Welcome to Adulthood: College Graduation Gift Ideas for the Class of 2022
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Your favorite college graduate just completed the scholastic gauntlet and you want to celebrate their hard-earned diploma with a thoughtful gift. While some graduation gifts are better than others, the bottom line is that you’ll want to make sure your grad is prepared for life after college.
We’ve compiled a list of items to help former students survive and thrive in the real world, from nailing the interview, crushing that Zoom meeting, or bettering their nutrition.
Price: $42.97 $34.97 at Amazon with clipped coupon
There’s nothing like a well-planned charcuterie spread to get your guests ready for some socializing. If your grad loves to entertain, consider this board from Royal Craft Home. It’s made from sustainable bamboo and includes a pull-out drawer that houses six cocktail forks and a variety of cheese-cutting knives. It also comes with three sauce bowls and 10 card holder labels.
Price: $70-$140 at HelloFresh
Ease your grad’s transition from the dining hall to cooking at home with a HelloFresh gift card. HelloFresh is a flexible food delivery service and DIY-cooking school rolled into one, with tons of food and menu options for all kinds of dietary preferences and restrictions.
Price: $19.48 at Amazon
Planners and organizers are useful tools but they tend to lock you into a pre-existing format. Give your grad a little more freedom with a classic lined notebook from Moleskine. The Moleskine is perfect for creating daily to-do lists, note-taking, journaling, or working on the next great American novel; plus, it comes in a whole spectrum of colors. With lined, grid, and planner page types, you simply provide the book and the rest is up to them.
Price: $64.99 $59.99 at Amazon with clipped coupon
Perhaps your grad has shown a predilection for the nuances of a sophisticated cocktail, or maybe you’re just trying to nudge them away from boxed wine and cheap beer. Whatever the case, a simple bartender kit is a must-have for any aspiring host. This 10-piece kit includes all the essentials, including a shaker, strainer, jigger, muddler, and spoon. Plus, it comes with a stylish mahogany display that will look great on a bar cart or the kitchen counter.
Price: $10-$2,000 at Hotels.com
Celebrate your recent grad’s much-deserved vacation with a gift card from Hotels.com. They’ll be able to choose from hundreds of thousands of getaway spots, from major hotels and resorts to country homes and city apartments.
Price: $99.99 at Best Buy
Living space can come at a premium for anyone venturing on their own. All the more reason to keep that space as clean as possible. This cordless hand vac is designed specifically for pet hair (it comes with a detachable self-cleaning Pet Power Brush), but we like it as an all-around portable cleaner. It’s only 2.8 pounds, yet delivers powerful suction that can rival much larger vacuums.
Price: $27 $11.98 at Amazon (Hardcover)
College provides structure and routine, two elements that are critical for long-term consistency and success. Unfortunately, all the external motivation that comes from teachers, grades, and extracurricular activities can disappear the moment you graduate. James Clear’s “Atomic Habits" is an engaging book that explains how to build positive lifelong habits while eliminating any non-productive habits you may have picked up over the years. Trust us, this is a book we wish we’d had straight out of college.
Price: $53.50 $50.01 at Amazon
Okay, maybe we’re a tad old school, but there’s just something different about a cast-iron skillet; it’s timeless, versatile, and can be passed down from generation to generation. This 12-inch skillet from Lodge comes pre-seasoned and includes a hot handle holder. You may be tempted to go with the trendy Our Place Always Pan, but recent reviews have suggested it’s not worth the hype. Why not go with something you know can cook anything from fried chicken to a deep-dish pizza?
Price: $34.99 at Amazon
Even if your grad isn’t working in a traditionally remote job, there’s still a good chance they’ll be spending some time in a Zoom meeting or Skype call. This compact and mountable lighting kit from Lume is perfect for those video conferences where appearance and professionalism are paramount. They’ll be able to quickly and easily adjust the brightness and color temperature (yep, warm white and cool white are different) and use the USB-C adapter to charge their light during a meeting.
If you think your grad needs something a little more involved for TikTok or video blogging, check out the Neewer Ring Light Kit instead.
Price: $188.00 at Madewell
This tote from Madewell combines style with function and includes an exterior pocket for quick-access items and an interior pocket for everything else — phone, wallet, planner, even a laptop! Once the workday is over, your grad will be more than happy to take this bag out on the town.
Price: $37.50 $16.65 at Amazon (Hardcover)
With “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat," chef and writer Samin Nosrat’s entertaining and informative book aims to spread the joys of cooking by emphasizing the most fundamental ingredients to ensure success. In no way reductive, this book will help your nascent home chef master not only the included recipes but also prepare them to experiment with their own creations.
Price: Starting at $399.00 at Best Buy
First things first: make sure your grad has an iPhone. Then get them the Apple Watch Series 7 for a truly next-level wearable experience. The latest and greatest smartwatch from Apple boasts all kinds of impressive features, including blood oxygen measuring, sleep apps, and dozens of trackable activities, including yoga, swimming, and running. It also supports phone calls, texting, and Apple Pay, so you can pay for items with a simple swipe of the wrist.
Price: $10-$1,000 at Grubhub
Not everyone wants to be a home chef, and that’s okay — besides, even home chefs need a break once in a while. This Grubhub gift card will help your recent grad bridge the gap between nights spent cooking and eating at restaurants. You know, those nights where the couch beckons and food is best served in take-out containers.
Price: $46.68 at Amazon
If your no-longer-college-kid could use a boost to their morning coffee ritual, consider a coffee maker that’s both sustainable and easy to use. This pour-over coffee maker from Chemex can brew barista-level cups in minutes while eliminating the need for plastic K-Cups. It also takes up less space than most coffee makers and looks amazing on any countertop.
Price: $300.00 $149.99 at Fossil
The Fossil Evan Messenger bag is the perfect blend of professionalism and practicality. Designed to carry laptops up to 15 inches, this bag also includes plenty of additional pockets and pen holders to prepare your former college kid for any work task.
Price: $26.66 at Home Depot
Tool sets may seem boring until your grad needs to do anything involving a hammer or screw. This 39-piece set has all the essentials, including a tape measure, scissors, Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, and plenty of drill bits and useful doohickeys, all housed in a compact carrying case.
Price: $24.99 $19.99 at Barnes and Noble (Paperback)
Some books have the power to expand your worldview and even consciousness. “Sapiens" may or may not be that book, but we’re willing to bet you’ll at least find it thought-provoking. Yuval Noah Harari has condensed the impossible breadth of human history into a funny, digestible, and sometimes challenging look at how we got to this point in our collective existence.
Price: $299.99 at Samsonite (15% off with code “MAYSALE")
A sturdy piece of luggage is crucial for traveling. The Samsonite Armage II Carry-On Spinner is small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of a plane but large enough to hold everything you need for a weekend getaway or work trip. Features include a retractable handle, tapered wheel design, and padded laptop pocket. It also comes with a removable water-resistant toiletry bag.
Price: $179.99 at Best Buy
One of 2022’s best Bluetooth speakers hands-down, the durable and lightweight Roam allows you to stream your favorite music with Wi-Fi at home or Bluetooth when you’re out and about. Control it hands-free using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It’s also water-resistant and has a 10-hour battery life.
20. Amazon Gift Card
Price: $1-$2,000 at Amazon
When in doubt, get an Amazon gift card. They’re quick, easy, and great for those spontaneous “Ah, I wish we had a _" moments. And don’t worry about feeling unimaginative. Diamonds might last forever, but Amazon gift cards are good for at least 1,000 years so you’re covered. You’re simply treating them so they can treat themselves.