Dates & Events

7 Thoughtful Gifts For Your Grad

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By: Rhiannon Winner, Uloop News

Graduation gifts are a unique sort of challenge. Birthday and holiday presents tend to be easier, since you can buy your student whatever new video game or set of headphones or sports equipment they want.

Graduation gifts, on the other hand, must both be something that your newly minted graduate wants and something they can actually use.

Something handmade

This is your chance to find a gift that is truly unique to your graduate. Chances are, you have lots of pictures of them throughout college. Download the photos they’ve texted over the years, the ones on Facebook, or ones you’ve snapped while visiting. Create a scrapbook, a collection of picture frames, or something else creative to hold all of those pictures together. Your graduate is going to love the beautiful collection of them and their friends, and it’ll make a great new decoration for wherever they end up next.

In that same vein, if you’re able to knit, sew, or have any other talents, try to work them into a gift. Receiving a quilt from your parents is a lot more personal than anything else, especially if you can work in patches with some of their interests. It’s the kind of gift they might have found boring as a kid, but as a graduate preparing for life on their own, it’ll be nice to have something practical that reminds them of home.

Practical, “adult” stuff

Your grad probably isn’t going to scream like they did opening presents as a kid if you get them, say, a dinnerware set or their own suitcase. Even if the reaction isn’t as dramatic as you might remember from their childhood, they will definitely appreciate anything to help them settle into adult life.

If you know that they need a blender for their shoddy new apartment, a microwave for grad school, or any other practical gifts for their life after college, go ahead and get what you can for them. It’ll ease the financial burden on them, and you can bet they’ll be grateful for the extra cash.


As cliché as the gift of jewelry can be, your grad is going to appreciate it. Especially since they’re probably going to spend at least a few years, and maybe more, struggling to make ends meet. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to afford anything like nice jewelry for a while, so this is the kind of gift they’ll especially appreciate in the future.

If you can, make sure to incorporate something meaningful like initials or a phrase used in the family into the gift. Whether you get them a watch, bracelet, necklace, or anything else you can think of, there’s something out there that your grad will love.

Bluetooth speaker

A high-quality speaker can be a great graduation gift. Your graduate will love playing music with a great new speaker, but it’s also practical. They can accept calls through it, or take it with them if they travel.

Shopping outing

Promising your graduate a trip to the store of their choice can be an appealing gift. If they’ve scored an internship or job that requires them to dress in business clothes daily, you could take them out for a new suit. The practicality of the gift is obvious, but they’ll enjoy it, too. They’ll perform better if they’re feeling confident about the way they look, and a nice, new outfit will give them a great confidence boost.

If your graduate doesn’t need clothes specifically, you can offer something else. Are they moving into a new apartment? Let them pick out (cheap) furniture and other essentials. Do they need to commute, but don’t have a car? Chip in to help cover the cost.

Graduation party

A party can be just as much fun as any other gift! Setting up a special night for your grad and having them invite friends could be just the kind of relaxing, celebratory gift they’re looking for. Treat your graduate, and maybe some close friends if you can afford it, to a nice dinner. See if you can find some fun, local activities for them. You’re better off asking your graduate what they’d like to do and taking it from there.


As much as students desperately want to see the world, international travel, or even domestic travel, can be absurdly expensive. But if your graduate doesn’t have to start work or graduate/professional school immediately following graduation, see if some kind of travel can be arranged. A road trip with their friends, if the gas money is split, could be plenty of fun. Cover their share of gas money, or maybe just meals and souvenirs. There are plenty of short-term overseas volunteer programs, and if your grad finds an opportunity with one of these programs, offer to cover the cost of some souvenirs.

Keep in mind that any graduation gift is a good gift. Your graduate is going to appreciate anything you can spare, especially since you just put them through college. If you’re not sure what exactly suits them, that’s okay. Sometimes, the safest bet is just asking your grad what exactly they want. Whatever you decide to get them, keep in mind that the bests gifts mix practicality with fun!

Is your student graduating from high school? Check out these great high school graduation gift ideas!

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