Graduation is a time of uncertainty for some graduates and a time of excitement and expectation for others. This year, graduation may come with additional challenges for grads, and those challenges may keep them from celebrating in a traditional way.
Some graduations are being temporarily canceled, postponed or done differently utilizing technology. This can make a happy time feel somewhat spoiled. It is important to try to brighten this time for a graduate, especially if he or she is feeling disappointed.
Let a recent grad know you wish him or her well and care even if you can’t be there. We compiled a list, so you can find the perfect gift to give his or her spirit a bit of a lift.
Dorm/Home Décor and More
Whether the recent graduate is going off to college or finished with school completely and moving out to an apartment, regular household items are typical gifts for graduation that are appreciated. Keep in mind the styles the grad likes and think about how he or she dresses for inspiration. Do certain colors or patterns stand out?
You can always go with inexpensive bathroom sets including the shower curtain, towels, rugs, soap dishes and hand soap dispensers. Some sets are already combined or there are mix and match options.
For the kitchen, consider a coffeemaker, some mugs or even a French press for the true coffee aficionados. A new place will also mean a new need for items like pots, pans, dishes, silverware and glasses. Even a spice rack and cookbook can make awesome graduation gifts. There are cookbooks for all different types of cooking, even for college students or those cooking for one.
Even those who aren’t leaving home yet can appreciate a new duvet, desk items, paintings or pictures. Weighted blankets are said to alleviate anxiety, and since recent graduates may be a bit anxious when stepping into the great unknown, a graduation gift to reduce anxiety and improve sleep is an easy way to promote the new graduate’s mental and physical health.
There is a lot of fun associated with having one’s own space and personalizing it, whether it is a bedroom, dorm or new apartment. If you have an idea of what the recent grad likes, even small gifts can bring joy. If you don’t know what he or she might want or need to make the new place feel more like a home, ask.
Flowers and Plants
The easiest and most effective way to bring beauty, life and light to a space is by adding flowers and/or plants. Even if the recent grad has never exhibited a green thumb, having a plant to care for can sometimes ignite a passion for nurturing nature.
Succulents, spider plants and air plants are some easy growing options for graduation gifts. For a meaningful plant that is also easier to care for, there is the Chinese money plant, which will even produce little sprouts that can be planted for even more gorgeous greenery in the home. Another appropriate gift would be the lucky bamboo. It grows in low light in either water or soil and is believed to be both lucky and good feng shui.
If the recent graduate doesn’t seem like a person who enjoys plants, flowers may be more appreciated. Unexpectedly getting fresh flowers is known to boost mood. Sending flowers that coincide with school colors or a bouquet and teddy bear in celebration of graduation is a great way to let a recent grad know how proud you are, even if you can’t be there in person.
If you would like to send something to recognize and celebrate a graduation, let our florists at Daniela's Flower Shop II in New York, NY personalize a gift for the grad.
Sentiments in Print
Chances are, if you are shopping for a good gift for someone for graduation, you have probably been in their shoes. Think back to who you were and what you thought and felt when you were that age. What books resonated with you at that time in your life?
Whether you found meaning in Kurt Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger, Haruki Murakami or a lesser-known novelist who managed to write something that spoke to you, share that piece of who you were with a graduate who is still figuring it out. Write them your thoughts on the story and even on life itself. You can also give them a journal to go with that gift.
If you aren’t sure that your tastes and the taste of the recent graduate will coincide, there are also inspirational books about organization, finances and achieving goals that could inspire a young person to take the road less traveled, which occurs less often than the popularity of the phrase would have the world believe.
For a shorter sentiment, you could always engrave a keepsake item like a watch, jewelry box or piece of jewelry with advice, a memory you share or an inspirational quote.
Commencement Speeches to Give and Keep
Commencement speeches by certain individuals are so moving that they are made into books. That is the case with David Foster Wallace’s commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The unbelievable speech is so profound and inspirational that it has been commented on endlessly in articles and blogs. The book version is called, “This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.”
Another amazing commencement speech that is available as a book you can give is by an author many in the age group graduating will recognize and appreciate. JK Rowling’s commencement speech at Harvard was an honest and emotional treasure that used her personal experiences to illustrate that failure isn’t an end. It is part of a process, and imagination can save us. The book is called, “Very Good Lives.”
If you don’t want to limit it to one author, there are also books that compile some of the best and most popular commencement speeches ever given.
Tech gifts can be difficult to keep up with as technology is constantly evolving. Depending on who the graduate is to you and your budget, gifts like cell phones and laptops probably aren’t appropriate. However, that doesn’t have to eliminate tech.
Some portable speakers can be used with cell phones to play tunes and keep them and their friends dancing during study breaks. There are also projectors that can be used with cell phones.
Depending on whether your graduate is out of college or high school and what he or she is into, there are monthly subscriptions to programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others that may be helpful for a recent grad. When it comes to tech, you can either ask the graduate, a relative or friend for advice.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it is a common gift for graduation. You can’t go wrong giving money because you are essentially giving the graduate the opportunity to pick out his or her own gift. When it comes to money, several variables that determine what amount is appropriate.
Stay within your budget, yet the amount should also reflect the relationship that you share with the graduate. You are not expected to give an extravagant amount to a graduate you barely know. Usually, $20 to $100 is a typical gift for graduation. The gift can be larger for people who are closer to the graduate but not if it strains your budget.
No matter what gift you give, a recent graduate could use the support of friends and family. If you know the recent graduate well, be there for him or her and make sure you communicate that you are always willing to listen.
Remember the confusion of that time, appreciate where you are in life and help those who are still trying to find their path. To quote David Foster Wallace’s famous commencement speech, “It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another cliché turns out to be true: your education really is the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.”
Like Wallace, wish a recent graduate more than luck and be there to offer support and advice for someone when he or she is still figuring things out. Times may change, but the importance of giving stays the same.