Commencement: 25 Best College Graduation Gifts

Behold, parents. It’s that amazing time of year when your college grad makes the great leap from university life into the real world. These are amazing times. When you and your college grad get to bask in the freedom from classrooms, study guides, mid-terms, finals and instead take the time to get ready for what lies ahead; the rest of their lives. Here, throughout the month of May, both undergraduate and graduate students dawn their cap and gowns, are handed their diploma, chuck their caps into the warm Spring sky and enter the workforce with the idea of becoming a productive member of society.

However, before the job interviews, the move-outs, or cross country celebratory road trip, a little celebration is in order. I mean doesn’t close to 16 straight years – sometimes more – of education deserve some level or reward and recognition? Of course it does. And whether they’re moving out or on up to bigger and better things, a little reminder of how far they’ve come never hurts. In this instance, the reminder comes in the form of a graduation gift. However big or small, a great graduation gift demonstrates both an appreciation of the accomplishment at hand and hosts some real-world applicability. So if you’re looking for the best of the best, look no further. We have you covered.


All Eyes On You

There’s really no better way to say ‘congratulations’ than with a style piece you know they couldn’t have scored themselves on a college budget. Couple that with the likelihood that they’ve probably been wearing the same jacket, shoes, or budget watch for several years and it becomes clear that a change is in order. Here, your grad will welcome any stylish addition to their wardrobe – and not just that of the suit variety. Appearances go a long way in the post-college atmosphere so even something as simple as a causal upgrade sends a message.

Within this realm, everything from heirloom-worthy timepieces to handsome jackets to even a new pair of all-American shoes are on the table. And believe us, there are plenty of additional options out there besides these five. There’s just no better place to get started than with honorary brands like Jack Mason, Taylor Stitch or Outerknown. They’re American-inspired and boast substantial quality that won’t quit after a year, all while turning a few heads in the process.

Taylor Stitch Bandit Shirt ($118)
PF Flyers Made In USA Sandlot Shoes ($150)
Randolph Engineering Concord Sunglasses ($175)
Outerknown Evolution Flight Jacket ($245)
Jack Mason A102 Aviator Chronograph ($275)


Get Out And Get Exploring

It favors any college grad to get out and get away after spending the better part of four to five years on campus and in a classroom or library. And as we’re sure you are aware, the post-graduation trip to unwind and see the world is a common occurrence. These are journeys of self-discovery; positioning the mind, body, and soul for life after college. Ranging from beach getaways to backpacking expeditions to road trips, each experience is unique to who the graduate became over the course of their college tenure. It only makes sense then, that they’re given the appropriate gear to match.

Whether camping, traveling abroad or traversing across the country, preferred gear for the graduate revolves around travel. Be it a handsome waxed canvas duffel bag, a designed-centric pocket knife, or a camping tent that can finally replace that torn and frayed budget option they’ve been using for so long. The beauty of these items from beloved brands like Bradley Mountain and Bellroy? They’re positioned to last, so no matter where life’s journey may take them, you shall forever remain in their thoughts.

DrinkTanks Vacuum Insulated Growler ($87)
Belroy Travel Wallet ($120)
James Brand County Knife ($150)
Bradley Mountain Weekender Duffel ($179)
MSR Hubba Hubba Tent ($300)


Because They've Earned It

What’s a graduation without a little celebration right? I mean, look how far they’ve come since those bewildering days spent as a teenage hellion. Finally, there’s the relief in knowing with a college degree, those weekends spent boozing it up at school had little to no effect on their academics. Therefore it’s suiting to give them a taste of the finer things in life; a life outside house tequila shots and cheap keg beer.

Instead, gift them the celebratory joy of a quality single malt, or perhaps an iconic vessel to house their preferred spirit that’s made in the USA. Additionally, what’s a celebration without a cigar? If sharing a stogie with your grad is a family tradition, then going Cuban is definitely the way to go. Not a drinker? Or maybe you think they’re better served with something more permanent, anything coffee related is never a bad choice seeing how they’ll be answering the bell five days a week like the rest of us here in the near future (at least that’s the idea).

Colibri Enterprise Torch Lighter ($80)
Cohiba Behike 56 Cuban Cigars ($140+)
Jacob Bromwell Great American Flask ($200)
Rancilio Silva Espresso Machine ($660+)
Glenfiddich IPA Cask Finish (Learn More)


For The Wired World

We don’t have to tell you we live in wild technically-innovative world. And, odds are, you’re graduate understands this realm a bit better than you do. As do we – it’s our job of course – which is why gifting these fortunate ones with an updated piece of tech as a proper introduction to a new chapter is never a bad idea. It’s not all fun and games either. These days the majority of Americans live and work on the internet, so mobile access both in and out of the office is paramount. Who knows, maybe even necessary.

It’s for these reasons that we decided to mix things up a bit – with both work and pleasure. From personal action cameras to a high-performance laptop computer, a power source to keep things alive, and maybe even a smart home system for the new digs, these are the gifts that keep on giving, and with a little luck even spark their inner entrepreneurial spirit.

Anker Powercore+ Portable Charger ($66)
Amazon Echo ($180)
B&) Play H4 Wireless Headphones ($250)
GoPro Hero 5 Session ($299)
MacBook Pro ($1299+)


Onward and Upward

Out of the college dormitory and run-down apartment complex and into the real world. Even for us, the memory is a sweet one. No longer are you worried about whether or not the utilities will work, or fighting to use the restroom in a four bedroom one bathroom house next to campus. Luckily, any slight upgrade in the living situation during these times is viewed as the good life. And if gifting a house is out of the option, there are a many other “housewarming gifts” that fit the bill here.

Truly, anything that finds its place in a standard home is up for grabs here. But to narrow things down a bit, some basic kitchen utilities, nightstand essentials, and – naturally – furniture are key for anyone moving up and out into the world. These are magical times. Full of wonderment, trial and error, and daily self-discovery. They will try, they will fail, but – most importantly – they will learn and continue to grow. And with a handful of essential but high-quality essentials for the apartment or house, they’ll also have a comforting home to help them unwind at the end of the day.

Smeg Toaster ($200)
Miyabi Birchwood Chef’s Knife ($240+)
Acapulco Black Egg Outdoor Chair ($250)
Casper Mattress ($950)
Artifox Desk 02 ($1,390)

New Digs, New Furniture, New You.

What better way to start life after college than with some brand new furniture for the new home or apartment? These online furniture stores are simply the best of the best – offering a little something for everyone and every budget.