The Best Back to School & Work Gifts for Kids, College Students, and Adults

While back to school isn’t technically a holiday, it’s still one of the best times to show someone you care. Back to school gifts can help calm kids’ nerves and get them excited about the new school year ahead. Plus, many adults are headed back to work around the same time of year after an extended summer vacation. This makes for a great time for gifting. Of course, you don’t necessarily need a reason to give a gift, either. You can give a JBILY (Just Because I Love You) gift any time of year. 

Whoever it is you want to delight, we’re here to help. Below, we share a few of our favorite ideas for back to school gifts, back to work gifts, and JBILY gifts for K-12 students, college students, and adults. 

K-12 Kids

Learning Toys & Games

Toys and games with some kind of educational component make a great gift. For younger kids, this can be as simple as building blocks or wooden block sets. There are also a bunch of fun board games that make you think, like Scrabble, Pictionary, or Apples to Apples. Plus, most games give an age range, so it makes things very easy when gifting them!


For older kids, books are another way to show you care. It helps to know their tastes, so you can get them something they’re already interested in and know they’ll enjoy. But it’s hard to go wrong with classics like Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, the Golden Compass, or Goosebumps

Tech Gadgets 

There’s no shortage of gift options for techie kids either. The Amazon Echo Dot Kids lets kids set alarms, get help with their homework, play educational games, and more. Plus, it comes with 1 year of Amazon Kids+: a service with thousands of ad-free books, games, videos, and apps. Kids also tend to love the Nintendo line of products, so you could consider a Nintendo Switch Lite

College Students 

Gift Cards 

Once kids reach college, a lot of them just appreciate not having to pay for some of their favorite things (don’t we all?). College kids love gift cards for everything from Chipotle to Spotify. But you don’t have to go with big brands. Find out what their favorite restaurant is in the town where they’re studying, and treat them to a gift card for it.  


Speaking of restaurants, every college student loves food. If you can’t meet them for a meal out and treat to it, consider sending them some of their favorite foods or beverages in the mail. Spindrift makes amazing seltzers in a bunch of fun flavors. Or treat them to healthy and delicious cookies from Maxine’s Heavenly.  

Nice Luggage 

Luggage is one of those things college students are sure to appreciate but extremely unlikely to buy for themselves. L.L. Bean and Land’s End both make great, functional luggage. 

Productivity Tools 

College students have a lot on their plate, so anything that helps with productivity will also be a welcome gift. Sand timers or pomodoro timers make great desktop gifts and come in a bunch of fun colors and designs. 


Nice Coffee 

It’s hard to go wrong with the gift of high quality coffee or tea. Treat the adults in your life to a blend from your favorite local craft coffee shop. Or get them a personalized coffee subscription from Trade Coffee. They’ll get coffees from the nation’s top roasters chosen just for them, delivered at a frequency of their choosing.

Nice Wine 

Wine lovers will rejoice at receiving their favorite bottle from you. Send them their favorite for an “old reliable” gift, or find out what they like (dry reds? effervescent whites?) and send them something new from that same category for a delightful surprise.  

Spa Package 

Spa packages are a great gift, especially for couples. Give the gift of relaxation by treating them to a spa or massage session. This is also the perfect gift to pamper the “self care lover” in your life! 


Journaling can be particularly helpful for those points in life where we’re undergoing a transition… and heading back to school or work is certainly one of those times. Journals promote introspection and can help the people you love to check in with themselves. Any high quality journal will do. But for mindfulness or productivity lovers, you can also consider pairing the book The Bullet Journal Method with a Bullet Journal.

The Next Step

We wish you a happy, healthy back to school and work season from all of us at Maxine’s Heavenly! Don’t forget to check out our recent blog on how creating traditions can help you transition back to school or work. 

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