Need some help coming up with stocking stuffer ideas for teens and college students? They’ve moved beyond the little bottles of bubbles, the Matchbox cars and the Play Dough, so now what?
We’ve got a great list of 50 stocking stuffers that your teen or college student will actually find useful. Small enough to fit in a stocking and most between $5 and $20, you’re sure to find more gift ideas than will fit in one stocking.
Have a high school senior and wondering what dorm shopping you can gift at the holidays? Check out Gift Ideas For High School Seniors: The College Essentials To Buy (And Avoid) This Holiday Season. Be sure not to buy anything in the 5 ‘not yet’ categories until you have their dorm assignment.
Technology Stocking Stuffer Ideas
1. Extra-long charging cords – When teens gather to hang out, teens often need to charge their phones. 10 foot charging cables make it easy to plug in and still keep those constant notifications close at hand, literally. Have an Android? 3 Pack 10′ Android charging cables.
2. Smart plugs – There are so many uses for these that I wrote an entire article on them. If you decorate with lights at the holidays, these will change your life! Meanwhile, for older teens and college students, lamps scheduled with smart plugs are great for making their off-campus apartment look lived in even when no one is home. Or have their string lights go on/off on a schedule. Or simply command Alexa to turn off or on anything plugged into a smart plug. A 4-pack is linked here so that you can drop one into every stocking on your mantle, but these are also available as a single or in a 2-pack. I highly, highly recommend this brand – I have at least 20 of their plugs, outdoor plugs, power strips and switches.
3. Tire pressure gauge – Take the guesswork out of properly inflated tires with a digital gauge. Properly inflated tires can save as much as 11 cents per gallon on fuel according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
4. Apple AirTags – If your teen is regularly hunting for their keys, their wallet or even their backpack, there is an easy way to turn these items into digitally trackable devices. Accessories are available to attach AirTags to key chains and even lock an AirTag to a bicycle. Since this is an Apple product, it only works with iPhones and requires an iPhone 11 or newer.
5. Wired headphones that work on an airplane or at the gym – If your student has bluetooth AirPods or other earbuds that won’t work on an airplane or at the gym, consider this pair of inexpensive but highly rated earbuds for those situations. Especially helpful for college students who are an airplane ride from home. Comes with a carrying case too.
6. Portable Charger – This most highly rated portable charger on Amazon is a must for those always on the go and on their phones. For personal safety, our teens should have well-charged phones at all times. Having a backup power supply for those times away from a power source is crucial.
7. String lights – Decorate their bedroom, study area or even a covered patio with low voltage LED lights. OR, if they have a TV in their room, plug this LED TV light strip into the USB port and attach to the back of the TV for a cinematic glow. These will also sync lights to music via settings in the app. A lot of fun and creativity for such a low price!
Self-Care Stocking Stuffer Ideas
8. Burt’s Bees gift set – Help heal those dry winter hands, feet and lips.
9. Lip scrub – Using this safe, gentle scrub twice a week will help repair dry cracked winter lips. No chemicals or artificial ingredients.
10. Lip balm – Additional creative options are Environmentally Friendly and Shine Free (great for guys), Organic Beeswax Variety Pack or a Burt’s Bees All Natural Tinted Lip Balm 2-Pack in a variety of colors.
11. Body wash – An affordable, made in the USA, vegan, sulfate-free body wash available in interesting scents. This one also gives back a portion of the proceeds to provide mobile showers for people living on the streets.
12. Face Moisturizer with Sunscreen – Is your college student wearing sunscreen every day? Make it happen by including it in their moisturizer. CeraVe’s products are paraben, sulfate, oil and fragrance-free.
PERSONAL SAFETY STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS
13. Carbon Monoxide Detector – Did you see the news about the carbon monoxide leak at Miami University in November, 2021? A smart mom saved the day by insisting her son have a carbon monoxide detector in his dorm room.
