One of my little sisters (second from the right in the photo) will graduate from college this weekend and my whole family is traveling to Pennsylvania tomorrow to participate in all the traditions and ceremonies. Graduation season is always exciting but can certainly get hectic and stressful with the travel, packing, and celebration planning involved. Believe me, I know. A few years ago, I spent graduation season driving across the state and flying across the country to attend six different commencement ceremonies for my friends, siblings, and cousins–from high school to college to law school, med school, and more! Subsequent graduation seasons have, thankfully, racked up less mileage. 🙂 Whether or not you’re traveling far for the occasion, you don’t want to show up empty-handed. So here are 12 unique and useful graduation gift ideas to take the pressure off picking the perfect gift for the graduate(s) in your life.
Unique Graduation Gift Ideas
1. Workwear. My first job out of undergrad provided a steep discount on clothing gift cards to jump start our work wardrobes, which was such a great help. The transition from campus clothes to business professional and even business casual can be made more smooth with a gift card to a workwear retailer that fits your graduate’s style. I mainly shop for work clothes at Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Dillard’s. Here are more ideas:
2. Professional service. Most university career centers offer resume writing, interview prep, and the like (I was a Career Counselor during grad school) but there are other services and subscriptions that could be of help and are maybe more specific to your grad’s field of choice. For example, a premium LinkedIn subscription would be helpful if they’re job hunting. If they’ll be sitting for a certification or grad school entrance exam, covering the associated fees would certainly be a welcome graduation gift.
3. Timepiece. Watches made a comeback a few years ago but have always been a timeless gift, for lack of a better word. Here are some beautiful women’s watches at various price points.
4. Professional tools. No matter which field your grad will enter, there will be tools of the trade. A quality portfolio, briefcase, leather card case, work tote, or laptop/tablet sleeve will likely prove to be a useful graduation gift.
5. Financial jump start. Making a dent in their debt (if they have any) would be a graduation gift that literally pays off for the future. If you got it like that, why not gift the funds for their first student loan payment?
6. Travel camera. If your grad is taking a gap year to travel the world or will be wanderlusting in the next endeavor, a travel camera will come in clutch and be much appreciated. Here are a few top-rated options:
7. Thought-provoking reads. College grads suddenly have more free time to read for leisure. Gift one or more of these books that will help them navigate their new realities and teach them things they might not have learned in school–like money management or how to cook a meal!
Becoming | #Girlboss | How to Cook Everything: the Basics | How to Win Friends and Influence People (in the Digital Age) | The ABCs of Adulthood| The Defining Decade | The Money Class | Young Fabulous and Broke
8. Fly luggage. A college student’s luggage isn’t typically super high quality, coordinated, or mature. My trusty set was bright purple and very cheap. Upgrade your grad’s travel game because they’ll likely be going on business trips soon and/or spending some of their new grownup money on seeing the world.
9. School swag. Specifically a quality alumni shirt or sweater that won’t wind up in their drawer of workout clothes. A degree frame also makes a great gift. A nice one will seem pricey to a new grad and I know many professionals (myself included) who haven’t gotten around to framing their degrees yet.
10. Beautiful bling. Because a little jewelry never hurt nobody. 🙂
11. Office supplies. Whether she’ll be in a cubicle, home office, or corner office, I love this #girlboss sign for her desk.
12. Photo frame. Put some thought into it and maybe even have it personalized. You can’t go wrong with this gift.
I hope this is helpful in getting your graduate right for the next stage of life. And who doesn’t enjoy a little shopping, right? As always, thanks for reading!