19 Gifts That Will Help This Year’s Graduates Master the Art of Adulting

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More than $5 billion will be spent on graduation gifts this year, according to the National Retail Foundation, and the majority of that will be given in cash or gift cards. And while any graduate—whether college, high school, or kindergarten—would be happy to open an envelope filled with money, what grads really need is a little bit of help figuring out how to be an actual adult.

Some grown-up responsibilities are exciting—dinner parties! travel! having your own place!—while others, like commuting and cleaning, can be a drag. With that in mind, we rounded up 19 of the best products to help the Class of 2019 master the subtle arts of the journey ahead.

The Art of Waking Up on Time

Coffee is the lifeblood of adulthood, which makes a Miele espresso machine perfect for those grads who suddenly realize that they have to get up and go to work every single day. Its touchscreen interface is easy to program for just a single cup of java or a whole pot for guests, and the removable, dishwasher-safe components make for easy cleaning. Users can customize the temperature and strength on a range of beverages like espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiato, and caffe latte—the fuel for those new responsibilities. $1,800

The Art of Saving Time

A common sigh from adults: “There just isn’t enough time in the day.” Although we may all have only 24 hours each, a luxurious timepiece can at least assist grads in staying on time. The Cartier Tank Solo watch is simple yet classy without being overwhelming and works with both casual and formal outfits. Complementary custom engraving can turn it into a heartfelt memento symbolizing a grad’s hard work. $2,550

The Art of Killing Time

Elegant, yet still lighthearted, a Hermès watch in an electric blue color is the ultimate way to communicate sophistication and nonchalance. This model also has an double calfskin strap, which is interchangeable, to switch up the color easily. Its steel base and opaline silvered dial really make it shine. $3,050

The Art of Staying With the Times

At dinner parties, adults expect discussions about the latest in entertainment beyond just guilty pleasures. Help grads stay up-to-date with a Book of the Month subscription, which offers the best new titles each month and lets them pick a favorite to be delivered to their door. If they don’t have time to read this month, they can skip a month, and the credit rolls over to give an extra book next time. For those who prefer listening over reading, an Audible subscription gives instant access to trending titles. Book of the Month $150; Audible $15

The Art of Expanding Their Mind

One of the best parts of being an adult is—besides no more algebra homework—the ability to be your own teacher, to learn about something you’re actually interested in. In grown-up land, they’re called “hobbies,” and developing them is a key to becoming a well-rounded person. CourseHorse is a education-focused website that partners with schools and workshops to offer a range of classes, like cooking, pottery, and foreign languages, and they’re available in cities ranging from Boston, Seattle, and Atlanta. To instill positive money management, the You Need a Budget app can help grads customize a savings plan, with money management experts offering advice and support. CourseHorse gift card $100; You Need a Budget App $84

The Art of Traveling Light

In today’s hyperconnected world, most adult jobs require travel at some point. At 17 inches long, this Thom Browne leather duffle bag is just the right size for a short trip. Its durable midnight-blue twill and leather-reinforced panels keep it in top shape, and its two top handles and detachable shoulder strap are easy to carry through the airport. $1,290

The Art of Using Vacation Days Wisely

For the grad with wanderlust, consider quality luggage as a necessary companion on any trip. Offered in 10 colors and four sizes with 360-degree spinner wheels, Away luggage streamlines airport hassles. An ejectable battery in this model charges any phone, and the three pieces fit inside each other, Russian Doll-style, to save space once that destination is reached. $695

The Art of Saving Face

Being an adult doesn’t mean looking old. But the truth is, bags under the eyes end up becoming something to protect against. Hence, the latest subscription box from the makeup and skin-care specialists at Sunday Riley, which curates the buzziest new products based around a season or occasion. Every three months, grads will get a box that includes such necessities as a de-puffer eye cream, cleanser, lactic acid treatment, as well as a travel pillow and towel that will help fight the damage from long hours at the office. $85

