Whenever graduation time rolls around, I get the announcements – announcements that mean gifts and spending money.
Worse, it means I have to come up with gift ideas for students that I may not know well – kids of friends, nieces and nephews that live out of town whom I rarely see, the neighbor’s son or daughter, a co-worker’s child, etc. I finally decided that I would not go over $50 for these gifts, but that meant that I had to get pretty creative with graduation gift ideas.
Good graduation gifts, I’ve come to learn, come in different categories, so I have sort of classified them with a total list of 20 that should fit any “relationship” situation a person might have with a graduate.
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Unique Graduation Gifts
For this category, I thought of things my own kids needed as they graduated high school and were moving onto college and then when they graduated college and moved onto independent living.
- A tool kit: Whenever a graduate is going to be moving into an apartment, a kit with just the basic tools is perfect – they never think to get one for themselves!
- For a kid going onto college, order a sweatshirt of other clothing gear from that college.
- A sound machine is a great idea for anyone moving into a dormitory
- Magnetic bike lights are perfect for the student taking his/her bike to get around campus
- If the graduate is local, purchase an “experience” – concert tickets, or go in with other friends and/or co-workers and purchase a hot air balloon ride as a group gift
- A gas card is always appreciated
For Kids going to College
- An iPhone Alarm Clock is practical and will be used!
- A college supplies kit can include a planner, pens, pencils, ear plugs, printer paper, stapler, sewing kit, extra phone battery, and a small coffee maker.
- A fleece throw blanket
- A lap desk
- An iTunes card
- An upscale bulletin board
Funny Graduation Gifts: My favorite category!
- A laundry basket for the soon-to-be college student, filled with detergent, stain remover, dryer sheets, and extra socks for when laundry is forgotten.
- For the graduate moving into an apartment – a kitchen essentials basket with dish towels and cloths, spatulas, a couple of sharp knives, wooden and serrated spoons, salt and pepper shakers, common spices, storage bags and containers, etc.
- Something related to the college degree: scrubs or a stethoscope for a nurse or doctor, a personalized gavel for a law graduate; a large gag calculator for the accounting major. And for the teacher, a survival kit with post-it notes, paper clips, pens, desk calendar, posters, tape, and the book, “The first-Year Teacher Survival Guide.”
- I love T-shirts and can usually buy two or three for my price limit. There are some hilarious ones for graduates, and, if you can’t find them, you can have them screen printed cheaply. Some of my favorites are: “I graduated. Can I go Back to Bed now?”; “Ramen – It’s What’s For Supper.” Or “I’ll Miss the Cafeteria!”
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A Graduation Gift for boyfriend
Not having a boyfriend graduate, this category is not a real worry, but if you are struggling with what to get your boyfriend for graduation, I do have a couple of ideas.
- A messenger bag with his name engraved on it – for his notebooks and assignments in college
- A monogramed duffel or personalized beer mug
- If he wears jewelry and you want to make it really personal, a silver dog tag necklace with his name and date of graduation on one side and your personal message on the back.
Graduation gifts for Girlfriend
- Jewelry is perhaps the very best and most personal gift. Try a silver charm bracelet with a couple of charms that represent things you have done together, or any necklace, bracelet or anklet with a personal message.
High school or college graduation gifts do not have to be expensive to be appreciated.