For the soon-to-be graduate in your life, your search for the perfect gift begins and ends here.
Graduating is an exciting time for the graduate and everyone who gets to celebrate the momentous occasion – senioritis is in the air, the smell of summer abounds, a strong sense of accomplishment and achievement makes everyone feel happy. Feelings of pride and joy are overwhelming…for you and the graduate!
What better way is there to celebrate and share that joy than with the perfect graduation gift?
Graduation gift ideas abound. Every graduate and graduation (whether from primary school, high school, or college) is unique, but there are some gift ideas that are just awesome for all ages and any stage.
Beginning your search for the perfect graduation gift
Trying to figure out what to get your graduate? Not sure where to begin your search? We’ve got great graduation gift ideas below, but first, let’s narrow down your search options to help you consider what gift you’ll get:
- What kind of gift will best represent you and your relationship with the graduate? Are you close and need a sentimental, significant gift — or something less so? As a parent or close loved one, a sentimental gift may feel more appropriate. If you’re a distant aunt or family friend, something a little less personal might feel more right.
- Do you want to give a memorable gift that will last a lifetime, but isn’t necessarily a usable piece? Memorabilia, engraved items, timeless pieces, etc. that can be displayed or worn for special occasions may be right up your graduate’s alley and something they’ll look at in years to come with fond memories.
- Is it important that you give a gift they can use every day? Are you a practical shopper? Something usable that the graduate needs in the next stage of their life often make great graduation gifts; think of kitchenware, technology, apparel, stationary, and writing tools.
- What’s your budget? Before you go hog wild, keep your budget in mind and in check by looking at gifts that are appropriate for you and your budget.
- Are you looking for something unique and one-of-a-kind? Unique gifts are fun surprises for the graduate. If giving these types of gifts isn’t your strong suit, or your graduate is more particular and doesn’t like surprises, this may not be the way to go.
- Are other gift givers looking to chip in on a larger group gift? Group gifts allow everyone to chip into something big (with a bigger price tag attached), which can be nice for the graduate and easier on your budget.
- What does the graduate need/want/like? Knowing what the graduate needs/wants/likes is predictable, but often very appreciated and an easy way to ensure the gift won’t be returned or go unused. If you know what they need or can secretly get access to that list, you’re golden.
- What are the next steps for the graduate? If they’re teenagers going into secondary school, or adults going into the real world, a gift reflecting their next steps in life is a great idea. Even graduating from primary school is so sweet and unbelievable. The little graduate is growing up and getting bigger and more independent. They’re not so little anymore either…so look for age-appropriate gifts and one that reflects where they’re going next.
We hope these questions get the ball rolling and help you figure out where to begin so you can give a great graduation gift to celebrate the graduate!
Graduation gift ideas galore
To help sort through the many gift idea options, we’ve sorted ideas into easy to navigate categories below:
Wearable gifts. These kinds of gifts are great if you know your graduate well or they’ve given you some pretty heavy hints. You’ll need information like their size, color preferences, etc., but wearable gifts are nice ways to remind them of their graduation every time they put their piece on:
- A fun tie for math lovers or math majors
- An inspirational scarf to bring them confidence
- A convenient tote that can go from class to gym
Usable gifts. The best gifts for the graduate’s next stage of life like high school, college, an internship or career, are the ones that can be used, loved, and enjoyed every day:
- Stationery/paper sets, like this beautiful notepad, functional daily notepad for the organized graduate, or these Letters for a Year of Gratitude. This would make a great bundle!
- A planner, because the future and their dreams await them!
- Journals, like Ink+Volt’s Gratitude Journal or Kunisawa Find notebook give the graduate a lovely place to write, which can be so therapeutic during a life change.
- Useful and gorgeous writing tools like this fountain pen or these pearlescent Palomino Blackwing pencils.
- Kitchen essentials, especially for those going off to college or moving out of a dorm and into a post-college home are always useful. Think long-lasting cast iron pieces, something to satisfy their caffeine needs, or cookware that makes for quick meals.
Personalized gifts. Looking for something super personal? Something that reflects your graduate?
- Shutterfly is a great place to start for personalizing gifts that incorporate photos: a collage celebrating the graduate, a dated mug, playing cards, catchall tray, charm bracelets.
- Or a customizable key ring of their hometown.
Sentimental gifts. Given the momentous occasion that this gift represents, sentimental gifts are a beautiful way to celebrate the graduate:
- Guide birds let the graduate pick a bird each day of the week to guide them through the day (each representing gratitude, love, patience, honesty, courage, joy, and generosity).
- This Shattered Glass Ceiling paperweight is a symbolic gift for female graduates.
- For the next phase of their life, provide a fountain of motivation with inspirational reading material, like Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions or Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps.
- Lladro’s handmade porcelain graduate boy and girl are display worthy pieces.
- A beautiful frame, like this one from Waterford to display their graduation photo.
- A reminder to find balance in life with this keychain, perfect for those graduating from undergraduate or graduate school and diving into their first jobs.
- A framed quote like this one that says “The World is Full of Magic,” can compliment a room for any age.
Big gifts. For group gift givers or if you have a big budget, here are some fun ideas:
- Airplane tickets – what better way to celebrate graduating than with a trip!
- The newest technology, like a camera, laptop, tablet, smart phone, smart watch, or headphones are big, fun gifts that teens and young adults alike love, love, love. These gifts will likely come in handy too, in class, future jobs, etc.
- Jewelry can be personalized, engraved, and a super special way to commemorate a graduation. Not all jewelry is big and expensive, like this one with 3 keys or this 4 leaf clover, but class rings are one of those items that will cost a bit more.
Cash and gift cards are flexible options that the graduate can use to put towards college, a car, or new furniture.
Celebrate the graduate
Celebrating the graduate with a great gift, like any of the ideas above, is one way you can contribute to this special milestone in their life.
Being there to celebrate with them in person, take pictures, and shower them with love or a nice meal are experiential gifts that are priceless. Whether you throw a big dinner, barbeque, surprise party, or plan a trip together (staycation or one a little farther), creating memories like these will last a lifetime. You don’t have to give a tangible graduation gift for it to be memorable and meaningful.
Celebrate your graduate and all that they’ve accomplished with the perfect gift!