Gift ideas for new graduates and young professionals

May 1, 2020, 11:30 AM UTC

Much like the holidays, spring is a prime time for gift giving, from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day—and graduation season in between. But with travel suspended and social distancing in effect in most regions across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it might not be possible to bestow congratulations in person.

Gift delivery, however, is still an option, and with many graduation ceremonies canceled, a token of appreciation and consideration may prove especially meaningful to graduates, now more than ever.

Still, shopping for newly minted young professionals might not be as simple and easy as it was in years past. Forget the fancy pen—it’s as antiquated as a silver spoon.

Instead, look to our gift guide, curated for those setting off on their own and into the workforce, with an emphasis on the practical but also that ever-growing priority among millennials and Generation Z: self-care.


A 54-bottle iron folding wine rack from the Container Store
Courtesy of The Container Store

The Container Store wine rack: Sometimes a wine collection starts with the shelving. This sophisticated model can hold up to 54 wine bottles. It also has to be the simplest ever to set up straight out of the box—no tools required. Each shelf flips out and hooks together like magic. Suggested Retail Price (SRP): $140

The Puebco brass cookbook and tablet stand
Courtesy of KonMari

KonMari: Can one truly make a suggestion about organizing without mentioning the queen of tidying up herself? Marie Kondo’s KonMari brand may sound counterintuitive (buying more household items from the home-organizing guru who wants you to toss anything that doesn’t “spark joy”? Really?) But the Netflix star insists that the brand is curating boutique and handcrafted goods intended to stand out while paradoxically blending in. Among them is the brass cookbook and tablet stand, adding a pop of sophistication to the kitchen counter while also propping up all those cookbooks bought while in self-quarantine. SRP: $58

The under-bed storage bin from Open Spaces
Courtesy of Open Spaces

Open Spaces: Home organization brand Open Spaces has designed a series of sustainable organizational products with a very Scandinavian vibe that you will actually want to put on display. If Ikea defined your collegiate interior decoration, then this marks the next step in adult living. With the Restful Bedroom set, you can organize clothing, blankets, and more throughout your room, closet, and under the bed. SRP: $399 (Pairs of baskets and bins can be purchased à la carte.)

The X1 office task chair
Courtesy of X-Chair

X-Chair: Everyone’s work-from-home setup is different, and most are far from perfect. After a few weeks of working from the kitchen table or the couch, back problems and other soreness are bound to set in. If this is the New Normal (at least for right now), then it’s time to invest in an ergonomic office chair. The X-Chair molds to the shape of the user’s body, with 10 adjustments that make a glove-like fit possible, including an adjustable seat, headrest, armrests, and a tilt lock. The company’s proprietary Dynamic Variable Lumbar support accommodates the user’s shape in order to provide better lower-back support. (And the brand is also donating 5% of profits this spring to charities fighting COVID-19.) SRP: Starts at $690


The KUL Glö beauty kit
Courtesy of KUL CBD

KUL CBD: There is no shortage of CBD wellness products on the market, and with everyone’s anxiety-ridden minds going a bit haywire these days, a lot of consumers might be turning toward the so-called wonder substance. (Although studies are still inconclusive as to just how powerful CBD is for each and every individual.) KUL offers a luxury line of CBD-infused skin-care products, such as day and night creams with topical probiotics and retinol; a sulfate-free, all-in-one exfoliating cleanser; and a hydrating rose extract and milk thistle serum. SRP: $395 for the all-inclusive beauty kit

The Rich Cream from Augustinus Bader
Courtesy of Augustus Bader

Augustinus Bader: If there is one face cream that beauty bloggers would most likely all nominate as the best, it would be the Rich Cream from Augustinus Bader—or just the regular Cream. Both products are said to be on par with each other in terms of results, but each formula has a different texture to serve different skin types. The luxurious skin-care product has a devoted following, thanks to the inclusion of TFC8, a complex of natural amino acids, vitamins, and synthesized molecules naturally found in skin. SRP: $265

The Fleur single steeps sampler pack from Tea Forté
Courtesy of Tea Forté

Tea Forté: This tea brand will never fail you as the flavors are always precise and sophisticated—and never weak. Smoothly transitioning into spring and summer flavors, the newest sampler pack—named Fleur and curated in collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden—includes herbal flavors like blueberry merlot, peach blossom, and jasmine green. SRP: $20


The NutriBullet Pro 1000 (left) and NutriBullet Pro 900
Courtesy of NutriBullet

NutriBullet: The most recent upgrade to the bestselling 900 series, the NutriBullet Pro 1000 sports a sleek new design and stronger motor at 1,000 watts. The compact blender is a prime Vitamix alternative in both price and strength, with ergonomically redesigned blades producing silky-smooth smoothies. SRP: $80

The Cuisinart nine-inch loaf pan
Courtesy of Crate&Barrel

Cuisinart: Soon after the country went into self-quarantine, social media was flooded with recipes—namely a lot of recipes for bread. Baking bread is not as easy as it looks, and for novices, having a structured loaf pan might be a good place to start. This nine-inch version from Cuisinart is an ideal entry-level baking tin, with a nonstick finish and silicone side grips contoured for standard oven mitts. SRP: $15

The Balmuda Kettle is just the right size for daily use.
Courtesy of Balmuda

Balmuda: The cult favorite Japanese brand offers some of the sleekest, most elegant home appliances available. Its lightweight kettle was designed for ergonomic balance, resulting in precise pour-overs, ideal for three small coffee cups or two mugfuls from a single pot. SRP: $179; available in black or white

Ultra Coffee by Jot is 20 times more concentrated than common coffee, requiring just one tablespoon per cup of java.
Courtesy of Jot

Jot: In a time when coffee shops are closed and keeping a morning routine can be critical to keeping your sanity, Jot’s new coffee experience delivers directly to your door by the bottle or via monthly subscription. Jot’s Ultra Coffee is a fair trade coffee extract that is 20 times stronger than regular coffee. Just add one tablespoon to hot or cold water or milk for the perfect cup of coffee in seconds—no equipment, pods, or time-consuming process required. SRP: $24, makes 14 cups.


Books are the perfect companions for days spent indoors, allowing us to travel without stepping outside our homes.
Courtesy of Book of the Month

Book of the Month: Has there ever been a better time to pick up a good book and escape from it all? And for recent grads, they can rejoice in the fact that with a Book of the Month club subscription, this is all reading for pleasure, with numerous bestsellers and top-reviewed novels, thrillers, romances, memoirs, and more to choose from. Gift recipients can choose from five brand-new hardcover books each month—including advance copies once in a while—handpicked by BOTM’s editorial team. SRP: Rates start at $9.99 a month for one book (with the option to add more to your digital basket, of course).

“Nothing Fancy,” by Alison Roman
Courtesy of Clarkson Potter

Nothing Fancy, by Alison Roman: Based on Instagram and food blogs, there is probably no cookbook more popular with Generation Z or millennials right now. And for good reason. Already a New York Times bestseller, from New York Times columnist Alison Roman, Nothing Fancy lives up to its name with recipes that are easy to throw together on a whim but are still satisfying in flavor, from coconut-braised chicken and chickpeas to blackberry and cornmeal cake. Sure, many of the finished products are ’grammable (if done right), but they’re also versatile, equally good for starter dinner parties and even video dates via Zoom. SRP: $33

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—WATCH: Can San Francisco Be Saved?

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