best graduation gifts

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8 essentials every grad needs to succeed as an adult

Say congrats with a gift they'll actually use.


Marisa Losciale


Posted on Apr 17, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 2:37 pm CDT

After countless all-nighters, rushed showers and total destruction of healthy eating habits, graduates look forward to nothing more than the recognition of their achievements. Successfully navigating through higher ed may be tough, but the real world isn’t any easier. So if you plan on saying “congrats” with a gift, why not make it something that’ll prepare them for the long road ahead? They’ll appreciate it, whether they realize it now or not.

And if you’re lacking inspiration, no worries! Listed below are a dozen essentials for grads that’ll make their transition into adulthood a little easier.

Best graduation gifts you can get online

1) Help them improve their sleep and energy just by swapping out the alarm clock

Light therapy may date back all the way to Ancient Greek civilization, but they certainly didn’t have phototherapy devices like the Phillips Wake-Up alarm clock. This ingenious gadget gradually gets brighter to wake you up gently instead of the usual obnoxious alarm blaring. Plus, the natural light effect is proven to help you wake up feeling more refreshed and improve overall well-being – which is the key to having a successful day.

Price: $42.50 (regularly $49.99)


2) Make their commute a little more enjoyable with noise-canceling headphones.

Whether they walk, bike or hitch a ride on public transportation, a solid pair of noise-canceling headphones will make their commute a little less overwhelming. Plus, noise-canceling headphones, like the QuietPoint wireless headphones by Audio-Technica, aren’t just better for sound quality but for your overall ear health, too! By drowning out your surroundings, there’s no need to turn up the volume to full blast.

Price: $114.99


3) Help them keep it together with a backup hard drive.

It doesn’t matter when you got your laptop or what security settings you have in place – things can go awry. If you remember to regularly back up your stuff any technical problem you may encounter becomes just a hiccup, really. But you don’t want just any hard drive. You need one with enough space to save your work, get fast upload and transfer speeds, and ideally be interchangeable between Macs and Windows. That’s why Seagate designed the Ultra Slim portable external hard drive. It meets all the aforementioned needs and more! They’ll love getting 2TB of storage and a free two month trial of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Price: $77


4) Keep them looking sharp with a beard grooming kit.

If your beard is unruly, you look disheveled. When it comes to appearances, not everyone is so forgiving. Your employer (and/or your clients) just aren’t that into men who look like they could give someone a UTI. So if you want to see the graduate succeed, help him tame his beard with a grooming and trimming kit – like this one by Rapid Beard. The set has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon and it’s obvious why – it includes everything you need to revamp a look. So he can trim, shape, style, and hydrate his facial hair on his own time.

Price: $29.97


5) Enhance their aesthetic with a fancy briefcase. 

No matter what they went to school for, it’s likely that they could benefit from using a briefcase. Whether it’s for everyday organization or the occasional client meeting, Leftover Studio crafts stylish, leather briefcases that fit everyone’s needs.

Price: $89+


6) Upgrade the smartphone photographer’s smart device.

Nowadays smartphones make snapping candids and recording memories easier than ever before. But that efficiency comes at a price – that being the quality of your photos. You may not notice it on your phone because of the screen’s resolution, but once the photos are printed they can look grainy and/or compressed. But this is the digital age, so now not only are our phones smart, but our cameras are too! Sony developed a digital camera that not only takes beautiful pictures and video but instantly shares them with connected smart devices.

Price: $448 (regularly $598)


7) Hope for the best but prepare them for the worst with an emergency car kit.

Unfortunately growing up comes with a lot of real, scary possibilities. And although we hope that nothing bad ever happens while we’re driving, it’s always better to be prepared. Which is why Thrive put together an emergency kit stuffed with all the essentials, from accident forms to zip ties. So even if your grad doesn’t know how to change a tire, at least they’ll be safe while they wait for help.

Price: $38.95


8) Put some pep in their step with a portable espresso maker.

If they’re immediately entering the workforce upon graduation (or trying to do so, anyway) they’re going to need a little help from our friend caffeine. They could spend their hard-earned cash on subpar specialty drinks, or you can gift them this handy little espresso maker so they can have their coffee and drink it too! The Wacaco MiniPresso is a portable device that brews a shot of espresso with little effort. Just boil some water, pack the device with your choice of grinds, use the pressure pump, pour and enjoy!

Price: $40.83 (regularly $49.90)



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*First Published: Apr 17, 2019, 1:00 pm CDT