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It’s Here! CollegeBound’s Holiday Gift Guide 2009

Bellesi Barbara | December 7, 2009

The holiday season is almost upon us. Just as The CollegeBound Network strives to make your college search a bit easier, we’ve worked to make your holiday shopping less stressful, too.

gifts Coming at you today is our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide. We’ve combed through some of the coolest gadgets, gizmos, garb, and more to make your holiday the happiest and merriest it can be. Best of all? You don’t have to blow too much cash on any of these choices—all our suggestions are under $50, with some gifts for as little as three bucks. Grab one for a friend or family member and one for yourself, too! Be sure to check out our sister blog, CollegeSurfing, for holiday gift ideas for adult students in your life. Happy shopping!

Fame - YoGen - 3You may have remembered to bring your phone charger, but what if you can’t find an electrical outlet to plug in? With YoGen®, you don’t have to worry. By repeatedly pulling on the attached cord, which slides in and out like a yo-yo string, this nifty little gadget manages to work up enough energy to charge your cell phone, iPod, and other tech devices. The device is smaller than a computer mouse and is covered in a clear plastic shell, so you can see the “magic” happen. It’s the perfect tech gadget for all of your eco-friendly friends. You can snag it for $39.99 at; it will be available in retail stores mid-2010.

yoyolipContinuing with the timeless yo-yo tradition, check out YOYO Lip Gloss Minis. Clip a retractable lip gloss to your bag or pants pocket and have easy access to moist lips, without the worry of losing the tube in the depths of a purse or school bag. Lip gloss flavors include Big Bounce Bubblegum, Cha Cha Chocolate, Girly Green Apple, and Kissable Kiwi—at just $2.99 a pop, we don’t mind springing for all four.

MonkeyButtMonkeys are funny. Having monkey butt…not so much. Anti Monkey Butt® Powder is a thoughtful gift for your athletic friends who complain of having “monkey butt”—a sore, itchy, sweaty, red butt incurred from exercise-induced friction—after a long team practice.  Heck, you might have monkey butt from sitting in class all day, too! Sprinkle some of this calamine-and-talc concoction in footwear, under sports equipment, and anywhere else that chafes and you’ll be good to go. The ladies will enjoy Lady Anti Monkey Butt® Powder, which comes in a pink bottle and is also known for soothing legs after a shave. At $5.95 for a six-ounce bottle, this is one stocking stuffer that won’t chafe your wallet. You can get it at, naturally.

hotbodThe new year is a great time for making resolutions regarding the gym. Help a friend or family member get off to the right start with Jillian Michael’s Hot Bod in a Box. For just $14.95, you get 50 of the trainer’s signature exercises in a handy flash-card format that can be toted along to the gym or will inspire an at-home (or in-dorm) workout. Available at bookstores both online and offline.

Dirty_Dancing_Nobody_Puts_Baby_in_a_Corner_Jr-T-linkJust because you weren’t alive for the 1980s doesn’t mean you can’t share a part of the awesomeness of that decade. has a wacky collection of tees featuring video games, bands, movies, TV shows, cartoons, and other cool stuff from the era when MTV actually played music videos. With tons of tees in the $20 range, it’s affordable to be retro. We like the Atari and Ghostbusters tees, and have already asked Santa for the “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” tee in honor of Dirty Dancing.

atariSpeaking of Atari, here’s a fun AND eco-friendly way to celebrate your love of the 80s. Designer Niles Zwolak presents the Atari Cartridge Wallet, a fully functional wallet made out of a repurposed Atari game cartridge. How cool is it to stow your cash and debit card in an old Asteroids cartridge? Wallets with a text label on them are $35 and wallets with a picture label are $55. We’d be willing to go over budget by $5 to own a Pac Man or Space Invaders wallet. Head on over to to see dozens of other options.

