Graduating is an exciting achievement and an important milestone to be shared with loved ones. When someone close to us graduates from college, we want to show how proud and delighted we are with a meaningful or generous gift. While money is always a well-appreciated college graduation gift, especially for graduates who have to start paying off their student loans, there are many other ways to show your love and support.
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Family Heirlooms & Handcrafted Items
You don’t have to give money, or even spend it, to congratulate a family member on their academic accomplishment. Upon graduation, consider giving your relative a priceless family heirloom such as a piece of jewelry, china, or even a secret treasured family recipe. Gifting a precious keepsake is a tradition generally saved for major milestones or events, including graduation. Passing down a family heirloom is a memorable gift and tender sentiment.
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Another unique and special way to congratulate your loved one is by making their gift yourself. Depending on your skillset and your graduate’s needs or tastes, there are various handcrafted items that make for great gifts. For instance, if you have carpentry skills, you can build a piece of furniture for their new home or apartment. If the graduate has admired your artwork, you can create an original piece just for them. For those of you who are great bakers or chefs, then you can offer to cater their graduation party. Even something as simple as a beautifully written card or a small scrapbook of memories to commemorate your friendship with a classmate can be an endearing gift. Spending your time and energy on a thoughtful, handmade gift might be the most heartwarming way to honor the occasion.
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You may have other useful skills that you can put to use to show your support for a graduating relative, friend, or partner. Consider how your own expertise or connections can help your loved one transition into their professional lives.
There are many ways to help a college student with their job quest or career goals. For instance, if you’re social media savvy or a graphic designer, you can help your graduate build his/her own website. Whether it’s for a new business or for showcasing artwork or writing, offer to help your loved one build an online presence and market their work.
You can also help your friend or loved one find work after college. Take a look at your own professional network to see if you know anyone who is hiring in the graduate’s field or even willing to meet for an informational interview. Many people depend on connections to find jobs and helping a new graduate get their foot in the door of the industry they want to work in is an incredibly thoughtful show of support.
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Presence over Presents
Beyond professional assistance or material items, the most valuable gift you can give to graduates is just being there for them. Whether you fly out to attend their ceremony and celebrate their achievement with them in person or if you offer your time and support to them after the festivities have ended, simply letting them know that you want to be present as they move forward with their lives is essential.
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Close friends, relatives, or significant others may need even greater support from you after graduation. As they embark on a new phase in their lives, some graduates will need constructive criticism or advice, while others may need more than words during this often challenging transitional period. You may want to offer traveling with them, if they’re embarking on a well-earned vacation, or consider letting them be your house guest as they figure out their new living situation after college. These types of generous and compassionate acts will be tremendously beneficial and gratefully accepted by most graduates.
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There are so many ways to say congratulations and show your support to a graduating student. From offering your time and energy to giving them a one-of-kind gift, find a way to celebrate their milestone that’s truly meaningful. Remember that graduation is more than just a commencement ceremony; it’s a conclusion of an important period in one’s life as well as the beginning of a new chapter. So if you want to give a significant gift for this momentous occasion, just be genuine and thoughtful, and you’ll find a sincere way to recognize your loved one’s achievement.
What’s are some of the best college graduation gifts you’ve ever given or been given? Share it with us in the comment section below.
Javaher Nooryani is a writer and editor based in Denver, CO. She has a BA in American Literature & Culture from UCLA and a Masters in English & American Literature from NYU. As a former private tutor and college prep advisor, Javaher is passionate about higher education and is happy to share her knowledge on CollegeFocus, a website that helps students deal with the challenges of college.