Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means, we may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase something from a link we post (including links to amazon.com because we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.) Don’t worry, it won’t cost you anything.
Graduation Gift Ideas
With my baby brother graduating this year, I was stumped for gift ideas. Although I tried to remember my favorite graduation gifts, let’s just say my memory was a bit rusty. Plus, my one of my favorite gifts was a camera that took actual film (ah, the good old days)! Times have definitely changed.
So I turned to YOU! We heart our Facebook fans; you are a plethora of creativity! I asked for the best graduation gifts ideas you’ve ever given or received, and boy did you respond. So with your help, here are 40 fabulous graduation gift ideas that are gender neutral and perfect for every grad in your life!
Money/Gift Cards for Graduation Gift Ideas
Although impersonal, money and gift cards can be exactly what a poor new grad needs to tackle the big world. On the other hand, if you’d like to be a little more creative than just a bill tucked in a card, check out these creative ideas!
1. Money rolled in a tissue box
Take out the tissues in a tissue box and roll up bills instead. Then add a cute saying and you will quickly alleviate any homesickness.
2. Write a check for their graduation year
While a check written for $20.17 might get an initial quizzical look, it will be followed by a good laugh. You definitely get points for being creative. Bonus points if the check is for $2017.00.
3. Dave Ramsey’s “Graduate’s Survival Guide”
So many of you raved about this gift set that I am tempted to get it for myself! In a world ruled by credit and over-spending, many new grads can find themselves drowning quickly. Give them a head start by learning about credit cards, part-time jobs, and student loans.
4. Shell Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” with a surprise inside
Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy. If you’re tearing up already, this poem turned into a book about friendship, sacrifice, and generosity is the perfect gift for your special grad. Stick a few surprise bills inside and they have a gift to treasure forever.
5. Gift cards to local restaurants
One of a mother’s significant worries, among many, are “Will my child starve?” Give your grad a few gift cards to local eateries where they will be going to college or settling down.
6. Grocery store gift cards
Just enter any college town grocery store and they are milling with malnourished students hovering around the ramen noodles. When living on a tight budget, a grocery store gift card can be a lifesaver.
7. Gas cards
Another necessity for every new grad. Give them a gas card with the expectations that they are to visit home often!
8. Gift card to the college store
If you know where they are going to college, help a new grad buy those over-priced textbooks, or get some fresh new collegiate gear to wear on game day.
9. Movie tickets
The post-high school dating scene can be tough when you have about $5 to your name. Give your grad a slight advantage with two movie tickets for a special date night.
10. Stock shares
A creative and smart investment, buy your new grad shares in a company of their choice. They will love having ownership and watching their money grow.
Practical Gifts for Graduation Gift Ideas
They may not be the most exciting or glamorous gifts but guaranteed your grad will appreciate those gifts looong after the tassels are turned and the caps tossed in the air.
Our Facebook fans’ number top gift recommendation, so many of you share the tradition of gifting luggage for graduation.
This gift was one of my personal favorites and many of you agreed. Getting a toolset, although lackluster at first, has come in “handy” throughout life.
13. A car kit with jumper cables:
This gift, plus a free lesson in basic car maintenance, is perfect for both guys and girls headed out on their own.
14. First aid kit with medicine
We all want our mommies when the slightest sign of the sniffles hit. But when mom’s not there, what better than a first aid kit loaded with medicine to treat every ailment.
Don’t let them use “I don’t know how to cook” as an excuse for fast food three meals a day.
16. Cooking lessons
If you combine this gift with #15 above they will hopefully avoid that freshman fifteen.
17. The Pampered Chef Micro-Cooker
Many of you raved about this little cooking beauty that made dorm cooking so much easier. For $20, a novice chef can cook a gourmet meal right in the microwave.
18. Scentsy warmer and scent packs
Dorm rooms literally stink. Mask the musk with a plug-in warmer filled with delicious fragrances that will smell like home sweet home.
19. A nice set of clothes
For job interviews, work, or formal engagements that require a professional look.
20. A quality backpack
A person could count toting around college books as their daily workout. Those things can be heavy! Therefore a quality backpack is a must for any college-bound grad.
21. Global Positioning System (GPS)
Many smartphones already have them, but a GPS is a great idea for anyone heading out for adventures of their own.
Gift Baskets for a Graduate Gift Ideas
Gift baskets are fun to give and fun to receive. Plus they are loaded with really useful stuff!
22. Laundry gift basket with quarters
There is a reason why this is one of the most popular grad gifts. It is packed with every laundry supply you could imagine–towels, detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, bleach, stain removal, and especially rolls of quarters for those laundry machines. (Many schools now use student cards as payment, so check with the school first. You could also load money on the card for laundry.
23. Food essentials kit
Because moving out on your own can be overwhelming. So make the transition easier by stocking that new grad up with all of the food essentials he or she may need.
24. Kitchen essentials kit
Dish towels, dish cloths, scrub brushes, dish detergent, utensils, plastic plates, bowls, glasses, etc., and maybe the caution: don’t put dish soap in the dishwasher (not that anyone ever does that!).
25. Bathroom essentials kit
Towels, washcloths, bathroom cleaners, *shower sandals (for those nasty dorm showers), shaving gear, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup for girls, etc.
26. College supplies kit
Notebooks, a planner, pens, gum, study snacks, energy bars/drinks (for procrastinating studiers), stapler, three-hole punch, calculator, white-out, etc.
27. Themed gift baskets
“Things that stick” (3M hangers, super glue, gum, etc.), sports themed baskets (golf, basketball, football, wrestling, track, motocross, swimming, tennis, dance, etc.), state themed baskets (based on where they are moving to or going to college), beach themed baskets (flip flops, beach towel, sunscreen, frisbee, sunglasses, etc.), candy bar basket with sayings (“You are a real Starburst!”, etc.), fan themed baskets (favorite professional or college teams), fruit themed basket (everything strawberry: soap, lotion, drinks, treats, etc.), Starbucks themed basket, Movie themed basket (favorite DVDs, popcorn, soda, movie treats), hair themed basket (great if going to Cosmetology school),
College themed basket: includes apparel and gear from their new school
Sentimental Gifts for Graduation Gift Ideas
These gifts come from the heart and are treasured forever.
28. Special quilt or afghan
Because everyone needs something to snuggle in while they are far from home. Many of you agreed that a handmade quilt was and is one of your greatest graduation treasures.
My dear grandma made this for my graduation. She cut out blocks from some of the shirts my dad wore when he was a boy. It is one of my prized possessions.
Even if you don’t have the time or know-how to make a quilt, a nice, comfy blanket is a gift everyone can appreciate. Love this Graduation Gift Idea!
29. Photo books
Include pictures and personal messages that document just how far they’ve come.
30. Keepsake boxes
If you are the sentimental type that saves everything from their first kindergarten watercolor painting to newspaper clippings that even mention their name, then give them a keepsake box. We LOVE these memory boxes.