Graduation Gift Giving

No votes yet

April showers bring May flowers, but there will be more than flowers popping up in May. A pile of graduation invitations will grow faster than the daffodils in your backyard. They flood mailboxes and might include snapshots of that niece, cousin, or distant relative. As this young person innocently smiles up at you, you might nostalgically reflect on how quickly time passes or might be wondering who on earth this person is. In either case, a dark cloud will begin to threaten your blue skies in the form of a graduation gift.

Before even thinking of actual gifts, consider how much you want to spend. To be perfectly frank, graduates expect more from those that are close to them. For example, a graduate might expect a desk calendar and McDonald’s gift card from a great-aunt and an iPod docking station with speakers from close family friends. Since you could be looking for gifts for more than one, if not several, graduates, stick to a strict budget and assign a limit for each person. If the idea of basing the amount spent on how well you know the gift recipient seems too cynical, think of how much you wouldn’t mind spending in total on all graduates’ gifts and assign an equal share to each graduate. A specific dollar amount is difficult to pin down, but according to, $25 is appropriate for casual relationships and $50-$100 for close relationships.   

What do graduation gift options include? Money remains the “go-to gift,” and you’ll never see teenagers turn up their noses at cash thrown their way. In fact, cites a Hallmark consumer research survey that found 95% of people consider money to be the best graduation gift. Though not the most personal present, money is the most practical. If you are looking for something different but still as “safe” as money, try gift cards. Amazon gift cards are especially useful and can be found at many check-outs and electronics stores; graduates can purchase anything from textbooks to rain boots at the Amazon store online. Restaurant gift cards provide options as well, especially if you are familiar with the area surrounding the graduate’s intended college. You can try more specific gift cards such as iTunes cards, but be wary of the graduate’s interests because, to follow the example, he or she might not have an iPod. If you are not attending the graduation party or graduation, all of these options would be the most suitable for mailing.

For those whom you know quite well, something more personal, but still useful, might be on your list. What would a soon-to-be college student want? You might instantly think of the dorm room, but avoid options such as posters, rugs, or other decorative items unless you are very close to the graduate since he or she would rather decorate the dorm according to his or her own tastes. Instead, look to more useful options like a desk lamp or a wireless mouse with a mouse pad. Contacting the parents in this instance would be a smart idea to know exactly what the graduate needs; the parents will also feel grateful to be able to check that item off their list. If you know where the graduate is attending college, college gear (pens, notebooks, cups, etc.) provide alternatives or nice “extras” when your gift seems to be missing something. Steer away from clothing items due to size trickiness, personal tastes, and a graduate’s near abundance of them already.

So as graduations loom, you can tackle your list of graduation gifts with a plan. If you need some assistance, ask parents and other family for more personal or actually needed gift options. Overall, just keep the graduates in mind; these young people should be rewarded for how far they have come and how far they want to go. With your plan in place, you can give that perfect graduation gift and even have time to stop and smell the roses.       

Add new comment

Baby Gift Suggestions - My "Go To" List

Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

Two years ago I’d never changed a diaper, I’d never fed a baby, and I’d certainly never been publicly humiliated by a two-year-old on a consistent basis. But, oh, how times have changed. Routine baby duties are now second nature. I’ve learned the magical powers of prunes. And I’ve been embarrassed in public so many times that our son is going to have to truly step up his game if he wants me to ever utter “Uncle!” again. Two years with a newborn-turned-toddler has also provided me with some valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to baby gifts. And with that in mind, here’s my can’t miss list of “Go To Gifts” for a friend who is about to enter the world of parenthood: If you have $15 to spend...

Wedding Anniversary Gifts

No votes yet

beach wedding honeymoonGuys - Wedding anniversaries are special occasions, but only if you make them special. Woe unto the hapless husband who forgets to recognize their wife on this one day a year. Luckily I have never forgotten our anniversary, although I did forget my wife’s birthday once…but that tragedy is another story. Speaking of stories let me tell you about what I did to make our 10th anniversary just a little extra spicy and special...

College hunting: The Excel File

No votes yet

College hunting is serious business. State of the art gyms and dining commons have allure, but do the academic challenges rise above? Use one Excel file to keep yourself in line and organize deal breakers and shiny attractions of the Universities at the top of your list. Then, navigate overwhelming University websites with ease and focus. These tips will leave you calm, cool, and collected in the midst of accumulating brochures and looming decisions.

College Costs HOW Much?! Financial Aid Tips to Prevent You from Losing Your Mind

No votes yet

Today, two-thirds of college students have to take out loans to pay for their education, and the average borrower graduates with close to $27,000 in debt!  Right now, the standard repayment schedule is 10 years – meaning that your kids will likely have kids of their own before their college tuition is paid for!

Wouldn’t it be nice to help them come up with a payment plan that doesn’t need to be paid back (and, no, I’m not talking about winning the lottery, suddenly agreeing to a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, or going on a bank robbing spree).
Instead, your kids can get scholarships and grants.  Neither has to be paid back.  But to get them, you (and your kids) will have to do some work now, before they head off to school.
To make things easier, try some of these tips!

College Visits: Be There to Show You Care

No votes yet

Oh, the joys of college visits. Parents drive for hours while their teenager snores in the backseat until they reach the campus. Then they attend an informational meeting led by a peppy college student who is employed by the admissions office, and this person cleverly highlights the college’s bright spots and manages to answer any question thrown his or her way, even if the answer has little to do with what was asked. Parents listen intently, especially when tuition is mentioned, and the potential students yawn and glance at cell phones. After a half hour or so, everyone is whisked away to tour the campus, which, they are assured, is the most picturesque, the most accessible, the safest, the greenest, etc. Tour guides point to buildings and give them apparently meaningful names and present a recently cleaned dorm room to the group’s inspection.

Recommend to:



Author Information

Last seen: 5 years 1 month ago
Joined: 06/26/2012 - 10:46pm

Dad Blogs