College Graduation Gifts: Twenty Great Options

College Graduation Gifts: Twenty Great Options

College grads deserve great graduation gifts since graduation is a meaningful event celebrating a new direction. It symbolizes a beginning of a new life, a new phase of learning and a new adventure in the real world. For this reason college graduation is called “commencement.” Parents, grandparents, relatives and friends want to give something special to their graduate who has achieved this milestone and now faces new challenges. A gift from this “Twenty Great Options” list will provide the young man or woman an opportunity to set out on their new career with a symbolic vote of confidence they will remember for a lifetime.

With innumerable options and with a vast array of choices in today’s market, it is a challenging task to come up with the perfect graduation gift. Budget impacts the choices but here is a range of gifts that may provide your perfect solution. Let the graduate’s tastes and needs inspire you, and you will find the special, meaningful gift they will cherish.

1. Vacation

A trip to a nearby resort or someplace the graduate would like to travel, such as a trip to Europe, China, New Zealand, is, no doubt, one of the most expensive gifts. One month’s trip to Europe might cost a minimum of $1000 euros. Nonetheless, a foreign vacation is educational and adventurous. Your graduate will get to see one part of the world before he or she settles into the working world.

2. A New Laptop

A laptop computer, or a new mini laptop, is an ideal way to start the grad’s job search or a new career. Prices vary and so do the brands, styles and features. Compare before buying. This very practical gift is not cheap but you can find refurbished versions with warranties that are more reasonable. On the other hand, the better the quality the higher the price. If your grad had a laptop through college, it’s likely a good time for a new one and an upgrade.

3. Smart Tablet

Whether it’s a Sony Tablet, Lenovo Ideapad, Samsung Galaxy, Toshiba Libretto, it’s true that the Apple iPad is far from the only tablet in town, and any of them are another perfect choice for a graduation gift. Some tablets have unique features like the Eee Pad Transformer Prime which pairs with an innovative detachable keyboard making it ideal for work and play. Then there’s the ThinkPad Tablet which is compatible with a stylus for drawing and taking notes. These multi-touch widescreen displays are ideal for surfing the web, checking email, watching movies and some TV shows, playing games and reading magazines.

4. Money

Money always makes a great graduation gift. It can be given as a savings account or a check or cash. Although not the most sentimental gift option, money can be a supreme option for college graduates. Rent and living expenses can be an extreme burden especially while attempting to find a source of income.

5. Sports or Concert Tickets

Many young male grads are interested in sports and both men and women grads are interested in concert music tickets so a good gift option can be sports and concert tickets for the avid fan. Season tickets can be an even better option, providing tickets to an entire season of games or concerts.

6. Bose Speakers

For the graduate who loves music and owns an Ipod or other audio device, the incomparable sound of Bose speakers makes a terrific gift.

7. Gift Card Assortment

From Starbucks,Target, Best Buy and more, assemble redeemable gift cards from your grad’s favorite places. Spend as much as desired on multiple gift cards. Place the cards in a box and wrap as a gift.

8. First Apartment Survival Kit

For the graduate’s first apartment, fill a trunk or chest with sheet sets, pillows, kitchen wares, area rugs, lamps and photographs. If you are not sure exactly what the graduate has already purchased or what style of decorating they plan to use, you can give them a gift card for a store that sells home decor items.

9. Sports Club/Gym Membership

Some graduates might enjoy a golf, tennis, or similar club membership, but the easiest choice is a year of free gym time at the grad’s favorite sports club.

10. Digital Camera

Graduates who are photography buffs of all skill levels will appreciate a digital camera and use it for years to come. Remember to include a memory card.

11. Jewelry

Give the grad a bracelet, necklace, ring or watch. Add engraving to commemorate the graduation. Of course, prices vary widely, depending on the metal and if precious or gem stones are added.

12. Bicycle

What grad wouldn’t appreciate a cruiser or mountain bike? Whether he or she is skilled at cycling, this is both a practical and recreational gift. A good-quality bike will add to the new life of your beloved graduate.

13. Smart Phone

Though most kids these days have cell phones and will continue to use them once they have left college, it still might be tough for them to afford a smart phone and the monthly rate. Here is where your gift of a smart phone may come in handy.

14. Car/Used Car

If you want your grad to have a big boost on his or her new working life, then invest in a reasonable practical car for him or her. This is the gift of a lifetime!

15. An eReader

If your grad is an avid reader, give an e-book reader. There are three classes of these products: black-and-white e-ink readers; 7-inch color LCD media tablets; or a full-size color tablet like the iPad. Amazon’s Kindles are the best known brand, followed by Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet. Apple’s iPad is an e-book reader and a tablet in one.

16. Flying Lessons

An introductory flying lesson is the ideal gift for the grad with an adventurous spirit. Gift certificates are available for helicopter flying lessons, as well as first flying lessons in a Cessna or a biplane. Lessons are available in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and dozens of cities nationwide.

17. Music System

Help to set up your grad’s new home so he or she can enjoy music from their iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, or PC running iTunes. He or she can use their Apple device or iTunes on their computer to browse or playback their favorite albums or playlists from a variety of music systems that you could provide as a memorable graduation gift.

18. Flat-Screen TV

A medium to large flat screen hi-def television is a perfect addition to your grad’s new apartment. Although this is an expensive gift, prices have dropped on these and it is a practical gift that your grad will appreciate for many years.

19. New Wardrobe

Out of college and working, your grad is looking forward to a whole new scene and meeting new friends. Though he or she might have enjoyed an active social life in college, now it is a whole different world. Shop for the basics in the grad’s favorite colors and add a few gift cards to clothing stores so he or she can add to their new look.

20. Stocks

A unique gift is the gift of stock. You are providing something of value to your grad and you are giving a gift that will keep on giving in the future if the stock does well. In addition, a gift of stock sends a message to the graduate that he or she is entering a new phase of life and they have to begin focusing on things like saving money and investing for the future.

Any of these gifts will honor your grad’s accomplishments. After 16 long years in school, he or she is moving on to the next phase of living. Those headed to new jobs are especially excited to begin something new. Those searching for jobs are full of hope and anticipation. The graduation gift you give will acknowledge how far they’ve come and the excitement for what lies ahead.

(c) 2012 Elizabeth McMillian

Elizabeth McMillian enjoys writing about her personal interests, including travel, exercise and cycling. She is an architectural historian, a former editor at Architectural Digest and the author of five books and numerous articles. For giving a watch as a graduation gift, check out []

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