Mental Floss

11 of the Best Graduation Gifts That New Grads Will Actually Use

Elaine Selna
Help your loved one kickstart their next chapter with these fun (and useful) graduation gifts.
Help your loved one kickstart their next chapter with these fun (and useful) graduation gifts. / Instax/Apple/Amazon
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Another school year is drawing to a close, which means graduation season is about to begin. If you know someone who's getting ready to don their cap and gown, chances are you've been searching for the perfect present to give them. Whether they're headed off to college or grad school (or about to embark on a new career), the gifts on this list will help them kickstart the next chapter in their life and be useful for years to come.

1. AirPods Pro; $175

Apple Computer AirPods Pro on a white background
AirPods Pro / Apple/Amazon

When it comes to true wireless earbuds, Apple's AirPods Pros are some of the best that money can buy. New grads can use these 'buds for meetings at their new job or to listen to music and podcasts during their long commutes into the office. They come with a MagSafe-compatible case so they can power up on any MagSafe surface, and offer a listening time of up to 4.5 hours on a single charge. Better still, the AirPods Pro are equipped with active noise cancellation, so your gift recipient can tune out the world if they want to.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Gravity Weighted Blanket; From $250

Gravity Weighted Blanket on a gray background
Gravity Weighted Blanket / Gravity

Weighted blankets have become extremely popular over the years, but Gravity is the brand that really started that trend. The blankets are filled with glass beads and evenly distribute pressure around the body; many users say they recreate the feeling of being held or swaddled. They're available in blue, white, and gray and come in 15-, 20-, and 35-pound sizes. The brand recommends getting one that’s around 10 percent of the person’s body weight. So, for example, if your graduate weighs 180 pounds, the 20-pound blanket will probably work best for them. 

Buy it: Gravity

3. HelloFresh Subscription; From $58 per week

HelloFresh boxes, bags, and recipes surrounded by food on a kitchen counter top.
HelloFresh Meal Kit Box / HelloFresh

Cooking healthy, nutritious meals can be a major struggle for new graduates who are strapped for time; a weekly food subscription box, like this one from HelloFresh, can help make the transition more manageable. The service offers a variety of cuisines and delivery options to choose from. Folks who are pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan can even customize these meal kit boxes to fit their dietary preferences.

Buy it: HelloFresh

4. Kindle Paperwhite; $140

Person reading a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader in nature
Kindle Paperwhite / Amazon

Reading doesn’t have to stop once students are handed their degrees. Encourage new graduates to keep getting lost in good books with this Kindle Paperwhite e-reader. This 8-gigabyte (GB) device is fully waterproof and has a 6.8-inch display screen, plus it offers up to 10 weeks worth of battery life off a single charge. Users can even get the Kindle Unlimited service free for three months, giving them access to more than 2 million digital titles, including audiobooks and more. 

Buy it: Amazon

5. Amazon Prime Subscription; From $15 per month

Amazon Prime delivery vans in loading lot area
Deliveries made easy with Amazon Prime. / Amazon

If your graduate is a frequent online shopper, getting them an Amazon Prime subscription can take all the hassle out of waiting around for orders to turn up. The service ensures most items will arrive in two days or less, and offers plenty of other perks, like access to original Amazon Prime movies and television shows, grocery deliveries in select service areas in under two hours, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Echo Show 5; $50

Echo Show 5 on countertop.
Echo Show 5 / Amazon

A smart gadget like the Echo Show 5 is like having an extra set of hands around the house, and for a new grad who's potentially moving into their first apartment, it could be a game-changer. Using this Alexa-enabled device, your loved one do everything from creating to-do lists to ordering stuff online; if they're using smart light bulbs or thermostats, they can even control the lighting and temperature around their pad. The 5.5-inch display screen is good for streaming shows and movies, displaying photos, and capturing live camera feeds. Because it's so thin, it's easy to move it around, so whether your giftee is trying to follow along with a recipe in the kitchen or just listen to new music in their bedroom, they can take the Echo Show 5 with them everywhere. It’s even good for roommates because each household member can create a personalized profile.

Buy it: Amazon

7. UGG Women's Coquette Slippers; From $92

UGG Women's Coquette Slippers on a white background
UGG Women's Coquette Slippers / UGG/Amazon

Treat the new grad in your life to the gift that keeps on giving: a good pair of slippers. These UGG Coquettes are practically fluffy cushions—they have sheepskin upper and insole linings, and the warm shearling fabric inside will keep their feet nice and cozy in any setting. Thanks to the durable treads on these shoes, your loved one can wear them outside if they want. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera; $70

Fuijifilm Instax Mini 11 instant camera in lilac with a photo popping out on a white background.
Fuijifilm Instax Mini 11 instant camera / Fuijifilm/Amazon

Memories can last a lifetime, but it doesn't hurt to capture them in the moment, too. Gift that special new grad in your life a Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 instant camera so they can cherish theirs all the more. This particular camera has a selfie mode and automatic shutter settings, making it an excellent option for people who want something simple. It comes in five fun colors and includes two jeweled shutter buttons to add to the camera. 

Buy it: Amazon

9. Yeti Rambler 20-Ounce Tumbler; From $35

Blue Yeti Rambler 20-ounce Tumbler on a white background
Yeti Rambler 20-ounce Tumbler / Yeti/Amazon

The Yeti Rambler tumbler is a must-have for new grads who are going to be commuting a lot and want to bring drinks with them on the go. This 20-ounce portable cup has double-wall vacuum insulation, which helps keep drinks cold or warm, depending on what they are. In addition, the tumbler comes with a MagSlider lid to prevent liquids from leaking out. It’s also BPA-free and dishwasher safe, and you can choose from 31 vibrant colors to find the perfect pick for your loved one.  

Buy it: Amazon

10. Custom Graduation Puzzle; $42

Custom Graduation Puzzle on a tan background with puzzle pieces to the side
Custom Graduation Puzzle / Robin Ott/Minted

After all the pomp and circumstance, give your giftee a personalized keepsake of the day they graduated. You can customize this 252-piece puzzle from Minted by picking colors, adding a photo, and choosing the words that are printed on it. The design template was created by Robin Ott, an artist from Orrville, Ohio, who has won over 250 awards. 

Buy it: Minted

11. Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker; $125

Keurig K-Slim coffee maker on a white background with an orange cup being filled with coffee.
Keurig K-Slim / Keurig/Amazon

The Keurig K-Slim is proof that good things come in small packages. At just under 5 inches wide, it won't take up too much counter space in your new grad's apartment or dorm, and it has more features than you might expect for its size. It has a 46-ounce water tank, offers three cup-size options, and brews coffee in just a few minutes. The drip tray is detachable, so mugs up to 7 inches tall can fit under the machine. 

Buy it: Amazon