May and early June are rife with celebrations; one of the biggest events being the graduation season! What do you get a graduate from high school, college, or grad school? As I have said before, I am a rotten gift giver, so here are some do’s and don’ts for the graduation season.
- Take into mind the graduate and their upcoming path as well as the path they have walked so far.
- Get the graduate something meaningful to them, not just meaningful to you.
- Take your budget into consideration. Don’t get tripped up in the “I must keep up with the Jones’s” concept of graduation gifting. In a recent unscientific poll taken by my BFF who works at Washington University of St. Louis, seniors she was interacting with claimed the most gifted items were cars and 3 month long trips. Yeah. You get my picture on this.
- Put some emotion into it. Dr. Seuss always rocks graduation gifts. “Oh The Places You Will Go” is a favorite go to for my friend and she suggests having some of the mentors, coaches, professors/teachers the graduate was close to, sign the book yearbook style with messages of encouragement. This is a gift that will bring a tear to the eye and a lump in the throat.
- Think practical. If the graduate is from a practical family, don’t be afraid to get them something they will need for the upcoming portion of their journey. Are they going to college and need something for a residence hall room or do they need things to set up their first real apartment?
- See if you can give the gift of an experience. Sure, if you are rich, the Europe backpacking trip is an amazing gift of an experience. If you need to save the money for tuition or a deposit on the upcoming apartment, is there a weekend getaway with their friends you could sponsor? Maybe a baseball weekend and hotel for four friends? Be creative on this one and you will be remembered!
- Don’t buy the old pen set. It’s boring and someone is going to steal their pen.
- Don’t donate to a charity in the graduate’s name unless that graduate has donated endless hours of their time working with the organization and are personally, deeply committed to it’s success.
- Don’t buy too many things for their upcoming residence hall room without checking with the staff of the university for a list of can/can’t bring items.
- Don’t buy candles and small dollar store items. If your budget is minimal, a nice card is better. Make a coupon and put it in the card for a care package to send to their residence hall or new apartment with some cookies and favorite snacks months later. It will make a bigger love impact.
If in doubt, anything green is good! It is always the right size, is never returned, and it’s flexibility means that anything can be possible!
And my final word of wisdom:
Don’t forget that your presence at their life events means more than any gift you can give them.
Why do I write about this topic this week? My last nephew graduates from high school this weekend. Congratulations Jacob Esser! We are very proud of you!
To all you graduates this season, I leave with you Dr. Seuss!