6 Great Gift Ideas for Grads

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Whether they’re graduating from high school or college, the occasion is certainly worth celebrating. I’m about to graduate from college, and I’ll tell you the same thing that any other graduate would tell you: it hasn’t been easy! The best way to show us how proud you are is with a fun, thoughtful gift (hint, hint!). It doesn’t have to be something pricey to really be appreciated. Here’s a list of some gifts that I or any other grad would love to receive.

1. Homemade Gift Basket

Both high school and college graduations mark the beginning of a new chapter of life. You can make sure your favorite graduate is well-equipped for what’s ahead with a gift basket. 

As far as DIY gifts go, this is a pretty easy one. If they’re off to college next year, you could put together a swag pack with their new school’s gear – maybe a sweatshirt, mug, bumper sticker, and some school supplies. A “dorm survival kit” is also a good (and useful) gift idea for a high school graduate. You can find tons of inspiration for homemade graduation gifts and funny gifts for high school grads here.

2. Tech Goodies

Who doesn’t love getting new gadgets? If you’re looking for something to give a college grad I can guarantee you that all of their electronics have seen better days, and they’ve just been too broke to replace them. As for high school grads, they’re going to need to be equipped for their new life on campus. A new MP3 player, fun iPhone speaker, camera, or an energy-efficient charger would all be welcome gifts.

If you’re willing to spend a little, you could even get the grad a new laptop. Whether it’s for college classes or their new job, they’re going to need it! Right now Toshiba has some pretty good deals on laptops, so you won’t have to splurge that much to make their day.

3. Fancy Drinks

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This applies, obviously, to college graduates and not high school ones (sorry kids, wait a few years). Now that your favorite graduate is past their dorm-living years, isn’t it time to step up their classiness? A nice bottle of wine, or maybe a fancy bottle of their favorite liquor along with some good drink recipes would make a thoughtful and fun gift. Maybe pair it with some nice glassware to add a touch of class to their apartment. After drinking cheap wine out of old pasta sauce jars more often than they would probably like to admit, trust me – they’ll appreciate it.

4. A Cookbook

Mom’s not cooking for the graduate anymore, and a person’s gotta live on more than just Easy Mac and Ramen. A cookbook is a practical gift that they’ll probably keep using for years to come. Whether it’s in the dorms or in a new job, when trying to make new friends it never hurts to be able to cook.

My parents bought me the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Not only is it full of yummy and healthy recipes, but it also has tons of useful information like diagrams showing which cut of meat is good for what type of dish, and conversion charts for measurements. Even someone who’s never cooked beyond using a microwave will be whipping up delicious dishes in no time with this book.

5. Travel Goodies

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This new chapter of life will be full of adventures, whether it’s moving away to college or heading to a new city to start a job. Some fun travel goodies would make the perfect gift for the adventurous grad. A cool luggage tag , a nice backpack, or this awesome travel scratch map are all great ideas. And if you really want to splurge, plane tickets to an exciting new place would be probably the best gift they ever received.

6. Money

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Well, this is a no-brainer. Everyone likes getting free money, especially college students who have spent the last 4+ years in a state of perpetual brokeness. And high school graduates will really be thankful for some extra cash to line their pockets as they head out for their big adventure at college.

You might think giving money as a gift is boring or thoughtless, but there are some creative ways you can turn money into DIY gifts. You’ll find some great do it yourself gift ideas on Pinterest.com, including rolling bills up and putting them into balloons with confetti, making a graduation cap out of bills, folding money into fun shapes, or adding it to a funny card.

No matter what you decide to give, make sure your grad knows how proud you are. Congratulations, class of 2014!

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