I never attended my high school graduation. My high school career, as a whole, was a long and messy adventure, and when the ceremony finally came around I would have been graduating with a group of people I didn't even know. The whole thing seemed pointless (it was, after all, only high school) and I didn't feel like leaving the house to pick up my diploma.
Now that I'm graduating from college at the end of the month though, I'm feeling quite accomplished and I sort of want to make a big deal out of it. Photos of me in a cap and gown, multiple gifts, perhaps a class ring? Bring it all on. It took me enough B.S. to get here, and now it's time to celebrate.
Everyone knows that when your nearest and dearest graduate from whatever (kindergarten, college) you usually get them a gift. I think even a small token of "congratulations" works fine. Something that says, "job well done, now it's time to head out into the world with crippling debt and few prospects" (okay, perhaps those sentiments do not apply to a child heading into the first grade).
So here I've compiled a list of grad gifts for all budgets, ones that I wouldn't mind receiving myself (so you know they're in excellent taste). Enjoy, and then tell me what you'd like to get for graduation if you'll be strutting across the stage this month, or if you've already gone through all that hoopla, tell me about the best (or worst) gifts that were bestowed upon you. And congratulations to the Class of 2013! We did it. High fives all around.
I'm a big paper person. I love sending and receiving mail, and I believe the art of the thank you note is a lost one that must be rediscovered. By giving a grad a set of customized stationery, it's a nudge towards good manners and it guarantees that a thank you will land in your mailbox.
For affordability, I like this set of 8 folded notecards printed with the recipient's name in a fancy vintage-style scroll.
For something a little more fancy-pants, try this Art Nouveau style of letterpress-printed cards and return-addressed envelopes.
Gift your chosen set with a fancy pen like ___ for the whole shebang.
Non-Dorky Grad Accesory
Not everyone needs a "CLASS OF 2013" hoodie or a big honking' signet ring to commemorate the fact that they completed post secondary education. These gold bangles are custom made-to-order with the year of graduation etched on in roman numerals for a subtle touch on a piece of jewelry that can be worn everyday. It's the right mix of classy and organic, and I think I want one for myself.
A "Grown-Up" Gift Basket
While many grads have probably been living on their own for a few years now, it's highly likely that they've been subsisting on a diet of ramen noodles and late night pizza slices and perhaps not taking the best care of themselves (washing your underwear in the sink, anyone?). That's when a basket (IKEA and Target carry cheap ones) filled with a few essentials for entering the world of "ah-dults" serves as a polite nudge in the right direction disguised as a swanky present.
For the food lover: Why not try a copy of Julia Child's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, a jar of Herbs de Provence or a bottle of olive oil, and a piece of Le Creuset cookware (or a more affordable dish)? Then you can constantly beg to be invited over for dinner without feeling guilty.
For the beauty freak (like me *cough*): A Lush gift box packed with products, a beautiful candle, and a set of fluffy towels will allow the grad to relax for awhile after opening the envelope containing their first student loan bill. Ah, can't wait for that one.
For the party animal: Encourage classy entertaining with a copy of The Ultimate Bar Book, a swanky mixer like this Lavender-Lemon syrup, a set of Mad Men-worthy highballs, and stylish coasters to avoid staining their grown-up furniture.
Of course, if you're completely stumped and minding your budget, you can gift a DVD of The Graduate to the newly drifting. If you want to include scuba gear too, I won't judge.