The 2024 Graduation Gift Guide

Don't know what to buy the graduate in your life? Look no further — here are 30 of the best options.

April 30, 2024 1:12 pm
These are 30 of the best graduation gifts you can give.
These are 30 of the best graduation gifts you can give.
Getty, Lisa Says Gah, Omega, Hendricks, Amazon, Dyptique, Jeffersons Bourbon

The end of the 2024 academic year is fast approaching, with most college students already packing up their dorms and heading home. This glorious day marks the end of a unique time in life where your job is to learn, make friends and garner independence. Now it’s time to restart that process all over again in the professional world — how scary. To make that transition just a little bit easier, soften the blow with an expensive and necessary grad gift. We’ve done the digging for you and listed out some of the best appliances, fancy suits and expensive alcohol you can hand over to say “good job, it’s time to start paying your own phone bill.”

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For Their First Apartment

Moving out of your shared college house and into your first “real” apartment is always a challenge because you’re starting from scratch — and that usually means new everything. The least thing you can do for your kids is give them a little head-start on the endless journey toward completely furnishing their new home. That means gifting anything from a mattress to pots and pans. Trust us, these things may seem like boring gifts, but they are much appreciated.

A titanium pan. Always. Wins. Gift your graduate something that will outlast their various sublets, lease transfers and ever-changing cooking abilities. Get them this Always Pan Pro, which comes with non-stick technology and is described by the brand Our Place as “virtually indestructible.”

It’s 2024 and everyone should have a bed frame. No more “just a spring box” or mattress on the floor type of sleeping arrangement. If the person you’re buying a bed frame for cannot commit to something like a full wood frame, then get them this SoftFrame. It’s easy to set up, so they probably won’t need to call in backup, and it will make their room look that much more put together, just like their lives are now starting to be.

Along the lines of proper bed attire, good quality sheets are a must. Navigating the bedding market is overwhelming, and oftentimes youngins just turn to colorful duvet covers from Urban Outfitters. So don’t let them do that, and gift over this quality Brooklinen sheet bundle that comes with a duvet cover, pillow cases and top sheets.

This is a fun gift. If the grad you’re buying for is really into making things at home or DIY-ing parts of their life, this beverage maker is perfect. Let them make all their sodas and fun cocktails at home with this — it will probably save them a buck or two when they know they don’t need to buy club soda anymore.

We’ve said this before: cool glassware is in. So you’ll be considered a cool gift giver if you hand over some cups that give off “slightly-too-expensive-to-buy-for-yourself” vibes. Just know that they’ll be the star of every dinner party and cocktail hour hosted by the graduate in your life.

The last thing you want is for the youth in your life who is graduating to have a musty smelling apartment. Plus, nothing says “I’m an adult now” more than having a singular overpriced candle taking up the small amount of counter space said youth now has. This Dyptique Tubéreuse candle smells like the white flower from which it gets its name and will surely bring olfactory delight.

Parents are always moaning about their kids spending money on $7 lattes. Well…we would make them at home, if only we could do it just as well as the local coffee shop barista and their fancy La Marzacco machine. Buying us a Breville Barista Touch is a close second to those espresso mammoths and would probably get us more excited to make our own morning beverage instead of spoiling our savings.

For Their Jewelry Box

Nice jewelry is something that a new grad may not buy themselves — *cough* price point *cough* — so this is a perfect opportunity for you to swoop in and get them a dazzly token of appreciation to mark their accomplishment. The gift itself does not have to be dazzly; in fact, understated good quality pieces are probably more welcomed. So we’ve rounded up some good options for you to go with.

Canadian jewelry brand Mejuri is the queen of understated high quality jewelry. Their products last a lifetime and come with a two-year warranty if they happen to break. The Charlotte Bold Ring is a stackable statement ring that can be worn as a standalone or with other rings. It comes in a variety of silver and gold options all at different price points depending on how much money you want to fork over.

These David Yurman cufflinks are a bit of a splurge but will be welcomed with open arms. Cufflinks are, again, not something that a newbie grad may care to invest in for themselves, so getting good quality ones as a gift is greatly appreciated. These maritime cufflinks resemble a compass and hint at subtle nautical themes without being too over-the-top “country-club-goer” vibes.

