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May 28, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Grad gifts: Celebrate the milestone with fun, functional presents


By Andrea Dashiell  / Special to Sunday Market

Whether your favorite grad is moving on to college or the working world, you’ll want to give something that’s both useful and thoughtful. If cash or a gift card isn’t your style, check out our list of gifts for all types of grads.

For the sentimentalist

Frame the sweet Franny & Franky Designs Washington Heart Art Print ($20 at
franky) to remind your grad that home is where the heart is. You can choose from 12 colors to match her apartment or dorm décor.

During this time of self-reflection, grads will welcome the opportunity to jot down their dreams, lessons learned and nuggets of wisdom with Letters to my Future Self ($13 at Each booklet includes 12 sealable blank letters with writing prompts for those who might need a spark.

For the newly hired

Now that she’s on the payroll, she’ll need a nice bag to tote her laptop and other important work stuff. Rebecca Minkoff’s M.A.B. Leather Tote ($295 at Nordstrom) is a classic with crisp, clean lines, but the on-trend turquoise color is fun enough to keep it from being a boring “grown-up” bag. Order online and get a free Jody Glam Kit Pouch worth $95.

Is she prepping for a gap year or a job that requires travel? Help her spot her bag on the carousel with a luggage tag such as Kate Spade New York’s Bon Voyage Luggage Tag ($58 at Nordstrom) in beautiful geranium.

There comes a time in every man’s life when white athletic socks must give way to sleeker dress socks. But just because they’ll be worn with a suit doesn’t mean they have to be basic black. Calvin Klein’s Striped Polka Dot Casual Crew Socks ($12 for three pair at Macy’s) are preppy and fun, with gray dots on black.

For the budding foodie

Doing their own shopping requires a non-plastic way to transport ingredients. Far4’s sassy Totier Tote ($25 at Far4, downtown), which reads, “My tote bag is a totier tote bag than your tote bag,” keeps grocery shopping fun and light.

Grads looking to boost their kitchen skills will appreciate a cooking class at The Pantry at Delancey ($75–$120 at Delancey, Ballard). The sought-after classes feature themes such as The Moroccan Kitchen, Gnocchi Workshop and The Whole Fish. Pick one your grad will love and snatch it up; classes fill up almost as quickly as they are announced.

Paying your dues at the office can mean long hours with little time to eat. Hook up your grad with three, six or 12 months of healthy snacks from NatureBox ($60–$200 at The new snack-subscription service can be customized to include bags of PB&J granola bites, blueberry-covered almonds, baked sweet potato fries and more, all packaged to grab and go.

For the homebody

Keep your grad on schedule and provide some color for bare walls with the One Canoe Two Pieces & Patterns Calendar ($25 at Paper Delights, Wallingford). It features frame-worthy geometric prints on 9×12-inch cardstock.

A handsome throw adds style to a room as well as comfort during late-night study sessions. The in2green Alhambra Reversible Eco Throw ($175 at NuBe Green, Capitol Hill) is stylish and Earth-friendly, using re-spun fiber cast-offs from other projects and no new materials.

Make getting to class or work easier with Keurig’s K10 B31 MINI Plus Personal Coffee Brewer ($100 at Kohl’s). The petite single-cup brewer is perfect for an apartment or dorm room and comes in several vibrant colors, including a cheerful yellow to make mornings a little brighter.

For those who need an outlet

When it comes to headphones, tech editors rave about Bose’s Quiet Comfort 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones ($300 at Best Buy). Your grad can blast tunes — er, digital textbooks — and cancel out the raucous noise around them.

Everyone needs to let loose every now and then. When space is tight, the 27” Tabletop Soccer Foosball Table ($49 at provides a whole lot of fun without taking up much space.

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