How to Pick the Best Graduation Gift

If you can already hear “Pomp and Circumstance” playing somewhere in the distance, you know graduation season is here. Graduation is a major milestone, and a thoughtful present is a great way to help a graduate celebrate the important occasion.

Are you worried about finding the perfect graduation gift for someone you care about before they throw their cap in the air? We’ve assembled this handy list of awesome graduation gift ideas for anyone walking across the stage. Graduation ceremonies are right around the corner, so start shopping today — and don’t forget to activate Cash Back at Rakuten to save even more on great graduation gifts.

1. Give something useful.

When shopping for graduation gifts, always ask yourself whether the gift is useful. We can probably all remember receiving novelty gifts or personalized trinkets that were special and meaningful but not exactly useful in day-to-day life. Form and function should always be considered when selecting your graduation gift.

2. Think about the grad’s interests.

One surefire way to choose an excellent gift is to find something that aligns with the graduate’s interests or chosen field of study. By finding something they’re interested in, you’re almost guaranteed to pick a gift they’ll love.

3. Reflect on what helped you as a graduate.

Think back to when you donned a gown and tossed your cap in the air, and consider what gifts helped you the most. Whether it was something you needed to start your new career or an item to furnish your new living space, try to find something you know they’ll appreciate each day.

4. Don’t be afraid to give cash.

It never hurts to simply give a new graduate cash or a gift card to their favorite store. That way, they can use the money for whatever they may need as they head out into the world.

1. A stylish watch

Every professional needs a stylish watch they can wear to the office or wherever life takes them. You don’t have to spend a lot for a great timepiece. A Timex watch like the Fairfield can be dressed up or down, and the Transcend has a beautiful rose gold case and strap.

Yeti is the gold standard for portable drinkware, and your graduate will be happy to have a Rambler for their new workplace. It’s now basically a requirement to bring your own drinkware to work, with more and more offices trying to be eco-friendly. The innovative MagSlider lid makes the Rambler very easy to clean — the piece that prevents spilling is magnetic and pops off with ease for a hand-wash or trip through the dishwasher. Yeti products are built to last, so your grad will enjoy their Rambler for years to come.

3. Gaiam Voyager Weekender bag

Your grad may be getting luggage from other friends and family, but one piece that’s often overlooked is a proper weekender bag, such as the Voyager from Gaiam. Weekender bags are made for short trips, and they come in handy quite often while larger luggage may sit in a closet for years. It will probably take your grad a while to build up the vacation time and funds necessary to take a large trip, so they’ll appreciate this thoughtful gift when they’re heading out for a little weekend getaway.

4. DuoPress Steamer

Every graduate is sure to have an iron, but a clothes steamer is an often overlooked lifesaver for new professionals. This simple device steams out wrinkles from clothing in only a few minutes. We can’t tell you how many times a steamer has saved us when we’re running late and realize the shirt we thought was work-ready actually needs some work. The DuoPress steamer from the Container Store is our top pick.

5. Food subscription

Give your graduate the gift of easy-to-prepare meals through a subscription to a meal service such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh or Home Chef. It’ll give them one less thing to worry about as they start their new life, and it also doubles as a way for them to gain culinary skills beyond ramen noodles and microwave meals.


And there you have it: our tips for finding the best graduation gift and five great gift ideas for your lucky graduate. All the items on this list are from Rakuten partners, so you’ll need to be a member to earn Cash Back. Sign up today. It’s free, easy and simple to join.

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