The Pandora Small-Link chain bracelet is a gift that your grad can build on over time. It’s a solid (and good-quality) base for a charm bracelet and also opens up future gift opportunities for you as a gift giver. Birthdays, anniversaries and promotions down the line? You’re covered. If you know you’ve already gifted someone a charm bracelet, getting them a commemorative charm later on will serve just fine.

Now, a good classy watch is a staple graduation gift — feel free to match with it a nice pack of cigars, if that’s your vibe. The Omega Speedmaster ’57, a heritage model, is sleek enough to be worn in almost any occasion but still serves as a statement wrist piece. It’s not too sparkly but reminiscent of a stylish middle-aged George Clooney, who happens to be a face of the brand.

If you want to go with a more personalized jewelry gift, the Oak and Luna Inez bracelet is a great option. It’s a staple piece of jewelry that can stay on at all times and be stacked with other pieces to either dress it up or down. The custom initial adds fine detailing without overdoing the whole “customizable” thing too much.

For Their Closet

Buying clothes for a new grad can be a hit or miss — so whatever you buy has to be of use, of good quality and something a little too expensive for said grad to justify buying on their own. Enter in a nice bathrobe, an expensive suit, a staple little black dress or staple shoes. While these gifts may seem like smaller potatoes, they’re going to be appreciated especially because they’re one less thing these grads now have to save up for themselves.

Djerf Avenue is one of the more popular online brands that might fly under the nose of older gift givers. Scandinavian founder Matilda Djerf, known for her impeccable hair and social media presence, effortlessly rocks all of their clothes. The brand’s bathrobes come in the best patterns and are alleged to be super soft — all for a price point someone may not want to pay themselves. That makes them the perfect gift.

Having a good suit on hand is a must in life. Whether it be for a job interview or a post-grad formal event, gifting your grad a good tailored suit that they’ll have for the foreseeable future is one of the best things you can give them. Similar to a little black dress, having a go-to formal suit that you didn’t have to splurge on yourself makes it all the better. This three-piece suit from Ralph Lauren is decked out with everything you need.

For the average grad, matriculating into the working world means realizing that retiring their trusty sneakers (or worse, Birkenstock Bostons) for some “serious” shoes is part of the whole adult gig. Lay them down easy with a pair of luxe-but-not-so-boring footwear, like these Portuguese-woven raffia derbies from the artisan cobblers over at Jacques Solovière. They’ll look smart with a suit and downright flashy with their finest pair of giant-fit chinos.

A good leather jacket is something everyone needs. This one from Lisa Says Gah is perfect to gift because it’s versatile and can be dressed up or down. It’s a transitional piece of clothing that can be worn from late summer nights into colder winter days and will probably fit better than one from a thrift store, which is where most new grads opt to snag staple leather clothing from.

Every woman will appreciate a LBD (little black dress), because it’s a staple item to have in one’s closet. Rather than letting the grad in your life get one themselves from Urban Outfitters that will assuredly only last them a few months, get them this Sandy Liang dress that can be worn to almost all semi-formal and formal occasions.

The Lululemon lightweight collar button-up is one of those shirts that someone will reach for more than they think. Lululemon is great at making basics that feel breathable and wearable long-term. This button-up is fashioned out of a lightweight fabric with a relaxed fit perfect for both running errands or going out for low-key drinks. Grab your grad a few of them in different colors to help establish their post-college wardrobe.

For Their Desk

Tech-y goods are highly sought-after graduation presents. After using the same laptop or wire headphones for four years of undergrad, kids are probably looking to up revamp their Apple ecosystem with the help of Mom and Dad. Who can blame them? After four years of computers being shoved into bags alongside old wrappers from the library vending machine, it’s time for a fresh start.

024 is the era in which we move toward using desktops again instead of laptops. They’re better for your posture and aren’t mobile so are probably good at reducing your overall screen time. This Apple iMac 24″ desktop has a storage capacity of 256GB and 4.5K display and is, interestingly enough, not the most expensive gift in this gift guide. So that gives you all the more reason to buy it for the graduate in your life.

