There was a time in most of our lives when the rhythms and cadence of the school year were inseparable from our own. When we were feeling the crunch of tests and essays, so were our peers. When we had time off for vacation, so did most everyone we knew. Life outside of school slowly but surely obliterates that shared sense of time. Things like finals, spring break, or the duration of semesters become, at best, things we are only vaguely aware of.
It is more than excusable, then, to have the graduation of a family member or loved-one creep up on us (“didn’t they just start school?”). Thankfully, we all live in a world where two-day shipping isn’t that hard to come by. To help narrow down the frenzied search for a last minute graduation gift, we’ve rounded up 15 items for you to peruse through. If they aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, we’re sure they’ll at least spark a great idea.
The online retail behemoth has a bevy of great gifts for those who are wrapping up their education and starting on a new chapter in their life. You may want to include a calendar, too.
New Yorker Subscription
After college reading is no longer mandatory (if it ever really was), but it’s still essential. One of the best ways to keep the young grad in your life hungry and curious? Get them a subscription to one of the best weekly magazines ever published.
Lodge 10.25-inch Cast Iron Skillet
Want to give something that will both last and be of real use? Consider a solid cast-iron skillet like this one from Lodge. The American-made cooking tool is totally free of synthetic coatings, is seasoned with vegetable oil, and cooks up things like a Sunday hash or steaks like a champ. It’s that rare kitchen tool that’ll survive the multiple moves.
While the working world is getting a lot more relaxed with its wardrobe and manners, there are still a basic set of standards to adhere too. One way to make sure the young graduate-to-be in your life is set up for success? Hook them up with a good razor. Thanks to the reasonable pricing on the replacement blades, the chance that they’ll actually use it is higher than you’d think.
How to Cook Everything
It may be a while before the young graduate in your life actually shows interest in anything other than takeout, but for when they finally come around — get them this book. It’s simple, to the point collection of recipes that’ll set them on the path to culinary independence and fulfillment.
While losing keys, wallets, and more may not a phenomenon restricted to the recently matriculated, it doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate it all the same. These life-saving little gadgets help you keep track of your items and cuts down on the last-minute-rushing-around when you’re trying to get out of the door.
Jack Black All-Over Body Spray
Neither a super high-end designer fragrance nor a ‘spray’, Jack Black’s cologne is an ideal gift for the young adult who is open to wearing a scent but not quite committed to it yet. Featuring scents like Rosemary, juniper berry and eucalyptus, it may very well win them over.
Incase ICON Lite Pack
While we’re all right to hope that graduates take a lot with them after college — friendships, perspective, expertise — there are other things that shouldn’t last long after the mortarboards are tossed. That ratty backpack is chief among them. Encourage the graduate in your life to make the switch by gifting the Incase ICON Lite pack. It’s a sharp, professional bag that is smart enough to bring into work but not so stuffy as to look out of place off the clock.
Global 7-inch Stainless Steel Chef’s Knife
One of the biggest barriers to going from being Dominos-dependent to something closer to a capable cook is getting the right tools. Help catalyze that change is by gifting a chef’s knife as solid as this one from Global. This one-piece stainless steel knife is sharp, durable and built for regular use.
Carrying something like a pocket knife around all the time used to raise eyebrows. Now, it’s pretty widely accepted that it’s a useful tool to have on hand. One of our favorites? Gerber’s American-made fastball. Built on the proprietary B.O.S.S. system, the knife’s three-inch long blade deploys and closes using a ball bearing and a liner-lock.
One thing that recent grads know all too well is just how expensive physical books can be. And between starting to pay off loans and getting their professional life started, one could forgive a recently matriculated student for balking at getting that new hardcover everyone is talking about. One way to save without compromising on reading is by using a Kindle. The trusty device is glare-free, waterproof, and can store everything from hefty histories to graphic novels and magazines, all for less than a physical copy.
Allen Edmonds Cornwallis Oxford
While they may end up wearing sneakers or running shoes more often than not, it never hurts to help the graduate in your life build a more formal wardrobe. Something like these leather dress shoes from Allen Edmonds, for instance, with their Goodyear welt construction and classic design can go a long way.
Sonos One Gen2
Despite what their fraternity brothers may have believed, bigger isn’t better when it comes to audio. If any speaker proves that, it’s the Sonos One. The smart speaker has Alexa built in, can play music from a variety of different streaming services and can connect wirelessly to speakers in other rooms.
If you’re thinking about keeping it simple and gifting a nice automatic watch, it’s hard to go wrong with Seiko’s famous SKX. Dollar for dollar, it offers just about the best value in the world of automatic mechanical watches. Whether your grad is sporty or just digs classic design, it’s sure not to disappoint.
Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3
There is a pretty good chance that your grad is about to encounter first-hand the challenges of the open office plan. Equip them with the best tool for tuning out the ambient chatter by gifting these noise-canceling headphones from Sony. Regarded as best-in-class by our tech writers, these boast 30 hours of battery life, a great hi-fidelity sounds, and Alexa built-in.
Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera
While there are great smartphone cameras out there, but it’s still hard to measure up against a dedicated digital point and shoot. This one from Fujifilm features a CMOS III APS-C sensor, a built-in ISO dial, high-speed focusing and an attractive look — all of which make it great for the amateur.