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When it comes to graduations (high school or college!) finding the perfect gift for the recent graduate is half the battle. You want to find something they’ll love, something they’ll use… and something different from all the other gifts they’ll receive!
It’s a bit like receiving the fifth toaster at your wedding reception… you just don’t need a fifth water-bottle with your school’s mascot on the front.
So whether you’re looking to congradulate your best friend of your granddaughter I’ve got you covered… with a few of my favorite gift ideas for the graduate in your life.
1. Beach Towel
Alright y’all stick with me on this one. When it comes to college life there is one big new (sometimes scary!) item… communal showers. Yuck.
Even in my small female only dorm where I shared a bathroom with a mere 24 other girls the showers were always busy. Likewise the hallways were always busy… and try as you might there will come a day when you’re locked out of your room.
Which is why I love to give beach towels as graduation gifts instead of standard towels… they’re larger and cover a bit more *ahem* surface area. Which is great for walking the hallways and those times when you find yourself on the other side of a locked dorm room door.
Want to take it a step further? A beach towel (like this pretty mandala patterned towel) that comes with personification will be pretty and functional. It’s less likely to walk away if it has your name on it!
2. Sleep Mask
This one is small and sweet. When it comes to dorm life your new college gal (or guy!) is going to have a bit of an adjustment. One of those adjustments is living with a virtual stranger… who may or may not have the same sleeping patterns!
My freshmen roommate thought it was completely appropriate to come home in the middle of the night, turn all the lights on and watch a little tv. Now the tv part will have to be nipped in the bud (or at least quieted with headphones) but there are times when you just can’t stop the light.
Finals week? Studying all night for a big test? Early morning sun? Living with a night owl? This little sleep mask is super cute and will help with allllll of those things. Just put it on and enjoy!
Bonus gift: Want to spruce this little gift up? The elastic is super stretchy! Try wrapping it around a scarf or towel with a couple dollar bills tucked inside. That always gets the grad excited.
3. Noise Canceling Headphones
Remember what I said about strange roommates watching tv at all hours of the night? Well if your grad is a night owl a good pair of headphones will keep her new roomie happy… she’ll be able to watch her shows all evening without disturbing the peace.
Likewise if your grad is a light sleeper a pair of headphones they can wear when sleeping (or studying) can make a world of difference!)
4. Bulletin Board with Photos from Home
This is such a sweet and sentimental gift… gather up a few pictures from home. Family, friends, pets… all the highlights! Then you can arrange them on a bulletin board that the grad can display in their new room.
They’ll love it each and every time they see it… and those times when they get a little homesick they’ll have a little bit of home right there with them.
The hardest part of sharing a bathroom with 24 other girls? You all have the same toiletries! And all of those toilitries have to travel with you back and forth to the bathroom several times a day.
The easiest way to carry all. the. stuff. is with a caddy… and I love this one that can hang on the back of the door. It makes it super easy to access everything when there isn’t a lot of counter space… plus it’s great for travel.
I’m a little obsessed with being able to personalize all. the. things. for college… you’d be surprised with what goes walking away when you don’t have your eyes on it.
When it comes to graduation there are a few momento’s that just make sense! A cute little Christmas ornament is the perfect gift for that sentimental tree.
They’ll take this out every year to put on their tree and remember their fun times at school.
The best part about this ornament is that it can be personalized for your grad… so that it’s perfect for their specific experience. My brother is graduating from college this year so I was able to add a little pizzaz to his ornament with his favorite activities, his school, even his job! He’s worked his way through the last four years at Outback and it’s like his second family so he loved that little nod to his college job.
You would be surprised by how many high school (and college!) graduates just don’t have a decent suitcase! Duffie bags and totes are the name of the game in school but once you start traveling you’ll need a set of decent luggage to take with you.
Trust me… this is one gift your grad will use for years to come.
Graduating from school is a window into a new chapter in your grad’s life. They’ll be making new friends, moving into a new place, starting over in an entirely different zip code (most of the time!).
Chances are they’ll want to record a little bit of that! Even if all they want to record are notes having a nice journal is a wonderful way to get started. I love this floral journal since it lets you personalize it with their name and favorite quote.
In this world I know one absolute truth… you can never have enough storage! For a college dorm room an over the door organizer can make all the difference in organizing shoes or cleaning supplies… those dorms are itty bitty so vertical storage is a must have.
For the college grad moving into their first apartment a storage ottoman is a wonderful gift! It’s “real furniture” that they likely don’t have enough of but has a place to hide all their stuff in their tiny apartment. Score!
10. Succulent & Personalized Pot
I cannot wait to put a little succulent in this pot… it will make the absolute best graduation gift! The front of this little planter is personalized with a little bit of home and gives your grad the perfect chance to introduce a little life into your grads new home.
Succulents are low light, low maintenance and still packed with all the green, goodness of a plant!
11. Tote Bag
When it comes to small spaces… like dorm rooms or even small apartments the only thing they have in common is that they’re small. Like absolutely no space small.
So gifts that serve double duty are perfect! I love tote bags because they’re big enough for a book bag, sturdy enough for a laptop bag, stylish enough for a weekend trip… and floppy enough to be stored in a drawer.
That’s a quadruple threat!
This tote bag is perfect for all of the above… plus I love all the cute sayings you can pick from.
12. Gift Card
Okay so this one may be a little bit of the obvious… a little bit of a cop out… it’s not even personalized! BUT a gift card never fails to impress. People love them because they can pick exactly what they want.
If your grad is picky (or you don’t know them very well) a gift card is always a great option.
13. Desk Lamp
When it comes to those all night study sessions (*ahem* netflix binge sessions) having a small lamp makes a huge difference. Otherwise you’re always turning on the overhead light and (potentially) bugging your roomie!
A desk lamp is a great gift for the grad who is just starting to gather all the college goodies… and they’ll use it every day.
14. Luggage Tag
A luggage tag is such a cute little gift… they’re affordable but not often thought of! So you can be sure of giving a totally unique gift.
I love how this little luggage tag has your name on the outside but contact information on the inside… so that your address and phone number aren’t out there for everyone at the airport to see.
The best part of this little gift is that every time they take a trip they’ll think of you!
It may seem like a lack-luster gift but a good blanket is a wonderful thing to have. Living with a stranger in a dorm means compromising on a lot of things… including the thermostat. Our college dorm had an window unit that we had control over… depending on the roommate that can mean using a couple blankets to fight off the chill.
Plus it’s something warm and snuggly to cuddle up in when the home sickness sets in.
Whew! That’s a lot of gift ideas… I’m off to snuggle in my very own blanket! I hope you found a few gifts for your new college grad… let me know which one was your favorite below.