Grad gifts bypass cash for cachet


Cash gifts are a no-brainer for college graduates. But Derek Blasberg, the 28-year-old author of the new book “Classy: Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady” (Razorbill, $16.99) warns recipients may not benefit in the manner intended.

“Often, before they know it (and probably before they write a thank-you note, tsk tsk), that money will be spent,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Maybe think about buying this person a stock, or at the very least writing a check, so it won’t immediately turn into a tip for the cute bartender.”

Cash also doesn’t look particularly imaginative, Blasberg says. Instead, he suggests more personal gifts. Here are some options:

_Luggage: Grads heading on an international tour probably will need more than a tote. LeSportsac is lightweight, with colors that will stand out from the pack. 21-inch carry-on, $180 at and

_For daily schlepping of an iPad around the School of Hard Knocks, ColcaSac has created a sleeve that’s padded to protect it from dents, drops and other mishaps. ColcaSac uses natural fabrics in earthy colors, on the premise that they might be less likely to attract thieves’ eyes. $35.95 at

_Dorm life: The Web site stocks necessities and luxuries for dorm life, such as the mini-futon, which serves as seating or a mini-bed for visitors ($148.42). Another option, the Sidekick Saddlebag Organizer ($9.73) hangs between mattresses, with pockets for remote control, phone, water bottle, pens and tissues.

_For a whimsical touch, headboard wall decals by Mina Javid ($40 to $70 at will give a dorm’s twin bed some personality, without clutter or overcommitment — the stickers will peel off when she moves out.

_Self-knowledge: It’s easy to lose one’s self in life after high school; give your grad a daily reminder. Pickled Tink lets you choose initials or words in vibrant shades of handmade matte paper on charm bracelets or silver necklaces. A necklace with two charms is $52. A bracelet with six charms is $116. See

_For a lifelong memento, a sterling silver Tiffany bracelet ($145 at can start with a Class of ’10 round lock charm ($150 in sterling silver); she can gather others for each successive success.

_Correspondence course: They’ll need stationery for those thank-you notes. Lend a hand, and have fun doing it at, where you can create a lookalike image of your favorite grad from a range of facial features and accessories (which include mortar boards) and backdrops that include preppy polka dots, skylines and a martini glass (not recommended; we’re just sayin’ … ). $2 each; minimum of 15 cards; turnaround in three to five business days.

_Introduce them to the archaic pleasure of writing with a tool other than their thumbs. The Faber-Castell E-Motion Crocodile Pen’s barrel is made of resin engraved with an ivory crocodile pattern. $70 at