6 Popular Graduation Gifts

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Graduation season is almost upon us. I have a niece that will be graduating from high school this year and in one more year I’ll have a son graduating from college (fingers crossed that he doesn’t decide to change majors again!), and a year after that my youngest will also be graduating college. Wow, I suddenly feel really old!

Graduation is an exciting time for students. High school students are generally excited to be headed off to college, or the military, or perhaps a trade school. College graduates are excited to be finally done with school and ready to jump into the real world (you poor, unsuspecting suckers… just kidding). Here is a list of items that are most helpful, in my opinion, for both sets of graduates.

Laundry Basket Full of Supplies

Get a decent laundry basket and fill it with laundry pod, fabric softener sheets, some Spray and Wash, etc. Might be good to throw in some basic instructions and a cheat sheet on getting rid of common stains if you’re little angel isn’t familiar with the laundry process.

A travel size iron might be a good addition too but honestly you’d probably be better off throwing in a bottle of Downey Wrinkle Releaser. If you’re not familiar with this magic potion then you’re missing out!

Steaming Service

You might have already figured out I’m a big fan on Streaming services versus expensive cable packages by my previous post about ditching cable. Your college student or graduate will probably be happy to have an inexpensive option to watch their favorite shows at school when they’re not busy studying. If you already subscribe to a streaming service, such as Hulu, Netflix, Sling, etc., your college student should be able to watch it at school with your sign-in. These services are easily accessed if your student has a smart TV, or a streaming stick such as the Roku or Amazon fire stick. If they don’t have a subscription then that would be a great, inexpensive gift.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

A Decent Laptop

Essential for the student heading off to college. Many colleges have gotten away from the traditional 20-lb text book and instead charge a fortune for an online code for their courses. Papers and other assignments are generally emailed/submitted online now for credit.

Gift Cards

Always a popular choice. Broke college students will be thrilled with restaurant gift cards they can use when they absolutely can not stand to eat in the school cafeteria one more time this semester.

Gas station cards are also great so they can jet around campus or come home and see their moms (hint, hint!).

Gift cards to grocery stores or general stores like Walmart or Target can provide funds for everything from snacks, batteries, first aid supplies, etc.

Uber gift cards are helpful in case they are out partying and need a safe ride home (not my kid or yours of course, but all those other wild college students!).

Credit Card

Okay, this one will probably be a little controversial and I’m sure someone will fuss at me for this but hear me out. My youngest son’s school is about 2 hours away. I added him on as an authorized user to my credit card before he left for school. If his car breaks down, or he is out and needs to call an Uber, or he gets sick and needs to go to the Immediate care then I want to know he is easily able to take care of these emergencies.

Did I make it perfectly clear the appropriate scenarios where he should use this card? Yes! Did I threaten him with bodily harm if he abused this privilege? Also, yes! You know your kid and if he/she can handle the responsibility, so this is obviously a judgement call on your part!


I listed this last but it’s probably the most popular gift if you ask any young person. Again, this is probably another “use your best judgement” type of gift. One thing I know for sure though is that there are lots of unexpected expenses that pop up after graduation. College-bound students have various fees to pay, or discover they need an extension cord as soon  as mom and dad leave the campus.

College graduates might need to upgrade their wardrobe for job interviews. If your graduate is moving out into their own apartment then they’re probably going to need a deposit for not only the apartment/house but also to have utilities put in their name for the first time.

Parting Thoughts

Graduation can be exciting, nerve-wracking, and stressful, all rolled up into one package. Any of these gifts I just mentioned will hopefully be appreciated by your graduate but just as important is a note or phone call of encouragement to go along with that gift. Tell them you’re proud of their past accomplishments and excited to see everything they’re sure to accomplish in the future. Let them know it’s okay to stumble along the way. Sometimes knowing they have a village waiting to support them in their endeavors is as important as  gift.

Any other suggestions?

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1 Response to 6 Popular Graduation Gifts

  1. Janet says:

    Sign me up

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