I wanted to title this post Rad Grad Gifts, but I chickened out at the last minute, worried it might sound a bit hokey. But you and I both know I can be pretty hokey…so I had to mention it. Moving on.
Today’s post is all about great grad gifts. Instead of coming up with these gifts out of my own head, I asked Annie and Jake (my oldest two children) to share with me their favorite, most useful, stand-out graduation gifts. Annie graduated in 2021, and Jake followed in 2022. They both had instant responses with strong feelings, and I collected them for today’s post.
Let’s begin with the girl gifts…
Depending on which college the graduate will be attending, Honey + Hank makes an adorable collection of college-specific bandana-style scarves. The cutest part is how the mascot image is made up of tiny tiles of the state where the college is located. So, for example, the pigs in the University of Arkansas scarf pictured above are made up of lots of tiny Arkansas tiles. For extra flair, the scarf can be customized with an embroidered name or slogan (Woo Pig!).
SCRIPTURE JOURNAL SET.
This set of scripture journals is a lovely gift to tuck away for any gift-giving opportunity. Each book in the set is a book of the Bible, and each page of scripture has a page for writing or drawing across from it. It comes in a beautiful array of ombre colors with gilded details on the cover.
TRAVEL LIGHTED MIRROR.
Dorm room lighting can be abysmal, and space is certainly tight. Enter the slim, rechargeable, lighted make-up mirror! This mirror makes easy work of putting your best face forward! Even after Freshman year, this mirror will come in handy for travel.
CLEAR STADIUM BAG
Obviously we are going to be attending a lot of games, and obviously we want to follow all the rules (that’s what college is about, right?), and obviously we want to look cute and stylish. Enter the Mark & Graham customizable stadium bag. Bonus points for a monogram!
Annie cared a lot about things like sheets and towels and pillows. Jake, not so much. I would argue that high-quality towels make a great graduation gift for girls. This can include bath towels and hand towels, but can also include towel wraps, terrycloth robes, and hair wrap turbans made from that fabric that helps dry hair quickly.
Walking to class can make a girl thirsty, and it’s so important to stay hydrated. A new Hydroflask is the perfect accessory for ladies who learn.
I know sometimes we think cash is an impersonal gift, but I would argue that graduation is the exception to that rule. Cash is an entirely appropriate graduation gift, and gives the graduate freedom to use that money in a number of different ways. Even after receiving lots of thoughtful, helpful graduation gifts, there were still small items Annie needed before move in, and her graduation cash came in handy. Ditto for Amazon and Target gift cards. Such an easy, useful gift.
PERSONALIZED BOAT TOTE.
I love these totes, and so do my children. They come in handy in so many situations, and wouldn’t it be fun to choose one in their college colors? Adding a clever monogram is a fun touch too.
I’m not sure how it happened, but when Annie graduated, we realized she had not a single piece of luggage. She had lots of duffles and totes, but she lacked a real piece of travel luggage. When you move away from home, it helps to have at least one good rolling bag to serve you well for the long haul. After move-in, Annie realized she could use her suitcase to store off-season shoes and other random items and then stash the case under her bed.
Now for the boy gifts…
Without a doubt, Jake’s favorite gift was either cash or Amazon gift cards. He used the cash towards purchasing a new trombone (he is a music education major), and the Amazon gift cards were put to use purchasing dorm essentials. Never hesitate to give a graduate cash. Every dollar helps.
Jake received a pair of Airpods when he was in high school, but after heavy use, they had seen better days. Technology is such a vital tool for college students, and a new snazzy pair of Airpods were a welcome gift.
Who doesn’t love to wear college swag? A thoughtful hoodie was right up his alley, and it made him feel like a “real” college kid even before he stepped foot on campus.
GIANT DUFFLE BAG.
Not only did this bag come in handy for packing up his clothes for move-in, it also will serve him in the long run for future travels. As I mentioned above for in the girl gifts, a quality piece of travel luggage is an ideal graduation gift.
LEATHER DOB KIT.
Something about this gift seemed to be a right of passage for Jake. A leather dob kit is a grown-up gift, and instead of throwing his toiletries into a random zip bag, he enjoys having a classy option that will be with him for the long haul. He brings this home with him when he visits, and it is ample enough to carry everything he needs.
LEATHER KEY TRAY.
In our house, the key bowl is a thing. It’s where we put our keys when we arrive home, and when it’s time to leave again, you know exactly where to find them. This leather key bowl was the final element Jake added to his dorm room, and when he set it on his desk he said, “Now it feels like home.” Not only does a key tray create a designated space for his keys, phone, and wallet, it looks good too.
The perfect accompaniment to a gift card or cash, a college tumbler is a fun way to celebrate the graduate’s next adventure.
An old-school pennant is a great way to add personalized flair to dorm walls. I love the idea of having a last name added or a favorite cheer (Woo-Pig!), or even a nickname. This is a unique and memorable gift for any graduate.