creative Cloud have access to over 20 practical applications. 

For people who have a steady job and a steady income, the monthly subscription may not seem like much, but for students who cannot work full-time and live on a limited budget, that price is an expense they may not be able to afford such a monthly investment.

Rosetta Stone (lifetime access)

Language skills can give students a significant competitive advantage over their monolingual peers. They are one of the top eight skills needed in all occupations, and the demand for bilingual professionals is growing exponentially.

Employers are looking for people who can interact effectively with clients in new and emerging international markets and serve and sell to a significant foreign-born population in the United States.

If you notice the student is spending more time at home lately or looking for a fun and productive activity, why not let them try something fun and significant, like learning a different language?

So, which language is the student most eager to learn? They’ll gain access to 24 different language options with a Lifetime Subscription to Rosetta Stone.

Help your college students toss out all those ominous thoughts of textbooks and flashcards swirling around in their heads! Immersion utilizes the brain’s natural language-learning ability, beginning with “sights and sounds” and progressing to words, phrases, and genuine dialogues.

Every learner is different, but most can grasp the fundamentals of a language in just over a month with just an hour a day!

Students will have access to ALL of their languages and a slew of other valuable features.

Scrivener Subscription

More fun and organized way to bring out the author in a student!

Do you know anyone who thinks in the long run? They might need Scrivener. It’s a cross between Microsoft Word and Evernote, and it’s designed to help authors organize major projects like novels, scripts, and research papers. It’s much simpler to organize thoughts using various templates and tools for focusing on specific writing sections.

Scrivener is explicitly for fiction and nonfiction authors, screenwriters, journalists, academics, and others and includes several organizing capabilities, formatting options, and goal tracking.

One of the problems that many long-text writers confront is navigation: putting all of their research and information together in a way that’s easy to find. Scrivener makes this easier by allowing aspiring authors to organize their ideas, notes, research, images, videos, documents, and more.

Scrivener is available as a perpetual license in a variety of bundles, depending on the student’s needs.

Headspace Subscription

Meditation playlist from Headspace
Help your student improve self-awareness and attention with a relaxing Headspace playlist.

Meditation, among other things, can be an easy way to achieve calm, balance, and tranquility sensations.

While meditation techniques differ, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to meditation. The overall concept is to develop mindfulness by becoming more aware of our surroundings, which we can all benefit from.

Headspace has hundreds of guided meditations covering cravings, attention, regret, challenging discussions, and even creative writing. These can be accessed as single meditations or as a series.

There’s also a section on sleep. To wind down and prepare for sleep, students can try Sleepcasts (daily storytelling in various soothing voices), meditation, and breathing techniques. They can also have access to guided exercises if they find themselves waking up at night. Sleep music, soundscapes, and sleep radio – constant, 8-hour sleep audio mixes — are available.

While the free version of Headspace is available for download, it has restrictions. Why not give your college student “all access?” Gift them Headspace Plus or the student package!

An Amazon Audible Subscription

Amazon Audible
Let your student relax while listening to their favorite book.

If your college students enjoy reading books but don’t have enough time to do so, they might choose to listen to them instead. Audible is an Amazon subsidiary that sells and creates audiobooks.

While Amazon Audible offers a wide range of content, it is most known for its digital audiobooks, originally known as “books on tape.” Audible, founded over 25 years ago, can help users download their favorite audiobooks on Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Kindle with the click of a button.

Furthermore, whether they have a tedious commute or require background noise while working from home, an Amazon Audible subscription boosts their entertainment options much beyond music.

Scribbler Subscription Box

Sample subscription box from scribbler
A surprise for your writer family or friend in college.

If you want a one-of-a-kind gift for the writer in your life, consider a subscription to a monthly subscription box service.

A subscription box is a word used to describe the delivery of specialty products regularly. Around 2,000 organizations offer some subscription boxes, each aimed at a specific customer.

This includes Amazon, which has hundreds of subscription boxes to choose from. Although not all services provide the subscription in a physical box, most of them do so monthly and bill you automatically.

Scribbler is the best subscription box students will ever receive, especially for those young writers! This box will educate the students a lot, if they are writers or want to start writing.

Grammarly Premium Account

Grammarly Premium
Have the best essays in your class!

Grammarly is a free writing program that helps students write error-free and effective documents, assignments, and essays.

Grammarly’s free edition can assist students with their essays and tasks; however, there are restrictions. Most college courses, particularly as they progress, require students to write essays or reports. 

Not every student majors in English; thus, they could use the extra help. Grammarly will tell them whether or not they need that comma and will point out where misspelled words are.

Evernote Subscription

Although no two workflows are the same, Evernote can help students stay productive and organized. It is an app that allows students to organize notes into Notebooks, similar to file folders. The notes are text files with a standard blog-style interface for formatting text, inserting images, and inserting basic code blocks.

The note-taking capabilities are identical to those of the free edition. However, other aspects have been improved. Your student can do more with Evernote Personal than with the free version.

First, the upload limit is increased: the free version’s 60MB monthly upload limit is increased to 10GB for Personal. The size of the note increases from 25MB to 200MB.

App integration is probably one of the most useful extra features. So, if they want to use Evernote with Slack or Google Drive, they may do so with Premium.

The Personal edition of Evernote allows users to scan documents or business cards and forward emails to Evernote immediately. Students can also take notes and search the PDFs they’ve uploaded. 

They may construct presentations out of their notes, and students will have more sharing possibilities. Additionally, Personal Evernote includes AI suggestions that are relevant to their notes.

For a minimal fee, give your family or friend in college the Personal version of Evernote, including a few more capabilities.

Atlas Coffee Club Subscription Box

Getting a decent higher education, attending college, and striving for academic achievement are all factors that influence people’s goals and, ultimately, their jobs. However, pursuing these goals and earning these degrees necessitates dedication to studying and thorough preparation for term papers, tests, and other obligations.

In Atlas Coffee Club, each gift recipient will receive a bag of single-origin, responsibly produced, and delicious coffee beans worldwide. Each shipment includes more than just beans: brewing instructions, a postcard from the place of origin, tasting notes, and packaging inspired by the region’s landscapes and textiles.

It’s an immersive experience that’ll make their morning cup of joe a little more thrilling, especially if they’re looking for something different than a typical Starbucks drip.

college student gifts - fact

Other Top Gift Ideas for College Students… For any Occasion

Gift cards: College students appreciate the flexibility of gift cards, which allow them to choose exactly what they want or need. Popular options include gift cards for their favorite coffee shop, online retailers, or restaurants.

Technology accessories: From smartphone cases to laptop sleeves, tech-savvy college students will appreciate practical and stylish accessories for their gadgets. Other options include portable chargers, noise-canceling headphones, or a new external hard drive.

College gear: Show your school spirit with a gift of college merchandise. This could include clothing, hats, water bottles, or other items with the college’s logo or mascot. It’s a great way for students to show pride in their school and feel connected to their campus community.

Personalized items: College students are often living away from home for the first time, so personalized gifts can serve as a reminder of home. This could include a monogrammed journal, engraved jewelry, or a photo album filled with family memories.

Practical items: College students are often on a tight budget, so practical gifts that they can use on a daily basis are always appreciated. This could include a set of quality pens and stationery, a planner or organizer, a reusable water bottle, or a cozy throw blanket for their dorm room.