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College Graduation Gift Ideas

Updated on March 9, 2014

Saying Congrats!

When someone completes college, it’s a milestone to be celebrated with great fanfare and joy. Four years of hard work has finally paid off. You want to show your enthusiasm and excitement for your graduate’s accomplishments with nice graduation gifts that are befitting the occasion.

Straight Cash

You can always give cash. What college student couldn’t use a little extra when starting out on the path to their new life? Try to think of creative ways to package your dollar bills.

You might include all one dollar bills in a huge box so that the graduate is surprised when she opens it, or you might create a money tree using a wire form and a terra cotta pot. Just attach the bills and present it as a fun alternative to the card and cash idea.

There are lots of other ways you can present cash so it looks festive and impactful. Get crisp, new bills from the bank and present them in an engraved jewelry box or valet tray.


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Gas for a Year

Another great graduation gift you can give is a year of gas for the graduate’s car, or even 6 months is a nice gift if you can’t splurge on a whole year at today’s gas prices. Present the student with a prepaid gas card or a prepaid Visa or MasterCard they can use for gas any time they like.

They can also use it for other things as well, but you might write in your card that you are giving them the gift of gas for a year as a nice sentiment.

Graduation is a big deal!


Professional Attire

As a busy work life looms on the horizon, you might consider gifting a new college graduate with work attire. You can take them out to a specialty store to have them fitted for a nice suit or outfits that they can wear for work. You could also present them with a department store gift certificate so they can select their own attire.

Often, graduates don’t have appropriate shoes or clothing that’s above the sweat pants and sneakers level, so your gift will go a long way towards helping them make a good impression at work.

On the Hunt for Work Clothes

Elegant Briefcase or Handbag

Another must have in the workforce is a nice handbag or brief case. You can select a nice leather one that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford at this stage of their lives.

Select one in a neutral color like brown, black or grey so that it will go with everything.

Don’t choose one that’s too funky or will go out of style in the near future. Give them a good start in the business world by helping them present a polished image. Go with leather and you can’t miss.

Cater to Their Hobbies

Your graduate likely has expressed many interests to you over the years. Select one of those interests and build a present around it. Perhaps they love books and you can give a gift certificate to a book store along with a nice fountain pen.

Could be that they love skiing and you present a gift basket with hot cocoa, new ski gloves and a pass to their favorite slopes. You can get creative and be the best gift-giver at the party. Just be careful, or everyone may look to you for gift ideas when they need to give a present that really rocks!


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    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Great ideas for the graduate. We've had graduations in our family for the last few years and one coming up next spring - I'm always looking for good ideas! Money is always welcome, but I like to give something more lasting.

    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 6 years ago

      Great ideas! I too usually give cash. However, one of the best presents that I got for graduation was a set of great luggage because I LOVE to travel so it got used again and again over the years. Also love your idea of gas for a year or gas gift cards.

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 6 years ago from Minnesota

      I went to broadcasting school (and graduated). It was great to see all of the "radio" gifts people could find. Someone found a microphone lapel pin, another a set of headphones. But I think the best gift was gas cards. They really came in handy for driving around from interview to interview!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      These are all great ideas! I usually give cash, but I love the idea of a briefcase or other professional items.