Graduation Gift Suggestions

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College graduation gifts for nieces and nephews

Nov 2013

We have a number of nieces and nephews that will be graduating from college in the next few years. Anyone have any ideas for what would be a good graduation present? And if we want to give cash or a gift card, what is an appropriate amount? My husband has suggested the same amount as what we gave for their high school graduation, but I feel college is a bigger accomplishment and am thinking the gift should reflect that. Would love any input, especially from parents of recent college grads. Just Wondering

The gift I feel best about is a loan to in the giftee's name. You or the grad can choose to microfinance someone(s) in the world who will never get to college but who, with this money, can fund a small business (which might allow her to send her children to school). At the end of the term of the loan, the grad can choose to re-lend the money or collect it. At this end we get to experience gratitude (a huge gift). Ruth

$ is ALWAYS appreciated! Is great for summer before college experiences/fun and/or for towards college expenses. Our closest friends/relatives gave $25-$200 depending upon their circumstances. But other welcomed presents included: a bible (from my sister - interestingly none of us are what I call regular church goers but it was really appreciated - had of course was inscribed). Also great are gift certificates for Bed, Bath and Beyond or similar store for dorm needs; gift cards to Starbucks or othe national food chains; ditto for movie theatres (consider putting togethe a ''college treat'' basket of gift cards with a promise of also sending a care basket of goodies to student). Nice wristwatch or battery alarm clock is also nice. Tee shirt and/or sweatshirt of college admitted to is nice as well. Just reminder if student is going away to college it is hard to schlepp alot of stuff. That's why gift cards and $ work great! Karen H.

Gift idea for for godson's college graduation

May 2009

My godson is graduating from Dartmouth in Arabic Studies and has won a Fulbright scholarship to go to Morocco to study for a year. I want to give him a special graduation gift that is not too expensive. Any ideas???

Congratulations to your godson- what an exciting opportunity. If he loves to travel, I have two ideas of memorable things from a year I spent studying in the middle east. First is to buy him a train/plane/bus/boat ticket to travel to a new city for the weekend once he is there. If you have a few extra dollars for a youth hostel or guesthouse, that can be a bonus. Second, is a personalized travel journal and/or travel guide books about Morocco. Lonely Planet and Rough Guides are great for budget travelers. Stacy D

Congratulations on being such a thoughtful godparent. There is only 1 thing I can think of that grads appreciate: money. If you are afraid to monetize the matter, then how about checking out the Dartmouth Campus Store website for a graduation gift? Something with the school logo and his name or graduation year might be a nice memento for him. G

Nursing school graduation gift

Nov 2008

My dearest friend will soon be graduating from nursing school. I want to get her a meaningful, useful gift as she launches her second career. Any suggestions?? Thanks! m

Why not get her something she will use a pair of scrubs! I believe nurses have to buy their own anyways, might as well show your support and give her something she will use. You could also buy a pair of comfy shoes. Nurses love those!

How about getting her something she will use for work? Framing her diploma might be nice and you can pick out the frame together. That tells her you value her effort and education. Does she need a head start on white lab coats? other clothes for work? a good stethoscope? You're a Good Mom

Some ideas at different price points:

1. A nice stethescope - Littman is a good brand with several options at different price points. I bought myself a ''Cardiology II'' when I graduated from nsg school 12 yrs ago, and I still love it every day. Check for online retailers.

2. A really nice, big leather bag/purse - This one could run you $300 or more. When I changed jobs a few years ago (to a higher paying one), I treated myself to a great bag from Coach that can hold files, reference books, wallet, cell, lunch bag and water bottle - everything I carry to and from work every day. I love it!

3. A nice massage/spa treatment - always a good gift, but esp for a student/recent grad who may not choose to spend his/her loan money or hard earned cash on pampering.

4. Funky socks - we have to wear socks to work (OSHA req, plus it just makes sense), but they don't have to be boring! Target, Old Navy, and the Gap often have interesting and colorful options, but I'm esp excited about the socks I found recently at a shoe store on 4th Street and at Heartfelt on College Ave near Alcatraz. I'm sure there are many other specialty shoe stores that stock funky socks.