14. Night Cap Drink Cover Scrunchie – Wear the scrunchie on their arm and have the drink cover with them for all stops during the night. A great way to ensure drinks, even if momentarily unattended, stay safe.
15. She’s Birdie Keychain Personal Alarm – Another inexpensive but impactful device to keep on hand at all times. New in 2022 – check out newly released Birdie+ with a subscription for extra safety features including location sharing with your designating contacts, staying on the phone with you until you are home safely, and contacting authorities if necessary. Use our code PSA15 to save 15% on the device.
16. Keychain Pepper Spray – This under $10 small but mighty device can be attached to a keychain, a wristlet or a student ID lanyard and has over 60,000 5-star ratings on Amazon.
17. Car Jump Start And Portable Power Bank – A bit more expensive than a typical stocking stuffer, but an incredibly valuable device for older kids with cars. A 3″x5″ charging block that jumpstarts a car and even comes with smart jumper cables to protect from over-charging, sparks and short circuits. In addition to being able to jump-start your car yourself and from anywhere, this handy device also charge phones (up to 4 iPhone charges) and devices, has an ultra-bright flashlight, strobe light or hazard light for emergency roadside situations and can be charged in the car or at home.
18. Portable Tire Inflator – At 9.5″x6″, this might be slightly larger than the stocking can hold, but another device you’ll want your teen to keep in the car. Just set the desired pressure level, and this device will inflate to exactly that point and shut itself off. It is powered by the 12V outlet (cigarette lighter) in the car and has a 12′ power cord and an LED light for use at night.
De-stress Stocking Stuffer Ideas
19. Let That Sh*t Go Journal – Let the funny prompts help them blow off steam and get their thoughts together.
20. Inspirational Bookmark – No time for casual reading, these still work in a textbook and may be just the nudge needed during late-night study sessions.
21. Motivational Stress Balls – Better to squeeze these than take it out on someone nearby!
22. Calm, Sleep, De-stress Essential Oil Roll On – Even if this just works as a placebo, give them a way to calmly drift off to sleep.
23. Weighted Hot Neck Shoulder Wrap – Pop it in the microwave and then let the weighted neck wrap melt away the study stress.
24. De-Stress Tea Bags – Instead of turning to energy drinks or alcohol, have them try a little tea to de-stress.
25. Cozy Socks – A warm weighted neck wrap, a cup of tea and cozy socks. Almost makes me want to go back to college.
Food & Drink Stocking Stuffer Ideas
26 The 5 Ingredient College Cookbook: Easy, Healthy Recipes for the Next Four Years & Beyond
27. Individual packages of Jack Links Beef Jerky – A quick protein snack that stores easily in a dorm room or a backpack.
28. Personalized drink tumbler – A personalized stainless drink tumbler with a lid is the perfect take-along for tailgates or college parties, and a closeable lid helps keep your drink safe too. This one has so many customization options, super affordable and so highly rated.
29. Bottle of Chick-fil-A sauce – if your student is missing Chick-fil-A while they’re off at college, you can probably find these bottles at your grocery store, but if not, they are available on Amazon. These may make great stocking stuffers for college students, but they will need to be refrigerated after opening.
Fun & GAMES Stocking Stuffer Ideas
30. Deck of Cards & Poker Chips & A Book On How To Play Poker – Better than a game of beer pong, right?
31. What Do You Meme? party game – Sort of like Cards Against Humanity, but you use the cards in your hand to caption a photo and the ‘judge’ selects the winner of each round.
32. Yahtzee Game, or just Yahtzee score pads if you already have 5 dice
33. Scratch-off lottery tickets – Sorry this won’t be doable for the 5 states who do not have lotteries, but these are fun little surprises in a cash-poor student’s stocking.
34. Ping pong balls – In case the dorm or apartment building has a ping pong table, but your student can’t ever find a viable ping pong ball…
CLEANING AND De-germing Stocking Stuffer Ideas
35. New shower shoes – Time to replace the pair that started the school year?
36. Charcoal Shoe Deodorizers – 3 pairs of reusable (up to 2 years) recyclable bamboo charcoal bags. Roommates will thank you!
