Just because your kids are in college doesn't mean they've outgrown their love for Christmas stockings. So here are a few ideas for what to tuck inside, from Einstein magnets to Dr. Who sticky notes and bacon candy.
1. Campus Scarves & Mittens
Surprise your college kid with a snuggly collegiate scarf or mittens from the campus bookstore. This striped number is from Bowdoin College's online store, which also sells fingerless "texting gloves" and other wintery options. Every university carries a line of mascot-emblazoned winter wear and striped scarves, as well as oddball sundries, like UCSB's rubber duckies and Bowdoin's ping pong balls.
2. Zombie Army Men
When you were growing up, you probably played with little green Army men. Now those retro figurines have gotten an, er, facelift. Hello, Zombie Army! These undead, lime green figurines and their counterparts, blue zombie hunters, are just the ticket for dorm play when exam stress gets too rough. They're available as "Walking Dead" creatures (Compare prices), or in classic style from ThinkGeek.com. (You'll find more gift ideas for zombie fans here, by the way.)
These chubby lip balms tint as they moisturize those pouty lips, which are probably pretty distressed by all that finals week nail-biting. Made by Clinique, the Chubby Sticks are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, just like all their stuff. They're made with mango and shea butters, and they come in 16 colors. (I'm partial to Chunky Cherry, which imparts a translucent rosy tinge.)
A really good philosophical discussion deserves finger puppets, don't you think? It elevates the discourse if you can wave Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel or Immanuel Kant while discussing human existence, rational thought and the big question: whether anyone is truly know-able. These finger puppets double as fridge magnets too - and they include not only philosophers, but Schroedinger's cat, Edvard Munch's "The Scream," Pavlov's dog and great scientists, artists and writers.
You always knew Einstein had a magnetic personality, didn't you? This refrigerator magnet set lets science majors dress the famous scientist for the lab, a walk in the park, a night at the opera or ... wait, is that an Evel Knievel suit or astronaut rigging? Whatever. It's fun. There are versions for Frida Kahlo, Sigmund Freud and the "American Gothic" couple too.
OK, an actual working Tardis may be out of the question - it wouldn't fit in a stocking, anyway. But your favorite expert in all things Whovian will love this set of sticky notes, which includes a whole bunch of Daleks, a Tardis and a Doctor Who To-Do List. No fezzes, unfortunately, but the set is still very cool indeed.
7. Dalek Socks
These little college bookmarks are just the ticket for crafty types. This DIY project takes about two minutes to make, costs practically nothing - just paper and ink - and it's adorable.
There are people who believe that two great things combined will always equal delight. And for those, may I suggest, a Vosges Chocolate-Bacon bar? It's hickory-smoked uncured bacon in, you know, chocolate. These are available as candy bars, truffles and all sorts of other confectionery treatments. Um, enjoy?
Looking for more inspiration? Last year's stocking stuffer list includes a dozen possibilities, such as holiday undies, wasabi gumballs and a Freudian Magic Eight Ball A "Doctor, how will I do on my midterm?" question nets a "Hmmm, how does that make you feel?" answer.