What to get the grad? It’s the age-old question that we’re here to put an end to once and for all. Cash. They want money as a gift. It’s that simple. But here in lies the rub. You can’t just hand over a pile of green, you have to tuck a check into a gift that’s meaningful – one that either reflects on how they’ve gotten where they are, or one that waxes poetic about where they’re going. Here are my top six gifts for the grad.
Let’s Get Sentimental Photo Book The most obvious gift of all, but no less awesome for it: the photo book retrospective. Any graduate is about to begin a new chapter of life, so it’s a great time to reminisce. Gather photos, homework (early evidence of his or her natural proclivities), letters, poems, and artwork from the past four years – or even going back to infancy. Scan the best finds, upload them into a memory book, then add meaningful captions, stories and wishes for the future. Your graduate will love it now – and treasure it more and more with every passing year.
Four Years Reduced to Top-Tens If the sentimental slant isn’t for you, go for a spirited approach. This is a great option for a roommate, fraternity brother, sorority sister, close friend, or parent with a funny streak. Create a book of top-ten lists that go from completely legit (top-ten movies, top-ten songs, top-ten teachers) to slightly sacrilege (top-ten ways to cut class, top-ten parties, top-ten pranks). With four years of fodder (or more…top-ten ways to stay in school forever?), you’ll find that there’s no end to the top-tens, and together they create a pretty good picture of life leading up to graduation. Make sure you illustrate with plenty of pictures – and don’t forget to make at least a few of the lists somewhat serious. Tragic relief, if you will.
Going Places Stationery Personalized stationery is the perfect gift for college students. Whether they’re on the job market, moving far away or both, they’ll need note cards to hone their social graces with post-interview follow-ups and, of course, letters to mom and dad. Choose a note card that reflects his or her interests – city life, the great outdoors, fashion, writing, graphic design or cycling. Or create a set of custom photo note cards by using a timeless image either taken by your graduate or featuring none other than the grad of the hour.
Most Likely To… Photo Book Maybe your graduate made it onto the “Most Likely To…” page of his or her yearbook – or maybe not. But every single student should feel like someone believes in him – believes he or she is bound for great things. Create a book that sketches out a few Most Likelies for your graduate – you can create new categories or go with the classics like Most Likely To Succeed. Illustrate them with appropriate photography that supports your case, and use the other pages in your photo book to capture your dreams for their future. Remember to keep your hopes in line with what you know they want. For example, if your grad is dead set on becoming a performance artist, don’t make the book all about how you dream they’ll have a future as a hedge fund manager. Include photos, poems, wishes, words of guidance, and a letter that offers unconditional support – anything that conveys your love and approval. Don’t forget to add a few photos and captions that are funny for a little levity!
Happy Grad Gifting! And…don’t forget the cash!