The 32 Best Graduation Gifts Every Grad Actually Wants
These practical gifts go the extra mile by preparing grads for their life as an adult with a career. They're also great for enterprising high school graduates, so be sure to bookmark this page for all the grad gifts you'll need this season.
Dress for success
"Dress for success might be an old adage, but it does work," shares Mary Porter, vice president of human resources at TierPoint. "Dress as if you are always on that interview so you are the 'professional' in the crowd even if it's a more casual environment." That means ironed, neat attire is an absolute must. (This handy infographic lets you decode your office dress code.) The Oliso Smart Iron heats up quickly, is easy to use, and is designed for frequent use, making it one of the most perfect graduation gifts for the always-wrinkled grad in your life.
TG 1100 Oliso Smart Iron, $129.99, Amazon.com.
A pen for signing on the dotted line
"A pen or set is also always nice to give as a gift and will make the person stand out along with their portfolio when they're interviewing," explains Porter. Pens are easy to carry, unisex, and one of the easiest graduation gifts to add to a personalized stationery or briefcase for the new business person in your life.
Mont Blanc Roller Ballpoint Pen, $308.95, Amazon.com.
"Millennial or not, there are basic things that haven't changed throughout the years to look professional and ace the job interview and can be used even after you land the position," Porter says. "Stationery that is professional in an understated color is one of those things and makes an ideal, sophisticated gift." Laura Ashley personalized notecards are perfect gifts for college graduates to mail handwritten thank you notes to recruiters, employers, and gift givers.
Laura Ashley thank you notes, $12.50 for 10, PaperStyle.com.
A framed moment
For men and women alike, career counselor Michelle Dubow of Northeastern University suggests personalized, monogrammed briefcases and business bags. "Bags with initials are some of the best gifts for college graduates if they'll be traveling to and from work each day," she shares. This canvas and suede travel bag is gender neutral, easy to carry, and fits the work-bound essentials.
Travel Tour bag, $79, personalcreations.com.
Something to brew a day-starter in
"A coffee, tea, or espresso maker is always a big hit with young professionals," Dubow shares. "Getting someone's day going on the right foot helps them feel more motivated." Coffee is the way to do it, and the Piano Black Evoluo Deluxe by NESPRESSO brews espresso drinks and Americanos quickly and just as tasty as their more expensive café counterparts, making this machine one of our favorite long term investment graduation gifts.
Piano Black Evoluo Deluxe by NESPRESSO, $186.99, Amazon.com.
New worker bees need to rest soundly
"Gifts like really high quality sheets and bedding can help grads move from the college years to a more sophisticated time in life—a time when being well-rested starts to really matter," says Dubow. Plus, if the grad in your life is moving into their own place, they may be moving up from dorm-friendly twin size beds to full, queen, or king-size beds. New sheets are a luxury that says "welcome to adulthood." This sheet set has everything they'll need to make a mature bed with the added cool factor of boutique-hotel comfort and design.
Classic Hardcore bundle sheet set, $179.25, Brooklinen.com.
Coffee not their cuppa tea? This will be
If coffee isn't one of the best graduation gifts for the grad in your life, tea surely will be, and this tea kettle doesn't just boil water—it actually heats water to the exact temperature your specific tea may require. There's a perfect temperature for green tea leaves, for tender white tea-filled bags, for typical breakfast teas and even the most robust herbals. For a tea nut, this gift will please them morning, noon, and night for years. Here's how to match your tea to your mood.
Savoy Stainless Steel Electronic Kettle, $60.62, Amazon.com.
A little something to nosh on (regularly)
"New grads are short on time to do things like food shopping and cooking, nevermind buying celebratory foods that help them socialize with other people after work," says Dubow of one of the most practical graduation gifts out there: food. Fomu's Seasonal Pint Club is just what it sounds like, an ice cream delivery company that mails pints of delicious artisanal ice cream pints for each season. That means this gift keeps giving for an entire year, and their options are easily tailored to people with specific dietary needs like lactose-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and even Kosher certified. Even the pickiest snackers will find a pint to get excited about.
Seasonal Pint Club, $130, Fomu.com.
Tech that helps streamline rushed mornings
If there's one thing any young professional really needs, it's the type of gadget that helps ensure they get out the door on time. "Gadgets that help get you to interviews and work in a timely fashion area always great graduation gift ideas," says Dubow. The Chipolo Plus is a little key fob that is small and nearly weightless, but packs a big alarm punch. If your grad loses their keys, they can use their smartphone to activate the 100 decibel alarm emitted from the fob itself, helping them quickly locate their necessities and head out the door. If you have a messy or haphazard grad in your life, this one is a must. Here are 14 more life skills every new grad should have.
Chipolo Plus, $25, Amazon.com.