Well, the time has come and your little baby is all grown up and graduating. Soon, they’re going to be leaving the nest and embarking on an adult journey full of responsibility and self-reliance. And you’re finally going to get that awesome man cave or extra guest room you’ve always wanted once your children finally shove off. Sure, you’re going to worry about them out there on their own, but stifle those tears parents, because you’ve probably done a pretty good job of helping them calibrate their own personal moral compasses, and you’ve made sure—using a few of our handy recommendations—that they’re heading out into the world with everything they need to conquer any challenges. So, here are a few suggestions for gifts that are not only useful, but something  that they’ll always have with them.

Practical but still cool

Nobody wants new socks and underpants as a grad gift (this isn’t Christmas and you’re no granny), so show your new grad how much you care by giving them one of the latest gadgets or gizmos they’ve been salivating over. If your graduate is a lover of literature and the printed word, then send them off with the Kobo Aura 6″ Digital eBook Reader with Touchscreen. This eReader lets users wirelessly browse and buy more than 3.5 million eBooks, magazines, comics and children’s titles. Convenient and infinitely portable, the Kobo even has an app you can download for a Mac or PC, so you can read your purchased books on any other device. Another big plus is the KOBO offers a lot of free classics as well, which will likely be assigned reading when they get to university. And every penny counts when you’re on a student’s budget. And every university grad needs a laptop today, so that’s definitely an essential if they’ve been using your old computer at home all this time. Or, if they’ve already got their own laptop, is it time for an upgrade? If you want to splurge, go for the ASUS X Series 15.6″ Laptop.

Pebble Steel.jpgWatch This

Smartwatches are also all the rage these days, and the Pebble Steel Smartwatch works with both Apple and Android devices, letting your grad check in with their digital world with just a glance at their wrist. Another good wearable tech gift idea is a fitness tracker. What with new classes and all that studying, plus a part-time job and an attempt at a social life, your grad isn’t going to find a whole lot of time to be exercising. But if you want them to stay on the healthy track, a wearable device can certainly make it easier to squeeze in some workout time on the go. Another cool wearable is the Royce Leather Freedom Wallet with GPS Tracking & RFID-Blocking. If you’ve ever lost your wallet, you wish you had one of these. It’s a real leather wallet that uses Bluetooth and a mobile app to track down the last known location of your wallet. If I could find my wallet, I’d order one now.

Home and the Range

When I first moved out on my own for university, my parents gave me a box of old kitchen stuff from their camper. Couple some cracked, broken and downright ancient cookery with my meagre skills in the kitchen at the time, and that was a perfect recipe for wasting all my dough at burger and pizza joints. Don’t let your grads start off in their new home without some essential kitchenware. The Sunbeam 15″ x 12″ Nonstick Electric Skillet is an economical and practical gift that will let even a newbie chef whip up a decent meal in little time. And if their skills don’t muster up, well it’s non-stick, right? Fans of a more Asian or vegetarian diet may prefer the ease of a personal rice cooker, like the Panasonic 5-Cup Rice Cooker. I can now cook a seven-course meal, but I always seem to mess up rice, so I may be looking at one of these myself.

But one of my most indispensable kitchen items is my slow cooker. I wish I had one as a student, because with all the crazy hours, having a programmable meal-maker like the Crock-Pot 4.7 Litres Programmable Slow Cooker would’ve meant more home cooked meals and less fast food. Even today, with two kids and a busy schedule, the only way anyone is getting a hot meal at the end of the day is if we throw something in the ‘ol crockpot in the morning. Best of all, it is no-brains cooking. You could almost toss an old boot in a crockpot and at the end of the day it’d fall apart in your mouth and taste like heaven. So, the cheap cuts of meat go a long way and taste even better.
And to give your graduate a little head start on their own cooking skills, bookmark Shelly’s Friday Favourites, a long-running series on our blog that offers tons of easy recipes and dinner suggestions.



Big Kid Toys

Finally, while they may not exactly be practical, these grad gift suggestions are certainly some of the things every student wants. Maybe they’ll call home more often if you give them a new Bell Samsung Galaxy S6 32GB Smartphone. Right now it’s the most cutting edge phone around. Heck, buy me one and I’ll call you every week, too. And your Apple fan has definitely been coveting an iPad mini 2 – 16GB – Wi-Fi, in case they haven’t been dropping enough hints. This is the smaller version of the iPad but it is perfectly portable, and it’s got a better screen than most HDTVs. I know it’s what my daughter wants.

But no matter what grad gift you’re going to buy for them, just make sure it fits their personality (no Kobo for the book-haters, for example) and is really something they’ll use every day. Then, the gift will have that much more meaning, and you’ll still be close to their hearts. Now, go start measuring drapes for that guest room.

Steven Hill
I am an award-winning writer, freelance journalist and blogger who is a self-confessed geek and tech lover. When not playing the latest video games or salivating over the newest gadgets, I enjoy cooking for my family, mountain biking or snowboarding the deep powder on Whistler Mountain.