14 gifts not to give graduates

Lucky Magazine

Magnifying paperweight

(Photo courtesy of barneys.com)

Getting a diploma is exciting, but so is unwrapping the congratulatory presents that come with it. That is, until you come across one of these things below, which are basically the opposite of fashionable interview shoes and envelopes laced with $20s.

Instead, they're either boring or bizarre graduation presents (or just not occasion-appropriate) and we wouldn't suggest buying any of them for a recent grad. Unless, of course, that graduate is really obsessed with snowglobes, in which case, more power to you.


For a grad?: Yawn, yawn, boring yawn.

Do give them to: Your fancy uncle that shelves leather-bound books in a proper library.

Magnifying paperweight, $550, Ari D. Norman, barneys.com

Home Decor

(Photo courtesy of dwellstudio.com)

Home Decor

For a grad?:  No, because they probably need to get an Ikea futon or a non-air matress bed before trinkets or anything deemed an "object."

Do give them to: A 30-something who's already had time to decorate her bookshelves with perfectly hodge podge frames and knick knacks.

Pyramid objects, $125 for 3, dwellstudio.com

(See also: Designer Phillip Lim collaborating with Target for Fall collection)

Desktop Games

(Photo courtesy of urbanoutfitters.com )

Desktop Games

For a grad?: Good luck getting them to be productive in the job hunt. (And if they have one already, probably not the best idea to show up on the first day with this.)

Do give them to: The dude whose wife won't let him have the full-on man cave. Or your fifth-grader brother.

Desktop sports kit, $10, urbanoutfitters.com


(Photo courtesy of tiffany.com)


For a grad?: At least a pocket watch will tell you the time when your cell phone dies, but a compass? Unless you're planning a sailing trip after graduation, they're pretty useless.

Do give them to: That old world nostalgic person who insists on having a globe or a non-ironic typewriter in his living room.

1837 compass, $325, tiffany.com

Kitschy Mugs

(Photo courtesy of fredflare.com)

Kitschy Mugs

For a grad?: They're funny for a second, but then you sort of hate that you can never bring them to work or have a grown-up conversation while holding one.

Do give them to: Your boyfriend's obnoxious roommate.

Toilet mug, $16, fredflare.com

Overly-Themed Frames

(Photo courtesy of thingsremembered.com)

Overly-Themed Frames

For a grad?: Go the classic route instead: a silver frame with the date quietly engraved.

Do give them to: A grandparent, the one who still keeps a packet full of wallet-sized family photos to show people who never asked anyway.

Spinning frame, $29.99, thingsremembered.com

Success water globe

(Photo courtesy of thingsremembered.com)


For a grad?: Unless they have winter scenes and are part of a seasonal display, snowglobes are the most pointless things ever. Don't even get me started on this one, which has a globe inside a globe (WTF?). And, of course, you can't even bring it on a plane.

Do give them to: Your best friend with the best sense of humor, so she can display it proudly and then wait for people to comment.

Success water globe, $34.99, thingsremembered.com

Piggy Banks

(Photo courtesy of bloomingdales.com)

Piggy Banks

For a grad?: Not unless has money in it.

Do give them to: A grad, if it has money inside.

Classic piggy bank, $50, Reed & Barton, bloomingdales.com

Inspirational Stones

(Photo courtesy of redenvelope.com)

Inspirational Stones

For a grad?: Seriously, you're going to give someone rocks? Rocks? Even if they've got uplifting words pressed into them, they're still just one step above giving someone coal at Christmas.

Do give them to: Your artsy, yoga-obsessed aunt, the one who always handmakes you ceramic jewelry for birthdays.

Good luck stones, $39.95, redenvelope.com

Commemorative Pillows

(Photo courtesy of redenvelope.com)

Commemorative Pillows

For a grad?: Keep the "Class of ..." stuff to t-shirts they can sleep in, not things to decorate their house with. It's too much nostalgia.

Do give them to: A grad, if they're going to keep it in a cozy tv room or use it for travel or something. (Just don't make them feel guilted into displaying it in their living room.)

Throw pillow cover, $59.95, redenvelope.com

Workout Gear and Clothes

(Photo courtesy of sharperimage.com)

Workout Gear and Clothes

For a grad?: It's not the right moment to slide in a "please lose weight" spur.

Do give them to: Gym rat friends, for any other occasion.

Kettlebell solution, $39.99, sharperimage.com

Light Therapy Visors

(Photo courtesy of sharperimage.com)

Light Therapy Visors

For a grad?: Maybe they're moving north and might actually want this in due time, when it's darker than they're used to and vitamin D isn't exactly easy to come by. But don't scare them away from winters before they even get there.

Do give them to: Newly northern-ized grads, once they go through their first winter.

Light therapy visor, $100, sharperimage.com


(Photo courtesy of barneys.com)


For a grad?: It's a little creepy, like it's for all the anti-anxiety meds they'll need once they hit college or the real world.

Do give them to: Someone who you know uses a pillbox (that's important) because this one is boss.

Rider and horse pillbox, $195, ari d. norman, barneys.com

Workout Gear and Clothes

(Photo courtesy of amazon.com)

Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss

For a grad?: No, because by now it's about as cliché as people reading from The Velveteen Rabbit at their wedding and thinking they're original. Stop the madness.

Do give them to: Kids, of course.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss, $9.50, amazon.com

More from Lucky:

50 Unique Engagement Rings

8 Outfits Men Love on Women

50 Swimsuits Under $50

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