(MoneyWatch) If you haven't begun shopping foron your list, now is the time to get started. To help make it easier to find great presents for students, here are 21 gift ideas:
1. Nearly effortless diary. Urban Outfitters sells a five-year memory book that has enough room for the owner to write one line a day in it. ($16.95).
2. Wallet stuffed with surprises. I stole this idea from a mom who bought a wallet for her son last Christmas and then put in cash, movie tickets and gift cards for stores that he liked. The gift was a big hit.
3. Rugged camera. GoPro cameras are shock-proof and waterproof and can be used for such recreational activities as biking, snowboarding, swimming, surfing and running. Video from these cameras have appeared in dozens of television shows, including Mythbusters ($200-$400).
4. Chalkboard coffee cup. You can write your own messages with chalk on this black ceramic coffee cup with lid ($12).
5. Bluetooth speakers. Students can share their favorite songs from their smartphone or mp3 player with bluetooth speakers. The Kinivo ZX100 Mini Portfable Speaker with rechargeable battery has received great reviews and is affordable ($18.95). For more expensive wireless speakers, check this popular one from Logitech ($109).
6. Mini coffee maker with travel mug. No need to head to the cafeteria when a college student needs a cup of coffee. I like this single-serve Black and Decker coffee maker because the cup is a travel mug.
7. Unique USB flash drives. How about a flash drive bracelet ($20) for a stocking stuffer or how about a cork flash drive?
8. A great read. If you give "Gone Girl" as a Christmas present to a young woman on your list, don't be surprised if she spends December 25 with her nose in this popular thriller. Here's another book suggestion from an ex-Navy seal: "No Easy Day: The First Hand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden."
9. Family recipes. This can be a priceless gift for college students who now must cook for themselves. Buy a binder and fill it with your child's favorite family recipes. Another alternative -- check out "I Love Trader Joe's College Cook Book."
10. Plane ticket. Spring for a plane ticket for your child to head out for spring break or to visit a college friend over the summer break.
11. Chick flicks. Buy your child's favorite blue-ray movies. Here is a chick flick package ($37) that includes "Juno," "27 Dresses" and "The Devil Wears Prada."12. Geek clock. If your child is into math or engineering, consider this geek clock for his or her dorm room. I bought one for my son last Christmas and he loves it.
13. Touchscreen gloves. It could be cold out, but students can still use their phone, iPad, eReaders and other electronic devices by wearing touchscreen gloves.
14. College advice. Besides my own book, "The Thinking Student's Guide to College" is my favorite title in the college niche. It's a book for college students who want to make the absolute most out of their college years.
15. Heart-rate monitor watch. Heart-rate monitor watches work with a chest strap to allow users to see how hard they are working and how many calories they're burning. Here's one suggestion -- the Timex T5j031 Unisex Digital Fitness Heart Rate Monitor Watch ($59.47).
16. Etsy gift. If you haven't visited this online bazaar of homemade gifts, ranging from jewelry and clothing to art and an an assortment of strange gadgets, you've got to take a peek. You sure won't find Etsy creations at the mall.
17. Swiss Army Knife. For a tricked-out knife, check out the Swiss Army CyberTool 34, which includes a can opener, corkscrew, scissors, toothpick, wire cutters, screw drivers, bit wrench, bottle opener and much more. ($92)
18. OPI nail polish gift set. The bottles in this nail polish set from Sephora ($49.50) are small, but since trends are always changing college students rarely finish full-size bottles anyway. Here are other gift ideas from the cosmetics store.
19. Personalized business card case. Some day soon your child will need business cards. Here's a circuit board business card case, some Frank Lloyd Wright cases and a more traditional leather business card case.
20. Classic stationary. Many students need stationary to write "thank you" notes for internships, jobs, fellowships and mentors. Handwritten notes on classy stationary from Crane & Co. or other stationers will fit the bill.
21. Leather portfolio. These classy portfolios, which can hold resumes, a pad of paper, pens and more, will come in handy when a college student has lined up interviews for jobs or internships. ($18 to $60)
Christmas gift image by www.metaphoricalplatypus.com. CC 2.0.