Great graduation gift ideas

By Robin Becker
Info Guru,

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graduate in cap and gown holding diploma
Let your gift choices show the graduate how proud you are of their accomplishment
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It's that time of year to recognize and reward a student's hard work and achievement.

The arrival of high school or college graduation announcements always raises the question of "What to buy?"

There are many options for graduation gifts, but so much depends on how well you know the student (or how well you know the parents) and, of course, how much you want to spend.

Included here are suggestions that cover a wide range of prices, so you can choose the gift that's most appropriate for this great occasion. Consider shopping online where there are many e-merchants offering a wide assortment of graduation gifts, from electronics to sports gear. Remember to keep your graduate's future plans in mind before trying to choose the perfect gift.

High School Graduation Gift Ideas
  • Stereo– A good bookshelf stereo can offer the new grad great sound in a small space
  • iPod – Starting at around $99, an iPod is a great choice for any graduate. If they already have an iPod, consider a docking station with speakers so they can share their music at parties or in a dorm room. Add a download gift card so they can add new tunes right away.
  • Small stock account – The beginnings of an investment account can start a new grad on a prosperous future. Consider including a consultation with a trusted financial advisor so they learn how to manage their investments and other finances
  • Give a graduation party - If you know the grad and a number of their friends or family members, consider hosting a party in their honor. A beach or lakeside party is a great casual choice, or choose a hotel or restaurant for a more formal gathering
  • Work of art related to their interests - A photo or print of Paris for the future French major, a sports-themed sculpture for the athletically inclined graduate, or a whimsical wire figure of a mythological beast for someone who loves fantasy literature – you can match the theme to the grad's interests, future career or planned college major.

  • Monetary gift toward education - A gift of cash is always appreciated by new grads who are heading off to college or other training. If you know where they will be heading to school, consider a gift certificate from the college bookstore, or a gift card for a chain store like Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond in their new city. That way they can buy the supplies they need once they get there.
  • Summer specialty course like film making or gourmet cooking - Has the graduate always wanted to learn how to take better photos or prepare a truly spectacular dessert? Give them a gift certificate to a local course in something they'd love to do. Steer away from academic classes…this should be a just-for-fun class in something they love.
  • Framed picture of graduate and you together when they were a child - If you've known the grad for years, consider a framed photo with the two of you together from years ago. You can add a list of Remember when's on the mat or attached to the back of the frame for a really personal touch.
  • Inspirational biographical book - Offer the new graduate some inspiration in the form of a book about someone who has accomplished great things in their life. If the graduate is facing special challenges, consider looking for a book about someone who has overcome similar roadblocks.
  • A watch - Go casual or formal. Mall stores like Hot Topic offer some unique choices, or select a classic Seiko or other more traditional watch that will last for years.
  • Digital organizers and planners - Help the new grad stay on track with a Palm™, or other digital organizer. These handy devices are available in a large range of prices, so shop around for the one with the features you want.
  • Digital camera - Let the new graduate start capturing memories right away with a digital camera. Make sure the batteries are included, so they can start snapping pictures as soon as they open the gift.
  • Pure Gold or Silver commemorative coin from graduation year - Mark the occasion with a precious metal coin from their graduation year. This is one gift they are sure to treasure for many years to come.
  • Monogrammed beach towel - Big beach towels are great for taking to the beach, to the pool, or simply using as bath towels. Select a well-made towel that will be able to withstand many trips to the pool and the washing machine. Add a personal touch to the towel by having the grad's name monogrammed in large letters. Go online or check in your local phone book for professional monogramming services.

      Especially for the College bound

      If the graduate is off to college, here are few other graduation gift ideas –

      • Basket of shower gear - Many college students who live in a dorm have to share a bathroom with at least a few people. To make those trips back and forth to the shower easier, give the grad a plastic bin or basket with a handle for carting around shampoo, soap, and other essentials. In fact, there are baskets that are made solely for this purpose. You can even have them personalized! Fill it with bath items such as washcloths, shower sponges, and good-smelling soaps and shampoos.

        Or consider dorm or college oriented gift like an:

      • Answering machine
      • Small refrigerator
      • Alarm clock
      • Contemporary reading light
      • Iron/Steamer
      • Microwave
      • Small TV
      • Contemporary desk supplies
      • Internet account
      • Laptop
      • Printer
      • Scanner
      • Zip drive and disks
      • Recording device for lectures
      • Electronic note takers
      • Umbrella
      • Tool box with basic household or auto care tools
      • Phone card
      • Gift certificate to music store
      • Rare or limited edition book related to their interests.

      College Graduation Ideas

      While all of the high school graduation gift ideas will work for a college grad, here are some things that mi

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