Christmas gifts for students

Top 14 Holiday Gift Ideas for College Students

Updated on November 20, 2023

Updated Dec 15, 2022 - Jingle bells are ringing, the choir is singing, and the gifting season is finally here. Nothing warms a student's heart like gifts, and not just any gift, tech-related gifts. College in the digital era is fun and exciting with the right tools to help navigate through class work and social life. Being a student in the 20th century requires owning a couple of gadgets to make life easier. Devices such as laptops, tablets, headphones, and mobile phones make school a walk in the park. Remember buying a gift for a college student makes the student's life more accessible, and it is the most thoughtful and loving decision you can ever make.

Finding gifts that a college student will actually use

Imagine being in college, and your professor gives you an assignment to be graded. Your old laptop is very slow and keeps lagging. This makes your assignment more complicated and stressful. You head to the library hoping to get some work done, only to find all of them in use. Working on the assignment becomes complicated, and you get stressed. College should be a time to enjoy and blossom into your best, not work under stress. Therefore, the best gift for a college student is a tech gadget like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. These type of gifts are often pricey, but we're here to help at Back Market where you can find refurbished tech that works like new for up to 70% off compared to new.

Back Market has a team of professional refurbishers to ensure our products are top-notch so you can feel confident that the device will perform stress-free for the college student in your life. All our products also come with free standard shipping, a 12 month warranty, and 30 days to change your mind, so there's really no reason not to save money with a refurbished gift. You'll also get the satisfaction of helping to protect the environment by promoting the reduction of electronic waste.

So if you're looking for that perfect Christmas gift or a gift for any other occasion for a college student, then we have some great gift ideas for you that students will actually use and appreciate.

1. MacBook - an all purpose gift for the student that needs it all

Most college students have almost half their classes online if not all. Students must work on many graded assignments and sometimes the state of their laptops directly influences their GPA.  To be considered a good laptop, it must have high processing speed, a lot of storage, a high RAM capacity, with an up-to-date OS system, among other requirements. MacBooks checks all these boxes and it has the sleek features that students love. It seems like a high price, but it is worth every penny.

Consider getting a MacBook Air 13" with Retina-Core i5 with 128GB  of starage and 8GB of RAM. A new one would have you spend $999 or more, while currently at the Back Market, you get it  for $287 or as low as $166.00.

2. iPhone - for the college student in need of an upgrade

It may just seem like just another overpriced accessory, but we all know how important it is for youth to stay connected with their friends. Almost everything a student does can be made easier by their smartphone and if you know one that is in desparate need of an upgrade, then an iPhone might just be the perfect gift.

You don’t need to overspend on a new iPhone; get an iPhone 11 or 11 Pro refurbished for a phone that’s just as good (if not better) than the newest iPhone 14 but only costs a fraction of the price. You can even find great discounts on newer models like the iPhone 13. If your college student has an aging phone, they’d probably really appreciate getting an iPhone this Christmas.

3. iMac - for the savvy student

With an elegant and minimalistic design, the iMac creates an environment for maximum productivity and focus without taking up too much dorm room space. It has a keyboard and mouse in-built, so you don't need another one. This is a valuable gift for a college student (particularly for vet students and students taking technology courses who need wider display screens). The retina display also allows for comfortable working conditions that are easy on the eyes.

With the iMac, an upgrade is not required for up to 5 years, giving a glitch-free learning period. In addition, it comes with pre-installed software at no extra cost. It also has a great built-in camera and microphone for online classes. There's no doubt that these all-in-one computers offer it all, but the only downside is the price. The iMac is on the pricier side but is worth it as it syncs with all your devices meaning you can access documents quickly. At Back Market, you get to choose a refurbished iMac 21.5 inch with Core i3 3.6GHz, storage of HDD 1 TB, and a RAM of 8GB at 61% less than a new one. Now that is value for money.

4. iPad - for the college student that avoid paper

With the 21st century becoming paperless, iPads are extremely helpful to students for note-taking purposes, especially nursing students who need to draw diagrams in their notes. Education experts advise that taking notes helps students remember better than if they were to type them out. Students can accomplish this without the mess of notebooks and wasted paper with only an iPad and an Apple pen to write.

You can also open folders, files, and curriculums for all your different classes from the convenience of one easily portable device. Another great advantage is the cellular connectivity ability of the iPad. It is 5G enabled for easier internet access than the old hotspot method. It is also lighter than a laptop, thus reducing the burden of a heavy backpack. Currently, you can get a refurbished iPad 9.7-inch 6th gen with 32GB storage for as low as $147.56, which is 64% less than a new one on Back Market.

