Kids today, they have everything they need. They’re already stuffocated.
That’s my complaint about most of my friends and family around holidays or birthdays. None of them need anything.
Technology, check. Clothing, check. First world comfort, check.
What is missing, that could be really useful?
In the spirit of earth day—of experiences over things—what about a trip? Send the graduate off with a plane ticket, loose plans, and a confident pat on the back.
I’d choose Seattle, with plans for hiking, a train trip to Vancouver, and a stay in the Olympic rainforest. Twilight Saga style.
Things are unavoidable (and far less expensive than a vacation)…so what then?
I gleaned volumes of adult, real world insight from The Velvet Rage, which addresses the challenges that modern gay men face. I think it is applicable to everyone—or at least, anyone who wants to break down the rat race.
A return address stamp. If you want someone to snail mail, to take the time to write, and to maintain good habits of thoughtfulness, get him or her a custom return address stamp (the least fun part of the card process). It gives envelopes polish.
A signature scent. Not a gift set from Macy’s, gram. A real signature scent, with time taken to test, retest, and debate. Think the fragrance counters at Neiman Marcus, with dedicated brand experts and a wide range of choices.
Appreciation for possessions you actually have to take care of is sorely lacking in 2014.
A shoe maintenance kit, presumably for a first pair of dress shoes, is a must. Saphir makes great creams, polishes, and other accoutrements for proper leather care. Cedar shoe trees will also lengthen the life of any pair of shoes.
I purchased my first pair of brown monk-strap work shoes from Brooks Brothers in 2009, and still have them.
Not to say I didn’t have an inkling that my parents were highly responsible spenders, but there was no “beware the temptation of a credit line” conversation. Thus, I fell into the same trap so many do, and still struggle with responsible budgeting and saving.
Give grads an hour with a financial advisor, with some healthy horror stories…
A classy wallet.
No velcro, no billfold. Nothing that collects business cards and receipts that just end up in the trash.
A handsome wallet, with no more than the essentials. Adds adult polish, and impresses dates.
I would argue that a bespoke suit can address both a material and experiential need.
In the words of Kiton: “bespoke starts from the premise that the client does not “need” a new suit — he has a closet full already. When he spends, he is, instead, buying into the luxury of a truly personal experience.”
That may not be true of most grads, but the appreciation of such quality hand work and attention is hard to get elsewhere. If you can afford it, your male grad will thank you for making him look like a million bucks on interview day.
And, this I still find challenging…something your grad will have to keep alive (e.g. a plant). My infamous black thumb is a joke in a family of plant cultivators.
ZZ plants (colloquial name) are about the hardest to kill. They can even live under fluorescents.
I’m also a fan of un-bloomed orchids, bromeliads, and sea grapes.
Instill responsibility and attention to another living organism’s needs.
What else would be great for a recent graduate? Leave a comment below!