When I was in college, my roommates & I loved to end our long day of studies by watching Late Night with David Letterman, and our favorite part of the show……Dave’s Top Ten List.
With Graduation fast approaching, now is the perfect time to make Executive Essentials very own Top Ten List to help our many customers find the perfect graduation gift for their sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.
Executive Essentials Top 10 Best Selling Graduation Gifts:
It’s December. Are you still shopping? I am. There are always last-minute gifts and the people for whom it’s always exceeding hard to find the right item. If you are still searching for gift ideas after reading the Penaholic’s Gift Guide (part one and two), then this post is for you. In this post, I will cover non-pen gifts—gifts for artists, writers, office workers, and more. If you have already finished your holiday shopping, let me draw your attention to the discounts too good to pass up.
Earlier this year, I reviewed Caran d’Ache’s Supracolor Soft Aquarelle set. In my head-to-head testing against Prismacolor and Daler-Rowney, Supracolor Softs gave a superior performance. Their colors were bright, the lay-down of the wax was creamy, and the pencils had good lightfastness. Caran d’Ache offers more than just watercolor pencil sets; they have sketching pencil sets, professional pastels, and artist crayons. One of the most impressive sets is the Caran d’Ache Graphite Line gift box. It not only has pencils in all hardness grades between 9B and 4H, it also has 6 Grafcubes. Caran d’Ache grafcubes lay down superlatively smooth lines—they don’t even feel like graphite. Caran d’Ache artist sets are professional quality materials and thus not inexpensive. But most artists will agree that their quality is unmatched. For art students or people who are dabbling in sketching, the smaller Caran d’Ache Graphite Line Book is a good buy. The set is a portable set of 5 pencils (HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 9B), 3 natural soft charcoals, and a white pastel pencil that comes in their own carrying case. Caran d’Ache sets are discounted between 15-17% for the holidays.
Though I used to recommend journals or agendas as gifts (and they are always good buys for people who aren’t fountain pen fanatics), I have recently discovered that writing pad holders are a much more versatile gift. Not only can the recipient use whatever brand of paper/pad that they like the most with a writing pad holder, the holder can carry (and protect) the pens with their pen-loops. The trick is finding a color/style combination that your recipient will treasure. Writing pads tend to fall into a narrow aesthetic style, relying on the rich leather of exterior to impress. If a rich leather look is what you are looking for, Jack Georges has a lush elements pad in a mahogany leather finish. Andrew Philips offers a more contemporary take on the writing pad with up-to-date colors available (ocean and petal are fairly trendy, while the black and burgundy are classic choices). As an added bonus, you could fill the pad with a truly excellent writing paper, like Rhodia or Clairefontaine.
If a writing pad seems too old-fashioned, the Gilt Edge Journal may be the better gift. The Gilt Edge journal pairs a calendar/planner section in the front with lined pages in its main section, making it a nice hybrid between a focused agenda and a journal.
Leather is back in a big way. A good leather bag can make a stellar gift. Bags are often expensive enough to be wished-for but can present a unique challenge to a gift-giver. Choosing the perfect bag is about as easy as (or, if you’re finicky like I am, hard as) finding a good shirt. Two of the most popular styles are body messenger bags and wheeled briefcases. The across-the-body messenger bags are appealing to those who don’t have much to carry with them on their daily commute. My favorite of the messenger bag line is David King’s distressed leather line. The distressed leather gives the bag character that it usually takes leather years to develop. David King’s Messenger bags fit small form-factor laptops in the 10”-13” range. My Samsung Series 7 tablet fits comfortably inside a messenger with room to spare. The messengers have a compartment for the laptop and can fit papers, cords, and other peripherals in the second large compartment.
When a messenger bag won’t hack it, briefcases and their wheeled brethren are a better choice. Kenneth Cole’s leather flapover briefcase is a gorgeous example of tastefully distressed leather for laptops up to 15.4”. In the wheeled flavor, McKlein’s Lakewood leather briefcase has a detachable wheelbase, making them flexible enough to give to someone who may or may not want the capability to pull their case.
There are some fantastic discounts for bags running right now. Kenneth Cole has a 65-73% discount on most of their bags, McKlein has a 33-60% discount on a range of their bags and wheeled briefcases, and David King has 55-58% off retail. There are some truly gorgeous leather bags to be had for under 100 dollars.
A desk is more than just a place to hold work; it’s about creating a professional frame of mind whenever you sit down at it. Though desk accessories may not jump out in your mind as typical gifts, this year I’ve seen four of my friends start up independent/freelance ventures. With all of their start-up expenses, quality desk accessories haven’t been at the top of their list. A quality desk piece can make the day that much more professional–especially in a home office. The Mosaic Desk Set is an excellent gift to outfit a desk that’s otherwise been slapped together with holders and trays. For those inclined towards a more traditional wood finish, Bey Berk’s four-piece desk set is attractive on most wood desks that are in a cherry or mahogany finish.
In my last gift guide, I covered pen stands and pen cases that would befit a pen lover. Two stands that I left out (as they already come with pens) are the Retro 51 pen stand and the Delta Dolcevita Desk set. Depending on your budget, and their tastes, the Retro 51 stand complements black & white settings nicely. The Delta Dolcevita, on the other hand, is a pure luxury piece. Delta’s pens are second to none, and in its distinctive orange resin and black appointments, an eye-catcher whether it ends up at a home office, or not.
Though they are billed as desk accessories, my book ends are generally deployed on bookshelves or end tables. For a giftee that has more than their fair share of books (or are building their own small library), bookends are always an attractive option. Best of all, as knick-knacks, there are one of the easiest gifts to give with confidence. The Architectural Leaf and Bey Berk Black Marble bookends are especially sleek and would look good on any shelf.