Got a high school grad in your home? Or perhaps you know a high school grad, and you want to get them a graduation gift to celebrate the momentous occasion. We've got a few graduation gift ideas to help you figure out what to get the newly diploma-ed. After all, graduating from high school is a big deal in any young person’s life. It marks the threshold between childhood and adulthood. What can you — as parent, friend, aunt, uncle or grandparent — do to mark the occasion? A gift is certainly in order, but what kind of graduation gift will they most appreciate? Here are some great ideas to get your mind rolling!
Traditional Graduation Gift Ideas
There are several traditional gifts that have been given to graduates for years. And for some, keeping with tradition is of utmost importance. With that in mind, some traditional graduation gift ideas include:
A quality pen set. We're not talking about a simple ballpoint pen that you pick up at Office Depot. We're talking about a nice pen with metal plating that can be inscribed with the graduate’s name, graduation date, a short note or other words to mark the occasion. Here is a handsome pen, which you can have engraved, that we found on Etsy for an affordable $28.90.
A watch. While people aren't as reliant on watches to tell time as they once were, there is still a place in a person's wardrobe for an attractive timepiece, and a nice wrist watch is a classic and beautiful gift. Mark the passage of time, and give a nod to all that the future holds with a jeweler's quality watch.
Other traditional gifts for the grad include: luggage, dorm room décor, a graduation photo in a nice frame, a professional framing of the diploma, a sweatshirt from the graduate’s college, or money, which always gets a smile!
Less Traditional Graduation Gifts
If you're more of a non-traditional gift-fiver, there are tons of ideas to consider.
Future Needs: Is the grad college-bound? Anything to help with the college experience will be in high demand. A laptop or other computer device would surely be put to good use. Or perhaps put together a collection of gift cards to restaurants and retail outlets in his university's town.
Something Fun: A new high school graduate is about to experience freedom in ways they've never known. Encourage a bit of wanderlust before they buckle down in the fall by gifting them a round-trip plane ticket to somewhere they've always wanted to explore. Or perhaps spring for a Eurail pass. Encourage adventure as they flex this new freedom!
Take Stock: A no nonsense gift, opening an IRA or purchasing some stock in your grad's name is a thoughtful gift that will be with them long-term.
How to Budget For A Graduation Gift
You might be wondering how much you should spend on your child's graduation gift. After all, you don't want to fall short of the other guests at your child's graduation party! It's generally customary for the parents to give the highest contribution to a child's graduation party. Of course, don't worry too much about the competition- you don't want to be bugging everyone asking them how much they're spending!
Generally, a ballpark range of $500-1,000 is considered acceptable. If this is more than you can afford, go for as much as you can. Even if you can only spend $100, your grad will appreciate the effort and the thought. If you're going to be contributing to your child's college costs, that can also count towards your gift.
Start saving over time. Starting as far in advance as you can is always a good idea. Take a chunk of your paycheck every month and set it aside for the eventual grad gift. How much you're able to set aside each month will depend on your salary and expenses, but generally $25-50 a month is a good place to start, especially if you're starting 6-12 months out.
No matter what graduation gift you go with, simply expressing your excitement for their accomplishment will make them feel like a million bucks! Your child has just achieved something wonderful, and they want nothing more than for you to acknowledge that and show them you're proud. One chapter of their life is now complete; on to the next!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/kali9.