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Graduation Gift Ideas

For the middle school, high school, or college graduate.



©bowdenimages/istockphoto

Spring is graduation season. The papers are in, the exams are graded, and the students are off to new and exciting adventures. Whether it’s middle school, high school, or college, a graduation gift can be the perfect way to acknowledge the accomplishments of the past few years and give a nudge in the direction of new pursuits.

Not sure what to give your graduate for the big day? Here are some ideas…

For the middle school grad:

  • Shopping spree for a new wardrobe for high school — your teen is going to want to dress a little differently as they start this new chapter of their life. By taking them on a shopping spree, you can allow them to pick out a more mature or trendy style while also bonding with them and making sure their outfit choices are appropriate.
  • Books geared towards teens, including young adult fiction or self-help/how-to non-fiction — the high school years are some of the most fun and exciting times, but they can also be full of confusion and drama. Give the gift of knowledge and/or comfort so that your teen has an entertaining and stimulating resource for any of the issues they may face as they come of age.
  • iPod, iPad, Laptop etc. — A new electronic device is always welcome by teens, and an iPad or Laptop will come in handy when they have more homework to do.
  • Engraved jewelry — The personalization is a great way to say you're proud of them, and it's a gift that they can continue to wear for years and years to come.
  • A New Class — Encourage them to learn something new and develop their hobbies. Sign them up for a new exercise, cooking, or art class that will help them to realize their talents!

For the high school grad:

  • College Gear — Get your grad excited by giving them sweatshirts, t-shirts, sweatpants, bumper stickers, or blankets bearing the logo of the school of their choice!
  • Luggage — Whether they're going to school within driving distance, across the country, or are planning on doing some traveling, a new set of luggage is both practical and exciting. They don't have to borrow the family luggage anymore, so they feel more independent and grown up. Plus, this gift encourages them to visit you or travel to a new place.
  • Coffee Pot / Mini Fridge — College means pulling all nighters studying and waking up for an early class after a night of fun with friends. At times like these, coffee is essential. Your student may not have time to pick up a cup on the way to lecture hall, but they'll be thanking you when they can push the brew button from underneath their covers! If the college does not supply a mini-fridge, it is a great gift because it allows students to keep healthier snack options in their room. (Think fruits, veggies, yogurt etc.) And besides, the dining hall doesn't always have the tastiest food.
  • Book/Movie About their Field of Study — Whether it's a non-fiction book about how to become a doctor, or a movie that depicts a cutthroat journalist like the one they want to be, this gift is a perfect way to encourage their ambition. For those who have no idea what their major will be, you can find a self-help book that will aid them in figuring it out!
  • Money — Whether your graduate is going to be a "broke college student," enter the workforce, or take a gap year to do some travelling, money will always be welcomed as a gift. Help them to feel secure by starting their savings. You might even want to add a book on managing finances and encourage them to get a part-time job if they're going to school, as well!

For the college grad:

  • Vacation/Trip — Your graduate just worked hard to earn a degree, so give them the gift of getting away and experiencing something new before they enter the workforce! Whether it's a weeklong endeavor or an entire summer, your grad will appreciate the opportunity.
  • Work Accessories — Personalized business cards, a briefcase, fancy resume paper, a tool that is specific to their profession, or a really nice watch will all help to make the transition into "the real world" that much easier and more exciting.
  • Cookbook/Recipe Box — Gone are the days where your college student lived on cheap, easy meals, caffeine, and beer. Now that they are going to be on a more adult routine or are perhaps moving out on their own, they will need to learn to cook and have a place to store their favorite recipes.
  • College Memories — Get their diploma framed and make them a scrapbook or collage of pictures from the last four years. It'll be great for them to look back on some day as they remember their formative years.
  • Money — Once again, you can never go wrong with this gift. Especially if your graduate is saddled in student loan debt!
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