Martha’s Vineyard gifts for graduates

The Vineyard tie bracelet from CB Stark is a popular gift for graduates. — Photo courtesy of CB Stark

Graduations commemorate major accomplishments in most people’s lives and should be rewarded accordingly. Commencement also marks a leap into independence, and we all know that you need stuff to get through life. Whether you’re looking to reward your graduate with a special memento, or want to prepare him or her for life after high school or college, here are some suggestions for grad gifts from indulgent to practical. And it pays to shop early, with a number of sales going on.

No matter where, geographically, your graduate is headed, home will always be the Vineyard. Remind her of her roots, wherever she goes, with a wearable icon. CB Stark Jewelers offer more ways to say “I love the Vineyard” in silver or gold than you can imagine. Their sterling silver disk with Vineyard cutout that ties around the wrist with a chord is a very of-the-moment accessory. Or why not start a tradition by gifting her with a Vineyard charm? The Tabernacle charm, to memorialize the graduation setting, might be a good place to start in building a lifetime memento.

For the male grad on your gift list, commemorate his Vineyard ties with a Vineyard tie. He can ease into the corporate lifestyle with a little bit of whimsy with a Vineyard Vines tie featuring the Island outline, Vineyard town signs, or a multitude of beach, boating, and other iconic images.

The sophistication of pearls, along with their Island connection, make a great gift for someone completing a milestone. Claudia’s features a range of classic knotted strands of freshwater pearls starting at $95, and 14-karat gold backed pearl stud earrings from $45. Claudia’s Krista Curry notes that the classic David Yurman cable bracelet punctuated by jeweled tips in a variety of gemstones is a popular milestone gift for young women. And for that special young man in your life, why not go the traditional route with a watch by a classic watchmaker such as Swiss Army, Pulsar, or Seiko, which Claudia’s carries at a variety of price points.

If you’re more concerned about your grad’s initiation into self-sufficiency, you might consider something to help him set up housekeeping. LeRoux at Home offers a nice stainless steel cookware set by Cuisinart that includes seven essential pieces for $99; a great starter set for the novice cook. Electric kettles make excellent dorm accessories that boil water minus the risk of a hot plate. Although intended for tea drinkers, an electric kettle can be used with instant coffee or coffee singles bags for a quick, no mess caffeine fuel-up. LeRoux carries four different models.

Shirley’s Hardware stocks a range of Swiss Army knives and multi-tools that run from $15 to $100. These all-in-one devices make great gifts for travelers and for students whose collection of belongings has just been seriously condensed from a houseful to a small, shared roomful of stuff.

Tech and teens are a winning combination but be warned — most sophisticated cell phones can do just about everything but wash your laundry, so don’t get suckered in by some electronic gadget that might duplicate a phone’s built in utility. Mini audio recorders are a great classroom aid, but heed the above warning before purchasing one. Same goes for travel alarm clocks, etc.

However, a car GPS is a terrific gift for those planning a big celebratory road trip, for students familiarizing themselves with new turf or, really, for anyone who has to drive anywhere. Even if your grad’s smart phone has a GPS system, a car device can be used safely while driving. And they’re surprisingly affordable — around $100 to $200 for a basic model. Many fun gadgets can be found at Vineyard Electronics in Vineyard Haven.

Now your grad’s probably going to need a bag to put all that stuff in. A backpack makes a nice gift, for no matter one’s destination — travel, school, or work. The Green Room has a wide selection of sturdy, multi-purpose backpacks and luggage items. Downstairs, the surf shop features skateboard and snowboard packs that have many advantages besides outside straps for boards, and style. Both types feature dedicated spaces for all the 21st century essentials: laptop, cell phone, iPod, etc. Some even have a front insulated pocket to keep your Red Bull chilled. The outside straps can be used for stashing a jacket or sweatshirt when you find yourself traveling sans board. Upstairs, the Green Room carries more traditional, high quality backpacks by North Face and Patagonia.

If your graduate is leaving the Island behind, at least temporarily, nothing says, “We miss you” like a book of ferry tickets. Or, for an even less subtle hint, purchase a two-sided stand up photo frame and put a smiling picture of yourself on one side and a steamship schedule on the other. A constant reminder of their Island home and a guilt trip all in one.