April 25, 2019

Unique Graduation Gifts The Grad in Your Life Will Love

Give a gift they'll love (and actually use!)

Looking for the perfect gift to celebrate and honor a graduate this year? Not just any graduation gift, but a unique graduation gift?

Well, if that’s your mission this graduation season, then you’re looking for a gift that goes above and beyond, is memorable and distinctive, but most of all, not a traditional graduation gift…something that is as unique as the graduate is. It’s no small feat, but we’re here to help you pull it off!

Unique graduation gifts are a great option for those graduates:

  • You know well and are close to, so that you can tailor the gift to them or their likes, style, future, etc.
  • Don’t want to give a generic gift that anyone could have gotten them or that any other graduates will receive
  • You want to do something big and different because of the occasion
  • Your graduate isn’t looking for something specific but you want to be more personal than a gift card or cash
  • Your graduate likes surprises and one-of-a-kind gifts!

Though it may seem like unique graduation gifts are hard to find, take a lot of effort to pull off, or take too much energy to get right, they’re really quite flexible and versatile to give because:

  • “Unique” is in the eye of the beholder (what does it mean to you or the graduate?)
  • Just because a gift is considered unique, doesn’t mean it has to be expensive, wild, or crazy (though they definitely can fall into these categories)
  • They can take on a theme when bundled together because they’re not like traditional gifts
  • Are the opposite of the typical, traditional graduation gift so you have a ton of freedom

Since unique gifts are broadly defined, knowing what they are not distinguishes them and sets them apart. Unique is not traditional (unless you take a traditional gift and put a twist on it). Traditional graduation gifts often include things like:

  • Diploma frame
  • Class ring, jewelry, or watch
  • Items for moving into their first apartment
  • Gift cards
  • Graduation memorabilia, like a frame with the year they’re graduating, shadowbox, or cap and gown knick knacks
  • Business card holder
  • Fancy pen or desk sopplies
  • Adult life/life skill themed books

To start your search, ask yourself 8 easy questions

Wanting to find a unique graduation gift can feel daunting before you get started, but you just need a little clarity. These 8 questions will help you do just that:

  1. What level is the graduate graduating from (e.g. high school, college, grad school) and what age/period of their life are they going into? Hint: the goal here is to find something age appropriate and relevant to their future.
  2. Why do you want to get the graduate a unique graduation gift? Maybe they’ll be getting a lot of gifts, you want your gift to stand out, or they’re just hard to buy for.
  3. Does the graduate like things, experiences, or getting/buying things for themselves? Hint: if for birthdays and holidays they only want gift cards or cash and return anything you buy them, maybe a unique graduation gift isn’t the right option.
  4. Is the graduate the practical kind or one that changes direction with the wind? Answering this question can help you figure out which gifts are better than others.
  5. What’s your budget? Hint: it can be easy to go overboard with gift giving, so set yourself a budget.
  6. Will you be there to celebrate with the graduate or sending your gift from afar? Hint: if your unique gift needs explanation or you want to be there in person to see their reaction, logistics are something to think about.
  7. What is important or what matters to the graduate? Maybe this one isn’t that easy, but by thinking about this question, you’re trying to get at their values, broad categories of things they like that can help you narrow down your options. Do they love organizing? Reading? Exploring the outdoors or seeking adventure?
  8. Do you have time? Hopefully you’ve got some time to prepare and shop, but if not, the ideas below will get you started!

Perfectly unique graduation gifts

We want to help you find a great, unique graduation gift that checks off all your boxes: celebrates the graduate’s accomplishments…check, is unique and not traditional…check, gives them a big surprise…check, and brings joy…check.

Let’s explore some unique graduation gift ideas for your graduate this year!

For the graduate who…wants to plan their future, is goal-oriented, loves to be organized, loves writing, or maybe knows exactly what they want to do…consider a non-traditional graduation gift bundle of planning, productivity, and writing essentials. Items like these can help them stay organized, prepare for high school, college, or their first job, and help them feel and look more put together.

The items below pair well together to make a complete gift (or could be separated out) and are gifts that can be used every day. The excellent, high quality design and materials makes them feel special, unique, and memorable:

For the graduate who…is ready to travel and hit the road near or far, in the near future or for a lifetime, nice quality travel pieces are perfect. Look for items that can last a lifetime or are personalizable:

  • The New World Traveler Gift Set includes a travel journal, passport holder, canvas pouch, and leather bracelet and is durable. Plus it can be personalized with the graduate’s name, initials, or a message.
  • If it’s in your budget, give the gift of getting them from point A to B with an airline gift card, vouchers, or miles, or consider a gift card for a train system like Amtrak if they’re traveling across the U.S. For airline travel, you can give the gift of saving them time too with TSA pre-check.
  • Travel gear that is sturdy, durable, and efficient? Excellent idea. Fill the Peak Design Travel Bag with their essential packing tools and any other travel goodies and it will be a unique graduation gift to remember.

For the graduate who…loves being at home, but is ready to get away, or celebrate their next steps (especially for going off to college) with items that remind them of home or get them excited about their new college or new city:

  • A framed poem with illustrations for their home state, these Ode to Home State Art will help them feel at home when they’re far away. Opt for the huggable version with the Ode to Home State Pillow or take everywhere Tote Bag.
  • Going off to college? What better way to decorate their new digs than with a college pillow or college dish towel not from the local college bookstore and therefore unlikely to decorate their neighbors’ rooms too.

For the graduate who…you want to continue to support and root for even when you might not see them that much or be nearby, or if they’re a little hesitant about what the future holds. Bundle together or mix and match with other graduation gifts:

  • These affirmation cards are just the thing to uplift anyone in any mood for a burst of positivity when they might not realize they need it.
  • Gratitude does wonders and maybe your graduate has been looking for ways to bring more of it around. Great for those who may be graduating college or graduate school, we love Letters for a Year of Gratitude or the beautiful Ink+Volt Gratitude Journal.
  • Taking time to find calm in a flurry of activity that comes with transitioning to high school, college, and beyond, is a good thing and there are a variety of methods. Help your graduate remember to enjoy the present with a Meditation Box.
  • Inspire imagination and creativity in your graduate with the Wake Up Your Imagination: A Journal for Creative Play. It’s nice to be a kid again.
  • Give them small, simple wall art that is encouraging, like this Rooting for You from A Little Sun.

Shower your graduate with love, excitement, and a unique graduation gift they’ll use, enjoy, and be thankful for years down the road. Let our suggestions and your creativity lead the way!