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Fun Graduation Gifts

Studio 5 Party, Holiday and Ideas Contributor Alisa Bangerter shares some inspiration.

When selecting a gift for your graduate, be creative! Gift possibilities are as endless and unique as the graduates themselves!

•Sometimes the way you present or give a gift can be as much fun as the gift itself. Consider sending the graduate on a scavenger hunt with each clue leading to the next place. At each clue have a small gift item or a part of the larger gift. This could really be personalized to the recipient sending them to homes of friends and family or even business or places that are favorites of the graduate.
•Money is the number one gift preferred by graduates but sometimes giving money seems like not much thought went into the gift. A way to add some fun to giving money is to give it in a creative way. Folding the money (do an internet search for money folding or origami) in creative ways or making a crown or lei using paper bills can make the gift unique. Another fun way to give money is to wrap another gift in it. Simply lay flat one dollar bills and adhere together using tape than can be removed easily. Make a flat sheet of the bills and use to wrap a box or a book. The recipient may not even remember what was inside because the wrapping was so fun.
•Make a quilt using memorabilia from the graduates' school. Use uniforms, t-shirts, photos printed on fabric, etc. to make quilt blocks. There are many quilt stores that will do the quilting by machine for you. This can be a true keepsake.
•Have business cards printed for the graduate.
•Have a hardbound photo book made for the graduate using pictures from school. A book like this can be an option instead of spending the time to create a handmade scrapbook. A fun choice would be to include photos from the years kindergarten on up. Many photo stores or places that develop film make these books (you simply provide the photos and text), sometimes in an hour. A good place to create a book online is:
•If giving gift cards, why not buy several in smaller amounts. Give the gift cards in a creative way such as making a lei out of them. Simply wrap the cards in a strip of cellophane and tie with ribbons between each card. Another fun way to give gift cards is to add them to a vase of greenery making the cards "flowers". Simply place each card in a plastic card holder (available from a florist) and arrange in the greenery.
•An address book can be a great gift - fill it with addresses including e-mail addresses. You might even add some envelopes addressed and stamped for the graduate.
•A set of greeting cards/all occasion cards with a book of stamps would be a nice and appreciated gift. Cards can be purchased or handmade.
•First aid-kits make great gifts for those going away to school. Make sure to stock with extra band-aids and common pain or cold medicines. Add some vitamins.
•A car emergency kit or a tool kit would be a great gift.
•Purchase a money CD for the graduate.
•Purchase a share of stock from a well known company. Go to to purchase a share, have the stock certificate framed and engraved with clever sayings that correspond with the stock you purchased. This is a unique gift and there are a lot of fun options.
•Have a star named for the graduate. Give a card with the star certificate telling the graduate that to: "shoot for the stars in their future endeavors". Go to to name a star.
•Frame the graduates diploma and certificates for them.
•Create a household kit - include items such as scissors, needles and thread, stapler, glue, masking tape, nail, hammer, small tool kit, measuring tape, band-aids and other first aid items, tacks, elastics, paper clips, etc.
•Give a book such as "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Suess. Write a personal message in the front of the book.
•Give a container of personalized M&M candies (go to You can create personalized candies and/or combine colors for the college or university the graduate will be attending.
•Give cufflinks - these are nice for a college graduate. They can be found for almost every profession. School logos are also available.
•Give a coupon for a monthly gift. For example: "Cookie of the Month Club." Each month send a package of cookies or treats to the graduate. This is much appreciated if the graduate is away at school.
•Make a month worth of freezer meals for the graduate to use at school.
•Frame a graduation poem. This is even better if you write it and personalize it for the graduate.
•Gift a certificate (a gift certificate for a massage or to a spa would be nice!) and roll it up and tie it to look like a diploma.
•Give a charm bracelet to a female graduate with charms on it to represent different aspects of their life. This would also be a fun gift from several friends to give and each friend contributes a charm with a message as why they chose that charm.
•Plant a tree in honor of the graduate and place a plaque by it.
•Give a special or collectable coin made in the year of the graduation.
•Make a video to music featuring the graduates' school experience. Use photos and other memorabilia from events they participated in, etc. Include fun interviews and advice from friends and teachers. This can be a priceless gift.
•Give a dictionary or thesaurus.
•Give a high school graduate a backpack filled with paper, pencils and other schools supplies they will need for college.
•Create a recipe book from family favorites that would be easy for the graduate to cook while they are at school. Maybe add a small crock pot, sandwich grill or hibachi.
•Give a laundry bag/basket filled with laundry supplies and a how-to manual. Add a roll of quarters.
•With the high price of gas, a gas card as a gift might be appreciated.
•A shower caddy filled with shower supplies would be nice if the recipient will be living in dorms where they have to share a bathroom.
•Fun items that have the logo or colors for the college or university the graduate will be attending make fun gifts. Items such as stadium blankets, T-shirts or sweat shirts, key chains, mugs, etc. A homemade pillowcase made with school logos or colors is also fun.
•A set of towels with the graduates name embroidered on them.
•Items personalized with photos: a mouse pad, pillows, quilts, t-shirts, etc.
•Give a newspaper subscription. The Wall Street Journal is a good choice.
•Think of what area the college graduate studied when selecting a gift. For example a nurse might appreciate a stethoscope, a teacher might like a gift card to a school supply store, an accountant might like a nice pen set, etc.
•Remember gifts don't need to cost a lot. A letter written to the graduate letting them know how they have been an influence in your life or giving them advice or wishes for the future would be a wonderful gift. You could even collect letters from friends and family and compile them in a book for the graduate. It would be priceless.

Best wishes to all graduates of 2008. You will do great things!

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