Will is back with a great round-up of graduation gift ideas for the special graduate in your life!
By Will Odom, Contributing Writer (and Erin’s hubby!)
Note from Erin: My husband Will has been teaching both high school and college students for over a decade. I love that he interviewed many of his current and former students for this post! We hope it will arm you with ideas on what to gift the beloved graduates in your life!
Graduation season is just around the corner, and chances are that many of us know someone who is getting ready to take that next step either into continued education or the work force.
Whether graduating from high school or college, a little something to get them started is always useful.
I remember when I graduated from high school that I received quite a few gifts…some of them more useful than others.
So, I talked with some high school and college students to get some feedback on what they thought would be the best gift ideas.
Obviously, the green stuff is usually the first on any graduate’s list, as they can use it for what they need. So if you are planning giving a little moolah, you can find some creative ways to gift your green backs.
- My new favorite go-to book for graduates is When I Pray for You. It’s words are perfect and the illustrations are amazing. How about filling it with a few lucrative surprises, like some five or ten spots hidden throughout the pages? Other options include Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Place You’ll Go, The Giving Tree, The Wonderful Things You Will Be and I Wish You More.
- If you are feeling extra sentimental, you could hide your surprises in Love You Forever or Someday or If I Could Keep You Little or I Believe in You. Be sure to include a special note to your special student. My grandmother gave me one of these book, and I still have it.
- A wallet or wristlet or clutch would be a great way to gift a little cash. You can fill the slots with bills of various denominations and even include a gift card or two (see below).
- Wouldn’t we be amiss not to prepare our students how to handle money and say no to credit card debit? Dave Ramsey’s Graduate Survival Guide can do just that. Teach them to be wise with their money at an early age.
However, if you want think outside of giving a few dead presidents, there are plenty of other cool opinions that should be appreciated as well as useful.
- Gift cards are always welcome, and, like cash, can be used to purchase much-needed items. I personally think that online sites like Amazon are great because you can ship the items to the desired location instead of packing and moving it.
- Gas cards can be useful to encourage the wayward soul to visit their loving family from time to time.
- Of course we all know about the infamous freshmen 15, so you can make your contribution to that legacy through grocery store gifts cards.
- While it may not be possible to cook in a dorm and cafeteria food can get old, restaurant gift cards to places like Subway or Dominos or Papa Johns would be welcome options. And for someone just starting job, it’s nice to have a “free” night where cooking is not necessary.
- Hopefully, many hours will be spent poring over notes and applying that newly-acquired knowledge. No one ever pulls an all-nighter in college (ahem…), but just in case, a gift card to Starbucks or a local coffee shop might help get someone through such a procrastination dilemma.
- When they are not studying, they can hang out with their friends and catch the newest release with a gift card to the local theater or a Fandango gift card.
- In hopes of encouraging them to take care of their own laundry, how about a laundry basket or hamper or this cool Star Wars hamper with some additional items such as laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and stain remover. You could even throw in a roll of quarters if they will be using a laundry mat.
- Another basket could include cleaning supplies (preferably natural) and paper towels. Of course you couldn’t go wrong with a diffuser and some essential oils.
- Depending on the set-up, dorm showering can be an adventure, so include a shower caddy and large towels. If not in a dorm, a stationary shower organizer is an option. Whether in a dorm or stocking a new apartment, fill it with their favorite skin care products such as Free Reign Farm Soap or Lexie Naturals. Or give them the recurring gift of the Dollar Shave Club.
- Many students will be driving to college or commuting for work, so if appropriate, a traveler emergency assistance kit or travel tool kit could come in handy or create your own with a trunk organizer and include jumper cables, engine coolant, washer fluid, ice scraper, flashlight, car tool kit, and window breaker.
- If they need some tools in general, you could grab a multitool or a homeowner’s tool kit.
- Stock up their medical needs by filling a box or container with a few basic meds, like bandaids, antibiotic cream, ibuprofen, and cold meds. Of course being natural minded, you could also send some essential oils and other natural remedies.
- Take a backpack or messenger bag or briefcase and fill it with supplies, such pens, pencils, notebooks, sticky notes, batteries, etc. If you wanted to add an extra touch, you would get a handmade wooden pen or a journal.
- Grab a couple of reusable grocery bags and fill them with food staples for the dorm or apartment. You could even include a few collegiate paper plates , paper towels, cups,etc.
- Stock their kitchen with Star Wars bowls or towels or salt and pepper shakers. Of course you would want to choose something that matches their taste and style.
- Finally, you can fill a bag with collegiate memorabilia or with their favorite treats or things that remind them of home. I think it would also be neat to include a digital photo frame that is preloaded with their favorite pics of family and friends.
Whether they are graduating from high school or college, think about the things they need to help them move into the next phase of life.
Most of my feedback mentioned things that are practical for the dorm, apartment, etc. Make it fun and useful.
And you don’t have to spend a lot of money either. Use your coupons for cleaning products. Shop at the dollar store when possible.
They will appreciate any help they can get!
Do you have any other graduation gift ideas?
If you need more gift ideas, be sure to check out the following posts to get your creative juices flowing:
See all of our previous gift guides HERE!
Gift card to the college bookstore they are attending
Recipes (easy ones) that taste like “home”
Someone gave our daughter a quarterly “gift box” that they mailed the first year – that was SOOOO sweet!
So I received an invite to a
high school graduationn party in less than two weeks from now (received it in the mail about 10 days ago). College doesn’t start for another 3+ months yet most of these gift ideas are geared toward college life. What would an 18 year old boy want with a basket of cleaning supplies that he’d have to store for 3 months and then bring to college? I guess gift cards or cold hard cash would be the best. But some of these ideas are more for “going away party” instead of “graduation party”. In my opinion.
A lot of students don’t go to college and may be moving into an apartment, starting a job, etc. Even if they do go to college, these items can still be useful if they are moving out of the house for any reason. But, yes, gifts cards are always a good, easily portable idea.