Target's Best Holiday Gifts For College Students, All Approved By An Actual Gen-Zer

— Courtesy Of Target

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to stock up on gifts before they’re gone. And amongst the (presumably) many people on your shopping list, you may find those of the Gen Z population the most difficult to shop for. As a Gen Z’er myself, I get it. But trust — finding holiday gifts for college students isn’t as tough as you may think.

College students are usually rolling on a budget, so anything that’s free is for us — gifts in general already fit the criteria! We’re also in the market for both practical gifts that will save us money and time, and those on-trend items that we’ve seen all over TikTok, like pimple patches and vibrant string lights.

With that in mind, Target has countless gifts across all categories, including fashion pieces, home essentials, beauty products, and tech must-haves, that you can shop this holiday season for the college students in your life. To make your shopping experience even easier, below you’ll find a list of some of the best holiday gifts for young people.

Scroll on to see what’s hot for college students this year.

Instax Mini 12 Holiday Bundle – Pink


College is the time to make memories and there’s no better way to capture those than by snapping plenty of pics. This bundle comes with an instant camera, film, photo holders, stickers, a photo album, camera strap, and batteries — so it has everything needed to get the job done. (Bonus: the photos can be used as dorm room decor!)

Glass Jar Zodiac Candle

Project 62

For the astrology-obsessed loved one, add some ~ambiance~ to their space with this zodiac-themed candle. Available for all the star signs (and each boasting a different scent), it has a burn time of 36 hours and is crafted from a sox and paraffin wax blend.

Women’s Perfectly Cozy Jogger Pants

Stars Above

You’ll never hear a college student reject a pair of sweatpants, whether they’re for those chilly early morning classes or Sunday laundry nights. Made from a rayon, polyester, and spandex blend, these joggers have a relaxed fit, are super comfortable, and even have two pockets to hold essentials. They’re also available in four colors and in sizes XS to 4X.

Color-Changing Oil Diffuser


Ease the stress of finals with this oil diffuser. With a nine hour run time, this diffuser can populate their space with calming fragrances as they hit the books during those all-nighters. The globe-shaped diffuser also changes colors so it can serve as room decoration, too.

Maple Syrup Pancakes Limited Edition Eyeshadow Palette

Too Faced

High-quality makeup is an expense that some college students may not be able to afford, so treat them to this breakfast-inspired eyeshadow palette. It’s filled with 18 shades that’ll help them create stunning eye looks for classes, parties, and even job interviews.

Go3 Wireless Speaker


Whether they’re lounging on the quad or hanging in the dorm room, a Bluetooth speaker is a must-have for any college student. This portable version connects wirelessly to Apple and Android devices and plays music for up to five hours. Plus, it’s even water-resistant.

Commuter Backpack

Open Story

You can’t go wrong with the gift of a backpack, especially one that’s both roomy and chic. Available in violet, black, and taupe, this durable bag has heavy-duty zippers to keep belongings secure, in addition to padded shoulder straps, a laptop sleeve, and a water bottle pocket (for those emotional support water bottles).

K-Mini Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker


It’s no secret that college students pretty much run on coffee, and you can help save them money on their daily brew with this single-serve coffee maker. This machine is only five inches wide, so it’s great for those small kitchens with not a lot of counter space.

Courtney Sneakers

Universal Thread

When they sleep through their phone’s alarm and have to run to class, they’ll be grateful for these comfy-meets-stylish sneakers. Available in sizes 6 through 11, their soft foam insole and lightweight feel will get them to class quickly and painlessly.

AirPods True Wireless Bluetooth Headphones (2nd Generation)


Whether for walking around campus or hitting the gym, a pair of headphones always come in handy. These Bluetooth headphones have a universal fit, can easily connect to Apple devices, and have a built-in microphone. The best part? On a full charge, they’ll provide up to 24 hours of endless music — which is great for those all-nighters when you desperately need background noise.

Mighty Patch Original Acne Pimple Patches

Hero Cosmetics

They may be out of high school, but trust me, breakouts don’t discriminate! Made from medical-grade hydrocolloid, these pimple patches can be worn at any time of the day and work to shrink the size of pimples in just six hours by absorbing the gunk stuck in there. (These are especially great stocking stuffers or secret Santa gifts.)

30-Piece Kitchen Utensil Set

Room Essentials

Help outfit the kitchen of their very first apartment with this 30-piece utensils set. It includes measuring cups, spatulas, measuring spoons, chip clips, can openers, pizza cutters, and more. It’s also great for those Friday movie nights at the dorm where oven-fresh cookies and pizza are essential.

Iridescent Snake 16" Laptop Sleeve


Laptops are a college student’s best friend. This trendy case has an iridescent snake-skin design on the outside and features a satin interior lining to keep their precious device protected against unwanted cracks and scratches.

Mini Office Supply Kit


A mini stapler is essential for those reports where the professor won’t budge on accepting it digitally. This kit includes a pencil sharpener, scissors, stapler, staple remover, staples, tape dispenser, tape refill, and hole puncher all for just $6 — which, TBH, would run them a $30+ bill at the campus bookstore.

Twinkly Dots App-Controlled Flexible LED Light String


TikTok has been notorious for popularizing Twinkly brand lights for both bedrooms and dorm rooms. These Twinkly lights can change color, sparkle, and even sync to music thanks to their Bluetooth connectivity.

16 Cup Electric Popcorn Maker


Popcorn is a cheap and quick snack that college students love, and this gadget makes up to 16 cups per batch — that’s enough for roommates, besties, and then some! By using hot air, this popcorn maker minimizes the need for excess oil and creates a delicious and healthier version of their beloved snack.

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