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24 Gifts for College Grads They’ll Actually Use

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Graduation 2019 season is here, and it’s a momentous achievement worth celebrating. But as you prep for the parties, are you wondering about what will be the best college graduation gifts for your accomplished, soon-to-be working graduate? Finding the right graduation gift can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Give a gift that’s special, but also practical for the new grad.

For many people, graduation marks the official beginning of the many responsibilities that come with adulthood. So, it’s only appropriate to help ease the transition with a gift that will last the graduate for a long time. Whether you’re buying something for your child, a family member or friend, these gift ideas are both practical and useful. Show them how proud you are by giving graduation gifts that they probably can’t afford just yet and will leave a lasting impression.

Brand New Carry-On Luggage

Luggage is the perfect gift for college graduates with plans to jet set around the world right after graduation. Away’s The Bigger Carry-On is a TSA-approved suitcase that comes with the option of an ejectable battery that charges devices on the go, which your college grad will love. To make the gift even better, for $10 you can get a personalized luggage tag that will add that special touch.

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Portable Printer

The Canon IVY Mobile Mini Photo Printer will create memories anywhere your new grad goes. The Bluetooth enabled device prints pictures from your mobile device into 2-by-3-inch prints just about anywhere.

Meal Kit Subscription

Did someone say free groceries? Take the stress out of deciding what’s for dinner by gifting the new grad a meal kit subscription like one from HelloFresh. The company delivers all the ingredients needed to make various dinner recipes along with step-by-step how-to instructions. This gift will definitely teach your new grad how to make delicious, healthy meals.

Alarm Clock

An alarm clock is essential, especially for a recent grad who is accustomed to sleeping in. The Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock is the perfect antidote to waking up the healthy way. A 2017 study done by the National Institute of Industrial Health, showed that people who are forced awake by the harsh noise of an alarm clock have higher blood pressure and heart rate than those who wake up naturally. So, having an alarm clock that uses a simulation of natural light is the best way to wake up for a new working professional. 

Tracking Device

The Tile tracker device is the perfect gift for the grad in your life who seems to lose everything. The square tracker can be attached to keys, phones, laptops and any other valuable object. It is compatible with both Android and iOS systems. Plus, it has a battery life of a year, which is really reliable, especially for those forgetful people. 

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Work Tote

A really nice work tote will come in handy for the new working woman in your life. She will definitely appreciate the Zip Top Transport Leather Tote by Madewell. It’s the perfect carry-all bag for work, travel and everyday use.

Brand New Apple TV Device

Help your new grad save money and drift away from cable service by getting them a brand new Apple TV 4K streaming device. It’s a great gift idea that will allow your new grad to stream movies, TV shows and online services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

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Travel Pillow

A HoodiePillow Memory Foam Travel Pillow is perfect for the grad who has plenty of travel plans after graduation. The added hood can provide eye coverage to block out lights and the surrounding world your new traveler will be in.

Portable Espresso Maker

Move over coffee barista, a new coffee maker is on the way. Your new grad might need that extra jolt of caffeine to start their soon-to-be work life, and having their own personal travel coffee maker can help save money on the job. The Wacaco Minipresso GR is the perfect graduation gift to give any coffee aficionado. It’s compact and easy to use, which is great for anyone on the go.

New Set of Cookware

Now that your grad is going to be on their own, having a good set of cookware will be a must for all the things they will eventually cook that aren’t instant ramen. The Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel Set is a perfect set of cookware for a working professional. It comes with a lifetime limited warranty against all defects and is dishwasher safe.

Google Home Mini

Nowadays an apartment isn’t complete without yelling a directive to a smart device in your home. That’s why this Google Home Mini is the perfect college graduation gift for that new working professional in your life. They can use their voice to get answers from Google about the weather, news and sports and control the lights in their home. Its compact size is perfect for any space as it won’t take up much room.

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Winc Wine Subscription

To expand the new grad’s palate beyond the typical college beer keg, try gifting a wine subscription. Winc has a wine membership that will pick out new wines for your grad’s taste buds and ship it right to their doorstep. The cost for membership is free and the monthly membership order starts at $39 for three bottles.

Briefcase

A simple, high-quality briefcase will be their go-to bag that will add serious style to start off their new career. You can’t go wrong with the Ted Baker London Faux Leather Document Bag. The bag is hype enough to be stylish, yet professional enough to carry to work.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Just like their graduation cap, your new grad can toss those cheap college headphones in the sky and grab on to these high-quality Bose QuietComfort wireless headphones II. Whether they use it to escape all the outside noise on a plane ride or their daily commute, they will definitely love the three levels of noise cancellation and the built-in Alexa feature.

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Custom-Framed Picture

Nothing beats a cherished memory given as a custom gift. Commemorate their college memories with a personal photo framed in a personalized custom picture frame through Framebridge, an online framing company. This way, the new grad can add this special piece to their new apartment.

Cait Kelly / ClassPass

ClassPass Subscription

If committing to a gym sounds too scary for a new working professional, try gifting them a ClassPass subscription. A gym membership might be too much for a new grad, that’s why gifting a subscription to ClassPass will be perfect for that post-grad life. The app allows members to try different fitness studios and all-access video workouts for low prices without breaking the budget.

A Nice Candle

Candles can make your new grad’s apartment smell great, and the Jo Malone Orange Blossom scented candle will definitely make their new home cozy. The combined scents of clementine leaves and water lily will infuse any room. Don’t worry about the candle not lasting long. The 7-ounce candle burns for 45 hours — that’s a lot of time to enjoy the candle.

Record Player

If your new grad is an avid music lover, try gifting a vinyl player that will bring a smile to their musical soul. This LUKER portable vinyl player combines the vintage turntable with modern technology with its Bluetooth features. To make this graduation gift even more special, include some vinyl records that you highly recommend.

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Amazon Gift Card

Amazon has everything your new graduate might need and desire, so giving a gift card to shop one of the biggest online retailers will definitely do some good. The grad can get whatever they want and, in most cases, whatever they secretly need. Just like cash, an Amazon gift card is the next best thing.

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A Good Book

Literacy can really help build a legacy, and recent graduates need all the information they can get on building their personal and professional career. Help your recent grad learn that small habits create a big impact with the book, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World” by William H. McRaven. The book mirrors his 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas, where Adm. McRaven said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another.” This book provides perfect insight for someone newly entering the “real” world. 

 

New Watch

The first thing on a new grad’s mind isn’t buying a great quality watch. Gifting a sleek, high-quality timepiece for work will add a touch of class to a new grad’s professional wardrobe. The Kate Spade New York Vattecha Leather Watch is the perfect timepiece for a young woman and the Fossil’s Men’s Nate Quartz Watch is great for a young, newly working man.  

Pearl Necklace

A nice piece of jewelry can give the finishing touch to a really good outfit. And, before the new grad starts their new job, get them a pearl necklace that will make them shine. The Lassaire Pearl Pendant Necklace from Nordstrom is a perfect blend of classy and dainty.

Business-Card Holder

A personalized business-card case can be a great addition to your college grad’s professional briefcase. Help them network in style by gifting the silver-plated Kate Spade “Let’s Do Lunch” business-card holder. This sleek and slim card case will definitely make an impression while networking.

A Money Tree

Let’s be honest, nothing beats some cold hard cash. New graduates would love to receive tons of mean green as graduation gifts and spend it all as they please. So, get clever and tie up some dubs to the LTD Money Tree you can purchase on Amazon. It will really put some thought into how you present that dough.

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