The Best Graduation Gift Ideas

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Last night we attended a graduation party for the seniors at the school my son graduated from last year–and by the way, I can hardly believe it’s been a year! The setting was the most perfect backyard in Pinehurst, that belongs to our friends Mark and Kathie:

Red and White Graduation BBQ Party

| Read more about last year’s party HERE |

If you’re celebrating a graduate of your own this year, then here are a few of our favorite gift ideas that always seem to be a big hit.

1. Money

Seriously, need we even say that this is at the top of the list? My son was able to use some of his graduation money to live off of during his freshman year and didn’t have to get a job, which definitely came in handy when he realized that 18 credit hours is a pretty full course load! He’s going to work next year but it was a real blessing to be able to just concentrate on adjusting to school and getting good grades that first year. He was even able to to invest a portion in an index fund, and he checks its value every day.

Whether you give a little ($20.19) or a lot, I know that all graduates appreciate cold hard cash!

2. Jewelry

Two of my son’s favorite gifts were a nice watch and a set of cufflinks. He is frequently required to appear in a coat and tie for school events and having the appropriate accessories is a plus. For ladies, a watch or a nice bracelet like my go-to favorite from Tiffany are two great ideas.

Tiffany silver bead bracelet

| Tiffany silver bead bracelet |

Kate Spade watch

| Kate Spade Watch |


Mens Black Watch

|  Nixon Watch |

Mens monogrammed cufflinks

|  Monogrammed Cufflinks |

3. Gift Cards

Gift cards to stores or restaurants around college are always a hit. The Container Store and Bed Bath & Beyond are also at the top of my list for dorm room essentials, and of course, who can forget Amazon?

4. Monogrammed Towels

My son was given a gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond last year (see #3!) and we used it to buy him the softest, fluffiest monogrammed towels for his dorm room. He doesn’t care a lick about monograms but he never lost a towel since his initials were on them. I ordered dark gray with red thread (coincidentally his school colors) and they came home last week looking as good as new. I don’t think I’d recommend white, especially for guys who tend to wash their lights and darks together, but the gray held up really well.

Monogrammed towels graduation gift

| Monogrammed Towels |

5. Coffee Pot

We all know that college students run on caffeine; so a nice coffee maker is a great gift idea. I’m a huge fan of my Nespresso, but if you’re a traditional coffee drinker then a single serving Keurig is a good option, too.


| Nespresso Espresso Maker |



| Keurig (also comes in black or gray) |

6. College Branded Gear

If they’re off to a new college adventure in the fall, then branded items are always a big hit. My son’s favorites were a YETI tumbler with his school crest on it, a key fob from Smathers & Branson (or here) (thank you, Amy and family!), a bowtie, and cornhole boards. If you can’t find what you want online, try the school’s bookstore as most have an online presence these days and will ship.

7. Book on Money Management

Part of the fun of college is the freedom–but with that freedom comes responsibility. Our family has followed Dave Ramsey’s financial advice for years and so I recommend this book for graduates:

| The Graduate Survival Guide |

Another idea is a devotion book for college students with fast but relevant readings. I don’t have any that I know well enough to recommend, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

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Let me know if I missed any of your favorite graduation gift ideas, and thanks for stopping by!

The Best Graduation Gift Ideas for High School Graduates | 11 Magnolia Lane

Final New Christy headshot 2015
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