Unique Gifts for College Grads Who Are Tough to Impress

A Class Apart


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A Class Apart

A Class Apart

Every class of college graduates faces their own challenges, but it's safe to say that graduation celebrations for the Class of 2022 will be like none other because of the coronavirus pandemic. You may not be able to watch your favorite grad cross the stage or celebrate with them in person, but you can still send a meaningful gift that will help them take that first step into the real world.

Prices and availability are subject to change.

Related: Gifts for High School Grads That They'll Actually Like

NoteCube Gift


$69-$99 from NoteCube

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The NoteCube is a wonderful personalized gift to recognize how hard your graduate has worked. The concept is simple: You tell NoteCube about your recipient, and use the site's tools to edit and add notes (typically between 40-60 but NoteCube recommends at least 20). Finally, add some photos and choose a style of NoteCube. When everything is just how you want it, you finalize and pay for your order and it gets shipped. 

Related: Photo Tile Face-Off: Mixtiles vs. Shutterfly vs. Mixpix

Cameo Press Image

A Personal Message From Their Favorite Celebrity

For a Brush With Fame

Price varies from Cameo

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Give a graduation gift they will never forget: a personal video message from their favorite actor, athlete, musician, reality TV personality, or other celeb — which can then be shared on their social media platform of choice. There are literally thousands of famous (and not-so-famous) people to choose from on Cameo, and prices vary accordingly. A custom video from Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys will cost $450, while one from TikTok sensation Jon Dretto will set you back just $20. 

Related: Gifts for Teen Boys Who Are Tough to Impress

A Bright Future: "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

'Oh, the Places You'll Go!'

For a Bright Future
$9 from Amazon
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Dr. Seuss' words of wisdom ring true for people of any age, but this book — the last to be published in his lifetime — is particularly meaningful for a young person who is getting ready to begin the next chapter of their lives. ("And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed!")

Related: Clever and Creative Gifts for Book Lovers

A Picture Worth 1,000 Words: Fujifilm Instax Mini 9

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9

For Pictures Worth 1,000 Words
$80 from Amazon
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In this digital world of ours, there's still something to be said for an instant photo you can hold in your hand. This Fuji Instax camera comes with two 10-exposure film packs for creating mementos of this crazy time.

Related: Gifts for Photographers

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1

For Mealtime Without Tears
$60 and up from Amazon
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Why are Instant Pots so popular? Maybe because you can use them to prepare a day's worth of meals without dirtying every pot and pan in the kitchen. They also take the guesswork out of cooking, making the Instant Pot a great gift for a recent grad who's still mastering the basics of daily meal prep.

Related: 50 Simple, Cheap, and Delicious Instant Pot Recipes

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NCAA Collegiate Fleece Blanket
A Place of Pride: Golden State Art Diploma Tassel Shadow Box

Golden State Art Diploma Tassel Shadow Box

For a Place of Pride
$38 from Amazon
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They can display that hard-earned diploma at home or at the office with this shadow box frame, which also has a space for their tassel.

Related: 19 Billionaires Who Didn't Go to College

A Reminder of Where They Come From: State Necklaces
Maya Brenner

State Necklace

For a Reminder of Where They Come From
$60 and up from Maya Brenner
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Best graduation advice ever: Don't forget where you come from. With this necklace (also available as a charm), they can wear their home state pride for all to see. Available in sterling silver or 14-karat yellow gold.

Related: Gifts to Showcase Your State Pride

A New Wardrobe: Stitch Fix Subscription

Stitch Fix Subscription

For a New Wardrobe
$25 and up from Stitch Fix
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College student attire probably won't cut it at most workplaces (except all those hoodie-wearing tech firms), but building a wardrobe of work-ready clothing takes time and money — two things a hard-working recent grad may not have. Give 'em a head start in the fashion department with a subscription to this clothing-delivery service. 

Related: Pajamas, Sweats, and Leisure Wear Perfect for Working at Home

Coffee with Class: Cuisinart Coffeemaker
A Box Full of Memories: Boombox
Sirijit Jongcharoenkulchai / EyeEm / Getty Images CC


For Messages From Afar
$130 and up from Boombox
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Friends and family from across the miles can all contribute to a Boombox. Choose the box design, then invite people to contribute photos and best wishes. Your grad will receive a professionally designed gift box full of memories — up to 150 typeset cards — from loved ones who may not be able to wish them a happy graduation in person.

Related: Thoughtful Gifts for Love and Friendship Across the Miles

Something That Sparkles: TruMiracle White Gold Twist Stud Earrings

TruMiracle White Gold Twist Stud Earrings

For Something That Sparkles
$358 from JCPenney
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Give a gift that she can wear for years. These stud earrings feature half-carat round-cut diamonds set in 10-karat white gold. They are frequently marked down with a promo code, making them an even better bargain, so keep an eye on the price.

Related: Where to Relocate If You’re Working Remote Full-Time


HelloFresh Meal Kit Subscription

For a Delicious Dinner (or Three)
$8.99 per serving from HelloFresh
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Worried that they aren't eating well on their own? A subscription to the meal-kit service HelloFresh means your favorite grad will never go hungry — and may just learn how to cook for themselves. A basic subscription provides three meals per week, each of which serves two, including step-by-step instructions and all the ingredients you need.

