The essential graduate Christmas list

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It's Christmas time and if you haven't yet received text from your parents pleading for a Christmas list, it will be on its way.

Buying presents for people of our age (outside of multipacks of socks and selection boxes) is difficult. Here at, we've created your essential Christmas list to make life easier for both you and your family.

No more garish jumpers or ironic t-shirts, it's time to think strategically about your Christmas list. This is what you should be asking for.

Dear Santa, please may I have... a Suit

Can presents be any more dull than gift vouchers or store cards? Yes - when they are vouchers intended to be used to buy your first formal suit. Gift cards for Next or Topshop/Topman may seem unimaginative, but the intention to make you respectable for coming events is actually a very good one.

The important thing to remember when trying on endless combinations of suit jackets and trousers, or skirts and jackets, is that this is a long-term investment. You'll need a suit for interviews, but you'll also need one for your graduation ceremony - versatility is key.

With this in mind, stick to the basics. A sharp tweed number may look great on your graduation day, but it isn't going to impress an interviewer. Grey or blue suits for both the gents and the ladies will help you cover your bases.

Alongside your suit, you will need some form of luggage. A scratty old tote bag or ultra-hipster Fjallraven backpack isn't suitable for the office, nor is the top-of-the-range handbag you originally had on your Christmas list. If you cringe at the thought of carrying a briefcase, other options such as a smart Cambridge satchel will be suitable for both interview essentials and personal use.

Dear Santa, please may I have... some Post Its.

First a suit - and now office supplies? Well, we never said this was going to be a list of fun presents.

It's important to be practical, and Post It notes are an absolute essential for job hunting graduates and students - even in the 21st Century. You may cherish your smart phone with its synced reminders and to-do apps, but going old school with a bright orange square of paper stuck to the corner of your laptop screen has its advantages.

You can leave out-of-camera reminders during video interviews, highlight deadlines for jobs you've been eyeing up for weeks, or keep track of your key skills and what you can offer when rewriting covering letters.

Dear Santa, please may I have... a Self-help book

Self-help books have been around for a while now, so there must be some point to them. Whether it is an excuse to grasp at the glory days by reading Sir Alex's 'Leading', or sticking to a classic like 'How to Win Friends and Influence People,' these erudite editions often offer something for graduates to take away.

These books aim to make you a more confident person, an improved human being or better at your current job, and graduates can learn a lot. Industry-specific books will help improve your commercial awareness and understanding of certain sectors. Books about becoming "the real you" can help you learn how to build a personal brand by being clear about who you are and what you have to offer.

It's wise to take these books with a pinch of salt - but hey, they're better reading than revising for your finals.

Dear Santa, please may I have... some running trainers

Shoes are always a great present for Christmas, but unfortunately not for you graduate job hunters. Those shoes you've been eyeing up in Office for months may have to wait because you need to stay active and motivated.

We all know that playing sport or doing exercise works wonders for your wellbeing and your ability to concentrate. By scheduling in a workout, ideally first thing in the morning, you will be better prepared to face the challenge of working through lengthy application forms and covering letter/CV rewrites. The right trainers are essential to get you moving - even if it's just some Astros so you can play five-a-side a few nights a week.

And the Christmas pudding isn't going to work itself off...

Dear Santa, please may I have... an egg timer

An egg timer may be essential for GBBO devotees, but it can also be a brilliant way to help keep you on track when job hunting.

The biggest problem when graduate job hunting is getting distracted or procrastinating. An egg timer can help you split up your time into focussed tasks, giving you allotted time for filling out forms and personal details. It also allows you to reward yourself with "treats" or Facebook/Netflix time.

This is our personal favourite.

Dear Santa, please may I have... a Travel Mug/Water Bottle

The latest fad among commuters is high class drinks containers - an essential for caffeine addicts. Much like with primary school's must-have lunchboxes, commuters now pride themselves on sleek vessels for their morning coffee or bottled water.

Not only is this one of the nicer items on the essential graduate Christmas list, having a nice mug or bottle is a great way to start the day. Most of us can't function until we're at least two or three teas in, so this will help you make sure you arrive at the office ready to get to work.

We hope we haven't dampened your Christmas spirit with our practical essentials - but Christmas presents are a great way to stock up on the essentials to see you out the door, and into a graduate job, in style.