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10 Christmas gift ideas students will love

While a fridge full of food and a warm house are a Christmas miracle in their own right for a university student, here are ten brilliant gift ideas too...

Want to return a Christmas gift that you've either bought or received? We cover your Christmas shopping rights at the bottom of the page.

1. Personalised photo gifts

Personalised photo gifts

University means lots of photos of nights out, new mates and cherished memories; the perfect adornment for a mug, phone case or wall in your room at university.

Definitely a gift that feels personal!

2. Games

Cards Against Humanity

God forbid the internet goes down in your flat or house, a good old-fashioned board or strategy game could tide you over for an evening of entertainment. They're interactive, fun and a creative way to further get to know your new housemates and friends (including which of them have a dangerous competitive streak you should never awaken).

Plus, they don't involve looking at a screen; sweet relief for your eyes if you've been studying all day.

3. Knitwear


Yes, you would have rolled your eyes if you were given a jumper or socks a few years ago for Christmas.

But having lived in shared university housing  and rationing the heating to keep the bills down  a thick, woolly jumper or thermals will come in handy (especially for those 9am lectures in January).

4. Coffee machine (and thermos)

Coffee machine

Another gift idea to make those early mornings and long lectures a bit more bearable. A fancy coffee machine can save you money on takeaway coffees if you simply can't function without your morning macchiato. 

A cheaper and more flexible alternative could be a prepaid card for Starbucks or Costa to keep you perky for a week or two.

5. Laptop or tablet

A laptop is an absolute university essential to complete assignments, without the hassle of trawling your campus IT facilities looking for a spare computer. It’s one of the essential start-of-term purchases you might not have picked up.

It also gives you more flexibility over how you work, meaning you can get to know your local area's trendiest coffee-shops, while catching up on your lecture notes at the same time.
  • Best laptops for students - the top laptops for uni courses focused on essays and research, as well as for production and design.

Similarly, a tablet can be a lighter alternative for taking on to campus and making notes in lectures.

But do you really need the latest iPad, or will a cheaper option be just as good? Find out what you get for your money by checking out our article on how to buy the best tablet, written by our tech gurus.

6. Streaming TV subscription

Netflix and Amazon Prime subscription

A streaming subscription like Netflix or Amazon Prime can be dangerous when you have essays to write. However, in moderation, they can work as an excellent incentive to power through your work.

When you're in the depths of exam season, a big night out can leave you in no fit state to get back on the books the following day. Play it safe: stick to a few weeks of quiet nights in with a new show to binge on instead.

7. Fancy toiletries

Bathroom luxuries

Luxurious, sweet-smelling goodies like soaps, creams and styling products will make a nice change from the basic stuff you've been sharing with housemates.

They're a simple, comforting pick-me-up when you're feeling a bit low, or can put a spring in your step if you're getting ready for a special night out.

8. Student cookbooks

There are plenty of recipe books for quick and easy meals, with readily available ingredients you won't need to hunt around for. In fact, just a handful of reliable, student budget-friendly recipes will save both your stomach and wallet from going empty.

They'll taste yummy, too!

Unwanted Christmas gift? Know your rights for returning a present bought for you.

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9. Snack box subscription

healthy snacks box

For study snacks that don’t come from a vending machine, a healthy snacks box subscription can save you crashing from a sugar-overload. Instead, these will keep you alert and focused on studying (rather than your gurgling stomach) until dinner.

Normally you can personalise what you receive in a pack (and how often you get them), so you can get more of the snacks you enjoy most, while still getting to try new things after all, that's what university is all about!

10. Smartphone projector

smartphone projector

And rather than everyone crowd round a single tiny laptop screen, you can create your own movie theatre in your halls with one of these nifty tools.

A smartphone projector can project whatever is streaming from your phone – perfect for either streaming a film from Netflix, or going down a YouTube rabbit hole.

What if I’m not happy with my Christmas gift?

If you want to return a gift that you’ve bought for someone else online: You can cancel your order for goods ordered online from the moment you place your order up to 14 days after you receive it.

This said, you can’t return CDs, DVDs or computer software if you’ve broken the seal on the wrapping. You also won’t be able to return perishable items (e.g. food and flowers), or tailor-made or personalised goods.

If you want to return a gift that someone bought for you: Most retailers provide a ‘goodwill’ returns policy, especially at Christmas.

You’ll need proof of purchase, and to know the date the gift was ordered if it was bought online. The best way to do this is with a gift receipt - if you weren’t given one with the gift, you’ll need to ask for the receipt from the person who bought it for you.

Find out more about your rights with Christmas shopping from our friends at Which? Consumer Rights: For the full list of advice, head straight to Christmas shopping rights.

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