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Gift Guide | Graduation Gifts

Gifts of Style for the Graduate

April 28, 2015

By Buffy York


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Since my daughter Elinor is graduating from high school this year, I know that purchasing perfect graduation gifts can be a daunting task. I have mom friends who have been obsessing about  graduation gifts since Christmas.

These days graduation gift giving is more in style than ever. Contrary to the traditions of the my alma mater in 1986, it is now customary for high school graduates to give each other gifts . . . this generation truly loves each other. It’s fun to see gifts pouring in at our house, wrapped in cellophane with colored ribbon, and it seems more like a wedding than a graduation.

With the help of Elinor and her friend Jack, I’ve found some stylish and not-so-typical graduation gifts ranging from $3 to $95 for both guys and girls.

For the girls . . .

The Monogrammed Acrylic Valet Tray is the mother of all graduation gifts. At no other time in your life will you receive or purchase one, but it is a gift that a girl will use forever. I love this one because they will etch the monogram for you at no extra charge.

The Big Buddha ‘Abigale’ Tote is the perfect answer for street side chic. College kids cannot have enough tote bags, as they are always “toting” from one place to the next. ANY female would love this bag. PERIOD. Honestly, I want one.

For under $3, The “Key to My Heart” Antique Bottle Opener is such a sweet way to give a bottle opener and assume it’s only for bottled Coca Cola. Need to buy in mass? You can’t go wrong with this one.

Chevron is the pattern of the year, and this Cork Board is perfect for pinning schedules, concert tickets, and zap photos.

Storage bins are a necessity for dorm living, so they might as well be stylish like this one in metallic silver. It comes in gold, too. Perfect to stash away shoes, cosmetics, or wash cloths . . . its even food safe!

The clever engraving on this classic Kate Spade New York Bangle sends the perfect message to your beloved graduate – “Good As Gold”.

The leather-bound book entitled God’s Promises for Your Every Need–has been my “go to” gift since my mother in law gifted it to me a few years ago. This is the perfect book to turn to when you are 18.

For the guys. . .

Every man needs a Leather Coin Tray to keep him organized. My personal favorite, this tray comes in three colors, lies flat for travel and has a contemporary flair.

I know from experience that the Vornado Zippi Personal Fan is quite simply the best portable fan ever. Dorm rooms get hot . . . plus a little “fan noise” is always a “plus” for the best college sleep.

Nothing says “classic” more than an Armetale Mug. My husband didn’t appreciate his until he turned about 40, but now drinks from it with great nostalgia and pride.

Why wasn’t this Cutlery Set available when I was eating spaghettios from the can in the Tutwiler freshman dorm? Sometimes the lack of utensils is a big issue with dorm life, and it’s depressing to always use plastic cutlery.

Teenage guys love The Big Bobber Floating Cooler. Just the idea of using it is fun. Picture it floating in a cold pool on a hot summer day . . . no need to get out to grab a Coke!

When I asked Jack what his favorite graduation gift was last year (he is a freshman), he quickly pulled out his wallet and showed me his Monogrammed Wallet Sized Bottle Opener.  He says he uses it all the time for those Coca Cola bottles, plus it keeps his credit cards from bending in his wallet. I immediately went online and ordered a million of them monogrammed with MBHS Class of 2014 to add sentiment. At only $14, this was our main graduation gift for the boys.

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