37. Essential Oils Gel Bead Air Freshener – Lasts up to 90 days and covers approximately 450 square feet.
38. 6-pack Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – Great for glasses, sunglasses and screens.
ECO-FRIENDLY STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS
39. Travel Coffee Mug – Made to look like a coffee shop coffee cup, but reusable.
40. Reusable Mesh Grocery Produce Bags – These would also be great for the beach or a road trip.
41. Dryer Balls – Better for the environment and for your clothes than disposable dryer sheets.
42. Reusable Makeup Remover Pads – This set comes with a laundry bag for easy cleaning.
(And see #’s 35 and 36 above)
PRACTICAL STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS
43. Wallet Ninja – Check out this credit card sized 18 tool gadget that stores in a wallet.
44. First Aid Kit For Car – Your student probably has one in their dorm room or apartment, but what about in the car? This is small enough to fit in the glove compartment.
45. Life Skills For Teens Book – We tried to teach them everything, but time flew by way too fast!
46. AirPod Case Covers – Like an insurance policy for AirPods, these inexpensive silicone covers help keep AirPod cases from slipping out of pockets. These are for AirPod Pros.
47. Gift Cards – You already knew this one, but gift cards for gas stations, grocery stores, favorite restaurants and coffee places make great stocking stuffers for college students. Almost every brand sells gift cards on their company website, or you can find many in grocery stores and home improvement stores.
WEARABLE STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS
48. Knit cap or scarf with their college logo – Check their college bookstore for winter gear items small enough for a stocking.
49. Cute clear bag for concerts, sporting events and other large gatherings with clear bag only policies.
- Small bag with decorative print strap
- Small bag with adjustable detachable chain strap
- Small clear backpack with many color options
50. Funny/Cute T-shirts For:
- Math is not the favorite subject
- College stud
- The procrastinator
- Future scientist
- The fisherman/woman
- Country music girl
- Girls of faith
- Spreading a little kindness
TIME TO UPGRADE YOUR STOCKING STUFFER CANDY?
Our Santa has been putting red, green and silver Hershey Kisses in our kids’ stockings for years. Packs of gum too if no one was in braces.
But now that we have older teens and young adults, it felt like time to upgrade the candy.
Our kids love the Ghiradelli chocolate squares, and you can order directly from the Ghiradelli website. There are single-flavor bags and boxes as well as mixed options and custom mixes available. Its fun to figure out what flavor(s) each family member would like in their stockings, or you can just go with a mix.
AMAZON PRIME STUDENT MEMBERSHIP & GIFT CARD
Bonus Idea: For a great stocking stuffer for a college student that keeps on giving, consider gifting them an Amazon Prime Student account along with an Amazon gift card to get them started.
A Prime Student account is free for the first 6-months and then half-price for an ongoing membership. The Prime Student account includes all that you’ve come to know and love as a standard Prime member and a few extra bonuses for students including a GrubHub membership. Read more about an Amazon Prime Student account here.
If you don’t have your own Amazon Prime account, you may be eligible for a discount on today’s order by clicking the Amazon banner here to Try Before You Buy (Prime).
Prime membership includes fast, free delivery on many items, a Prime Video and Prime Music membership, savings on diapers and other household items and prescription savings and delivery.
Something to consider while the kids are home for the holidays
If your child has already turned or is about to turn 18, now is a good time to discuss a healthcare power of attorney with your adult-age children. Please consider doing this while you are together over the holidays. Click the link below to learn more, or read our article, and use our code PSA20 to take 20% off the Young Adult package. This brings the cost to just over $60 and includes multiple states if your child goes to school or lives out of state.
For the new drivers on your list, be sure to also check out our 17 Positively Essential Gifts For New Drivers.
If you have other great stocking stuffer gift ideas for college students or older teens, please share them in the comments below. Thank you!
I love these ideas!