Final thesis essays are about to be turned in, caps are prepped to be thrown, and that U-Haul is ready to be loaded and locked. Graduation season is upon us, and we’re betting you’ve got a special grad in your life that could use a gift or two. We’ve rounded up 20 practical, playful, and totally professional gifts to usher them swiftly into adulthood in style.
1. Moleskine 18-Month Weekly Planner ($11): It’s time to make plans. This planner starts in July 2012, giving your favorite grad a solid month of unplanned summertime before reality sets in.
2. iPhone Alarm Dock ($70): The end of classes means the beginning of actually getting up at a respectable hour. Make your favorite grad’s morning’s a wee bit easier with one of these charming alarm clocks. (And might we recommend a soothing Alarm Clock app to go with?)
3. Grand Street Gabriel Everything Bag ($478): That ratty Jansport backpack is in need of a serious upgrade. For ladies, fancy it up with this Kate Spade number, perfect for carrying a laptop, folder of resumes, and even a change of clothes. For more purses that double as laptop bags, check out our roundup.
4. Knomo Kilkenny Cross Body Bag ($195): And for the guys, we love the Knomo Kilkenny bag. This easily carries a small MacBook Air, tablet, or iPad. And, of course, the latest copy of GQ. ;)
5. Patagonia MLC Wheelie ($249): Is the grad in your life headed on a big adventure? An adventure where they need to pack super lightly? This Patagonia wheelie is a carry-on friendly rolling suitcase as well as a totally comfortable backpack. Perfect for the bold explorer.
7. REI Half Dome 2 ($189): The best thing you can really give a grad is a home. This 2-person tent is perfect for camping across the country, is super light and a breeze to set up.
8. Jambox ($300): True. We are obsessed with the Jambox and it’s big bro, the Big Jambox. So obsessed that we figured out how to hack ours for a sweet boombox on the go! Any grad would be pumped to get this.
9. Healthy Surprise ($49): Want your darling grad to start his or her adult life eating more than ramen and Combos? Get them a subscription to Healthy Surprise and they’ll have more than 18 healthy treats enough to last your snack cabinet an entire month. Head here for more subscription-style gifts.
10. Toaster Oven ($92): Speaking of cooking, a toaster oven is post-grad’s dream. It’s a microwave but better. It can actually bake stuff, and toast, and even reheat! Consider this one a warmup to real cooking.
11. Diesel Analog Watch ($160): Also featured in our dude-centric Valentine’s Day gift guide, this watch is classic with a little bit of rugged. It looks good but doesn’t compromise post-grad “keeping it real” style.
12. NY Times Subscription ($15): Now that they’re all educated and what not, what about their knowledge about things going on right now? Get them a year’s subscription to the NY Times online so they can put that intellectual prowess to good use.
13. UrbanEars Plattan Headphones ($47): When they’ve gotta rock out but are spending the summer with the parents, big noisy headphones are an absolute must.
14. Chevron Tool Box ($26): If you’re living on your own for the first time, it’s pretty crucial to outfit yourself with the basics. We love this charming chevron-patterned tool set by Jonathan Adler, which includes a tape measure, hammer, and 6-in-1 screwdriver.
15. 53-Piece Household Tool Kit ($33) If you’re less about keeping things cute and want to keep things working, for real, go for this tool set which includes just about anything you could possibly need… unless you’re putting together Ikea furniture, of course.
16. Farberware 3-Piece Knife Set ($18): Turns out that Swiss Army knife is not as good for food prep as they thought. Get them this trio of chef knives, also great for camping!
17. Ray Ban Wayfarers ($150): Speaking of upgrades, toss those $10 Ray Ban fakes aside and get them the real deal.
18. The Art of Shaving Starter Kit ($86): On the not-so-subtle side of things, it’s time to lose that half grown neck beard, stat.
19. Give them Art! ($60): Say goodbye to the Bob Marley poster, torn up tapestries, and Led Zeppelin postcard prints. Head to 20×200 and get them a few affordable prints to start their very own art collection.
20. Kindle ($139): Newsflash to grads everywhere! Reading is about to be FUN again. We know, we know, it’s hard to believe. And guess what, thanks to the Kindle you don’t have to break your back to get down with some literature.
What was the best graduation gift you’ve ever received? Let us know in the comments below or find us on Twitter.