SIFootballSports Illustrated ranks among the sports journalism elite, so Sports Illustrated: The Football Book (Expanded Edition, Sports Illustrated Books) is a no-brainer for the football freak on your list. At only $29.95, this gorgeous hardcover book makes a nice addition to any coffee table—but it will work on a crate in a messy dorm room, too. This impressive volume is full of well-written articles and spectacular photos of action on the gridiron. Available at a bookstore near you.

neonskyDo you know someone who is wooed by the flashy lifestyle of Las Vegas a la Ocean’s 11? Let them discover the real deal with Under the Neon Sky: A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story by Jay Ranking ($14.99, Jay Ranking Publishing). After six years as a doorman at MGM Grand, Ranking knows a thing or two about the “grit behind the glitz” in Sin City. It reads like a novel, but it’s all true, baby. Check it out at

tjoesTrader Joe’s might be a gourmet grocer, but its low prices make this store a favorite on the list of many a foodie. If you know a Trader Joe’s junkie, you’ll want to get them Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s by Deana Gunn & Wona Miniati (Brown Bag Publishers, $29.95). This book is filled to the brim with recipes—all based on the yummy and unique foods found in Trader Joe’s—that were written for people who like good food, but don’t have a lot of time to cook it. Got more than one aspiring chef to buy for? Opt for The Trader Joe’s Companion: A Portable Cookbook, a slimmer collection of favorite recipes by the same authors that is just $13.95. Find it at a bookstore near you.

netflixYou already know that Netflix is the way to roll when it comes to watching movies and TV shows, but did you know that for just $8.99, you can start someone off on a monthly subscription that allows home delivery of DVDs plus UNLIMITED streaming of movies and TV episodes directly to their computer? Now that the winter is here, this is a perfect way to help your friends plan a cozy night in.

Reel Culture_hi resDo you have a friend who feels out of the loop when people start tossing around quotes from famous movies? Help them get up to speed with Reel Culture by Mimi O’Connor (Zest Books, $15.95). This awesome little book has the summaries of 50 classic movies of the 20th century—from Gone with the Wind to Goodfellas—along with a ton of trivia and quotes. Even movie buffs will appreciate the wide range of flicks that made the cut in this book. You might want to pick up an extra copy at the bookstore—one for you and one for a friend.

PillowNews flash: being a student can be really stressful. From studying to papers to endless club meetings, it’s enough to make you scream. And now you can let it all out without scaring your family or college roommate. The Screaming Pillow ($19.95) will help that stressed-out person on your list achieve sanity. The pillow has a colorful, screaming face on one side, and on the other, a dotted circle and the gentle instructions: “When you just have to let it out…place face here and SCREAM!” Enough said.

goldEven if you are trying to avoid buying “useful” gifts for the people on your list, your girlfriends will definitely appreciate this shopping choice. The Racktrap is the perfect solution for females who need to carry the essentials, but either don’t have pockets or a purse to store them in. The one-size-fits-all bra pocket allows women to store cash, a credit card, and a photo ID for safekeeping. Celebs like Cindy Crawford, Wendy Williams, and Dolly Parton—who can probably store a lot more than a credit card—are fans of The Racktrap. Buy one for $7.95 or splurge on the Fashion 4-Pack– including pockets in black, white, and nude lace, as well as a sweat-proof blue one for your sports bra—for just $19.95.

CVS10-pThe ponytail has always been the hairdo of choice for busy women on the go. But finding a hairband when you’re busy can be a bit of a chore. The problem is solved with Buji Baja’s Endless Pony Ball ($18). Reminiscent of the funky rubber band ball found in office cubicles, this nifty timesaver ensures that you will never go without a hairband. A choice of fun colors makes this gift an easy choice for all the ladies on your list.

vivaLast but not least is a cool alternative to the tired old gift card. Vivabox is a unique gift that offers the recipient something now and something for later. We like the $29.95 Men’s or Women’s Magazine Vivabox, which contains seven issues of a magazine, plus a gift card for a subscription that can be redeemed at

–Barbara Bellesi