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10 great gifts for college students

Whether you are a college student yourself or shopping for someone currently in school, getting a special gift this season without breaking the bank might seem almost impossible. Dorm life presents a unique challenge as well, since both time and space in which to enjoy a gift are limited.

Here are 10 easy-to-find and gentle-on-the wallet items sure to enrich college life for your loved one without adding to the clutter.

10 great gifts for college students:
1. Rain boots
2. iPod dock
3. Comfort pillows
4. Portable electronics charger
5. Massage mat
6. CD/DVD repair kit
7. Shoulder bags
9. Hand-held Sudoku
10. Cordless mouse

1. Rain boots
One of the hottest and most useful trends of the season is a pair of rain boots that should be on every college girl's wish list. Totally waterproof rubber exteriors provide an affordable and worry-free alternative to maintaining suede or leather against the elements. These boots come in an array of bold colors and patterns that will brighten the grayest days on campus this winter. In addition to being both fashionable and practical, these boots are easily affordable. Target carries a wide selection of styles, such as the attractive Cabana multi-stripe boot, for just under $20. Additional styles can be viewed online at

2. iPod dock
One of the most popular items of the season is the iPod dock, which is available from a multitude of manufacturers in all shapes, sizes and styles. These docks come with speakers far superior to those in laptops, which most students would otherwise use to project their music. Unfortunately, some models can cost several hundred dollars; but the iBlaster orb, which adapts to any version of the iPod and also acts as a charger, sells for just under $50. The orb comes in seven different colors and is available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

3. Comfort pillows
Whether finals have just ended or are right around the corner, nothing will be higher on your college student's list than a little rest and relaxation over the holiday break. Give the gift of sleep this season and for semesters to come with a comfort pillow, such as a NAP Travel Pillow or Quick NAP pillow from Brookstone. The NAP line provides an alternative to the better-known Tempur-Pedic pillows featured in the same store, with comparable comfort at a much lower price. The smaller pillows in the NAP line range from $10 to $35 and are available in wedge or U-shaped styles for better sleep at home or on the road.

4. Portable electronics charger
Few college students will leave campus without their cell phones or laptops. Unfortunately, chargers for one or both often get left behind. The Jump-Start DC Power Plus, available for about $40 from Sharper Image, will eliminate the inconvenience of dead batteries in these and other portable electronic devices. Its single nickel-cadmium battery packs enough power to jump-start a car in minutes and run the item's built-in flashlight. At 10 inches long and weighing only 2 pounds, the Power Plus fits easily in a backpack or shoulder bag and is small enough that a student can take it anywhere it might come in handy.

Next: "... messenger bags are probably the most universal item on campus."
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