As spring turns into summer, graduates everywhere are looking towards the future. If you have a college graduate in your life, you should honor their academic success with a small gift. The amount of money you spend on a graduation gift will vary depending on your budget, and your relationship to the lucky grad in question. If you are a close family member, you might spend upwards of $100 on the perfect gift. Our gift guide is ideal for finding a gift for a college grad, but some of our picks will also work well for high school grads, or older guys who completed a degree late in life. We’ve included plenty of gifts under $20, as well as some bigger gifts that are perfect for your son, grandson, or nephew. Read on to get some great graduation gift ideas.
1. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Cool Sport Two-Tone Stainless Steel Watch
A watch is always a great gift idea for a guy, especially a guy who doesn’t own a “grown-up” watch yet. This affordable design from Tommy Hilfiger has glowing hands and glowing numbers, so it is perfect for men who burn the midnight oil. It’s water-resistant to 165 feet, and has three chronograph sundials. The leather band is a nice touch, and makes this watch feel more luxurious.
Think he’d prefer a smartwatch, instead of a classic wristwatch? We recommend the Withings Activité Steel, or the even more premium Withings Activité Sapphire smartwatch, which is Swiss-made. Our guide to the best smartwatches is also a nice resource for smartwatch shoppers.
2. Samsonite Bonded Leather Attache
If your favorite grad is entering the workforce, it’s time to ditch the backpack and use a grown-up attache case. This bonded leather model from Samsonite is a great option for anyone who works in an office. There’s room for a 15.6-inch laptop, as well as ample room for files. The whole case can be expanded an extra inch, for those days when he needs to take a lot of paperwork home from the office. A nickel combination lock helps to protect his sensitive documents and paper files from prying eyes.
If your favorite grad isn’t going to work a traditional 9-to-5 job, you might consider something else instead. Perhaps a fine leather wallet? This wallet from Tokens & Icons has a real buffalo nickel set in the money clip, making it a nice gift for the college grad who is still using a duct tape wallet.
Price: $75.99 (62 percent off MSRP)
3. VitaClay Smart Organic Multi-Cooker
After years of eating cafeteria grub, or struggling to make a decent meal in a dorm kitchen, it’s time your favorite grad was able to cook something wholesome from scratch. A rice cooker is a great kitchen multi-tasker that’s ideal for kitchen novices or experienced home cooks.
There are a lot of rice cookers out there, but one we really like is the VitaClay multi-cooker. The clay liner is natural, making it perfect for those with health concerns related to nonstick or metal surfaces. The clay liner also ages gracefully, and won’t start peeling after a few years have passed, like some nonstick liners will. In addition to cooking rice, they can also use this multi-cooker to prepare soups, stews, sauces, or oatmeal. The clay is naturally non-stick, and easy to clean. After a long day of job hunting, your new grad can come home to a meal that’s hot and ready to eat.
Don’t have the money for a fancy rice cooker? A recent grad can use all kinds of help getting their kitchen ready. You might also consider a set of kitchen utensils, or a set of bamboo cutting boards. You can also browse more gift-worthy kitchen items here.
Price: $119 for the 6-cup model (15 percent off MSRP)
4. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
When you have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, every penny counts. A subscription to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance can help a new grad develop responsible financial habits. The magazine includes articles on how to prepare taxes, plan for retirement, shop for a home, or budget for major life expenses. If you’re shopping for a grad who plans to start their own business, he might also appreciate a subscription to Entrepreneur.
Price: $12 for 12 issues
5. Scratch Off Deluxe World Map
Is he going backpacking in Europe after graduation? Does he dream of working abroad? If your favorite grad has a serious case of wanderlust, he will love this scratch-off map of the world. Each country can be scratched away, allowing him to keep track of all the countries he has visited. A travel journal would make a nice companion gift for him.
Shopping for a guy who hates travel? If he’s into sports, consider getting him a bottle opener made from a real MLB baseball bat. You can also get more gift ideas for him by browsing our guide to unique gifts.
Price: $29.99 (25 percent off MSRP)
6. ‘Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want’
This book is a great gift for any college graduate. It covers topics like getting a job and keeping your first apartment clean, but it also covers life’s big questions about relationships, friends, personal growth, and work-life balance. A similar book that might also appeal to recent grads is Stuff Every Graduate Should Know: A Handbook for the Real World.
Price: $15.30 (10 percent off MSRP)
7. Amazon Tap
Adjusting to life as an adult can be difficult. The right piece of technology can make his day easier. Amazon’s Tap speaker is a Bluetooth speaker that also supports Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant. He can command Alexa to stream music from Amazon Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. She can also read him the headlines from HuffPo, tell him about the weather, order a pizza from Domino’s, open his garage with Garageio, or even request a ride from Uber.
Unlike the Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap activates Alexa only after you tap the microphone button. That means it’s not always listening, which may appeal to those with privacy concerns. We also like the Tap over the Echo because it is cheaper, and portable. Consider pairing the Tap with a Tap Sling, which makes it easy to carry the Tap to a backyard BBQ or walk along the beach. With nine hours of battery life, this speaker is a great graduation gift.
Want more info about this product? Check out our post comparing Amazon Echo vs. Tap to make the right choice.
Price: $129.99, or five monthly payments of $26
Want to get your favorite grad a gift that’s fun, instead of something boring and practical? Help them blow off some post-exam steam with a copy of the new “Doom” game. Released in May 2016, the latest installment in the venerable shooter franchise is the first major installment in the series since the release of “Doom 3” in 2004. In this game, a Martian research facility is overrun by demons. The player’s job is simple: kill them all.
Shopping for someone who doesn’t love first-person shooters, or just want to get him a gift that’s a little more impressive? You could also consider the “Uncharted 4” Limited Edition PS4 Bundle, which includes a specially designed console, game, and lots of accessories. You can also browse more video game console bundles on sale here.
9. ‘Knock ‘Em Dead Job Interview’
After leaving school, it’s time to start looking for a job. While some grads are lucky enough to have a position lined up before they graduate, most grads will need to start interviewing right away. This book from bestselling author Martin Yate gives recent grads some insight into what standard interview questions are actually trying to ascertain. Yate provides readers with info about 300 typical interview questions and answers, to give readers an edge the next time they’re in the hot seat.
Want to give him even more help in his job hunt? You can browse the whole line of Knock ’em Dead books here.
Price: $9.19 (39 percent off MSRP)
10. Gift Cards
No idea what to get for a recent grad? An Amazon gift card is a great gift idea, simply because there are so many ways they can redeem it. They can use a gift certificate to purchase grad school textbooks, furnish their first apartment, or just buy themselves a little treat. Amazon gift cards are available in any denomination from $0.50 to $2,000.
Want to get them a gift card that isn’t quite as flexible? If you’re interested in helping them finance a new work wardrobe, you might consider getting them gift cards to Nordstrom, JC Penney, or Eddie Bauer.
Still haven’t found that perfect graduation gift? Read our previous exploration of the best graduation gifts for guys to get more gift ideas. And with Father’s Day just around the corner, you might also be interested in our guide to the best gifts for dad.