5. Very emollient hand cream - I hesitated with this one because I'm particular about what I use. I like unscented (can't use scented products at work), and am partial to a drug store brand that's not very ''gifty.'' I have also used and enjoyed L'Occitane and Caswell Massey products, received as gifts (and appreciated!). Just be really careful about the scent. RN

Check out It is a gift web site that has beautiful different types of gifts. Some are by ''profession'' and if you don't see one for nursing, I'm sure they'll try to get it for you. They really have gorgeous stuff and they are so great to work with. Additionally, whenever you buy something, they donate 10% to a charity of your choice. Love that site! frequent gift buyer

Med School graduation gift

Dec 2007

My sister-in-law graduated from medical school last May and I am still trying to find a gift for her. Does anyone have advice about great gifts for med school grads? Did anyone receive a gift that they loved and think other med school grads might love? Thanks for your help. S

CA$H!!! trinket hater

One small item you could get is the Merck's Manual from 1899. They recreated their first famous manual for the 100th aniversary. It is so interesting to anyone in the medical field. Liberal use of such lovely medicines like arsenic and mercury for all kinds of ailments. Also, TRUE SPIRIT OF ANTS and the Manual helpfully explains ''From ants'' Hilarious. Shows how far we've come and also how far we have to go I suppose. You can probably buy it here although I just had a quick look and didn't see it. I have a copy if you can't buy it from Merck. You could also give her some money. Just out of med school usually means big loans and small pay at least for a few years. That's what she needs most. Maybe ask your brother first if he thinks she would be fine with getting money. sean

Probably cash, to help her pay off her med school loans? Seriously. Anon

I think it's lovely you're thinking so hard about sister's med school graduation gift. When I graduated med school, sister gave me nothing, and since parents had given me an expensive wooden university logo armchair for college graduation which I consider to be an albatross, I bought an expensive set of cookware on sale and told my parents it was from them, so they sent me a check. So, for me, the typical ''graduation'' gifts would have been a waste, but a gift that was both practical and was for a favorite hobby meant a lot. Good luck! Gifted

If you can afford it ( or arrange a group gift), I would buy her a medical textbook of her choice. Just ask her which one she wants and go get it at the UCSF Bookstore. Call first to see if it is in stock, and, if it isn't, they can order it for you. Be prepared for a price tag of $100-150. If you go with your kid(s) and partner, they can play at the new Golden Gate Park playground while you take a 20 minute stroll to the bookstore and back. I think that that would be VERY welcome and she would think of you when she used it during residency and beyond. JM

Small gifts for 8th grade graduation party

May 2003

I'm having an 8th grade graduation party for my child. Half of the guests will be her classmates who also are graduating (I've told them not to bring gifts- the adults will do that). I want to make my daughter feel special, but I also want to acknowledge her fellow graduating classmates by giving each one a gift/party favor. Can anyone suggest a reasonably priced, but unique party favor/gift that would appeal to 14 year old boys and girls? I prefer to give something they'll remember, not just, for instance, a gift certificate. Since about 15 will likely attend, I don't want to spend more than $5 each. I thought about a t-shirt with a class picture, but they aren't taking the class picture until after the party. Thanks much for any suggestions. Diane

Maybe you could give a t-shirt with the class year and name on it and have the kids sign each others' shirts with fabric markers - the kind you don't have to iron afterward. You can do the same with hats -- Target sells inexpensive ball-type hats in plain colors. I don't know whether the kids would ever actually wear the hats, but it would be a unique keepsake and you can get pictures of them all wearing their hats or shirts. I would suggest, however, that EVERYONE sign EVERYONE'S hat or shirt so it doesn't become a popularity thing.... Susie

Oriental Trading Company has lots of fun party favor type of gifts for grads. You may find something there check their website. Congrats! Juliette

What about burning a CD for each student that has favorite songs spanning their middle school career? You could design a fun cover and use a CD stomper (your daughter knows all this stuff, trust me!) to make them look professional. This gift would most definitely be under your $5 limit. anon

A ''class of 2003'' picture frame! Congratulations to your daughter!