Graduation is an exciting time of exploration and new beginnings, worthy of noting with an equally special gift. But not every graduate can enjoy that movie moment of getting keys to a brand-new car on the day of commencement. Barring that, what do grads really want… aside from their own Netflix account? Here are some gifts that graduates in all stages of life — middle school, high school and college — will find useful.
Best Graduation Gifts for Middle School Graduates
Whether your graduate is just discovering their own musical taste, or needs to block out the outside world to study, a great pair of headphones can be a blessing to both the receiver and those nearby. Upgrade those standard-issue earbuds to a pair of over-the ear Beats or Sennheiser headphones, and nurture your graduate’s budding audiophile.
Of course, not every gift has to be practical, particularly if your graduate is on the younger side. A portable gaming console or handheld entertainment system can be a great way to acknowledge your graduate’s job well done. A new Nintendo 3DS XL or PlayStation Vita will keep them entertained until the fall semester arrives and help them chill during study breaks.
A portable mp3 player can be an ideal gift for your younger graduate who’s not yet ready for an expensive smartphone — or those older students who just happen to be tough on their electronics. A refurbished iPod Shuffle or Nano will let your grad take their music on the road without breaking the bank. Many portable mp3 players are tough and resilient — and unlike a smartphone, there’s no need to panic if they get lost or broken.
Best Graduation Gifts for High School Graduates
If your hard-working graduate doesn’t already have a laptop — or if their aged laptop rapidly approaches its last gasp — now might be the perfect time to upgrade. The lightweight Chromebook was practically built for taking classroom notes and composing papers, and a built-in webcam can keep you connected with your college graduate while they’re away on campus. If you’re having doubts about picking the right laptop for your graduate, consult our list of things to consider before hunting down a great laptop deal online.
A Messenger Bag
By the time your child graduates high school, they’ll probably have a considerable electronic arsenal. What better gift than a leather messenger bag in which to to keep it all! A quality messenger bag is a great milestone replacement for that battered old backpack or duffel bag, and a great way to keep those books — and that new laptop — safe and organized.
Best Graduation Gifts for College Graduates (Undergraduates or Grad Students)
Is your graduate leaving home? Don’t leave them stranded without a proper set of tools. Sure, it might not seem like the most sentimental gift in the world. But sooner or later, we all have that moment where we need a screwdriver or a wrench. Your graduate is no different! If they’re already the do-it-yourself type and know the difference between a power drill and impact driver, so much the better. The gift was sentimental after all! You won!
The (Not-So) Classic Watch
A fine watch is the classic graduation gift. But giving your beloved grad a watch might earn you a skeptical look in an age where everyone’s cell phone has a clock on it. If your graduate’s sense of style doesn’t run toward classic wrist gear, consider outfitting them with a smartwatch or some fitness technology instead. A new smartwatch will keep them moving between study sessions and tell much more than time.
Best Graduation Gift for Anyone
When is it too soon to get your graduate a new tablet PC? Literally never! Studies have shown that even toddlers can enjoy significant learning benefits from using a tablet. While the science on tablets for babies might still be ongoing, a tablet PC is still a great, versatile gift for graduates of any age. From study tools to gaming to communication, a tablet PC is versatile, portable, and powerful. If you want to buy a gift that will get used on a daily basis, you can’t go wrong with a tablet — chances are they’ll never put it down.
A graduation is more than a mere ceremony. It’s not just tossing of hat to the tune of of “Pomp and Circumstance” — it’s an important milestone, an acknowledgement that you’re concluding one chapter of life and beginning the next. It’s a chance for friends and family to witness an important accomplishment and express their pride and appreciation.
Most of all, a graduation (usually) only happens once in a person’s lifetime. The best (and most enduring) gifts you can give are your time, attention, and appreciation. Make a memory and commemorate the occasion with a hug, and a group photo to remember the moment.