20 Old-School Graduation Gifts That Cost Far Less Than a Laptop
The tech world is filled with new gadgets seemingly designed as ideal graduation gifts. But not everyone has the means to send a graduate off to college or the work world with a brand-new laptop. How about mixing it up with some "old-school" favorites and out-of-the-ordinary picks? Don't be surprised when you become known for your truly thoughtful and memorable gifts.
Price: $40, Buy it from Cross
A fine pen is pure tradition. Cross, an iconic maker of fine writing instruments, offers an 18-karat-gold set for a cool $7,000. (The graduate can buy that after hitting it big.) More affordable is a ballpoint from the same Classic Century Collection in polished chrome.
Price: $19 paperback, Buy it on Amazon
Whether it's a gap year or one last fling before joining "the real world," a trek through Europe is a rite of passage for many graduates. Give them a little advice that doesn't require an international data plan with a travel guide such as "Fodor's Essential Europe: The Best of 24 Exceptional Countries."
Price: $160, Buy it from B&H
Sometimes a smartphone camera just doesn't cut it. Outfit the new graduate with a playful-looking but seriously sturdy digital camera. The FinePix XP90 from Fujifilm, a Cheapism.com top pick, is a point-and-shoot model that features waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof construction. It comes in four colors and also shoots video.
Price: $200, Buy it from L.L. Bean
Between long weekends and out-of-town job interviews, graduates will likely find themselves packing a few bags in the coming months. This rolling duffel bag is an attractively sporty option available in three colors. It features zippered dividers to keep things organized, a laptop sleeve, and heavy-duty, locking zippers.
Price: $45, Buy it from Rustico
Graduates will have many new experiences, no matter the path they choose. Encourage them to chronicle their steps with a classic writer's log. This large, refillable leather notebook, available in a number of stately hues, features a charming flap-tie closure and includes a book of lined paper (additional from $13).
Price: $140 (white) or $150 (black), Buy it at Hayneedle
There's still a place in any home for a bookcase that showcases reading materials and collectibles, and this one conveniently rotates. This gift also gives a graduate the chance to accomplish something tangible: Basic assembly is required.
Price: $55, Buy it on Survival-Supply.com
A graduate may soon be driving to and from college or to a new job, so add a layer of safety with a gift that hopefully will never be used. This AAA-branded emergency kit includes everything from an air compressor and booster cables to first-aid supplies.
Price: $58, Buy it from UncommonGoods
A paperweight may be an unusual choice in the digital age, but it's delightfully designed by California artist Tamara Hensick, who used lead-free pewter to create a unique keepsake. Her Sky's the Limit paper-airplane paperweight soars with meaning and encouragement.
Price: $40, Buy it from the
Museum of Modern Art Store The Faces of the Moon Stress Ball, designed by Makiko Yoshida in 2003, is still selling strong at the MOMA Store. Squeezing this toy should ease some tension in the face of an uncertain future, and the quirky design is likely to bring out some laughter, too.
Price: $175, Buy it from Bosca
For graduates with a decidedly Old World outlook, a leather address book and weekly minder from Bosca recognizes graduation as a major milestone and encourages them to keep in touch. The planner comes with a spiral address book and calendar, business card and pen pockets, and a leather and moiré silk lining. Ah, adulthood.