It's hard to find that perfect gift for the high school or college graduate -- something personal and thoughtful but also useful. It's even harder for distant relatives and friends of the graduate.
Cash and gift certificates can be a tad too impersonal (albeit useful), but you don't want to break the bank. Whether buying for a high school or college grad, here's a list of unisex gifts under $50 sure to make the grads give caps off to you:
Accoutrements' Quad Camera takes four pictures per click, creating four segment images that capture motion. The prints from this camera are great for creating kitschy wall art for apartments or dorms. This plastic no-flash camera uses standard 35-mm film. You can find this cute little camera at ZGallerie stores. www.zgallerie.com. $14.
Gourmet Grad Cap and Mug
This smiley-face mug with graduation cap filled with kosher candies makes for a sweet graduation gift. The coffee mug with a graduation cap and tassel can be reused as a beverage container to keep coffee hot and as a keepsake. koshergiftbaskets.com. $14.95.
This brown traveler's journal is the perfect size to tote on graduation trips and record adventures and memories along the way. It lies flat so it can be written in easily, and refill sheets can be purchased. www.barnesandnoble.com. $15.96.
Classic SD Swiss Army Knife
Your grad will be prepared to face anything with this Victorinox Classic SD multitool. It includes a small blade, scissors, nail file, toothpick, tweezer and key ring. This 2 1/2-inch long knife is compact enough for a pocket or wallet.
The versatile tool comes in a variety of colors and patterns from the basic black, blue and red to more feminine pink and amethyst. You can even give your grad a reminder of his or her Jewish heritage with a Jewish Star Classic SD. www.swissarmy.com. $16.
Tassel Photo Frame
Let the grad keep a reminder of the special day with this photo frame with tassel keeper. The frame has a space for a 4 x 6 photo and a cardholder and enough white space around the photo for friends and relatives to sign. www.hallmark.com. $17.95.
Esquire's "The Meaning of Life"
As grads head off to start a new chapter in their lives, their libraries should be full of books that inspire. This coffee table book full of "Wit Wisdom and Wonder from 65 Extraordinary People" is sure to do just that. It includes quotes from captains of industry and pop icons who share their life wisdom. www.amazon.com. $19.95.
Crate and Barrel Beach Chair
Grads are ready for a little rest and relaxation after graduation. Heck, they've earned it. This Maui Beach Chair lets grads catch some rays and relax comfortably in this comfortable padded chair with foam headrest.
The steel-framed chair adjusts to three positions for comfortable reading and tanning. It comes with an easy-carry shoulder strap so it can be taken anywhere from the back yard to the beach. Available in sky blue, cherry red and citrine yellow. www.crateandbarell.com. $29.95.
For the grad that prefers the practical over the whimsical, this Black and Decker cyclonic dustbuster is one powerful little vac. Its compact size is perfect for someone often on the move, like a college student or recent grad, and great for the car, dorm or apartment. www.target.com. $29.99.
Touro Teardrop Mono
This minitravel backpack is the ideal backpack for the graduation "I'm off to find myself" trip. This one-strap adjustable pack is dual density, with padded foam to keep out moisture from summer showers. With a built-in pocket and U-shaped front, it comes seven of colors -- from candy pink to sky blue. www.swissarmy.com. $29.99.
Eau de Toilette
A light and fruity fragrance with grapefruit, clementine and bergamot classic is refreshing and summery. Intended to be a male fragrance, a woman could definitely wear it as well. www.bananarepublic.com. $39.50.
Ice Cream Maker
This ice cream maker from Cuisinart will take your grad on a trip down memory lane. Aside from the lactose intolerant, who doesn't love ice cream? This old-fashioned-looking machine uses modern technology to convert the raw ingredients into 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet in only 20 minutes. It also has a plastic lid to add extras like chocolate chips and M&M's. www.william-sonoma.com. $49.95.