It's that time of year again, when you need to purchase gifts for the graduates on your list. Unless you know someone's taste and size, or they have a wish list posted on social media or for an online company, it can be difficult to find something that will be used and appreciated. Cash is a great idea, but gift cards to local businesses will help to support the community while shopping small.

Going out on a limb, it's a good guess that most adult graduates don't really want or need a plush bear wearing a mortarboard, or a mug saying, “I graduated!” In a pinch that might do, but let us do some of the thinking and legwork for you, for high school and college diploma recipients.

Everyone wears clothes, at least when they leave the house. New graduates might be job hunting and interviewing, or socializing with friends and family. 

Quincy Boutique at 51 North Fullerton Ave. carries European-influenced clothing in neutral colors. Owner Alexandra Esposito said, “I wanted to bring a sophisticated, different experience to Montclair, with four to five racks of basics like jeans, trousers, sweaters and dresses to choose from, in sizes extra-small to extra-large. 

“We also have Anecdote candles in summery scents for the home.” 

Gift cards can be purchased in store or online.

Who doesn't enjoy a massage and some pampering? 

Serenity Massage Therapy at 50 Church St. offers Swedish and deep-tissue massage. Business partner Mounia Elayat says: “The 60- to 90-minute massages are for relaxation for both men and women, and are a natural way to heal and promote well-being. Add-ons such as aromatherapy, reflexology and Himalayan salt stone are also offered to our clients.” 

Relax and renew while making life plans, or share some self-care time there with your graduate after using gift cards for the many services offered.

The film lovers in your life will appreciate gift cards to The Clairidge, Montclair's six-screen cinema at 486 Bloomfield Ave. It’s been beautifully updated and renovated from the original glory of the 1922 single-screen movie palace. 

Go there to enjoy a big-screen experience, with the latest independent foreign films, documentaries and great art house movies available. Get a quick snack from the concession stand and chat before or after the show in the lounge area. Movie popcorn is the snack of our dreams. Gift cards and tickets are available in the theater lobby, or go to theclairidge.org.

Montclair Film, 505 Bloomfield Ave., works in partnership with The Clairidge, inviting the public to become members and receive ticket discounts and early access tickets to the Montclair Film Festival. 

In a phone interview with marketing director Jill Montague, she said, “We have so many resources and choices of movies at the theater, are sometimes different from what is typically shown at an AMC. We choose the best in documentaries, foreign and mainstream movies, with more than six  different movies per week. Membership to Montclair Film gets you $5 discounted tickets all day on Tuesdays, along with other benefits.” 

Treat your graduate to classes such as Storytelling or Stand-Up Comedy if they're not moviegoers, or just want to hone their craft by going to montclairfilm.org/support/gifts.

How about giving the gift of trying something new and fun? Ride It Fitness, 50 Upper Montclair Plaza, is where to go to experience what director of operations and business development James Van Ness calls “riding on indoor Schwinn cycling bikes in a nightclub. Go at your own pace to the beat of the music, without pressure.” 

DJ and instructor Matthew Topper playing music while teaching a class at Ride It Fitness. (COURTESY JAMES VAN NESS)
DJ and instructor Matthew Topper playing music while teaching a class at Ride It Fitness. (COURTESY JAMES VAN NESS)
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If you're over the age of 14, you can pedal away to the music of instructor and DJ Matthew Topper in a 45-minute class. Ride It offers classes seven days a week, starting as early as 6 a.m. or ending as late as 9 p.m. Call first for the daily schedule of classes. Consider trying it out for yourself, as the first class you take is free.

You can purchase an individual class gift card or a monthly membership with unlimited classes that the recipient can renew, to continue combining fitness and fun.

Don't forget a gift of flowers to make someone smile. Bloombox Flowers works in partnership with Local Coffee, 107 Watchung Ave., as an outdoor pop-up floral shop, on various dates from April to November. 

Look out for Charlie the Truck, named in memory of the owners' father. Three sisters make up the business partnership, Angelica, Karla and Veronica Garcia. Angelica Garcia, who lives in town, said, “We have a variety of specialty flowers on the truck, gladiolas, peonies, sweet peas and other varieties I find at my local farm wholesalers in New Jersey.

“It's important to support local farms. You can build your own bouquet and pick your own stems, including the wildflowers I love, or preorder a flower arrangement of your choice.” 

The market-style flowers are priced by the number of stems chosen, usually from five to eight stems plus floral filler. Add extra stems or advance-order a custom arrangement at bloomboxflowers.com. To keep the celebration going, stop by the next Bloombox Flowers pop-up on July 16. 

From the littlest grad to the greatest Ph.D. recipient, we all love ice cream. Warm, humid weather brings on a hankering for this frozen delight, and Kreme & Krumbs, 147 Bloomfield Ave., makes up batches of fresh ice cream from scratch daily. 

Kianha Malloy and her husband, Leon, use the finest ingredients, including Valrhona chocolate,  for the eight flavors offered monthly on a rotating basis, plus a pop-up rollout of special flavors Saturdays and Sundays. 

Bourbon pecan and “Sassy V” with red velvet cake pieces joined the flavor board on June 11 for the ice cream cake-like sandwiches. The Dumb Chocolate flavor has chocolate cake chunks and fudge; Milk & Kookies has big chocolate chips in it; Lemon Kreme Kake includes  mascarpone cream, lemon curd and lemon cake chunks. Strawberry Jammin' has swirls of fresh strawberries.

“Krumbs” in the store name refers to the mix-ins, which add texture and flavor. Ask for a sample spoon before deciding on a cup, cone, ice cream sandwich or pre-scooped pint flavors to take home.  The hand-rolled waffle cones made to order with fresh waffle batter are treats themselves. Buy a scannable gift card for your grad to use at the store. 

Kreme & Krumbs owner Kianha Malloy serves up small-batch ice cream, with a smile. (ROBIN WOODS)
Kreme & Krumbs owner Kianha Malloy serves up small-batch ice cream, with a smile. (ROBIN WOODS)
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Kianha says, Our ice cream is made every day in small batches to bring pure bliss to your taste buds.”

Oh, the places you grads will go, and here's to going around town and using your gift cards to celebrate your wonderful accomplishments. Cheers!

In this article:

  • Quincy Boutique
    51 North Fullerton Ave.
    quincy-boutique.com
  • Serenity Massage Therapy
    50 Church St.
    Suite 101
    645-508-2900
  • The Clairidge
    486 Bloomfield Ave.
    973-381-5588
  • Montclair Film
    505 Bloomfield Ave.
    montclairfilm.org/support/gifts
  • Ride It Fitness
    50 Upper Montclair Plaza
    973-780-7787
  • Bloombox Flowers
    bloomboxflowers.com
  • Kreme & Krumbs
    147 Bloomfield Ave.
    973-860-7184