Thursday, April 26, 2018

Grad Gift Guide

I've had multiple people ask me if I have any stellar gift ideas for upcoming graduations and so I hit the streets (and by streets I mean I texted Anna Grace and asked her to ask her friends and asked for ideas on my Instagram stories) and have the best of the best for y'all today :) 

At the very top of everyone's list was gift cards.  Gift cards, gift cards and more gift cards.  For the campus bookstore, for Target, for restaurants near campus, for gas, for the grocery store, for coffee... pretty much college kids need money :)  Anna Grace said that one of her favorite gifts was a gift card to a coffee shop really close to campus that lasted her almost the whole semester. Moral of the story?  Kids love a gift card!

I think the way to make a gift card seem less "impersonal" is the note/card that goes with it - "Dear so and so, I'm going to miss our Chipotle nights... here's a gift card to enjoy some on me!"  or "You're probably going to have some late nights and early mornings so here's a Starbucks card to keep you going - can't wait to hear about all your adventures!"  or "I can't wait to see pictures of your dorm room! Here's a Homegoods card to help you find some fun accessories".  You get the idea :) 

Other ideas were...

O-Venture Key Ring
I'm going to admit that I had no idea what this was.  Apparently I've been living under a rock.  

I looked them up and there are a TON of color and material options ranging from about $25 - $60 and it would be cute to match school colors!  Anna Grace recommended the one with the wallet attached to hold her ID and debit card as well :) 

This card holder is under $10 and attached directly to the back of your phone.  Great for student IDs, cards and cash.  And a GREAT price point!

Either one of these would be perfect for students!

These Birks are $35, cute and can go from the shower to class and everywhere in between.  They float, don't smell bad and are incredibly practical.  And great for guys and girls.

Several people suggested a BIG rolling duffel bag that could be used for packing up #allthethings for trips over breaks.

This was another item that I never would have thought of on my own but it's such a great idea for kids living in a dorm or an apartment with roommates!  This one is under $10, but you could even have it monogrammed!

For a weekend at home, carting books and study materials to a friends dorm, etc.  (I gave these a few years ago and they were a HUGE hit!)

Because who has room for an ironing board OR really wants to iron :)

LOTS of people suggested a super snuggly throw blanket and as a blanket-lover myself I concur :) 

A fresh new bag ready to handle #allthebooks along with a laptop, tablet, snacks, etc.  (Sidenote - I like to order backpacks from Nordstrom because of their awesome customer service!)

A piece of jewelry with the coordinates of their hometown - I thought this was super thoughtful and sweet!  (the ones I linked above are under $20!)

A "College Survival Kit"

This image I found on Pinterest, but several people mentioned putting together a "college survival kit" or even a little first aid kit with things that kids might not think they need, but they also might not want to have to try and track down late at night (like hydrogen peroxide, bandaids, etc.)]

And here are a few other misc.ideas/tips...

- including one of those HUGE blue IKEA bags.  They're great for packing, pretty much indestructible and fold up into pretty much nothing.

- A t-shirt quilt made out of shirts from their high school activities/clubs

- For students graduating from college suggestions were an apple watch, Kendra Scott earrings or a nice handbag as they set off into the "real world.

- Jon Hart is apparently a brand that's super popular with college kids... I was clueless... but if you want to be extra cool you can check them out :) 

- A subscription box! How fun would it be to get them a Julep or Birchbox or Fab, Fit, Fun box for a semester or even the year!  Everybody loves happy mail and (depending on your budget!) this could be a really memorable and fun gift.

- Stationary and forever stamps

- Money to purchase an Amazon prime student account (I thought this idea was GENIUS!!!)

- Over and over again students wrote something along these lines... - As sweet as it is when people buy something specific (like dorm decor, books, bedding or jewelry) sometimes the recipient just doesn't have the same taste and those items go unused.  Stick to more generic items and add the personal touch with a thoughtful note. ;)

The absolute SWEETEST idea that someone suggested was a card including a self-addressed stamped envelope and a note saying that all the student had to do was pop that card in the mail, provide their mailing address and the gift giver would bake them a treat and drop it in the mail to them.  Isn't that the sweetest ever?!?!  

