It’s that time of year again – graduation season!
Which means you need to figure out what to give as a graduation present. While cash is always a great option, there’s a pretty good chance they’re just gonna blow that on beer. Instead, give them something they’ll be so glad they have: a gift they’ll use every damn day.
The trick is to find that sweet spot between getting your college grad something they’ll really need in life and something they’ll actually want to use.
Below you’ll find the best products, memberships, and more that are not only beneficial, but necessary. These are the essentials graduates need for the “real world,” with a dash of cool spurges they might not want to buy for themselves just yet. (That student debt struggle is oh-so-real.)
Here are the 20 items every graduate wants, needs, and will use every day.
The HyperChiller can instantly chill any liquid, from coffee to even wine in under a minute. Oh yes, you bet ya this thing will come in handy, saving time since there’s no need to go to Starbucks, and money since the average iced coffee costs around $4 a pop.
If you’re wondering how it works, just pour water in the cup and freeze it. Once the HyperChiller is frozen, add any liquid and wait 60 seconds for it to cool. Your grad is gonna be so pumped once they realize they can have iced coffee literally whenever they want.
It’s time to upgrade from prepackaged ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The Instant Pot is the must-have cooking device of the moment, and a great size for apartment dwellers. There are also Instant Pot cookbooks on Amazon if you want to include one of those too. The Instant Pot, in case you were wondering, is a pressure cooker that can also slow cook, sauté, steam, make cakes, pasteurize, make yogurt, cook rice, and warm food.
Pizza is always a good idea. The Cuizen Pizza Box Oven is a mini, tabletop device that takes heating up your pie to a whole new level. It combines top and bottom heating elements with a rotating non-stick pan that can also cook personal pans in addition to heating up leftover slices.
For most college students and recent grads, it’s been one pair of shitty headphones after another. Get them a great, sophisticated pair that won’t crap out. Trust us, you will make their day. The Quiet Comfort 35 wireless headphones by Bose take full advantage of industry-leading noise-canceling technology to block out the world completely. Whether your grad is on a plane or taking mass transit, they eliminate outside sound, or control precisely how much noise to let in. (Noisy neighbors have finally met their match.) Plus, the design of these Bose headphones just looks classy and grown-up.
If you don’t post a photo, it didn’t happen. (It’s true, just ask your graduate.) But night selfies and forward facing videos are notoriously difficult to capture since most smartphones don’t have a flash on the front. Sure, you can use the subpar Snapchat flash, but who really wants to have to do that? No one. Lumee cases help by illuminating the world with warm, natural looking LED lights — perfect for capturing all those memories at graduation parties.
This one also has LEDs on the back too. The Lumee Duo comes in four colors: white, rose, gold, and black.
For those entering the “real world,” a real camera is a must. Sure, your grad can use a smartphone like all the kids are doing, but for some adulting 2.0, get him or her this Canon Rebel Bundle as a graduation gift.
The EOS Rebel T6 produces really high-quality images. It’s easy to use for DSLR beginners and can even shoot Full HD video. The T6 is an Amazon bestseller, with 83% of reviewers rating it 5 stars.
Dining halls have notoriously terrible coffee. Help your grad upgrade their daily cup and give their morning routine a boost at the same time. This coffee maker by Keurig is a perennial best-seller, brewing six cups before it needs to be refilled, which is basically a week’s worth of morning java to get your recent grad caffeinated and out the door. Simple touch buttons help to make the brewing experience stress free.
Whether your grad decides to move back in with the parents or head to the graduation destination of their dreams after college, they’ll probably need a way to pack up their stuff. You could always find them some cheap weekend bag somewhere, but after 4-plus years of studying (cramming) and extracurricular activities (partying) they deserve something a little better than knapsack.
9. Harry’s — $2 per blade
Life in the real world can get hectic, so signing your grad up for a subscription service or two is one way to make sure they’ll always have what they need. Harry’s will make sure they always have razors on hand so they can always look sharp. Each set includes a blade with precision-honed edges, shaving gel for a rich lather, and a travel cover to protect the blades when on the move. Your grad can get blade refills based on how often he or she shaves, for just $2 each.
When you start living alone, you have to start figuring out how to fix things yourself. That’s where YouTube comes in. But repairs, both minor and major, call for the right tools. That’s where this handy tool kit comes in. The contents of this vegan leather case can help your grad mend everything from the zipper on his favorite pair of jeans to the broken leg on her Craigslist-purchased furniture.
Robot vacuums used to be really expensive, but not anymore. The Deebot N79 is under $250, and though it doesn’t entirely replace the need for manual cleaning (yet), it can greatly reduce how often your grad has to physically clean his or her space.
This one by Ecovacs can be controlled using a smartphone and will be the gift that keeps on giving. Sure, they’ll have to pick up all the dirty socks off the floor before running it, but it can save valuable time by cleaning under all those areas people tend to forget about.
12. iOttie — $24.99
The iOttie Easy One Touch 4 Dashboard & Windshield Mount can help your grad stay safe while driving. It’s a one touch mechanism that allows anyone to easily mount and keep their smartphone closer to eye level. The iOttie can hold all phone combinations up to 3.5 inches wide and has an adjustable arm that pivots 225-degrees for a variety of optimal viewing angles.
Do we really have to convince you about this one? Obviously an Amazon gift card is a good thing to have because you can find practically anything you’ll ever need on Amazon.
Amazon Prime may be an even better gift. With Prime, your grad can get free two-day shipping on over 100 million items. There’s also access to thousands of movies and TV shows, free Kindle ebooks, unlimited photo storage and millions of songs. What better way to enter the “real world” than by having access to all that?
The closer you get to your mid-twenties, the more your metabolism starts to become unreliable. Help your grad stay active by gifting them ClassPass, an all-access membership to a global network of 8,500 fitness studios in over 49 cities worldwide. ClassPass gives you access to strength training, kickboxing, yoga, and practically everything in between.
Help your grad celebrate their achievement in sophisticated style with Oster’s electric wine opener, which is about a thousand times better than how they usually do it: pushing the cork into the wine and shrugging their shoulders.
Designed to fit practically all wine bottles, removing the cork involves literally zero-effort. Theres a foil cutter to remove the wine seal, a wine bottle openerto penetrate the cork, and a straightforward switch to remove the cork from the bottle automatically. Cheers.
If you gifted them an Instant Pot already, great! Your grad can finish cooking in mere minutes. But they’ll still need ingredients, and it takes some time to get to learn your way around a produce section. Can you confidently tell the difference between a beet and a radish? What about a sweet potato and a yam or even a zucchini and a cucumber? Some people can’t.
Help your grad stay well fed with a subscription to Blue Apron. The company helps to take the guesswork out of cooking by delivering all the ingredients they’ll need to make delicious meals. Sure you can get a $60 gift card, but $120 covers a two-week delivery of the 2-Person Meal Plan, and it’s the most popular choice.
In case you haven’t heard, writing things down can actually change your life. Putting your goals on paper can help you think bigger, remain focused, and keep you motivated. This Best Self Co. Journal makes a great gift for anyone looking to kickstart a new routine — especially recent graduates. It’s a 3-month day planner with a unique goal system that works backward, so they’ll know what they need to do every day to reach the goals they’ve set.
Those graduating these days have been called “Generation Debt” and “Generation Broke” becuase of the massive debt they’ve accumulated in pursuit of a degree. But it’s okay. Recent grads have the greatest asset of all on their side — time. Financial expert Suze Orman’s The Money Book can help them make the most of it. This New York Times bestseller tells readers precisely what actions to take to help ensure that your college graduate is never broke again.