Your Guide to the Perfect Graduation Gift

Your Guide to the Perfect Graduation Gift

Freed from tuition bills, you might want to splurge to celebrate the grand occasion.

So that child has finally walked the stage, grabbed a piece of parchment and flung that mortarboard into the air, marking graduation and entry into a new phase in life.

Whether it’s your own son or daughter, a niece or nephew, a grandchild, or just the offspring of a good friend, you want to do something to show the graduate you’re proud of the accomplishment. Yes, it’s time to pick out the perfect gift.

Just remember: Almost anything looks like a bargain if you’re a parent who no longer has to shell out tens of thousands of dollars a year for day school or college.


Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but not if she’s fresh out of high school or college. We’re sure most new graduates have never met a $100 bill (or $50 or $20) they wouldn’t be thrilled to get to know better. You can customize the amount to be a multiple of chai (18) or some other meaningful number. Checks, easily deposited with a phone app, are as good as greenbacks.

Stock or Bond

Instill a lesson about the long view in personal finances and support Israel by buying an Israel Bond, or add thrills and chills with a few shares of stock. (We’d recommend some, but our lawyers advise against it.)

Electronic Knickknack

From portable phone chargers to earbuds to portable power sources to noise-canceling headphones, these little necessities are always welcome — and always needed because they get lost or broken so often.


Any computer more than a month old is way behind the cutting edge. Help your grad enjoy the thrill of the latest technology to get a jump on “Fortnite” rivals.

Coffee Maker

For grads who are on their own, a way to get caffeine without the time and expense of heading to Starbucks is crucial. Whether you get the basic Mr. Coffee or top-end Keurig is up to you.


A charm bracelet serves as a perpetual reminder of how much you care. An inscribed watch does the same thing and might even get your grad to work or class on time.

Gift Card

When you care enough to think about where your graduate likes to shop — and enough not to stomp on his or her style. It could be for a clothing store, an electronics retailer, Bed, Bath & Beyond, or even Kroger.

Transit or Gas Card

Your grad will need to get around. A little gas money or a few trips on public transportation will help make that happen.


Of course, the need for gas money and transit card refills never ends. A bike is a good alternative that’s cheaper long term and provides some much-needed exercise.


Nothing says “graduation” like “plastics,” but only slightly behind that is “new car.” To a parent’s ears, “used Corolla” also has a nice ring to it.

Car Stereo

If your grad already has the wheels, all you have to do is supply the sound. You can skip the cassette player.


Whether for a dorm room or an apartment, a nice chair, a sturdy desk, a comfy couch or a mattress that actually offers back support is useful.


For the grad who’s going to see the world, or at least flying off to school or a job, a reliable rolling bag that fits in the overhead compartment is hard to beat.


The school years have been tough, and a simple beach vacation just isn’t enough. Whether it’s for you or the graduate is another matter.

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