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Graduating from college is no small feat. There are the endless nights of studying, sacrificing a social life, and increasingly expensive tuition. Whether it's an electronic, useful gift card, or a book to help them navigate their new career, the graduate in your life is absolutely deserving of the best of the best.
To show them just how proud you are, here are the best college graduation gifts.
Apple Watch Series 5
At this point, their college laptop will likely still suit them for a few more years, but the Apple Watch Series 5 will help your grad take their organization game to the next level. This smartwatch is a great way to help them schedule meetings, reply to emails, and (most importantly) remember to call home. The Series 5 has an easier to read screen and an always-on display. Parents, you’ll also appreciate this model features a noise alert so the user knows when they’re in a surrounding that might be harmful to their hearing.
Am I Overthinking This?: Over-answering life's questions in 101 charts
The end of college can mean entering into a world of doubt. Help your grad answer a few questions and laugh a bit with Am I Overthinking This?: Over-answering Life’s Questions in 101 Charts. The book features funny answers and illustrations to questions like, “do I have too many plants?” and “how do I achieve a work life balance?” Of course there’s no one size fits all answer, but the book is meant to be lighthearted and something any young adult can identify with.
TaskRabbit Gift Card
Moving into a new home can come with a laundry list of tasks that need to be done. This is especially true if your graduate has moved to a city where they don't know anyone. This is where a TaskRabbit gift card can save the day. Whether your grad needs help assembling furniture, creating a gallery wall, or mounting a television, there are Taskers who can help with that. Just be sure to double check that TaskRabbit is available in the recipient’s location.
Etsy Lucky Penny Keychain
Sometimes it’s the small presents that count and hold long lasting memories. This keychain from HereToImpress offers a new way to gift a lucky penny. The coin features a graduation cap on Abe Lincoln and can be personalized with your graduate’s year of commencement and the initials of his or her school. This hand-stamped keychain is truly a one of a kind gift that works for any budget.
Sharper Image Light Up Electronic Word Clock
A clock isn’t necessarily at the top of every young person’s list of home items, but when it looks this cool, who can resist? Sharper Image’s Light Up clock doesn’t display numbers, but letters map out the time in five minute intervals. On first sight it probably looks like a puzzle, but when plugged in, the letters light up to show the time, like five minutes past four or fifteen minutes to six.
Saint Laurent Monogram Quilted Leather Credit Card Case
Give your recent college graduate a chic, timeless gift that can update their style in a simple way. Not only will they love this Saint Laurent case, it will be in their accessories arsenal for years to come. The credit card case, made of pebbled leather, has four card slots and an interior pocket. This will come in handy for storing the go-to credit or debit cards and ID, especially on days when a smaller handbag can’t accommodate a large wallet.
Novogratz Computer Desk with Storage
Buying a large couch or bed set might not be in your budget, but if you still want to gift a new apartment dweller with a home item, opt for this small space-friendly desk from Novogratz. It’s a top-rated item and clocks in at a reasonable price. The faux marble top and gold hairpin legs have a luxe for less look that’s not just a statement piece but a functional item for the person who works from home or is building a business.
Even if your grad isn't exactly home sick, this candle is a beautifully-scented reminder that there's no place like home. Each hand-poured soy wax candle has a unique scent for each of the 50 states. There's the spruce needles of Idaho, Kentucky bourbon, New York apples, and more. This is a sweet reminder of home that also looks great on a coffee table or near a bedside.
Nespresso by Breville Vertuo Next, Matte Black
It's a common financial warning, but a good one: Daily coffee purchases can add up. Help your college graduate curb some of those expenses with the gift that keeps on giving, the Nespresso Vertuo Next. The compact coffee maker is only 5.5 inches wide, making it perfect for limited counter space. With the press of a single button, it whips up a 5, 8, 14, or 18 ounce coffee or a single or double shot of espresso. This machine is from a quality brand, so you know your recipient will have it for years to come.
There's nothing more important to a recent grad than capturing those perfect moments with friends or creating content for a new business. The Nikon D3400 takes crisp, clean photos thanks to the EXPEED 4 image processing engine and an ISO range of 100-25,600. Portrait shots will appear lifelike with perfectly blurred backgrounds, and low-light shooting is impressive—to say the least. This camera is lightweight and compact (it weighs under a pound) so it will easily fit in a travel bag or backpack. Most importantly, the built-in SnapBridge Bluetooth Connectivity allows for easy sharing on social media platforms.
Boltune Bluetooth V5.2 in-Ear Stereo Wireless Headphones
Depending on who you ask, they’ll tell you wireless earbuds are way overpriced. However, if you want to gift someone a pair that doesn’t cost a few hundred dollars and still provides quality sound, Boltune has an option. The Bluetooth-enabled earbuds connect to a device in seconds and have a range of up to 50 feet. They have up to 6 hours of playtime on a single charge, making these earbuds great for travel, working out, or the daily commute.
Instant Pot Duo Plus 6-Quart 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
By now, every household has an Instant Pot—or at least they should. This kitchen appliance gets a lot of hype, but it’s seriously worth the praise. Those new to cooking will appreciate how easy it is to use thanks to the self explanatory buttons and overheating protection. Even the pros in the kitchen can appreciate the versatility. The 6-quart design of the Instant Pot Duo Plus makes it great for a small family or a single person who wants to whip up a meal that will provide tons of leftovers.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was written by Patrice J. Williams. She has contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020. She loves helping her friends and family find unique, thoughtful, and wallet-friendly presents. She researched top-rated, trending gifts for recent graduates and even owns a few of the products on this list, including the Homesick candles and earbuds.