Think care packages are for sleepaway campers and registries are for newlyweds? Nope and nope. Away-from-home college students appreciate and need stuff, too. Show them how to set up a registry with goodies they want, and then send them those desired things as a little hello from home.
Target: The fairly new Target College Registry allows students to create a Target.com account and then add items they want for their dorm room—be it sheets and a coffeemaker or a mini-fridge and a bike.
Cool Target buys:
For early morning classes or late-night studying sessions, coffee is the fuel for a college student’s engine. The Keurig K65 Special Edition Home Brewing System ($119.99) also makes tea, hot chocolate or iced beverages and has a removable drip tray, so students can fill up their travel mugs before hustling off to class.
Let them wake up with the iHome Alarm Clock ($29.99). It has a nap function (genius!), a USB charger and other nifty bells and whistles.
Bed Bath & Beyond: Register and use this handy Campus Checklist to see which necessities students don’t have covered.
Useful Bed Bath & Beyond buys:
A Portable Lap Desk With Wrist Pad ($19.99) is perfect for those of us (cough, cough) who prefer to use our beds as workstations.
They can leave messages for roommates with the WallPops! Removable Dry Erase Message Dots and Marker (set of three for $9.99).
Amazon: Sign up and get Amazon Student free for the first six months, and they’ll get free two-day shipping on products and other perks. After six months, kids can join Prime at 50% off. (They’ll have to join Prime if they want to keep their hands on Amazon’s massive free content, which includes streaming videos and songs.) Anyone can create a Wish List for free.
Handy Amazon buys:
The Brother Printer Easy-To-Use Inkjet All-In-One Color Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax ($74.99) does everything but make beds.
No time to go by the dining hall before first class? Make sure they have Bear Naked Real Nut Energy Bars (5-pack for $7.24) on hand.
DormSmart: Hook kids up with DormSmart, which also features the Student Housing Policies for a ton of schools, so you won’t send them a hot plate if it violates the fire code. They can find a checklist here and set up a registry here.
Here’s something that’s not glamorous but hella useful: Caddy Concepts Portable Dorm Laundry Hamper ($49.99).
A Collegiate Rug is great for fans of the home team. I’m partial toward the Mississippi State Bulldogs Collegiate Spirit Rug by Milliken (starting at $69).
A note on etiquette: Wish lists and registries are a new trend for this age group, and people are divided fiercely on them. Of course, students shouldn’t send out a mass “Here’s my wish list!” email to everyone they know, but if people do ask what they might want or like, this list is a reasonable thing to steer people toward. Put affordable picks on there, so your neighbor who wants to do a $10 item has plenty of options to choose from.
Fun gift ideas from home
By now, students have their sheets, towels, computer, printer, phone, bulletin board and all the other necessary basics. Great job, ’rents. Now do you want to send them a little something fun? You know your kids, so if they’d love live lobsters (yes, someone I went to college with got these sent to him freshman year), hey, go right ahead. For other ideas, how about …
The Brain & Grain Fun Size care package ($29.97 at Hip Kits) is full of flavorful snacks and an Orbit “stress” toy.
There’s enough in the Moose Munch Gourmet Popcorn Tin ($39.95 at Harry & David) for them to share with their dorm mates.
No, he doesn’t have to use that bar of soap someone forgot in the communal showers. Send a Jack Black First Class Five Gift Set ($49 at Sephora) instead.
Clarisonic The Oasis Collection ($149 at Nordstrom) is a splurge but one that works—and lasts. It comes with a cleansing device, a collection of brush heads and a gel cleanser, charger and travel bag.
Target: Through October 31, save $5 off $50 or more sitewide.
Bed Bath & Beyond: Get 20% off one in-store item when you sign up for Bed Bath & Beyond emails.
Harry & David: Take 15% off $75 or more.
Sephora: RetailMeNot Exclusive! Get a free iPhone or iPad case with your $25 purchase.
Nordstrom: Enjoy free shipping and free returns.