Related: 19 Meal Kits and Delivery Services to Get You Out of Your Dinner Rut

Luxurious Bed Linens: Linoto Linen Sheets

Linoto Linen Sheets

For Luxurious Bed Linens
$399 and up from Amazon
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Lumpy twin beds and futons were fine for college life, but it's time to graduate to grown-up sheets. Nothing feels quite as luxurious as linen, which keeps the bed feeling cool and comfy. This American-made sheet set is available in sizes from full to California king and comes in 10 color choices. 

Related: 76 Gifts That Are Made in America

New Cookware: T-fal Titanium Advanced Nonstick Cookware Set

T-fal Titanium Advanced Nonstick Cookware Set

For a Fully Equipped Kitchen
$115 from Amazon
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This cookware set gets the thumbs-up from Good Housekeeping, whose testers know a bargain when they see one. Reviewed.com's editors are also keen on this nonstick T-fal cookware, which is oven-safe up to 350 degrees and dishwasher-ready for easy cleaning.

A Comfy Place to Sit: Alera Neratoli Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair
Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Therapy Lamp

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Therapy Lamp

For a Gentle Good Morning
$160 from Amazon
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It's one thing to sleep in and miss class. It's quite another to oversleep and be late for work. This Philips therapy lamp starts with a gentle glow that slowly builds in intensity, just like the sunshine, for a gentle good morning that no cheap, buzzy alarm clock can offer.

An Excuse to Travel: AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Suitcase

AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Suitcase

For Their Next Trip (Whenever It May Be)
$72 from Amazon
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Sooner or later, they're going to need to travel for a job interview or a work trip or even a vacation. This 21-inch spinner suitcase meets federal carry-on size requirements and comes in a choice of four colors. Larger sizes are also for sale.

Related: The Best Cheap Luggage 

A Collegiate Cushion: Embroidered College Pillows
Uncommon Goods

Embroidered College Pillows

For a Memento of Their Alma Mater
$192 and up from Uncommon Goods
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Wanna give 'em something to remember their college days by? Toss one of these embroidered pillows their way. Available for more than 50 colleges and universities from Arizona State to Yale.

A Reliable Laptop: Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

For a Reliable Laptop
$871 from Amazon
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That sticker-covered laptop they've been lugging around since freshman year still may be functional, but odds are it's seen better days. This Surface Pro laptop has a speedy eighth-generation Intel Core processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB hard drive. Also, it's got a touch screen and can be converted into a tablet by removing the keyboard.

Knives That Will Last: Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Knife Set

For Knives That Will Last
$149 from Amazon
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You don't need to be a master chef to appreciate the utility of a good knife set. This Mercer high-carbon steel knife set contains all the essentials — paring, chef's, bread, and utility blades among them — without useless extras like a set of cheap steak knives no one will ever use.

Related: Practical and Purposeful Kitchen Gifts They'll Actually Use

A Splash of Geek Chic: Caffeine Beaker Mug

Caffeine Beaker Mug

For a Splash of Geek Chic
$15 from Amazon
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This clever glass mug will appeal to any coffee drinker, but especially science nerds. They can pour a precise amount of their favorite brew and contemplate the chemical composition of the caffeine molecule.

Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch Series 5

For the Gift of Time
$429 from Amazon
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A fancy wristwatch is a time-honored graduation gift (pun intended). Continue that tradition with the gift of a decidedly 21st-century version that can also be used for listening to music, chatting with friends, monitoring fitness levels ... even telling the time.

A Hot (and Cool) Cup: Personalized Insulated Tumbler

Personalized Insulated Tumbler

For a Hot (and Cool) Cup
$23 and up from Etsy
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This insulated 20-ounce tumbler comes with a travel lid to keep their favorite hot or cold beverage at just the right temperature. Choose from Yeti and Polar Camel brands in a variety of colors, then have your grad's name laser-engraved.

Some Good Advice: 'The Real Simple Guide to Real Life: Adulthood Made Easy'

'The Real Simple Guide to Real Life'

For Some Good Advice
$10 from Amazon
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With a name like Real Simple, you know the editors of this magazine know what they're talking about when it comes to life hacks. Adulting 101 begins now. Available in paperback or Kindle ebook format.

A Place for All Their Stuff: Fabric Cube Storage Bin

Fabric Cube Storage Bin

For a Place to Put All Their Stuff
$4 from Target
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Sooner or later, everyone needs a place to stash odds and ends. A fabric cube bin like this one adds a pop of color to any room where they need more places for all their stuff.

A Clean Sweep: Eufy Anker, BoostIQ RoboVac 11S

Eufy RoboVac 11S

For a Clean Sweep
$150 from Amazon
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A vacuum may not seem like a very exciting graduation gift, but it is one of the few appliances that darn near everyone needs and uses. This robotic vacuum can run for up to 100 minutes on a full charge and is suitable for tile, hardwood and laminate flooring, and low-pile carpeting and area rugs.