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Tired of buying gift cards for your favorite teenagers? These gift ideas will help you find the right gift for any young person you know.

J. Quazi King for mater mea

The season for finding the perfect gift is here. Even if you haven’t actually bought any gifts yet you’re still probably thinking about (and searching for) presents for the people closest to you. The little ones are easy to cover, but what about the young adults in your life? DVDs and CDs seem outdated when they can stream their favorite music and movies, and another gift card feels a little boring. If you’re feeling at a loss for gift ideas, look no further—we’ve compiled a list of gifts that will fit any college student’s personality and your shopping budget.

Riseup Headphones

RISE UP Headphones

The college student in your life will always appreciate a pair of headphones. The House of Marley’s Rise Up Over-Ear headphones are eco-friendly with good sound quality, come in four styles, and all include a three-button remote with a built-in microphone. House of Marley also offers stylish earbuds in a wide variety of colors. Added bonus? Proceeds from Marley products go to support 1Love, the Marley family charitable organization. $20 for earbuds, $149 for headphones.

Mini Speaker

Mini Portable Capsule Speaker

When your student finally takes off those headphones, she’ll want to plug her smartphone, tablet, or laptop into this mini speaker. Rated one of the best portable speakers of the year, the XBOOM Mini Portable Capsule Speaker delivers excellent sound and is rechargeable, with over 12 hours of continuous music from a single charge. $15


Personalized Padfolio

Help your graduating senior feel ready for the real world with this personalized Royce Leather Writing Padfolio. With a pocket for documents, a business card holder, and a writing pad, this portfolio is just what she’ll need for her first job interviews. $65

Recipe Box

Recipe Box

There’s no doubt that the college student in your life is missing some home cooking and there’s a good chance that their culinary skills are still developing—so give a gift for the stomach from the heart: Put together a few recipes of their favorite home-cooked meals in a nice box. You could even throw in a gift card to a local grocery store to make it easier for them. $18

Portable Charger

Portable Cellphone Charger

This battery-powered phone charger is perfect for the student you can never reach because his phone has died. The ZILU Smart Power Portable Charger can charge two devices and itself at the same time! It’s easy to carry and comes in multiple colors. $28

Christmas Wallet

A Fun Wallet (With A Gift Inside)

If you do decide to go the gift card route, why not double the gift with a fun wallet? If a gift card feels played out, substitute movie tickets or old-fashioned cash. Finding a style to match your student’s personality is easy and this gift will be appreciated twice as much! This trendy and festive wallet is 100% leather and is available on $40

Flickr user  xlibber
Flickr user xlibber

The Gift Of Travel

If your college student is shuttling back and forth to campus or trying to get to Cancun for spring break, give a gift certificate for a plane ticket. United Airlines offers multiple denominations, and you can put the certificate in the fun new wallet you’re buying. $25 to $1000

Touch Screen Gloves

Your young person is attached to her technology no matter how cold it gets, so pick up these touch screen gloves from Proporta. They come in different winter designs and are cute, practical, and a bargain. $14

Flickr user  Brian
Flickr user Brian

Videogame Subscription

If you have an active gamer in your life (when he’s not studying, of course) consider getting a year’s subscription to This will let him rent games for one flat monthly fee. The games can be kept as long as he wants and the shipping is free. $15.95 (plus any applicable tax) per month for one game at a time, $22.95 for two games at a time.

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Meilan Carter-Gilkey is a freelance writer and a writing coach who blogs about being a parent of sons 16 years apart. She has an MFA from Mills College in creative writing and her work has appeared in Mutha Magazine, Heart&Soul, and elsewhere.  


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