A few weeks ago, I found myself back at Wesleyan University where 20 years prior, I’d thrown my graduation cap in the air, then tearfully hugged classmates good-bye. It was Reunion/Graduation Weekend on campus and the excitement of students, alumni, faculty and parents brought back fond memories of my graduation day. Since my trip back to Wesleyan, there hasn’t been a weekend or even a weekday where I haven’t come across something that isn’t somewhat related to graduations: an actual ceremony (stuck in traffic), pre-prom party (town pool closed—what to do with my kids?), a prom (no babysitters available), a stretch SUV limo (cut me off on the highway), a post-prom get-away bus (so jealous!), family graduation dinner (table next to me at my favorite restaurant—too loud) or a backyard, football-style celebration (blocked my driveway). Even at the gym, I overhear moms kibitzing about what presents to get their little prodigies and their classmates while they work off their pre-chaperone cocktails. The graduation season has so consumed me that I’ve decided to offer my two cents as far as suggestions for top graduation gifts. All of my ideas are practical, non-gender specific and offer a wide range of price points. All kidding aside, graduations are extremely momentous occasions to commemorate with a special gift. I hope to shed some light with interesting and creative gift options. Happy shopping and congrats to the Class of 2011!
1. 6V 12V Multi-Purpose Solar Charger
Features: Environmentally friendly, compact sized (9”L x 7 1/8”W x 1 3/16”D), good for mobile phones, digital cameras, radios, shavers, PDA, back-up power with 6 “AAA” sized rechargeable batteries.
2. e-Book Reader (Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iPad2, Motorola Android Tablet, Sony Reader Pocket Edition)
Features: Variety of features to consider: color-display, GB/Wi-Fi, slimmer, lighter, internal memory support, superior life battery, larger screen, LCD touch-screen, ink-screen, cross-platform support, format compatibility, selection of titles, dedicated e-book reader or multi-function tablet.
Available: www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.motorola.com, www.apple.com/ipad/, www.sonystyle.com
*Recommended Consumer Reading: Crave: The Gadget Blog from CNET, written by John P. Falcone: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20009738-1/kindle-vs-nook-vs-ipad-which-e-book-reader-should-you-buy/
3. The Seefeld™ Convertible Duffel/Garment by Victorinox Swiss Army
Features: Hybrid bag as a duffel features a large u-shape opening with dual end
pockets and as a garment bag keeps suits wrinkle-free, self-healing, YKK® Racket Coil™
zipper for superior burst strength and lockable zipper sliders, removable padded strap,
4. Gas Gift Card
Features: Just about everyone needs gas. Your cards will take advantage of spiking fuel prices. With fuel costs rising, these innovative cards will appeal to almost everyone! These Custom Branded Gas Cards are a number one seller, as people are finding ways to lower their fuel budgets.
5. True Writer Ballpoint®, Kyoto Pen
Features: Acetate barrel with marbled mosaic of tortoise, lavender, espresso and
caramel, twist action, nice size and weight (5 1/2L x 5/8 diameter, .95oz). Looks, feels
and writes like a much more expensive writing instrument. Splurge by adding refills
(16.00/qty 6) or leather pen sleeve (25.00); accommodates personalization of one initial.
6. Digital Frame
Features: Depending on size (1.4” digital keychain to 20” Big eframe) Slide
show mode, Color LCD Display, Picture Rotation Function, USB Connectivity for easy picture transfer from your computer, Compatible with Memory Stick, Compact Flash Card, MSPro Card, XD Card, Secure Digital, MP3 playback
7. eSpa Gifts and Virtual Gift Card
Price: $25.00 and Up
Features: Luxury Products (skin, body/detox, hair, shaving, muscle & fitness, aromatherapy) for Men and Women from Elemis Spas, Mandara Spas and TimetoSpa.com—grooming products which are used and sold at some of the finest spas and cruise ships around the world. This is a great way of having your grad gift recipient feel like s/he is on vacation at home.
8. iPod Nano + Watch Band = Sports Watch
Price: 8 GB (149.00), 16GB (189.00) + Watch Band (25.00)
Features: Tiny little gadget with so many cool features. It’s a radio, pedometer, iTunes (music, podcasts, and audio books), DJ (Genius Mixes) and Voiceover (gesture-based screen reader) time watch.
9. Socially Conscious Gift
Features: On behalf of the socially conscious grad, a contribution may be donated to the charity of choice in his/her name. In the meantime, your gift serves a dual-purpose—you are giving a gift by helping a worthy cause on the grad’s behalf.
Available: (Directory) http://www.foundations.org/
10. The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression And Land The Job You Want (AMACOM Books)
Features: This job seeker’s almanac to finding a job was written by me with the new graduate in mind. I share hundreds of tips on personal style, body language, etiquette, communication and more to help graduates and other job seekers avoid common pitfalls and create a consistent image that will convince potential employers of their inherent value.
Available: www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.powells.com, www.booksamillion.com/