Great Gifts for Grads

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Sure. They just completed four years of higher learning and now they are about to launch themselves into the big grown-up world but that doesn't mean the graduation gift has to be boring. If you have a graduate in your life and you're looking for the perfect, clever gift, try one these items below that will make them as grateful as the day they finished their last final exam.


1. A toolbox complete with tools. When I graduated from college, my grandmother presented me with my first toolbox. I thought it was kind of hokey but it's turned out to be the one item that has moved to every apartment, loft and house that I've lived in since college. It's the last item I pack and the first item I unpack. This Denali ($52.18) toolbox contains everything a new graduate could use. Tuck in a note and they will think of you every time they hang a new picture or build a new dresser from Ikea.  2. A fully refundable roundtrip airline ticket home.  On graduation day it's easy to think that your first job will pay $70k. In truth, that entry level job may pay just enough to over a shared apartment with a little left over for lattes every morning.  This means that come Christmas, this new graduate may spend his first holiday alone in a new city. A fully refundable roundtrip airline ticket home is thoughtful way to say "Come home for the holidays. Just because you're working 1000 miles away doesn't mean you're not still part of the family."


3. A gift card for work essential clothing One of the true facts about becoming a grown-up is that the fraternity mixer t-shirt and sweats just won't cut it at the office even if that office career is starting in the mailroom.  A Thomas Dean gift card is a thoughtful way to say "You need some dress shirts, son, but I know that you still want to be you." Thomas Dean shirts have a classic style with a whimsical twist that shows you're grown up but confident to still let your own style show through.


 4. A solid carry-on suitcase It's true. The minute graduation happens, the weddings begin. Instead of your favorite graduate showing up for a friend's wedding with a duffel and his clothes a wrinkled mess, consider gifting him with a monogrammed carry-on suitcase like this one from Travel Pro ($138.60) It will carry him through until his own wedding and his and hers matching luggage.  


5. A cookbook for beginners In college, ramen was about as far as most of us took the whole cooking thing. When I realized that I had no idea how long to actually cook a baked potato and if I could actually microwave it, I realized that I had no idea how to cook. A thoughtful gift for a new graduate is this book by Jessica Seinfeld "The Can't Cook Book." ($15.80) It doesn't matter what this new graduate's skill level is, she will be able to cook her friends dinner in her new apartment, letting them all know that of course, she can cook! Pair it with a nice set of pans for a complete gift. While these gift ideas are a good start, really what new graduates need is you. They need to know that it's OK to be nervous and wonder where to go from here. Just be there. Maybe take them out for a meal and tell them it's all good. Grown up life is pretty great.


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