Graduation gifts are a delicate matter. Often times, us boring adults, who have “been there and done that,” try to offer up goods that we think are nice little gifts to send them off into the world. Problem is, most grads shove them in a junk drawer and never use them. I remember when I graduated – and we won’t discuss the fact that Netscape was THE internet browser of the time – I received a bunch of crap that I never used. Now I know they were given with good intention, but seriously who needs a damn Cross pen that cost a hundred bucks? That thing disappeared for five years and even when it resurfaced I still didn’t use it. What a waste!

Graduation Gifts |

Graduating from college is both exciting and scary. Some kids may have a job lined up, some may not. But it is officially time for adulthood. No more screwing around. It’s time to get a j.o.b. to make your way through the real world. And if your grad makes an honest effort, they need solid gifts to help them get ahead. One of the best things I ever got from my mom was a care package filled with the basics. You know, those things you can’t stand buying when you’re broke? And included in that care package was a grocery store gift card and a pre-paid credit card. They were life savers.

When buying gifts for your grad put yourself in their shoes. Sure, giving an expensive pen seems honorable, but I’d much rather of had toilet paper. Below are some honest and practical gifts that keep on giving. One of my favorites is the business card. Even though your grad may not have a job yet, that doesn’t mean they can’t be prospecting in a professional manner.

When you’re broke, food becomes a luxury, so help your grad out and give them a head start on their first few trips to the store. My mom gave me a $500 gift card to Albertson’s. To me, that was like a gazillion dollars, and a huge relief that I wouldn’t starve!

Nothing beats a professional leather bag that they will have for many years to come, and when those moments of panic set in (and they will) it’s always good to have a good book of inspiration to prevent overwhelm.

A good friend of mine received custom cuff links at his graduation. At first I would have categorized that as a lame gift, however, he explained to me that to this day he still wears them and it reminds him of how far he has come.

No matter what you give your grad, always include cash. My assistant Katie graduated last year and said the cash given to her was a life saver. It allowed her to get her ducks in a row and start a savings account, and as she put it, ” I want to be independent, so having the extra security is a huge relief.”

Dont shy away from buying other small gifts that they will enjoy. A cozy throw that reminds them of home or a fun camera to capture those fun moments also make great gifts. Just be sure to give things that don’t end up in that junk drawer! Happy Giving!


graduation gifts |

1. Uncommon Goods Roadmap  | 2. gyft Wholefoods Gift card | 3. Mark and Graham Briefcase | 4. Mark and Graham Cufflinks | 5. Urban Outfitters Insta camera | 6. Dwell Studio Throw | 7. Minted Business Cards | 8. American express gift card