Graduation is bittersweet for both the students and the teachers. It’s an exciting time for the students because they are closing one chapter in their lives and opening another, but with some apprehension of what’s to come as they embark on a new beginning. As a secondary teacher, I love seeing my students receive their diplomas and graduate from childhood into adulthood, but I will also miss them in some ways.
Education is something that should be valued in every home and parents should celebrate their child’s milestones. Whether your graduate is graduating kindergarten, middle school or high school, it’s a big deal to them, and a little something to mark their achievement is sure to be appreciated, even if it’s small and inexpensive.
Gifts that are well thought out, meaningful and personal will be the most memorable. Notice that I did not include the word elaborate because a simple gift can often times be just enough to let your graduate know that you are proud of them and their achievement.
Gift Ideas for the High School Graduate
Of course we would all like to give our graduate the best gift possible and many would choose the high-end laptop or latest techy gift, but smaller sentimental gifts work just fine and are often appreciated for their thought and meaning. Handmade gifts can also be great inexpensive options.
You may be receiving graduation invitations from nieces and nephews that you have not seen in years, but would still like to get them a little something. In this case, a handwritten letter, a framed picture or a card will suffice.
Many high school graduates are preparing for their first year of college and perhaps they will be moving away and living on their own for the first time away from their parents. That’s a lot of change in a short amount of time, and there are some gifts that are great to help them with this new transition.
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1. Photo Memory Books or Framed Pictures
If you have photos and scrapbooks of memories you’ve shared with your high school graduate, it’s a great time to turn them into a gift. Nothing can soothe homesickness quite as much as looking back on some pictures of happy times shared with loved ones.
Put together a photo collage, frame a collection of photos, or even put together a mini-scrapbook of memories that your graduate can take with them as they embark into the great big world.
2. Handmade Keepsake
Over the years, your graduate will have accumulated many school spirit shirts, sports team shirts or uniforms, and merit patches. What better way to repurpose those items than into a handmade t-shirt quilt that beautifully displays your graduate’s achievements and school spirit? Click here for a quick and easy tutorial from Samantha Miller at the National Quilters Circle.
3. Personalized, Handwritten Letter
As a high school teacher, I know that my seniors love receiving personalized, handwritten (or typed) letters from their teachers that share memories, words of encouragement and advice for their future endeavors.
When writing a letter to your gradate, mention how proud you are of them and their achievements and tell them about all of their qualities that you admire and that make them special. Express some emotion or let them know how they have touched your life in some way. It’s a special gift that is sure to be appreciated.
4. Gift Cards or Cash Money
Giving money or gift cards for every invitation received can get pricey, but if you are on a budget and you are somewhat crafty or artistic, you could fold a few dollar bills into flowers for a fun and inexpensive gift. Of course, if your budget allows, you could give more. Like this idea? Check out this flower origami tutorial from Umbrella Clan.
Feeling extra crafty? Design a special card to go with your origami flowers that lets your graduate know how you’ve “enjoyed watching them bloom.” Include a personalized message in the card letting them know how proud you are of them and their achievements. No time for that? Download a free printable card by clicking the button below and write your personalized message in the space at the bottom!
If your graduate is moving away from home to go to college, there will be many things that he or she will need for their new dorm or apartment. A gift card to Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond or even a local grocery store will help them furnish their new place and help stock the fridge.
5. Food, Gas or Discount cards
We all gotta eat, and every young adult, and even older adults (teachers) appreciate food, especially when it’s free! Purchasing a discount card for pizza or other local restaurants or giving your graduate a gift card to a local grocery store will certainly help out.
Gas prices are not what they used to be, and if your graduate will be commuting to college every day or he or she has a job that they will be driving to on a regular basis, then their gas bill will add up fast. A discount gas card or gift certificate for a couple tanks of gas on you may a gift to consider.
6. A Planned Outing
If you are not the sentimental type or if you are looking to treat your graduate to something fun, then a planned outing may be the perfect gift for you. This special day with your graduate will allow you to spend some well-deserved quality time together before he or she goes off to college.
This planned outing does not have to be elaborate or an all-day affair. It could simply be a brunch, lunch or dinner date. You could take your graduate out to the movies if that’s what you two enjoy or a special place that you have both been together on a prior occasion to perhaps relive those memories. Whatever you choose to do for your special outing, make it memorable by focusing on something that you are both interested in doing and will really enjoy.
7. Care Packages
There are so many things your graduate will need to help furnish their dorm or apartment if they are moving away for college. If you would like to help them purchase some essential items as your gift to them, then a care package may be the way to go.
Purchase a large laundry basket and fill it up with household supplies, toiletry items, non-perishable food items, and small appliances such as a toaster, coffee maker, can opener or blender.
Every student will need school supplies for the upcoming school year. If you would prefer to help them get ahead for next school year, then you could fill up a backpack with some essential school supplies such as highlighters, pens, pencils, erasers, a calculator, notebooks, paper, folders and a daily planner.
Whatever gift you choose, just know that it will be appreciated even if it is small. Something that may seem insignificant to you may make another person’s day and mean the world to them. People like to know that you care and a little recognition goes a long way. What will you do to show your special graduate that you are proud of them?