I'll keep adding to this list as people share more ideas and I hope y'all found it helpful!  This year Dave and I are going to be gifting gift cards (I usually do Nordstrom, Amazon or Chick-Fil-A) and I'd love it if you have a great gift you've received or a gift that you love to give if you'd leave it in the comments!  Happy Thursday, friends!!!

PS - this post contained affiliate links... thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!


  1. GREAT ideas! I know gift cards seem so impersonal but you know they get used and are so helpful for college kids!

  2. All great ideas!! When I graduated high school, my favorite gift was cash! Did they even make gift cards back then? Haha!

  3. Love love this people so many good ideas!!!

  4. Well as the mom of a graduating Senior - I saw the blanket you had in Griffins post last week and contacted House of Belonging to get one for my baby girl. However, when I ask her what she would like from others she answered with James Avery Charms, Gas cards, Eating out Gift Cards, and an apple watch! LOL

  5. Great ideas! My kiddos loved getting cash - they both put that money towards buying their first car!

  6. This was a great and informative post! Could you do a teacher gift guide? Or is it also gift cards? I never know! Thanks!

  7. These ideas are awesome! My best friend's mom gave me a monogrammed towel wrap for my high school graduation and I still have it 9 years later :)

  8. OMG you just saved my life- my daughter is graduating this year and only has about 20 friends to buy gifts for LOL

    1. I’m in that season of life where tons of my kids’ friends are sister suggested checks made out for the graduation year. So...every invite and/or open house will include a $20.18 check.

  9. What an awesome post! Great ideas, it's very nice to know what the teenagers are "into" now days!

  10. I did the college survival kit for a girl grad and bought a pink tool bag with a few basic tools included and filled it with many of the survival items in your picture. There were some great ones I didn't think of shown. I put toilet paper on the bottom as filler and some other items I included were clorox wipes, multi outlet plugs or strips or extension cords (there are never enough, especially if you are in an older dorm), a set of eating utensils, popcorn and my all time couldn't-have-made-it-through-college-without essentials peanut butter and chocolate! �� I would do the same for a guy, just not the pink bag! �� It turned out great and I know I would have loved it in college!

  11. My favorite high-school graduation gift was a monogrammed umbrella. It is definitely something i would have never thought to buy but came in hand SO many times in rainy south Louisiana! A rain jacket would also be a great gift!

  12. These are great ideas!!! I think guys are the hardest, but lately I've been buying a really nice tie (in school colors if I can find it) for guys. We write that it may not be an everyday item, but when they need it; they'll have it. It's also something that "fits" everyone. :)

  13. Great ideas! Forget the grad though, my husband would die over that steamer since he dewrinkles stuff in the dryer every single morning (#OCD). I just ordered it for him since I never know what to get him for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Here's a random middle of the year gift, honey.

  14. I do a desk supplies box. I buy a clear plastic shoe box and fill it with pencils, pens, post-its, stapler, scissors, paper clips, tape, sticky tack. white-out, etc. I try to pick up those things during back to school schools. I just store it in the shoe box. Sometimes I include a small whiteboard for messages.

  15. Great list - thank you for sharing!

  16. One of my favorite gifts was a small tool box! I needed it the first day of college for putting up my loft and still use it my apartment years later! Stationary and stamps are one of my favorites as well! Also gift cards are always a hit ����

  17. I am a big fan of the 5 year journals. How fun would it be to have that from your time in college!? I also love to give small toolkits with the necessities (hammer, nails, etc.). Also, I work on a college campus and I get asked to use my stapler all. day. long. so I have given some little stationary sets with fun, colorful staplers!

  18. Fantastic ideas!!! With my first of four children graduating, this will totally be my go-to list for gift ideas and suggestions for others. I too have apparently been living under a rock. I wouldn't have thought of half these ideas on my own. Thank you!

  19. This is SO helpful!! Thank you!!

  20. When I graduated high school, someone gave me a pink tool kit and I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. Fast forward 14 years later and I'm STILL using that pink screwdriver, measuring tape, and hammer! LOL it was such a great gift!

  21. I sell personal defense products and the high school girls I have encountered are afraid and wanting information as to what they can do to be safe. Damsel In Defense launched Warrior Workshops this spring to help give hands on training with the products as well as education to avoid circumstances where you may need to use them. It would be a great gift to host a Warrior Workshop for graduating seniors and gift them with a pepper spray. You can find a local Damsel Pro at


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