AirPods and earbuds can get boring. By boring we mean they’re easy to lose, they can hurt your ears and sometimes you want sound that’s a little more all-encompassing to properly dissociate. These over-the-ear Sony wireless headphones are made with noise-cancelling technology and have a battery life of up to 30 hours so you can be sure they won’t magically die on your commute when you need them the most.

Smart home devices are mandatory for a modern apartment, and while you might have difficulty disconnecting your Bluetooth, the recent grad should pick up on the Echo Studio’s host of functionalities faster than they can say, “Hey Alexa? How do I do my taxes again?” It’s impressively built with the latest Dolby Atmos spatial audio processing technology, all the compatibility they could ask for and five base-blasting speakers — all the better to listen to the Challengers club mix with.

Having a good speaker on hand automatically makes you the coolest person. You’ll get the be in charge of the playlist and commandeer the musical mood of the function. This Bose speaker is small enough to not blow out the eardrums but boasts a powerful and clear sound. It’s portable, has up to 12 hours of battery charge and connects via bluetooth.

There’s no gift more precious than one’s health. Unfortunately, this is a fact that most 22-year-olds tend to blissfully ignore. Oura’s tracking technology — the compact ring delivers “personalized health insights” on sleep, heart health, stress and more — should organically help them discover that shotgunning one too many Miller High Lifes is something to be left in undergrad. And that they should maybe get another hour of sleep and drink less caffeine.

For Their Bar Cart

This is a good time in life for your kid, niece, nephew, godson, granddaughter or other graduating individual to stop drinking Pink Whitney! Mid-priced tequila and grapefruit juice had its day, but the time has come for them to start developing their sophisticated palette and become the resident bartender amongst their friends. From expensive alcohol to quality bar cart materials — these will all serve as excellent gifts.

Everyone needs a good shaker set, and this one not only looks cool but will probably outlast whichever cheaper version of it your grad was planning on buying. It’s got a unique checker pattern and comes with every tool needed to make all the best cocktails.

It’s hot to have a good bourbon on hand. What’s even more impressive is to know that you have a good bourbon on hand. Plus, Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea comes with a cool backstory. The bourbon is aged on ships that travel around the world and takes on a specific flavor profile from being knocked around at sea all day.

The party trick of all party tricks, Now, this is one of the most fun and most unique gifts you can get for a new grad, and rest assured they’ll have it for life. The Sonoma Champagne Saber is used for, you guessed it, slicing open champagne bottles. It’s sure to be a showstopper that this new grad will welcome into their life, because they now have a built-in party trick to break the ice with when their new coworkers come over for happy hour.

Hendrick’s gin is a staple to have on hand to make a quality cocktail with. It’s a little bit elevated from your basic Gordon’s London Dry Gin and serves up well with Fever-Tree branded tonic water. The Grand Cabaret bottle in particular was just launched by the brand and promises to be “a decadent gin for free spirited souls.” With stone-fruit flavors, it pays homage to libations popular in Paris at the turn of the 20th century.

For Their Lifestyle

Making the transition from college to grad school or professional life can be tough, to say the least. Your grad may be moving further away from home or to a new city where they don’t know anyone. One way to make that reality sting a little less is to get them something like a workout class membership or nice quality luggage so that they can come visit you in a heartbeat! These are also things that new grads may be stingy about buying because it’s probably the last thing they’re thinking about or have the money for.

Every 20-something dreams of a life as a digital nomad, so outfitting them with a trendy-yet-sensible carry-on is a no-brainer, even if the furthest they’re getting is Milwaukee. The Carry-On Roller from Beis has all the streamlined features (360 wheels, trolley hand, an extra two inches of space) that you’d expect from a continental travel bag, cased in a poppy polycarbonate shell and set to make any and all travel a piece of cake.

A ClassPass membership is a top-tier gift. It’s better than gifting workout classes to one specific studio because with ClassPass the grad can try out different classes. They’ll be gifted a certain amount of credits each month that they can put not only toward workouts but toward other wellness activities as well like massages or facials. Plus, if they’re moving to a new city, it can get them excited about getting out and exploring it.

We know that tote bags are great but an elevated tote bag? Even better. This one from The Row is made in Italy with interior slip and zipper pockets and a magnetic top button closure. It is sure to be more organized than your average canvas tote bag and can be brought on public transit, to the airport or to a fancy dinner because it’s versatile like that.

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