Great Grad Gifts

By Pam Molnar

The sounds of Pomp and Circumstance fill the air as we approach graduation season. When your graduate closes the door to childhood, you want to give him a gift that reflects that milestone. Stuck for ideas? No matter what your budget, you are sure to find a great gift for your graduate here:

1. Spirit wear. Help your grad blend in at a new school with college spirit wear. Contact the school directly or visit for a database of colleges worldwide.

2. Luggage. Maybe your grad is taking a “gap year” and plans to travel, or “travel” simply means coming home for the holidays. For daily use, consider a book bag for campus or a duffle bag for gym trips.

3. Toolkit. Got a grad who’ll soon be living solo? A basic tool kit includes screwdrivers, pliers, a hammer, measuring tape and other handy tools. You can find ready-made kits at hardware stores.

4. Gift cards. The one-size-fits-all gift, new college students might appreciate a gas card or a card for a major chain, where they can pick up food, toiletries, household items or even inexpensive furniture for small spaces (perfect for a dorm setting).

5. Basket of goodies. Fill a laundry basket with snack foods, toiletries, a sewing kit and a roll of quarters for the laundromat.

6. Books. An inspirational send-off for all ages: Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” For practical college advice, try “The Secrets of College Success,” by Lynn F. Jacobs. To record their college experiences, consider a five-year journal.

7. Money. Always a popular gift, the question is, “How much should I give?” will offer a dollar amount based on your relationship to the grad, state the event takes place, and your household income.

8. Homemade gift. Make a pillow or quilt out of high school and sports t-shirts. Put together a scrapbook of high school memories and include theater programs, sports medals and football programs. Create a photo montage of pictures from kindergarten to graduation and present it at the party.