Graduation season is officially here, and we’re betting that you know at least one young person who's about to embark on a new chapter in their life — whether that’s college, “the real world” or maybe even a trip around the world. Selecting a gift for the graduate in your life doesn’t have to be tricky or expensive (and we know you can do better than just shaking their hand and sliding them a crisp $20 bill).
Graduation gifts: 9 gadgets to give the grads in your lifePlay Video - 4:08
Graduation gifts: 9 gadgets to give the grads in your lifePlay Video - 4:08
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We rounded up 31 awesome gifts for any type of graduate. We found cameras and coffee makers, a portable vinyl player and the most essential cookbook for any kitchen ... even if it's their first time attempting to cook. From travel bags and personalized jewelry to membership cards and actual cards — there’s something for everyone in the guide below!
High school graduation
Gift ideas for him
Crosley X UO Cruiser Briefcase Portable Vinyl Record Player, $99, Urbanoutfitters.com: If you’re looking for a great gift for a music-loving grad, set him up with his first vinyl player — and one that he can easily pack away and take with him. Make the gift extra special by including a few of your favorite old-school records like The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" or Pink Floyd’s "Dark Side of the Moon." Talk about an education.
"You Did It" card, $5, Hammerpress.net: Whether your card contains a check (how nice of you!) or just some choice words of congratulations, make sure it’s a keeper. We love the selection of creative and artistic cards from Hammerpress, a design studio out of Kansas City, MO.
"The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College," $12, Amazon.com: Part silly, part serious, this comprehensive guide provides tons of tips and tricks to help a high school grad ease into their new life on campus.
Herschel Supply Co. Novel duffle bag, $85, Herschelsupply.com: This is the perfect starter travel bag for grads. Whether they have a trip with the guys planned for this summer or just need a bag to bring home all their laundry on the holidays, this sturdy duffle from Herschel is roomy enough to handle it all — plus, there’s a secret compartment for your shoes.
Portable table tennis set, $40, Uncommongoods.com: Who doesn’t love a spontaneous game of pingpong? Perfect for study breaks, spring break and more, this fun, portable table tennis set is a creative and affordable gift for any college-bound grad.
Nintendo 64 game console, about $80 - $150, lukiegames.com: The fastest way to make new friends in your dorm? Be the guy with the video games. From Mario Kart 64 to Goldeneye 007, it doesn’t more fun and retro than Nintendo 64. Sure, you’ll have to do some digging to find a good deal on this deadstock console, but it’s a guaranteed slam-dunk gift and plenty of resale sites have great deals on games and replacement parts.
Custom framing from Framebridge, $59 and up, Framebridge.com: Don’t let your college-bound grad be the guy with posters stuck to his walls with wads of sticky-tack. Have him select a favorite photograph or poster and have it professionally framed by the experts at Framebridge, who make every step easy — from shipping your art (free!) to selecting the right frame.
Gift ideas for her
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera, $70, Urbanoutfitters.com: Let your grad open this gift before the ceremony gets underway — and be sure to buy some film to go with the camera! She can tote this around with her all day, capturing candid moments with friends and family that she can add to her scrapbook or put on the corkboard in her dorm room next fall. It's the gift that keeps on giving!
"The Her Campus Guide to College Life," $13, Amazon.com: Some things are common sense, but some things aren’t — especially when it comes to navigating a college campus in a way that’s fun, independent and totally safe. This guide touches on everything from dating and studying, to making friends and joining clubs outside of class.
LuMee LED light case for iPhone 6, $55, lumee.com: Adored by celebrities, this light-up phone case was developed by a professional photographer to improve the quality of, well, selfies! Perfect for after-dark photos, capturing events and taking extra-amazing Snapchats (we promise, this will be important to her), this is a fun gift your grad will want to unwrap and start using with friends while she’s still in her cap and gown.
Catbird Jewelry alphabet stud earrings, $48 each, Catbirdnyc.com: Simple and sweet, these alphabet studs are a great gift for a trendy graduate who wants to show off her style. She can wear her initials on either ear or on multiple piercings if she happens to have them.
"Here Comes Success" card, $5, Ofakind.com: Sometimes, all you need to congratulate a grad is well-written card. Pass on pieces of wisdom, share a funny story and wish them well inside a unique and stylish keepsake. (This is a moment to skip the generic card aisle at your local pharmacy … )
Switch portable bluetooth speaker, $130, Ahalife.com: A wireless speaker that can also charge your phone and take calls? This is the ultimate piece of utility tech for your grad. She can set this speaker up to play music in her dorm room or apartment and take with her to the beach or a camping trip, too.
Luvnap sleep mask, $11, amazon.com: If your grad is headed for a dorm room, apartment, sorority or any kind of shared living space, they will be infinitely grateful for a sleep mask that doesn’t mess around. This super-soft mask blocks out light without putting pressure on your eyelids.
