Great Gifts for New Graduates

  • Presents for a Proper Send-Off

    Instead of handing over cash to help send a new graduate off on their own or buying still more clothes that may never be worn, the best gifts for grads are more meaningful and useful items that show your support as they enter a new stage of their lives. Whether you’re shopping for a graduate who’s just out of high school or one that’s moving on to a new, post-college world, here are some of MainStreet’s picks for great gifts for graduates. Photo Credit: Muffet
    Care Packages
  • Care Packages

    Eating well and living a healthy lifestyle are often just afterthoughts for the college-bound, but care packages like those you’ll find at Minimus.biz are classic and customizable gifts that can include food, soap, shampoo and hand sanitizer. RegionalBest.com offers a variety of domestic gourmet foods that can keep your college kid nourished as well. Price: Minimus packages can cost between $5 and $25, and the site’s Care Package of the Month Club costs $150. Regional Best prices vary. Photo Credit: minimus.biz
    Cuisinart Griddler
  • Cuisinart Griddler

    Living away from home on a tight budget means learning how to cook, and your favorite college grad might deserve a step up from the George Foreman Grill. And that’s just what the Cuisinart Griddler is. You can set it to grill or press sandwiches at any temperature or use basic settings to warm or sear your meat or other grilled or pressed foods. And the easy-to-remove griddle plates are dishwasher safe. Price: $99 Photo Credit: Cuisinart
    E-book Reader
  • E-book Reader

    Whether a new graduate is heading off to college or starting a career, an e-book reader can save a ton of money and trees. Amazon (Stock Quote: AMZN) has the Kindle, Sony (Stock Quote: SNE) has its simply-termed Reader and Barnes & Noble (Stock Quote: BKS) has its Nook. Price: Between $169.99 for the Sony Pocket Reader and $489 for the Kindle DX. Photo Credit: DavyLandman
    Solar Charger
  • Solar Charger

    Smartphones and other gadgets can be a vital part of a recent grad’s life, and when batteries are low and there are no power outlets in sight, the Powermonkey Explorer or iSol Plus solar-powered charger can come in handy. Grads who are glued to their laptops might prefer a SolarGorilla, which can charge laptops as well as smaller devices. Price: At $34.70, the iSol Plus is a cheaper solar charger, but it’s a bit bulky. The Powermonkey Explorer, which is lightweight, water resistant and can take a beating, costs about $105. The SolarGorilla costs about $240. Photo Credit: Powertraveller
    Single-Serve Coffee Maker
  • Single-Serve Coffee Maker

    MainStreet doesn't condone excessive caffeine intake, and brewing an entire pot of coffee for one person can be wasteful for grads who are newly on their own. A single-cup coffee maker could be just the right size for new grads who need their morning cup of Joe. Price: The Black & Decker Brew 'n Go Personal Coffeemaker is a cheaper option at $18.99, but Brookstone’s sleek Single Cup Coffee Maker at $39.95 makes for an attractive addition to any new apartment. Photo Credit: Brookstone
    Cut-Resistant Glove
  • Cut-Resistant Glove

    The kitchen can be hazardous for graduates who are just starting to cook for themselves, but this cut-resistant glove from ARY Inc. made with stainless steel-reinforced fibers can make slicing and dicing a little safer. It can be especially handy when picking up broken glass as well. Price: $19.95 Photo Credit: Amazon.com
    Gadget Tree
  • Gadget Tree

    New grads on a budget often have to make the best of tight spaces in their first apartments, and the rotating Gadget Tree soon to be available from Cass Products holds as many as 15 kitchen utensils in a surprisingly small space and gives them room to air dry. A canister at the top can hold even more, smaller utensils as well. Price: An older version of the Gadget Tree with no canister is available now for $15.95 on Amazon.com and the new version pictured here is expected to be similarly priced and available soon. Photo Credit: Gadget Tree
    Shapeways Tech Gear
  • Shapeways Tech Gear

    iPod Touch owners that are art school grads might appreciate having one of their designs turned into a customized case for their electronic device to show how their skills can be put to use. Shapeways lets users design their own one-of-a-kind cases available in six colors. Place the design on a template provided on the Web site, upload it and get your customized case in the mail. Price: $ 36.99 Photo Credit: Shapeways
    DNA Portrait
  • DNA Portrait

    They may be on the pricey side, but medical school grads, forensics enthusiasts and simple science lovers might love a portrait of their own DNA, and DNA 11 provides just that. When it’s given as a gift, your favorite grad can receive a tin containing a sterile foam applicator and directions for mailing back a DNA sample in the form of a cheek swab. The sample is sent by mail along with a portrait color and size choice. The recipient can get the portrait on canvas, or have the canvas stretched onto a frame. Price: Starting at $199 Photo Credit: DNA11.com
    Meeting with a Financial Planner
  • Meeting with a Financial Planner

    It may not be the most exciting topic for new grads to face, but a meeting with a financial planner is likely a smart way for a kid to get a handle on his or her finances and plan how to pay off school loans and manage credit card use while still padding an emergency savings account. You can choose a financial planner via the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards or the Financial Planning Association. Price: Hourly rates tend to be between $150 and $400 depending on a plan’s complexity. Photo Credit: Betsssssy
    Read More
  • Read More

    College grads in need of financial planning tips can also read MainStreet’s story, Finance Boot Camp for College Grads. If credit card debt is the hardest burden being tackled after graduation, read more on MainStreet about how to pay down your debt. And high school grads can learn more about credit card use from MainStreet’s story, Credit Reform Means New Lessons for Teens. Photo Credit: Andres Rueda
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