14 Last-Minute Graduation Gift Ideas

by Jessica Learish

Graduating is exciting, stressful, and simultaneously brings a collective sigh of relief and an immense amount of pressure. Early adulthood in the internet age is all about what's next — getting accepted to attain the next degree, and getting hired for the next big job with no pauses in between. High school students are encouraged to jump head first into a major, and recent college grads are thrust into the rat race for entry level positions. Help your favorite graduate celebrate the achievement that he or she just unlocked with these last-minute graduation gift ideas that will help slow down the roller coaster of emotions associated with leaping from one phase of life to the next, oftentimes totally blindfolded.

When I graduated from college, I was so excited to be finished with the fishbowl of smallish-college life and go out into the wider "real" world. I was stressed out but ready. I consider myself a pretty realistic person, but there were definitely some supplies and services that I, as a newly independent human without a meal plan, had decidedly been taking for granted. That's where you as the gift giver come into play.

Here are some last-minute gift ideas for those with a little bit of a time crunch.

1. Beauty Product Gift Card

Can we talk about how expensive makeup is? After college, my makeup collection was the first thing that started thinning out. Also, life without dry shampoo is way more work than even I have time for, and I graduated six years ago last week. Help out your makeup-loving grad with a gift card to Sephora, Ulta, or another beauty supply store.

2. Geographically Appropriate Hometown Cookbooks

If your grad has landed a job somewhere far away from his or her hometown, the regional cuisine will almost definitely be missing a certain familiarity. Help them figure out how to make soul food, New York pizza, New England clam chowder, or authentic Mexican food with a regionally-specific hometown cookbook like this gem from Sean Brock, available on Amazon Prime.

'Heritage,' $24.09, Amazon

3. Airline miles

Did you know that a lot of airlines will let you buy or share miles as a gift to another person? Carriers like American Airlines and Delta both have programs specifically for giving the gift of flight. Your grad can use the miles to go on a much needed vacation or to visit you back home!

4. A spa day Groupon

Talk about rejuvenating! Help your recent graduate unwind from the whirlwind of finals and cap and gown fittings with a day of facials, massages, and sound baths from the convenience of the digitally giftable Groupon.

5. A Wholesale Store Membership

Costco, Sam's Club, and other big box wholesale retailers can save your graduate a boatload of money on grocery staples. Contribute to wise financial planning by purchasing a year's membership to the closest wholesale grocery store.

6. A year of nearby storage space

When I moved into my first apartment in L.A. after moving away from the cozy college town where rent was shockingly cheap, there was a lot of stuff that just wouldn't fit in the tiny basement apartment that my boyfriend and I rented together. You can give your grad the gift of square footage by springing for a year of mini storage near his or her (likely very small) new place. This is also a great gift for new college students who will need that storage to house their stuff between semesters.

7. Fizzics System

This is a neat gift for your drinking-age graduate. When they can't afford to go to the bar, the Fizzics system creates the texture and flavor profile of a beer on tap with no additional cartridges or purchases required (except for the beer, obviously). Find The Fizzics Beer System on Amazon.

The Fizzics Beer System, Amazon, $169.99

8. Constellation Tumbler Glasses

Pop over to The Uncommon Green and snag a few of these super cute glasses that feature constellations in both the summer and winter skies. They also have pints and wine glasses!

Constellation Glassware, The Uncommon Green, $14

9. IKEA gift card

Everybody knows that first apartments are decked out in IKEA furniture. Help with the price tag by sending your grad an IKEA gift card!

10. Amazon Prime

If your recent graduate doesn't have Amazon Prime, how are they going to get any shopping done? High school grads will doubly appreciate this gift as a way to save a ton of money on text books and shipping.

Amazon Prime, Amazon, $99/year

11. LinkedIn Premium

Nothing says I believe in you like gifting your grad the power of efficient self-promotion. If your grad is still searching for the perfect job, gift them a premium membership to the professional social network! This will allow them to contact people outside of their networks and make connections with the right people in their industry.

LinkedIn Premium, LinkedIn, $29.99/month

12. Death & Co. Cocktail Cookbook

This book of modern cocktails is a great addition to the grad who will be her own best bartender. Find this gorgeous hardcover liquor textbook on Amazon Prime.

'Death & Co Modern Classic Cocktails,' Amazon, $23.80

13. A month of public transportation

If your grad is moving to a big city, you can help get them to and from work with a month of pre-paid public transportation. It will save them money on gas as well as the train trips that they likely would've paid for anyway. Even Los Angeles has a working light rail that will take East-West commuters all the way from Downtown to the beach and back.

14. The Bouqs Co. subscription

Flower delivery service The Bouqs Co. has a concierge service that will allow you to schedule regular bouquet deliveries on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Having flowers and houseplants is proven to improve both mood and productivity, and a recent grad is probably not going to have the time or the headspace to stay on top of keeping freshly cut seasonal flowers on her desk, but you can totally do that for her.

Bouqs Concierge Service, The Bouqs Co., $136 and up

Images: Pixabay (4); Pexels (7); Amazon (3); The Uncommon Green