Great Gifts For The Graduate

Great Gifts For The Graduate

Graduation time is here, and such a major milestone deserves a really thoughtful gift. My own son will be graduating from eighth grade and heading to high school, so I’ve been on the lookout for a great gift! Here are some ideas for students heading into high school, college and beyond, in a range of prices.

A Watch

Yes, I know, I’m writing for Citizen, so of course I’m going to put a watch on the gift list, right? Well, not only am I putting it on the list, I’m putting it first. I asked my son to give me some graduation gift ideas. I told him that I was writing an article about it, but I didn’t tell him who I was writing for. So I almost fell over when he said, “A watch. I think that’s a great graduation gift. A really nice watch.”

And he’s right. Even though he’s thirteen and practically has a cell phone growing out of his hand, he still thinks that wearing a watch makes sense. It’s quicker to see the time on a watch. It looks good. It looks grown up.

Some of my favorite watch picks for male graduates are the Men’s Straps ($150), the Proximity ($495), and the World Time A-T ($595). For women, I love the Ladies’ Bracelet ($215), the Citizen L Sunrise ($325), the Ladies’ Chronograph ($395), and the Bella ($495).

A Laptop Bag

Back in the day (yes, I’m old), the traditional gift for someone graduating from college was a briefcase, for carrying papers and files. Now, instead, everybody carries a laptop. And laptops are a lot more expensive than papers and files, so a laptop bag makes perfect sense.

Whether you go for a backpack or a messenger-style bag, there are certain things you want to look for:

  • The outside should keep out water. It doesn’t have to be waterproof, but it should be made of a material that will let water roll off instead of soaking in, and the zipper of the main compartments should be covered.
  • There should be a special compartment inside the bag just for the laptop. Make sure it’s big enough (find out the dimensions of the grad’s laptop), and has plenty of padding.
  • The straps should be padded and comfortable.
  • If the grad travels a lot, you might want to look into checkpoint-friendly bags. These bags are designed in such a way that laptops can be left inside the bag at TSA screening points.

A Solar Charger

Kids are connected these days. Want to be the hero? Help a grad be free from outlets. Solar chargers come in many forms. Some are small enough to clip onto the outside of a backpack, and can charge phones and small tablets. Bigger chargers can be set up on the grass or on a table and can charge a laptop.

When choosing a charger, keep in mind that some of them include battery packs for storing the electricity that’s produced so that you can charge a device later, and some can only charge a device as the electricity is being produced.

An Innovative Alarm Clock

As kids get older or leave home, they have to be totally responsible for getting themselves up in the morning. An innovative alarm clock can be a funny but useful gift. There are clocks on wheels that run away from you as they buzz, clocks shaped like helicopters that fly around your room, and even a clock that has a bulls-eye on it; it won’t shut off until you hit the bulls-eye with the included IR gun. The point is to get the grad’s brain and body moving in order to get the alarm to shut off, so that the grad isn’t tempted to roll over and go back to sleep!

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Nothing makes it harder to study or sleep than noise. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones will help a student or recent grad focus, whether he’s doing homework or sending out resumes.

Whatever you do, don’t get a grad a pen, even a really nice one. That graduation gift is so last millennium. What would you add to a graduation gift list?

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