You’re not interested in spending money on a traditional college graduation gift. You’re looking for something unexpected, a grad gift with a twist, something they’ll wish they thought to get for themselves but maybe didn’t know existed. Above all, you want the recipient to feel as though this cool graduation present was chosen specifically with him or her in mind. In need of inspiration? Check out our handpicked selection of unique university graduation gifts.
Wrap and Nap!
Let’s face it: You don’t know where that airplane pillow has been! Plus, if you’re stuck in the middle seat, you can’t exactly lean on the stranger sitting next to you to ensure a restful slumber. For a travel pillow that offers ergonomic support and is small and compact enough for those traveling for work by bus, plane, train, or car, get them the Trtl Pillow, the “essential napparatus.” Covered in hypoallergenic, machine-washable, super-soft fleece, the Trtl Pillow was designed by mechanical engineers to offer scientifically proven neck support. It wraps around your neck and has a flexible, plastic internal support system that relieves pressure points and cradles your head and chin, allowing you to sleep safely and comfortably, up to eight hours in an upright position. Other travel pillows can slip out from under your neck and disrupt your sleep, but the Trtl Pillow (available in black, grey, red, or coral) stays in place and looks like a cozy, fashionable neck scarf.
Frame It Their Way
For a truly unique way to showcase their academic accomplishments and campus memories, why not design a tailor-made frame from Church Hill Classics to display their diploma, Greek membership certificate, graduation medal, college artwork, favorite photographs, or other treasured mementos? Whether they’d like a sporty diploma frame featuring an officially licensed spirit medallion or a distinguished picture frame with a high-gloss cherry finish, you’ll find just the right style to suit their personality and decor at diplomaframe.com. Each and every frame is built by hand according to your specifications. The best part? The site features user-friendly online custom framing tools that allow you to mix and match moulding and matting combinations, so that you can visualize the finished product before you buy!
Give Them the World
Know a graduate with wanderlust? They’ll love the interactive Travel Tracker Map from Landmass. Avid travelers can track their adventures around the world by scratching off the gold or platinum top foil area to reveal the colorful country they’ve visited. Featuring 210 world flags along the bottom of the map, they can also scratch off each country’s corresponding flag. For those traveling across the USA, Australia, or Canada, states and territories can be scratched off individually. The map can be framed and displayed on your wall as a visual reminder of favorite stories and memories that may prompt their next whirlwind adventure! Best of all, in partnership with National Geographic and the Fund for Education, Landmass donates 10% of their profits to help fund study abroad grants.
Box Office Hit
Whether gifting an architect, artist, writer, or just someone who appreciates high-end desk accessories, the Tom Dixon Cube Desk Set is sure to impress! Boasting hefty, minimalist block forms and clean and classic contemporary lines, the set features a tape dispenser, stapler, pen, and desk tray for holding pens, paper clips, thumbtacks, and staples. These showstopping pieces, which feature easy-to-grasp indentations, can be purchased as a set or individually. Each item is made from zinc alloy and plated in warm, gleaming copper.
For the Smart Cookie
For a truly unique graduation gift idea, help them whip up some lovin’ from the oven with a personalized cookie cutter! Taking inspiration from the photograph of the friend, family member, or pet that you provide, Copy Pastry will design a 3D-printed, custom cookie cutter based on their likeness. They can even create a cookie cutter character from a drawing (a neat way to make one of their childhood doodles a 3D reality or to surprise an art major with one of his or her creations)! If they’d prefer cookies of celebrities, Copy Pastry also has a series of ready-made cutters featuring Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kim Kardashian, and more.
That’s the Ticket
Think of the many special events and once-in-a-lifetime moments they’ve experienced both on and off campus: music concerts, college plays, laugh-out-loud movies, dinner dances, talent showcases, homecoming games, and unforgettable plane and train adventures with friends and family. Preserve these memories with the Just the Ticket: Ticket Stub Organizer, featuring 20 archival-quality, acid-free plastic pages for holding up to 80 ticket stubs and lined paper inserts for recording fun and memorable stories. There’s also a handy pocket in the inside back cover for holding playbills, programs, and other treasured mementos.
Put Their Best Foot Forward
They’ll be pounding the pavement soon, so why not give them a leg up? The Moji Foot PRO features five stainless steel spheres that are designed to dig deep into muscles and tissues to relieve pain and break up scar tissue. You can use it sitting down and even freeze it for a cooling way to revive sore and tired feet. This compact foot massager is a great gift for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis and for runners, dancers, city-dwellers, or anyone who will be on their feet for a good portion of their day or is just in need of some pampering.
(photo credit: BuzzFeed Product Labs)
There’s No Place Like Home
Breathe in the roaring campfire and the scents of crushed pine needles mingled with sandalwood, cedar, cinnamon, clove, and mint on a wintry Wyoming evening. Inhale the fragrance of sweet, ripe Georgia peaches accented with sugary floral notes of magnolia, breezy asters, and white musk. Recall the scents of the apple orchard; warm-baked pies exuding top notes of nutmeg, lemon, and clove; and hay, eucalyptus, and oak moss swirling through the leaves on a crisp, fall Connecticut day. These are just three of the 51 nostalgic scents by Homesick Candles designed to transport the candle-burner to his or her home state (Northern California and Southern California each have their own candles). These hand-poured, USA-made, soy wax candles typically burn for 60-80 hours.
Best Case Scenario
Instead of tossing technical gadgets into a messenger bag, luggage, or briefcase where they’re sure to get tangled or damaged over time, help the grad stay organized for work or travel with the Carryall Tech Kit. Made from the finest Italian leathers, this elegant onyx-and-walnut case features interior pockets, straps, and a key holder to ensure that everything they need is right at their fingertips. This compact carryall is perfect for neatly storing earbuds, USB cords, adapter plugs, flash drives, credit cards, money, and even has handy pen and chapstick holders.
Stay on Their Mind
Once they graduate from college, one thing’s for sure: Their lives will be changing dramatically! They may be moving back home, looking for employment, starting their first job, travelling overseas, or relocating to an unfamiliar city. With so many sudden changes, adjusting and adapting to post-college life can be tough. To help reduce their stress and anxiety, consider Muse, the brain-sensing headband that relaxes the mind and facilitates meditation. By connecting via Bluetooth to a phone app, the Muse headband measures brain activity, determines whether your mind is calm or active, and then translates those signals into guiding ambient sounds for three- to 45-minute meditation sessions. When you’re calm, you’ll hear peaceful weather sounds; when your mind wanders, the weather will intensify and bring you back to a calmer state of mind.
Still can’t decide what to get the special grad in your life? Check out these tried-and-true top 10 graduation gifts for inspiration. Or, if you’re a parent wondering what to buy for graduation, you’re sure to find unique graduation gifts for him in our best grad gift ideas for your son round-up and special graduation gifts for her on our perfect grad gifts for your daughter list. Whatever you decide, just be sure you don’t settle for a run-of-the-mill grad gift: Make sure it’s something that suits their unique personality and that they’ll be sure to remember for years to come!