14 Awesome Stocking Stuffers for College Kids & 20Somethings

Whimsical and practical little gifts for Christmas stockings and care packages

Christmas stocking gifts
Jose Luis Pelaez / Getty Images

Just because your child has grown up and gone off to college doesn't mean he or she doesn't still love practical and whimsical little gifts. Here's a list of cool stuff to stock that stocking - and some of them are small enough to tuck in the pockets of a university-inspired advent calendar too.

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    Holiday Underwear

    Courtesy American Eagle 2009

    Sure, it's silly, but college kids always need underwear - the more underwear you have, the less laundry desperation, right? And American Eagle, Victoria's Secret and other stores popular with teens churn out amusingly patterned boxer shorts for young men and women. This particular, holiday light-festooned pair hails from American Eagle. Plus, it glows in the dark.

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    Tetris Sticky Notes

    Courtesy SK Blocknote

    Everyone needs sticky notes, but why choose a boring stack of yellow ones? Now you can get sticky notes in Tetris-shaped blocks (Compare prices), ready for an impromptu round of the old video game classic, or printed with origami designs (Compare prices).

  • 03 of 13

    Burt's Bees Lip Balm

    Burt's Bees Lip Balm
    Courtesy Burt's Bees

    These popular, all-natural lip balms offer moisturizing goodness in a cute little tube. Available in delicately tinted hues for girls, and color-free for guys. And the company makes a whole line of equally popular lotions and similar products.

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    Gloom is the perfect card game for grown-up Lemony Snicket fans. Photo by Jackie Burrell

    This hilarious card game is just right for grown-up Lemony Snicket fans, who vie to inflict as much misery as possible on their characters - a dubious family of five - by having them terrorized by topiaries and menaced by mice while making their opponents' "families" as happy as possible. It's the perfect game for a pair of stressed-out roommates - or a quartet of them - to play. And the box, which is 5 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches is sized just right for a Christmas stocking. (Already...MORE got the game? There are several expansion packs too.)

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    Courtesy Bananagrams

    Who needs the full game board, with its pesky triple-score boxes, when this goofy yellow banana is filled with Scrabble-like tiles, ready for a quick round of wordplay?

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    Thumb drives by the 3-pack

    3-pack thumb drive

    Whether they're dashing off to the library to print an essay or backing up copies of a lose-it-and-die senior thesis, thumb drives are an indispensable part of college life. Buy them by the 3-pack in impossible-to-lose hues - bright pink or red, anyone? - from Dell and other manufacturers. 

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    Pocky Sticks

    Pocky sticks

    These Japanese cookie sticks are incredibly popular with the teen, college, and 20something crowd. They're tasty and come in several different flavors, including strawberry (yum) and "Men's Flavor" - the latter sounds a tad unnerving, but it's actually dark chocolate, an, er, manly flavor. Pocky Sticks are perfect for anime fans, as well as any cookie lover. And they'll make a nice change from - or addition to - the usual chocolate Santas. Find them in your local...MORE Japantown, at Cost Plus World Market and online too.

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    Wasabi Gumballs


    OK, I can't vouch for how these taste - I'm afraid to put one in my mouth. But you can bet these will be popping up in my sushi-loving college kids' stockings. Includes 22 exceedingly spicy, green gumballs in an amusing tin. Enjoy.

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  • 09 of 13

    Cozy lounge socks

    Cozy lounge socks. Karen Neuburger Socks

    Chenille socks make studying that much cozier, always a help in the far-from-home environment of a dorm. Karen Neuburger’s chenille socks include pastels, argyles, and Fair Isle patterns, as well as more manly shades. ($8.95-$15)

  • 10 of 13

    Beanies & scarves

    UNC beanies
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Winter's on its way. Best to keep the old (or young) bean warm with a beanie. Get a soft knitted beanie or scarf emblazoned with the school logo or college colors. ($13 and up)

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    iTunes gift card


    Some gift cards never get used, but an iTunes card - available in denominations from $5-$50 - will keep your teen or college student's iPod fully stocked. Of course, iPods make good gifts too...

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    Dr. Freud's Therapy Ball

    Office Playground

    Remember those Magic 8 balls? Let Dr. Freud's therapy ball answer those stress-filled questions - "Doctor, how will I do on my midterm?" - with non-committal replies, such as "Hmmm, how does that make you feel?" Also good: a Slinky, a Koosh ball or other de-stressing desktop toy.

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    By Kym McLeod, Stock.Xchng Photos