5. AirPods - a gift for music lovers and student-athletes

AirPods are essential to a student's life for various tasks. We have all dealt with the annoying tangle of wires for earbuds, especially when we are in a hurry. They also tend to be accidentally pulled from your ears. AirPods kick this problem to the curb, making them a great gift for college students who are particular about their music or for athletes who need the wireless freedom while they perform. 

Additionally, AirPods are a lifesaver for zoom classes and as a companion when walking to school. You can easily find great deals on refurbished AirPods on Back Market for a sub $100 gift and buy with confidence that they will perform like new.

6. Smartwatch - for students who like to stay active

Due to the numerous ways that smartwatches can improve a student's health, while keeping them connected socially, a smart watch could be a great gift to give. A new Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch can help students maintain proper fitness (to avoid that freshmen 15) and givie their wardrobe a dash of style. Smartwatches assist in controlling every incoming and outgoing call directly from your wrist. A quick reply is set up, and you can respond to incoming texts immediately so they won't have any more excuses not to respond ;)

It also incorporates various health monitoring technologies to take better care of your well-being. The best part is that it does not require a smartphone to listen to music, and you can vibe on the go. A smartwatch enables students to organize daily tasks and schedules and set alarms for significant tasks like exams or due dates. The best part is Back Market has Apple Watches and other smart watches that go for 30-70% less than a new one.

7. Noise Cancelling Headphones - a gift to keep students focused

Do you know a college student that needs help keeping their heads down in the books and tuning out distractions? Look no further than for a gift of noise-cancelling headphones. In addition, the noise canceling feature helps cultivate focus by blocking outside destructions. It can be challenging to concentrate when your roommates quarrel over who gets to use the bathroom first in a dorm room because they are not known for their serene silence. They are an especially thoughtful gift for a college student pursuing law or health as they require a lot of focus and concentration for study time. 

There's plenty of great wireless headphones to choose from that any student would love, but if you're looking for the top of the line in music quality, then you should consider Beats by Dre, Sony or Bose.

8. Film Camera - photography students rejoice!

Making joyful memories in college is an essential part of living a long life. Everybody has pictures of themselves with their first roommates, their close group of college pals, and their favorite hangout spots. An excellent gift for college students would be a camera. The recollections evoked by photographs can serve as a basis for stories for future generations.

At Back Market, we have a few different camera brands that you can choose from - from DSLRs to polarized cameras. Students that are more creative and appreciate photography, in particular, adore the DLSR. Having a camera could also be a side hustle that could become a full-time career. Browse through our selection of DSLR cameras for as low as $30.99.

9. Radio Alarms - for college students who seem to miss class too often

Are you looking for a gift for college a student who never seem to be on time for their classes? Well, a radio alarm is an ideal choice for obvious reasons. An ideal solution to a perfect bedtime routine is a radio alarm clock that can wake a student up to their favorite song to get them going. 

A radio alarm is a creative gift for any college student and we have a range of radio alarms to choose from. If you are on a tight budget, you can get one for $19.99 with a 12- month warranty.

10. Video Games - a reward for 4.0 students

Okay, so maybe this is only a gift you should consider if you're getting a gift for a college student that's already doing well in there classes. If that's the case, then a video game console or video games for students who already have a gaming device is a great gift/reward for their hard work. Plus it never hurts to allow them some time for themselves to blow off some steam and grind one of their favorite games for a few hours.

11. Scooter or Hoverboard - for off-campus students

Navigating through campus can be quite the hustle especially if a student is travelling from off-campus. Buying a car might be a little too big of a gift for most, so your next best bet might be an electric scooter or hoverboard. An electric scooter is a cool and comfortable way to get to class on time or run errands such as grocery shopping. The scooter not only looks good, but it also reduces carbon footprint, saves energy as it requires less energy than pedal bikes, and cuts back on commute time. It is also great for fitness as using the scooter requires balance which can be a form of exercise. The hoverboard is also a cool means of maneuvering around the school. You'll find prices on Back Market as low as $79 for a hoverboard and $94.99 for an electric scooter gift for a college student.

12. Tech Accessories - to give students that extra edge

Some college students might already have most of the items on this list. If that's the case, then consider adding to it with tech accessories like a smartphone case, replacement chargers/cables, keyboards, mice or hard drives. There's a lot you can choose from and you can even find some products with customization options to give you an even more personalized gift.