It’s Graduation Time!!

It’s that time! Graduation season is upon us & now is the time to buy cards, gifts and hit up that ATM.

The number one gift for graduates is money. It is what they ask for most often and what is proffered. As a nation we will give about $5 billion in graduation gifts and 58 percent of this will be in cash. But if money is not on your list, or you are looking for a more creative way to offer it, here are some more suggestions that might be just the thing –

Dorm Essentials for incoming college freshmen. At some point many grads seem to find themselves in The Container Store, Bed, Bath and Beyond, or Target searching out XL sheets and an array of storage items. Gift certificates from these national retailers will get them on their way. Items can be ordered at your local store to be picked up later in the store closest to your child’s college campus.

And for Help with that Laundry. We love this personalized laundry bag with instructions and the meaning of those tricky laundry symbols printed right outside. Along the same lines, monogrammed towels or towel wraps now that they are setting their own laundry schedule, kids can never have too many towels. Monogrammed towels will not get nabbed in the dorm laundry or city Laundromat.

$50 in Quarters. Think of it as a year’s worth of laundry without wandering the dorm every week or two looking to see who can change a couple of dollars. But we did hear something about a quarter drinking game…

It’s Always Coffee Time. College kids pushing though late night studying or graduates who are now waking early will appreciate their own single serving coffee maker. This is a gift that saves time and money. If your graduate is a tea drinker a small electric kettle is just the thing.

Money Disguised. If handing over a fist full of dollars is not what you had in mind, turn that cash into silver coins or a mint set from the year your graduate was born. The coins are commemorative, can be save and cherished, or turned right back into needed cash.

Help with Student Loans. A full 70 percent of college students graduate with debt and the average loan burden approaches $30,000. Any and all help with those payments is truly a graduation gift.

Graduation Party. Graduations are a time for families to gather and celebrate. They are milestones of great meaning and joy, but that doesn’t mean the festivities are free. As parents, the party can be a gift to our kids they will never forget.

A Beautiful Piece of Jewelry. Graduations are one of life’s big milestones and, as such, perhaps a moment for a first piece of real jewelry. A set of pearl earrings or subtle gold necklace can be worn for that first college formal or taken out for job interviews.

Logo Gifts. A number of the luxury retailers (Smathers & Branson, Vineyard Vines) as well as Bed, Bath and Beyond sell an array of items like wallets, key fobs, hats, suitcase, blankets and ties all adorned with Collegiate or Greek Logos.

Get Rid of the Backpack. For kids facing their first real job, a brief case, good handbag or okay, an upmarket backpack, might be the thing to send them on their way. Quality leather goods do not come cheap, but the last for years to come.

Fleece blankets, with Monograms or Photos. One of my friends gave fleece throws in college colors with embroidered monograms to our kids and all their friends. With drafty dorm rooms or extra friends spending the night, this is a gift that will get used. Shutterfly will put your favorite photos on a machine-washable blanket

Gym Membership. For those leaving the college campus the days of free exercise facilities might be over. Give the gift of health and fitness, or at least a place to de-stress after a long day at the office.

Wallet or Business Card Case. Something everyone needs and it can be upped with a gift card inside.

Campus Gifts. For high school or college grads, sweatshirts or other item from their to-be alma mater or for high school grads perhaps a gift certificate to the college bookstore are classics.

Experiences, Not Things. Tickets to concerts or shows, or if your budget stretches to accommodate it, a trip. Many parents mentioned the lasting joy of a post-graduation trip if it fits into the family finances.

Clothing Gift Cards. We are pretty sure that it is not possible to have too many clothing gift cards. College grads need clothes for the world of work and high school grads may need warm weather gear now that they will be doing much more walking.

Tools of the Trade. Unassembled furniture? A hinge that is coming loose? A small but well equipped tool box might just be what your grad needs.

Family Photos. They may have snapshots of the family in their phones, but that is not the same as a beautiful professional photo for their wall or desk. Consider a family photo shoot, complete with family dog, before the kids leave home.

Time to Make a Home. Think about vouchers from Ikea, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Design WIthin Reach or Sleepy’s. Credit at any of these stores, or many others, will be appreciated by anyone with an empty new apartment.

Family Memento. Grandparents looking for gifts might consider some of the family mementos or jewelry that their grandchildren can treasure forever. Passing on family heirlooms (and we use this term broadly) is a moment with meaning for both generations.

*Excerpts taken from Huffington Post.

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