What Should I Give for a Graduation Gift?
Content Written/Updated on May 2, 2007
We know a set of twins who are both graduating from college next month. My husband and I have known them for about 4 years and they have both done some babysitting for us. What would be appropriate as a graduation gift? If I were to give them money, what amount do you think I should give? We usually give 2nd cousins or nieces/nephews 50-100 dollars.
$100 is a typical graduation gift amount for high school and college graduates. If you can't afford $100, it is perfectly acceptable to give less. If you can afford more and you are very close to the individual (or if you just like being extra generous), you can give more. In any case, the best gift you can give new graduates is cash since it gives them the opportunity to get what they truly need for the next stage of life.
The graduation gift is certainly a gesture of congratulations, but it's primary purpose it to help graduates start their new life, much like a baby shower is to help new parents care for their new baby. Think about what that new graduate will be doing. They'll probably be starting a new job, internship, educational program, or something else that requires an interview and will need to purchase a respectable outfit for that occasion. They may need to invest in a new gadget, like a PDA, computer, or something specific to the job they want to have. Many college students have debt or are struggling to pay basic bills, so cash and a good financial management book can help them start in the right direction. Gold coins, bonds, and stocks can also help the graduate with finances and give them an introduction to investing, but don't forget to give them that good book about money management and investing. The only thing I wouldn't buy for a graduate is something that is going to idly sit on their shelf; they already have a trophy of their accomplishments, their diploma or degree.
If you are flat broke and can't afford a gift, give something from the heart. A letter of praise with a bit advice is always a nice gesture, and many graduates will cling to these letters for years to come. I know many graduates, myself included, who have actually paid attention to the advice and followed it. Another way to give advice without being an advice-pusher is to give them an inspirational book. If you are artistic or a crafter, make something very personal for the graduate. A photo album or video, set to significant music, filled with memorable moments from the graduate's past is also a beautiful way to be sentimental in this life changing stage of growth. Whatever heart filled gift you give, just be sure that it is something the recipient wants or needs, not just something you want to give.
And, don't forget to say what every graduate truly wants to hear from their loved-ones, "I'm so proud of you."