The Art of Dressing Up

Cultivating a look is the grown-up way to express personality. This Box of Style subscription, delivered four times a year, acts as a personal shopper to help develop a personal look. Based on preferences, the shipments include luxury essentials like jewelry and beauty products chosen by Rachel Zoe. The latest box includes a Tribe Alive leather clutch, Chan Luu silk scarf, and Edible Beauty gold rush eye balm. $350

The Art of Mastering the Commute

Commuting to work every day is a necessity for most adults, but it doesn’t have to be a total time suck—or involve a Segway. A Shuttle e-bike combines power and ultracapable suspension to make the trip faster and easier, but also allow grads to fit in some exercise. The bike’s battery assist works up to 20 miles an hour and has a range up to 55 miles. The carbon-fiber base means it’s just a little over 45 pounds, making it lightweight enough for transporting when not in the saddle. It’ll even allow grads to build their own version, adapting the size and build to best serve their needs. $10,000

The Art of Nesting

Febreze? Please. One of the biggest perks of adulthood is having a space that’s all your own, but not if it smells like a locker. Help your grad turn their home into a calming haven with this massive, 51-ounce Diptyque fig tree candle. Containing notes of the fig tree’s bark, fresh leaves, and the milky sap of its fruit, this candle has five wicks in a porcelain pot that can be used indoors or out. $325

The Art of Finding a Signature Scent

Axe body spray isn’t going to cut it anymore. (Did it ever?) This Art of Shaving cologne is coriander and cardamom scented with notes of spicy wood and pepper. It’s a fresh twist on the traditional warm and spicy scent, and it can accelerate—with surprising speed—the transformation from teenager to classy young man. $100

The Art of Not Talking to Strangers

One key way that adults stay sane? By talking to as few people as possible. A high-quality headphone set is perfect for drowning out the barrage of sounds from annoying fellow humans. This Bose headphone set is noise-cancelling and comes with Bose AR, an audio augmented-reality platform feature, along with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built-in. Its 20-hour battery life invites the possibility of ignoring everyone all day. $350

The Art of Entertaining Friends

Entertaining friends at a real adult party is even more fun with a home theater that can be used indoors or out. A Mars II portable cinema has a projection image size up to 150 inches and a four-hour playtime. The device itself is just 5 inches tall and weighs less than 4 pounds. The dual 10-watt speakers produce cinematic-quality sound, and the sturdy top handle makes for easy transportation. $500

The Art of Sucking Up

Moving away from home or out of a dorm means new cleaning responsibilities. So while a vacuum might not seem like the most thrilling gift, the prospect of fewer chores will excite any graduate. The Roomba iRobot i7+ automatically empties into an enclosed, disposable bag that holds 30 robot bins. $950

The Art of Loving Your Feet

The older you get, the more you realize how much your feet matter. Adulthood means taking care of them, ideally with socks featuring fun designs like dogs and pineapples and quality materials such as soft-combed cotton. A subscription to Society Socks checks those boxes, plus the company donates two pairs each month to charities including Covenant House and the Young Women’s Christian Association. $200

The Art of Holding Onto Your Money

If you insist on giving cash, at least house it in this TGT minimalist leather wallet, which has just enough space to hold those other grown-up essentials, such as an ID, credit cards, and business cards. It’s double-stitched with handwoven canvas to withstand the rough and tumble of those early adulthood years, yet is so thin it’ll fit into even the tightest Lululemon pocket. $48

The Art of Being a Better Person

The best adults feel a responsibility to make the world a better place. For the grad who wants an experience, give an international volunteer trip like the ones from International Volunteer HQ. They’ll partner young travelers with local volunteer organizations, including ones based in Costa Rica that provide projects for teaching, child care, and turtle conservation in coastal regions. Lengths vary from one to 24 weeks. $355 for one week; up to $4,825 for 24 weeks

The Art of Indulgence

Sometimes even the most responsible adults have to treat themselves. The Range Rover Sport HSE P400e is a plug-in hybrid with a pure-electric operation of 31 miles, 398 horsepower, and 472 pound-feet of torque. Extras such as the Driver Assist Pack (blind spot assistance, 360-surround camera, adaptive cruise control with steering assist) make it one of the safest options on the road. The Meridian surround sound, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, make it fun. $79,000

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