May Buyer’s Guide: Great Grad Gifts

Ah, ’tis the season — for tossing caps in the air!

For those with loved ones making that proud walk across the stage this month, you’re no doubt on the hunt for the perfect gift to commemorate such a hard-earned milestone. And for the tastemakers and design-savvy out there, fret not; there are more ways to say “Congratulations, graduate!” than with an engraved picture frame or a pre-written card. The gifts on our list below are all about preparing the graduate for what comes next — tools for living, working, and navigating the world, degree or diploma in hand.

A Watch They Can Invest In


Launched in 1953, the Submariner was the first divers’ wristwatch that could survive underwater to a depth of 330 feet. This marked a second important breakthrough in the quest to create waterproof timepieces, following the invention of the Oyster — the world’s very first waterproof wristwatch — in 1926. The Submariner would go on to set an important standard and change the game of underwater exploration forever.

It would be fair to say, then, that if there were ever a watch that could be described as a “go anywhere, do anything” timepiece, it’s the Classic Submariner. It somehow manages to be both sporty enough to match with jeans and a t-shirt, and classy enough to look perfectly at home under a tuxedo sleeve. It’s a great investment piece that can be handed down to later generations, a classic heirloom that will last multiple lifetimes.

A Bag for All Reasons


There’s a reason why the brand totes this bag as a crowd favourite. Its size can accommodate most 13” laptops, but there’s also plenty of remaining room for the other daily essentials a new graduate will need both at work and on the go. It has been specifically designed for the “7am–10pm lifestyle,” with the same construction as its full-size counterpart, but with a slimmer and more convenient body and fold-down handles for crowded subway cars and tiny restaurant tables. The laptop compartment features a magnetic closure for keeping your device secure even during the jostle of a commute, as well as pockets for keeping things organized and accessible on the run: keys, phone, metro pass, sunglasses, lipstick, umbrella, etc. Our favourite feature is the detachable key leash, which negates the irritating task of standing on your doorstep, digging fruitlessly in the bottom of a bag. The chic, streamlined silhouette of this tote also screams “sophisticated professional” — perfect for those newbies to the workforce who are eager to make a solid first impression.

A Great Single Serve Coffee Maker


This one makes a great gift for the busy professional on the go, especially those new professionals saddled with debt; forgoing morning visits to coffee shops can mean serious savings over time. The Lattissima One makes it easy to whip up gourmet-quality cappuccinos and latte macchiatos at home, meaning you can leisurely stroll into the office with a freshly-brewed beverage in hand. Co-workers may even get a little jealous of this machine’s high-quality concoctions; a De’Longhi fresh milk system froths milk directly into your cup, and a high-pressure pump and fast heat-up system means a wait time of a mere 40 seconds (and even shorter, at 25 seconds, for non-milk beverages). And good news for those super busy young professionals: the mug is dishwasher safe.

A Portable Office

DELL XPS 13 9370

Millennials entering the workforce bring with them a plethora of technological know-how, the sort of skills that previous generations have had to learn and adapt to on the job. (Hey, it’s one of the few advantages of being young in this economy!) This laptop from Dell is a surefire way to show they mean business, and with a CES 2019 Innovation Award, it comes with credentials to match the flash. Highlights includes a borderless 4K display, an updated, slimmer chassis, and a minimalist white and gold palette. An improved cooling system means that while the user may be a little overworked, this laptop can be counted on for a long, sustained performance.

Cooking Essentials


To avoid the chance of your new grad eating daily from cardboard take out, give them the gift that keeps on giving. And hey, they’re growing up, after all; it’s time for them to start getting creative in the kitchen! The pots and pans of this hard-anodized, heavy-gauge aluminum 10-piece set make for easy simmering, sautéing, frying, boiling, searing, and more (in healthy fashion, thanks to a coating of Thermolon Minerals). Best of all, the aftermath of a beginner’s feast is no headache, thanks to the fact that this set is extremely easy to clean. Rest assured that you’ll be gifting your grad with cooking tools that won’t release toxic fumes, blister, or peel.

The World is Your Command



Your brilliant grad requires an equally smart personal assistant. (And hey, if they’re entering the workforce as someone else’s assistant, they may just need a little extra help!) This streamlined speaker features Amazon Alexa, who responds to voice commands and can play music, answer questions, check the weather for the day, relay news items, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices, and help keep new professionals organized. And while the hands-free phone option is great for work calls, it’ll also make it easier to keep in touch with graduates moving away for work.

Getting Your Name Out There


Time for baby’s first business cards? Help your grad show that they mean serious business with this sleek, handsome Envelope Card Case from Leatherology. Made with top quality, full grain leather and nylon for the lining, this stylish accessory features a hidden snap closure and hard-turned edges. It can also fit roughly 30 business cards, making this a go-to pocket staple for networking events and conferences. The gorgeous pebbled finish is available in a wide variety of colours to suit plenty of aesthetics. For a classic, down-to-business look, opt for charcoal, ginger, Bordeaux, or black onyx. Shopping for someone with a playful, stylish edge? We’re partial to the soft yellow turmeric and brilliant cobalt options.

The Solution To a Fundamental Human Need


Caffeinated beverages have become a staple of the workplace, but there’s nothing — nothing — that helps the body and brain cells function like a steady intake of water. After all, it isn’t just about the amount of water we drink, but the rate at which we stay hydrated throughout the day. The Equa Smart Water Bottle is made from BPA-free materials and pairs with an app to monitor intake, making recommendations for consumption based on body type, habits, and lifestyle. When it’s time to take a drink, the bottle reminds the user with a soft, subtle glow. In a market flooded with water bottle options, we love this ultra-minimalist, classy offering and its smart capabilities.

Waking Up Early is for the Birds


Everyone needs a little push in the morning — especially those who have gotten into the routine of all-night study sessions (or parties!). Designed to mimic nature’s sunrise, light gradually increases before your wake time, transitioning from a soft morning red to warm orange, until finally illuminating a room with bright yellow light. This gentle process stimulates the body to wake up naturally, a far cry from the harsh arousal of audio alarms. The Somneo incorporates audio, but we aren’t talking canned cell phone alarms; radio stations are an option, but we love the nature-inspired sounds. Additional features include midnight and reading light settings, white noise, and a RelaxBreathe guide.

Music Makes the World Go ’Round


Finally, it shouldn’t all be about work; the secret to staying alert, productive, and organized in the workplace is knowing how to unwind. The Sonos Home Sound System is a wireless system that brings high-quality audio to the home listening experience, pairing components and speakers over WiFi and allowing the user to build a bespoke system to suit individual needs and the layout of a home. This is an especially convenient option for those with families or roommates; want to listen to a podcast while your friend on the other side of the wall works out to pulse-pumping music? Not a problem. And Sonos works with all of the services and subscriptions you already know and pay for: Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible, Deezer, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music, YouTube Music, etc., can all be accessed through voice controls. Help those graduates kick back and unwind like the sophisticated adults they’ve become.