What to Gift Your Graduate Skip the generic gift cards and get something a bit more thoughtful

Graduation season is just around the corner and the pressure’s rising to outmatch your family members with the best gift for that special grad. This is your chance to prove you’re still cool, and in tune with the “youth”. Skip the generic gift cards this year that are total indicators of a lack of effort. Whether they’re college bound or heading out into the workforce, your recent grad is probably freaking out about the next stage in their life. Get them a gift they actually want, and help make that transition a little bit easier.

High School Graduate


college dorm room

Wall swag

It’s probably their first time away from home for long periods of time and homesickness can be expected. Bring a little bit of home to their dorm room with posters of their favorite pop culture icons or flags of their favorite sports team.


If your recent grad has a roommate (or two), it can be challenging for them to adjust to their roommates schedules or vice versa. Turning on all the lights in the middle of the night to study isn’t very polite to their roommates who may be sleeping. Buying them a desk lamp is the perfect solution. Night lamps are also another option for your recent grads who aren’t too keen about sleeping in the pitch dark.

Smart storage sets

Dorm rooms are notorious for their cramped and tight spaces. Storage units that help them save space are excellent gift ideas and something they will definitely appreciate in the long run. Go for bins they can easily slide under their bed or anything with a hook that can attach to the end of their bed or at the top of their door.

Headphones or speakers

Headphones are the perfect gift to invest in for anyone, not just recent grads. But they are especially useful for college students who are music lovers and constantly on the go. A set of quality speakers is also great for them to jam out in the dorm room whenever they like.


college or university library

Get them excited about attending classes with these cool gift ideas that will make campus life a whole lot easier for a student.

Technology cases or sleeves

College students are always on the go from class to class. Help them protect their expensive devices with a cotton sleeve that will prevent damage from hard surfaces or rough handling. There are so many brands to choose from as well as colors and patterns, so you’ll be sure to find something that caters to their tastes.

Portable charger

Let’s face it, everyone is guilty of using their phones in class. Not all classrooms are guaranteed outlets and even if they are, there’s a high possibility they’re already taken by one of their hundred classmates in the lecture hall. With a portable charger, they’ll never be left with a dead battery.


Here’s where we’ll make one gift card exception. Textbooks are probably the number one financial complaint you hear from college students. Help them save some benjamins by helping them purchase some of their textbooks for their first semester at university with a giftcard to Amazon or Chegg.

Water bottle

Campus vending machines and convenience stores can get expensive, especially if your grad is dropping money on them once a day. Most campuses have water refilling stations so gift your recent grad with a lightweight and sturdy bottle to quench their thirst for free. Look into getting one from the school they’re attending in the fall for an extra touch.

College Graduate


first apartment living room

If they’re moving into their first apartment, they probably already spent a huge chunk of their savings on the deposit and first month’s rent, leaving little left for furniture or decor. Help them make their new living space feel like home with these gift ideas.

Smoothie blender or coffee maker

Save them the five dollars they’d otherwise spend on their morning beverage by providing the means to make them at home. This gift is especially great if they’re a (soon-to-be) ex-student athlete who’s still a gym rat.

Lightweight vacuum cleaner

One of the duties in having your own living space is keeping it clean. Lightweight vacuum cleaners are portable, inexpensive and space savers, making them perfect for someone who is newly living on their own.


They’re probably used to eating dorm food for the last four years of their life, or some form of pasta for every meal. Now that that part of their life is over, help them take the first steps to cooking their own meals. Be sure to purchase a beginner’s cookbook with simple recipes that cater to new home chefs. A Modern Way to Cook, by Anna Jones and How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman are two great options.

Set of tools

You never know when tools might come in handy, but you know that you’ll need them. A basic set is especially great for college grads who just moved into their first apartment and have to get through the nightmare that is Ikea furniture.

Board games

Who doesn’t love board games? Your recent college grad is probably excited to show off their new living space to friends and family. Help them host the best housewarming ever with a childhood classic like Monopoly, and maybe adulthood won’t seem so scary..


professional desk set up

Now’s the time when the real life begins. Adulthood can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. These gift ideas will help your recent college grad start their career with confidence.

Desk accessories

A great way to help a recent grad transition into the career field is getting them organized. Planners, quality pen sets, business card holders, paperweights and lamps are perfect desk accessories every professional needs. Desk organizers are also practical and a good way to package all those smaller gifts.

Professional wear

While a full suit may be a bit overkill, you can certainly set them up for success by gifting the little things that make a big difference. Think a killer tie and pocket square combo, or perhaps a lapel pin depending on the industry they’re going into. Pick out some key accessories, and they’ll be sure to look dapper on their first day on the job. This may be their first time wearing a suit and tie every day, and giving them some variety will be much appreciated.

Luxury wallet & watch

There is something very sophisticated about leather goods that are sure to give your recent grad that extra confidence they need to calm the nerves. Most leather goods, like wallets, are more expensive and not something a 22-year-old would splurge on. This is a great gift for someone you’ve mentored or are particularly close with. Watches are another indicator of class and sophistication. While they are a fashionable accessory, they are also practical. After all, time management is important for a professional! A quality watch doesn’t come cheap so treat your recent grad with a gift they’ll love, but wouldn’t dream of purchasing for themselves.

Shaving kit

Cleanly trimmed beards are a must in adulthood. Poor hygiene will more than likely break them during an interview for their dream job. Make sure that doesn’t happen by gifting them a shaving kit for future reference.

We know you can do way better than hard cash or gift cards. Graduation is a milestone for everyone. It’s important to celebrate their success and hard work throughout the years and what better way to show them you’re proud of them than with gifts they’ll love and appreciate for years on end?