THE BLOG
12/18/2012 05:50 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2013

Gifts for Your College Student: From High-Tech to Practical

Looking for the perfect gift for your college student? It's not too late to give them a gift that's thoughtful, fun or just plain practical. Let's face it: They need just about everything, from the latest technological gadgets to money-saving sentimental items that let them bring a taste of home into their dorm room or apartment.

Following are some of our favorite suggestions.

Give the gift of local fun. You can find all kinds of special gifts that are located near your child's school by enrolling in some online sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial. You simply enter in the ZIP code where your student lives and they'll email you daily deals in that area such as:

• Restaurant gift cards;
• Salon or spa services gift cards;
• Grocery store gift cards;
• Movie ticket packages;
• Sports, concerts and special events.

Items to help them prepare for a job interview. Following are some items that will be appreciated by your student as they prepare for life after college (or a part-time job or internship while still in school):

• Interview-worthy apparel or a gift certificate so they can shop for their own
• A self-help book by such authors as Stephen R. Covey or Jack Canfield
• A briefcase or portfolio to hold important items such as resumes, business cards, pens, paper, etc.
• A package of life-coaching sessions with a local source or online mentor

Keep them up to date with the latest technology. We all know this is extremely important for college students these days, so think about surprising your college students with one -- or more -- of these:

• A reading device such as Kindle Fire;
• A new smartphone such as the iPhone 5;
• A tablet such as the iPad2;
• Touchscreen gloves so they can use any of these devices in the cold weather.

Consider some gifts that remind them of home. College students can feel lonely when they go away to school. Why not give them a taste of home such as:

• A collection of favorite family recipes that they can prepare on their own;
• A scrapbook of favorite childhood photos and mementos;
• A family heirloom that was always special to them, such as jewelry, a treasured book, etc.;
• Some personalized stationery to encourage them to write home.

Something to capture the memories of their college days. They say that the college years are the best of one's life. Why not help them remember these years with:

• A photo album to store their favorite pictures from their college years;
• A class ring from their school;
• Other college memorabilia such as a sweatshirt, coffee mug, etc.;
• A plane ticket to visit friends over spring break.

Let's get practical. Sometimes the best gifts are the practical ones such as:

• AAA membership;
• Prepaid car insurance;
• New tires for their car;
• Help with their rent/down payment for an apartment

Stuff those stockings. Don't forget that they will still probably look for their special holiday stocking filled with smaller goodies. Consider these items:

• Bank gift cards that they can use anywhere;
• USB flash drive for their computer;
• Blank CDs;
• A new electric toothbrush and toothpaste.

So there you have it -- gift ideas that any college student is sure to love. To make their holiday really special, why not buy one from each category?