BaubleBar engraved acrylic bracelet, $38, Baublebar.com: Personalized jewelry always makes a sweet and sentimental graduation gift, and BaubleBar has a wide range of affordable and customizable pieces. We love the pretty simplicity of this nameplate bracelet she can wear everyday.
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Gifts for him
Bonobos cotton necktie, $68, Bonobos.com: Often times, the first thing you do after graduating from college is set off on a series of job interviews. Help your favorite grad look the part with a simple, versatile and stylish necktie. This light blue color can work with both solid and printed shirts, and grey and navy suits alike.
Mealpass 1-month membership, $119, Mealpass.com: If you know a grad moving to New York City, Miami or Boston, treat them to lunch ... for an entire month. MealPass allows you to order and pick up lunch on weekdays from hundreds of different restaurants for what amounts to just $6 a day.
"How To Cook Everything," by Mark Bittman, $21. Amazon.com: The perfect starter cookbook for any kitchen, this volume includes more than 2,000 recipes and is well-regarded among chefs as the only cookbook you need. (Just read the online reviews!)
Custom Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, $175, ray-ban.com: Get your grad his first pair of timeless sunglasses, and make them personal. For just $25 more than a standard pair, you can add custom engraving to the temples as well as the case. You can even pick a creative color combination, too! This is a gift he’ll treasure for life and will think of you every time he puts them on.
"You Are Now Entering Adulthood" card, $5, Windmillpaper.com: We love the bold styling of this fun and cheeky card. Perfect for concealing a gift card, check or just a note of congratulations, this Windmill Paper Boutique card is guaranteed to make your favorite grad smile.
Timbuk2 ‘Command’ TSA-Friendly backpack, $129, Timbuk2.com: If the grad on your list is an avid traveler and a stickler for staying organized, you can’t beat this TSA-friendly backpack from Timbuk2. The sleek design, durable fabric and crazy number of pockets make this the perfect vacation and adventure companion.
6-Cup Chemex Pour-Over coffee maker, $42, Williams-sonoma.com: Time to start making coffee like a grown-up. The insanely popular Chemex pour-over coffee maker is elegant and easy to use, too. All you need are grounds of your favorite brew, Chemex’s filters ($10 for a box of 100) and hot water.
Trunk Club gift card, $50 and up, trunkclub.com: If your favorite grad could use a little help in the style department (or is just due for a wardrobe upgrade), introduce them to the personal styling services of Trunk Club. This genius service sends you a box of items tailored to your specific tastes every month, and you only pay for what you keep. New things, no shopping and no pressure — what could be better than that?
Gifts for her
#GIRLBOSS By Sophia Amoruso, $15, Amazon.com: This New York Times Best-Seller was released in 2014, but the content of the book, by the founder and CEO of clothing company Nasty Gal, is full of inspiration and advice for any college graduate with aspirations beyond the traditional 9-to-5 job.
ClassPass 1-month membership, price varies by city, Classpass.com: The ClassPass craze has spread all over the world, allowing anyone looking to work up a sweat and try a variety of fitness classes at studios and gyms all over their city for one flat rate.
Magic Bullet by NutriBullet, $80, Bedbathandbeyond.com: Part of entering the "real world" after graduation should include treating your body better, feeding it with more than just ramen noodles and fro-yo. You can use a Magic Bullet to make everything from healthy smoothies and juices to salad dressings, marinades and more.
Rifle Paper Co. 'Congrats Owl' card, $4.50, Riflepaperco.com: This adorable and artistic owl card is the perfect way to share a word of congratulations and some sage wisdom.
MAPS by A. Jaffe custom map charm, $125, Ajaffe.com: Commemorate the city where your grad studied abroad, the address of her apartment or the campus or city where she went to school. These custom charms have a specific address marked with a tiny diamond, and can also be engraved on the back with a personal message.
Golden Thread tarot card deck, $42, Etsy.com: Life after graduation can be full of confusion and uncertainty. If self-help books seem trite, why not introduce your favorite grad to the world of tarot with this cool and modern deck (that has a corresponding app to teach you how to read the cards). At the very least, it'll provide great entertainment for her next girls' night in.
Chatbooks, $8 each, chatbooks.com: These incredibly easy-to-create photo books make a great gift for any social media-savvy grad. You can customize the book to fill with Instagram photos from your grad’s account or even pull pictures from a specific hashtag. We love this idea, especially for any grad who has special memories from being a member of a team, club or on-campus organization.
Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $80, Uncommongoods.com: Any working professional will tell you that a strong cup of cold brew coffee over ice is the best way to start a hot summer day before work. Treat your favorite grad to this countertop cold brew coffee maker that will save them from all those expensive coffee runs.