By: Sean Cain
Regardless your situation, the list below of top-notch holiday gifts (in no particular order) will have you ready to enter the work force whether it be in January or in May of 2018.
14. Gift Cards
Listen I cannot even tell you the amount of times I have blown 20 bucks at Buffalo Wild Wings. It happens. Chipotle is not going away my friends, so why not ask for a boatload of gift cards so you don’t feel as guilty handing over your actual debit card.
13. A Netflix Account
As nice a guy as I am, when I graduate I am kicking all of my friends off my account faster than you can say “Fuller House was not as good as Full House” (we all were thinking it). So if you are one of those “Netflix-leeches” ask your family for a Netflix account so you can enjoy your own shows without invading someone else’s profile. Believe me, nothing ends a relationship faster then when on the first movie night “Sex and the City” pops up on your Recently Watched because your pal Becky wanted to cry last night.
12. Alumni Swag
Whether you truly bleed the black and gold or not, its always nice to receive a shirt that reminds you how much you loved seeing Bruiser on his walks around campus. We are all going to come back at some point, and you do not want to be the loner that is wearing a plaid button up to a football tailgate. When’s homecoming again?
11. A Vacuum Cleaner
We are messy. Especially when you get that first job, and you are working late hours, you are not going to have time to cook up that five star meal you saw in a cookbook. So when you are hunched over your Chinese takeout at 2 am, watching re-runs of Saturday Night Live, you can feel comfort knowing that whatever crumbs you dropped will be swooped up by your new vacuum.
10. A Plant
Remember in Marley and Me (don’t cry yet) when Sebastian tells Owen Wilson to get a dog instead of a baby, cause a dog is less work? Well that is us, but like six steps below the dog. As much as you want to have a dog or cat to come home to after a long day at work, you will not have the time or money for that, so get a plant! Requires water once a day, maybe twice, and will not run through any screen doors, or eat your significant others expensive new necklace (starting to cry, dang I miss that dog). After you prove to the world you can handle a plant, then you can get a live animal. I suggest a rabbit or hamster. Name it Pebbles.
9. A Gym Membership
If you are like me, your biggest fear is that after college you are going to get fat. When my metabolism slows down, I am going to be in for a rough ride and I would really want a gym membership to at least pretend that I give a crap about my figure.
So at least get one so you can make an appearance once a week on Pizza Tuesdays (yes Planet Fitness is a gym). But if all else fails, maybe you will meet a cute girl on the elliptical machine next to you while you stuff that pepperoni pizza down your face. Ah, 21st century love stories are the best.
8. A Briefcase
The key indicator that you are a college student is that crummy backpack that you carry to every class. The one with that zipper that never actually worked but you just said it was a representation of your life. Well in the work place, we should probably be a little classier. Show up to your first day of work rocking a shoulder bag, and every professional in that office will know you came to play. Just be sure not to show them the extra pair of clothes you packed in case you nervously sweat through the ones you have on.
7. A Tailored Suit
Let’s get serious. Nothing is more impressive than a young professional that has taken the time to get a suit that fits him. Nobody wants to walk in on their first day or big interview in your dad’s dress pants that are 2 sizes two big and rolled up at the waist (sorry I am not good at being serious). There is a saying “dress to impress” and a tailored suit will not only impress but could potentially get you the job over some other broke college student that did not have awesome parents (use those exact words).
Ladies be sure to ask for some pantsuits that fit. Yes skirts look nice, but when it is -6 degrees and for some reason your boss did not call a “snow day”, a skirt is probably not a good choice.
6. Business Cards
I am actually documented in saying that buying 250 business cards is the greatest investment of my college career.
But in reality, nothing will make you stand out more than whipping out a furnished business card with your name on it. Then imagine handing it to that successful stranger you met in line at Starbucks, that somehow knows your second cousin Jeanie, and now wants to give you a job (maybe now you will add Jeanie back to the Christmas card list). Business cards are actually really cheap, and if you want to push it, have your parents give you a holder as well. Just makes the whole experience a touch better.
5. A Book
Unless you’re an English major, odds are you haven’t read a book for your own leisure since they discontinued the Michigan Chillers series. Well, what a great time to start. If you really want to read a book that will impact your life, I suggest one that will give you advice on how to make it in the workforce. I have learned in my time, that this is a dog eat dog world, and I am more than prepared to take any advantage I can get. I highly doubt that advantage will come on page 145 of Kim Kardashian’s new novella, but maybe in some of these below:
4. A New Laptop or Tablet
Usually these last about 3-4 years, and if you still have that HP dinosaur that has your fourth grade book report about sedimentary rocks on it, then maybe its time to upgrade the good ole computer. Also make sure you order the Microsoft Office package. There will be times when you have to finish a report on the way to the meeting or on the plane, and Google Docs does not work without Internet access. Finally, when you get your new device, buy a large drive and store your files from your old computer on there. So in 2026 when you really need to know what the algorithm is to find the percent of a fraction (Ugh math!!) you can pull it up.
3. A Watch
Did you guys know that “back in the day” TV’s were black and white; cell phones were connected to your car, and PEOPLE WORE WATCHES ALL THE TIME. Believe it or not, it is true. It also looks a lot better to just turn your wrist over to check the time then digging in your pocket for your iPhone. Watches also can be added to your wardrobe to really compliment your outfit, and make you look a lot more professional. Remember, it goes on your non-writing hand.
2. A Pen Set
For those of you that relied on the pencil your neighbor in class had throughout your four years in school, this one is for you. Having a pen set, again, adds to the professionalism you should be displaying to your future employers. Putting it in your cubical for all your co-workers to see is great, but pulling a pen out of your chest pocket when your potential boss wants to write a note on your resume might just land you that dream job. SPOILER ALERT – you cannot sign anything in pencil; I will let you figure out why.
I am no fashionista, but nothing rings confidence like a gold bracelet that looks like King Tut in Egypt wore it. Maybe your parents will get some sentimental message on it to remind you where you are from or where you are heading (dang it, I told myself I would not cry again). Likewise, some nice cufflinks and a tie clip really capitalize a great outfit, and the best part is you can brag about how you have cufflinks (isn’t that what they are for?). Anyway, accessories are key to an outfit and with the right ones your professional status can go from “poor” college kid, to a “making it” professional.