It’s the first day of the rest of their lives.
With graduation just around the corner, finding the perfect gift for a graduating loved one can be a bit of a trying experience.
From extravagant to reasonable, creative to practical, here are some gift ideas that are sure to make the grade.
Although not the most original gift idea, the tried-and-true gift of money is a sure bet. It’s quick, easy, and accepted everywhere. This gift ensures satisfaction with the recipient and gives the graduate the flexibility to choose their own gift.
Holly Harper, a graduating communication studies major, said money is a practical graduation present.
“I’m getting married soon and everything helps,” Harper said.
If money seems too impersonal, then perhaps gift certificates would be appropriate. Most places carry gift certificates or gift cards in various increments. Gift certificates give the graduate the freedom to choose their own gift, but still leave room for creativity.
Many salons and day spas offer gift certificates that could offer the graduate some long-awaited relaxation and well-deserved pampering.
“We get people in here all the time asking for gift certificates for graduates,” said Ashkan Bashiri, a stylist at Topoli Grand Salon.
“We offer massages, salt scrubs, body wraps, facials … all are excellent ways to relax and pamper yourself,” said Bashri. “It’s a refreshing way to get yourself ready for the real world. It’s probably your last chance to relax!”
Another creative gift for one entering “the real world” is a certificate for an appointment with a professional resume specialist. Since a clean and crisp resume and cover letter are the finishing touch for a college graduate entering the work force, this gift is not only unique, but practical as well.
“I see quite a few parents giving our service as a graduation gift,” said Dan Forrestall, owner of The Resume Specialists. “We provide individuals with a consultation, prepare a resume and cover letter, and help the individual with general job search assistance. Typically this service package ranges from $95 to $150.”
If you are looking for a more extravagant present, perhaps the gift of jewelry would be right for your graduate.
“The number one seller for female college graduates are diamond earrings and diamond pendants,” said Tom Sullivan, assistant manager of Devons Jewelers.
Jewelry can always be spiced up with a personalized charm or message.
“I see a lot of people buying little charms with the year of the graduation on them,” said Chalo Luna, manager of Rogers Jewelers. “Watches are a really nice gift for guys with a message engraved on the back, such as the year they are graduating.”
If you are thinking in the four or five digit range, then a car would make a nice graduation gift.
Art Plummer, salesperson at Lasher Volkswagen said, “A car is a great gift idea. We have had a lot of parents calling lately. I just sold a Jetta last week that was a graduation gift.”
If a car is out of your price range, there is plenty of other gift alternatives.
Douglas Dore, sales associate of The Sharper Image recommends electronics, palm-pilots, radios, travel clocks, and luggage as graduation gifts.
“The hottest thing right now are palm-pilots,” said Tracy Unden, Staples sales associate. “Other good gift ideas are pen gift sets, cellular phone packages, and a year of Internet service.”
If you are looking for a small, thoughtful gift, many gift stores are offering different “odds and ends” that would be appropriate for the college grad.
“We carry a lot of year 2000 dated things right now for the graduate, such as clocks, mugs, frames, key chains, and a book of quotations,” Mike Gorman of Hallmark said.
So whether extravagant or simple, as long as the gift is from the heart, you’ll be just fine. After years of eating Top Ramen and using lawn chairs as furniture, the college graduate will probably appreciate just about anything.