Corner Room with Holiday Lights

Make the Most of Your Holidays

Try These Student Gift Ideas

If you  have someone on your holiday gift list who is a high school senior or someone who is already a college student, I hope you may find some of these holiday gift ideas helpful and relevant for the young adults in your life:
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers, by Sean Covey
  • A cookbook such as: 27 Easy College Cookbook Recipes, by Diana Bricker; or 4 Ingredients: One Pot, OneBowl, by Kim McCosker; or This is A Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life, by Mac and Eli Sussman.
  • How To Be a Straight A  Student, by Cal Newport
  • A gift certificate for Starbucks or an off-campus eatery for a meal or snack away from the dining hall.
  • Tickets to a sporting  event or concert at your child’s favorite college
  • For all those future or current college writing assignments I recommend: The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, by Steven Pinker; or On Writing Well, by William Zinsser.
  • A Gas Gift Card
  • Personalized stationery for thanking the teachers who wrote college application recommendations,  for future graduation gifts, or for internship assignments
  • A phone case with an external battery to extend the life of an iPhone or iPad
  • A loyalty card for a local grocery store
  • A monthly subscription to the digital music service provider, Spotify
  • Snapchat glasses for instant snapchat pictures
  • A Donation to your child’s favorite charity made in his/her name
  • The ABCs of Adulthood, by Deborah Copaken and Randy Polumbo

High School Students: Make Time to Read Over Your Holiday Break

One of the best ways to prepare for college is to read.  Reading books, blogs, magazines and news articles may contribute to your SAT and ACT test scores since reading improves your comprehension and vocabulary. So, as you look ahead to taking standardized tests in the coming months, reading should be part of your test prep.

When I recently attended an admissions information session at Columbia University, prospective students were told that, as college freshmen, they would be required to read a book a week for each of their courses. Thus, getting into the habit of reading is great preparation for future college classes.

I also encourage you to read just for pleasure and enjoyment. A good book offers a chance to imagine, to learn, and to escape into the world of literature.  Here are some of the books the students I have worked with tell me they especially liked reading:

  • Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
  • The House of the Scorpion, by  Nancy Farmer
  • Madame Secretary, by Madeleine Albright
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J .D. Salinger
  • Fathers and Sons, by Ivan Turgenev
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Speak, by Laurie Halse  Anderson
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown,
  • An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
  • The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Wall
  • The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
  • The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
  • The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Windby William    Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
  • All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
  • Seabiscuitby Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret,  by Brian Selznick
  • Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, by Barack Obama
  • Tracks, by Louise Erdrich
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
You may want to check out other book suggestions at NPR’s Book Concierge.
Have fun over your holiday vacation, but occasionally instead of TV, video games, and snapchat, pick up a good book and enjoy!
Wishing you and your Family a Happy Holiday,
Dr. Heather Ricker-Gilbert