15 gifts to get someone whose graduation was canceled
Celebrate their big day by sending one of these presents.
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Because of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of things have been cancelled: schools, weddings, gyms, book clubs, concerts, the list goes on. And among them is also college graduations. But just because you may not be going to watch the soon-to-be new grad in your life walk across the stage doesn't mean you shouldn't still get them a gift. After all, they're still going through one of life's biggest (and most exciting!) transitions, even if you aren't there to see it.
But what should you get them? Below are 15 gifts we recommend for new grads that you can order online, from the best smart speaker to the cult-favorite Instant Pot.
1. This expert-approved coffee maker
They may no longer be pulling all-nighters studying for finals but as we all know, coffee is just as necessary in post-college life (hello, boring conference calls and 6 a.m. commutes). The Keurig K-Cafe is the most versatile coffee maker we've tested because it can brew everything from a regular cup of joe to a bold espresso in just minutes. Bonus: It even has an attached milk frother for making their favorite fancy lattes at home.
2. This kitchen appliance every young adult needs
One of the hardest parts of leaving college? Realizing that no, you no longer have a free meal plan (goodbye dining hall buffets!) and yes, you actually have to cook for yourself every night. Make it easier for your new grad with the Instant Pot Ultra. Of all the pressure cookers we tested, it's our favorite because it has 10 different cook functions (from pressure cooking to slow cooking to steaming) and can have a meal that usually takes an hour on the table in just 20 minutes (!!).
3. The latest Kindle
We love the Kindle Paperwhite for a lot of reasons—and so will your new grad. With more storage than any other model, the Paperwhite will give them access to thousands of books, audiobooks, and podcasts right at their fingertips (which they can read anytime, anywhere thanks to its 24 levels of illumination). Even better? It's waterproof so it's even more durable than past Kindles.
4. This smart speaker to make life easier
Transitioning out of college life is hard—you barely know how to do laundry let alone do your taxes. And while the Amazon Echo can't help with either of those, it can help your new grad with a lot of other things. The 3rd generation model is our favorite smart speaker because it has great sound quality, a ton of applications, and far-field voice recognition (so they can talk to Alexa from any room in their apartment!).
5. The coziest weighted blanket
Nothing can really soothe the pain of knowing you won't get to walk across the stage in front of all your friends and family—but a weighted blanket can help. The best one we've tried at Reviewed is the Gravity Blanket, which has a soft, velvety exterior they'll love cuddling up with and provides just the right amount of pressure (not too heavy, not too light).
6. This chic dinnerware for their new apartment
Eating off paper plates (or, gasp, no plates at all) might have been acceptable in college but it isn't going to cut it in the real world. Gift your new grad a set of good-quality, pretty plates like these ones from Anthropologie. The best-selling set—which comes in four gorgeous colors—has over 100 rave reviews for being both beautiful and durable (they're dishwasher- and microwave-safe).
7. This device for watching all their favorite shows
Remember when Friday nights involved going out until 2 a.m.—then doing it all again the next night? Ha! As adults, we know that between work, errands, and just life in general, Friday nights are now more likely to involve sitting on the couch binge-watching Netflix. Set them up for the best night in with our experts' number one streaming device: the Roku Ultra. It's compatible with both 4K and HDR and offers all of the most popular streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and even Apple TV.
8. A stunning bouquet to cheer them up
You might not be showing up to their graduation with a beautiful bouquet in hand but you can still send said bouquet to their house. (After all, if there was ever a time to brighten their day, it's now.) One of the most popular flower subscription services is Bouqs. Not only is there a wide variety of blooms to choose from (from red roses to whimsical wildflowers) but you can even sign them up to receive a gorgeous bouquet of flowers every month.
9. These sheets with a cult following
Goodbye dorm twin bed, hello grown-up queen (or king!) bed. And for that, your new grad will need a quality set of bed sheets. Here at Reviewed, we recommend this set from beloved brand Brooklinen. They're lightweight yet cozy and somehow seem to get softer with every wash. Our tester even said she was actually sad to have to take them off her bed.
10. This custom map of their college town
For a more sentimental gift, how about a personalized map woodcut of the place they spent their last four years? You can customize this one for any city—or in this case, any college town—and happy customers like that it's well-made and that you can even add your new grad's name at the bottom for an extra special touch.
11. This boozy subscription box
As if the impending anxiety of entering the "real world" wasn't reason enough to grab a bottle of wine, the fact that graduation has been cancelled certainly is. Provided your grad is of age, sign them up for a subscription to First Leaf. They'll get a curated box of six bottles of wine delivered right to their doorstep every month.
12. The best noise-cancelling headphones
Adult life involves trading your noisy roommate for noisy coworkers (or noisy neighbors). Treat your new grad to a pair of our experts' favorite noise-cancelling headphones. This Sony pair not only drowns out any volume sound with its active noise-cancellation technology but it also lets you customize the amount of noise cancellation so you can choose how much of the outside world you hear.
13. This tote bag everyone's obsessed with
Commutes are a necessary part of most people's post-grad lives. For that, your grad will need a stylish yet durable bag—like this wildly popular one from Madewell. The chic leather tote has hundreds of glowing reviews on Nordstrom.com for being timeless and classic and for holding up well with daily use. (Our own director of shopping content owns and loves it, too!)
14. Our favorite smartwatch
If your new grad doesn't yet have a smartwatch, now is the perfect time to get them one. Our experts found the Apple Watch Series 4 to be the best at every task from GPS navigation to making phone calls to listening to music. Even more importantly, it pairs easily with any Apple device and is durable enough to last for plenty of years to come.
15. This popular workout app
Gone are the days of free gym memberships. Post-college (and especially if they're currently living at their parents), your new grad won't be able to just walk across campus to work out. So they'll appreciate a ClassPass subscription. Not only will they be able to go to classes at studios all around their city (from barre to spin to boxing) but they'll also get access to a whole library of online classes taught by expert instructors so they can exercise at home.
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