When it comes to graduation gifts, you can be a bit more creative than giving cold hard cash. If you’d like to give something that’s unique to the graduate, then keep reading. From finding the right set of luggage to picking out some high-tech gear, there are plenty of ways to commemorate the milestone. These gift ideas from independent retailers in Chicago and the suburbs will work both for a high school grad about to attend college, as well as a college grad who’s embarking on a new chapter in his or her life.
1200 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Glenview, IL 60025
If you’re looking for a grad gift that’s on the high-tech side, then consider taking a look at electronics retailer Abt, located in the northwest suburb of Glenview. The retailer offers a wide selection of smartphones and accessories, as well as laptops, MP3 players, and wearable technology, including products by Fitbit and Garmin. You can also purchase small kitchen appliances for the grad’s first apartment. Abt also offers a wide selection of watches for men and women, including both traditional and smartwatches.
5247 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
If you can’t give a recent grad a piece of Chicago, then consider doing the next-best thing and purchasing an item made in Chicago. Andersonville Galleria, which is located in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, offers a wide selection of decor, clothing, jewelry and other items made in the city. The vendor Transit Tees offers a wide range of clothing, stationery and housewares that proudly feature different aspects of Chicago, including the “L” and the city’s flag. The vendor Printed Canvas offers a range of works that feature some of Chicago’s iconic landmarks, including the Chicago Cultural Center and the Field Museum. Andersonville Galleria’s full list of vendors is available online.
Book Cellar, Inc.
4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, Book Cellar, Inc. offers a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction books that will cover just about any interest. While you could pick up a copy of the Dr. Seuss classic “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” for a graduation gift, you do have additional options at this indie bookstore. For example, you could pick up a few books pertaining to the grad’s major, or cookbooks if the recipient will move away from home. If the grad in your life has plans to do some traveling or to relocate to a different city in the near future, then consider picking up a book or two focused on their destinations. Don’t forget to purchase a book or two for your own reading, too.
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1657 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Sure, one can schedule appointments and an entire class schedule with a few taps on a smartphone, but what about using paper and pen to keep track of daily obligations? With the selection of stationery at GREER Chicago in the city’s Old Town neighborhood, you can select journals, notepads and weekly to-do lists that are just as eye-catching as they are functional. The shop also offers pens, an assortment of office supplies and an assortment of notecards a new grad might find useful for writing thank you notes. A grad can also keep things on track with planners and calendars.
900 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Does the grad in your life plan to hit the road? Whether she’s moving away to college or will need to travel for work, a new set of luggage will make a great graduation gift. That’s where Kaehler Luggge comes in. The retailer offers luggage by brands that include Bric’s, Tumi, Briggs & Riley and more companies, and carries options that include wheeled totes, backpacks, duffel bags and briefcases. There are also plenty of accessories available for purchase, including umbrellas and luggage tags. Based in the Chicago area, Kaehler Luggage has two locations in the city and three locations in the suburbs, as well as a luggage repair center. Addresses and phone numbers for each location is available online.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.