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12 great college graduation gift ideas

(Moneywatch) With college graduation season upon us, here are 12 great gift ideas for new grads:

1. "The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career" ($26). In this book, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman explains how a worker of any age can accelerate his or her career by treating it like a startup. It seems especially appropriate with so many recent college grad still struggling to find work.

2. Decorate the new apartment. If a grad is lucky enough to be moving into her own apartment, pay a seamstress (find one on Craigslist) to sew curtains, throw pillows or a duvet for the new place. You can find awesome material at

3. Ballpark seat pens ($150- $190). Give the grad a wooden pen made from a seat salvaged from baseball stadiums that have been demolished or renovated. You can order pens that originated from such baseball shrines as Yankee, Wrigley, Polo, Comiskey, Tiger, Fenway and Busch stadiums.

4. "Where Will You Be 5 Years From Now?" ($14.95). This 80-page journal, which is aimed at young people, includes inspirational quotes and questions that can spark the readers' imagination about what they would like to accomplish in the next five years.

5. Geek wristwatch ($65). This is the perfect watch for a new engineer or scientist. Rather than regular numbers on the watch dial, each number is represented by math equations.

6. Houseware gift card. For the grad who isn't returning to mom and dad's house, consider a gift card to Target or IKEA.

7. "The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand and (Job Search (2nd edition)." Written by consultant Wayne Breitbarth, this book shares strategies on how to take advantage of LinkedIn.

8. Gym membership. One of the perks of college is free access to a gym, but that ends after the graduation ceremony. Give someone a year's membership to a gym or exercise bootcamp.

9. Business card case. Here are eclectic business card case ideas that are made from such materials as yarn and silicon rubber. On the pricey side is the Masakage Tanno Wood Business Card Case ($85), and there's a cheaper sleek stainless steel case from Blomus ($18.98).

10. "How to Boil an Egg: Poach One, Scramble One, Fry One, Bake One, Steam One." The more than 80 recipes in this cookbook come from the trend-setting Rose Bakery in Paris, which aims to serve fresh, healthy and simple food.

11. Bullhorn Speaker ($10). This adorable, pocket-sized speaker is made of silicone rubber and is for an an iPhone. Slip the iPhone into this modern-day gramophone and it amplifies the music by up to 13 decibels.

12. Money. I saved the most obvious for last. Cash is universally appreciated by just about any college graduate. You can't go wrong with this one.

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