Best Grad Gifts You've Never Thought Of Giving

Best holiday gifts for grads inside!

Buying holiday gifts for recent college grads can be tough, but some of the best gifts are those that help them make an easier transition into the working world.

We bet you haven’t thought of half the gifts on this list, but they’re the kind that keep on giving—and well worth their price.The following suggestions will help you choose the right gift for the grads on your list according to their career situation.

For job-hunting grads

  • Your social network. Start by inviting jobless grads to your holiday party, giving them the opportunity to network with your friends and co-workers. They just might make a connection among your guests that leads to employment. Be sure to encourage mingling, especially if you think a particular connection could lead to a job opportunity.
  • Gym membership. Buy them a membership for a few months at the gym, and you will help job-seeking grads to continue networking during their search, beat stress and stay fit.
  • Classes. It may seem a bit backward, but getting in class again is another great way for job-hunters to network in a friendly environment. The classes don't have to be too academic either. Consider giving the gift of art, cooking, music, martial arts, or dance classes.

For entry-level working grads

  • Professional association membership. Virtually every occupation or industry has its own professional association. Buy recent grads an annual membership to one of these groups, and you'll help them develop professionally and impress their boss.
  • Seminar or business convention pass.Attending a seminar or business convention can teach newly-hired grads ways to be more productive and expose them to cutting-edge technology and trends. This gift can bolster entry-level workers' job security because they will return to their companies with specialized knowledge. However, before registering recent grads for this gift, be sure they can take off work to attend!
  • Office decor. A bare desk and bookshelves scream "newbie" at the office. But a nice piece of wall art, a lamp, a snazzy business card holder or even a handy reference book will give fledgling employees a more seasoned look and help them feel more comfortable in their new space.

For the entrepreneurial grad

  • Magazine subscription. Help a business-launching grad stay up on the latest trends and learn about leadership strategies with a subscription to a business magazine like Inc. or Entrepreneur. It's also a nice gift because it lasts for an entire year.
  • Travel gear. Give entrepreneurial grads a sharp piece of luggage, laptop case or suit bag so they can make a good impression with the vendors and clients they meet during trips. Or, if you have airline miles to spare, you could even donate your miles and send a business-minded grad on a free flight.
  • Marketing giveaways. If you want to invest in an entrepreneurial grad's business, perhaps buy pens, coffee mugs, etc. topped with their logo. They can hand out this holiday gift to customers and spread the word about their business.

For the continuing-education grad

  • E-book reader. Help grads who stay in school keep books from overtaking their apartments with an e-book reader. The Amazon Kindle is an excellent choice for those who prefer e-ink and Barnes and Noble's Nook Color for those who want color and touch-screen capabilities.
  • Coffee shop gift card. The need for caffeine only increases in graduate school. Give grad students the gift of mental focus with a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. Consider completing the gift with a reusable mug.
  • External hard drive. Especially for grad students who are in a program that requires them to store high-quality videos or images, an external hard drive can ensure that their hard work stays secure and organized. Before buying, make sure the brand you choose is compatible with their computer.

There's also nothing wrong with giving a recent college grad cash. It's a universal crowd-pleaser!

Jessica Lymberopoulos is a freelance writer based in Houston, Tex. She graduated summa cum laude from Lee University with a B.A. in English. Learn more about Jessica by reading her blog, The Entrepreneurial English Major, and connecting with her on Twitterand LinkedIn.

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