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14 Awesome Stocking Stuffers for College Kids & 20Somethings

Whimsical and practical little gifts for Christmas stockings and care packages


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.

1. 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 and runs $12.50 a pair. Plus, it glows in the dark.

2. 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).

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3. 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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4. 'Gloom,' a Hilariously Miserable Card Game

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 got the game? There are several expansion packs too.)

5. Bananagrams

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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6. Thumb drives by the 3-pack


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. ($29.99)

7. Pocky Sticks

Courtesy Pocky

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 Japantown, at Cost Plus World Market and online too.

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8. 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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9. 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. Beanies & scarves

University of California

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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