Gifts For Grads
Around springtime last year, as my niece’s university graduation date loomed, I picked out (but waited to buy) what I thought would be an ideal gift: a watch with her alma mater’s insignia emblazoned on its face. I emailed my sister to get my niece’s mailing address and found out, very quickly, that she didn’t need a watch but was ready with alternatives. My niece had created a graduation registry at Crate & Barrel.
Though I have become accustomed to online bridal registries (I got married in the days when brides made in-store appointments to create wedding registries), the graduation list was new to me. My niece had selected nice but not so expensive dinnerware and flatware along with a few kitchen items. I loved this idea and here's why: I was able to get a nice gift that the graduate wanted and spend less than I had originally planned.
You may be thinking, why not give cash? Cash is a great gift and my gift of choice for the past 7 high school graduations. Here are a few reasons that some may opt out of cash giving:
- Desire to buy something memorable, especially for a big event such as a university graduation
- Hope to increase the value of the gift by giving a wanted item (Will sheds light on the difference between a gift’s price tag and its value to the recipient in a post on why gifts may be inefficient)
- Don't want to seem cheap but don't have a lot to spend (ideally, a gift registry will include items that are less than $15)
- Want to make sure that money isn't spent frivolously before the grad settles down
Gift registries available online, in addition to Crate & Barrel, are Target, Kohl's, and Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon's Wish List. As a gift-giver, I want to be a part of helping someone get established in the real world. If I can give something that may help the grad save money in the long run, such as cookware, dinnerware or a community cookbook (to encourage eating in rather than eating out), that's great also.
My niece had her immediate next step careerwise figured out, and she's working while applying to graduate school. And, thanks to in-state tuition and some planning, she is free of student loan debt so cash wasn't as high a priority as it might be for some grads. For those who are in the job market, Ditch the Flip Flops: Ace Your Job Interview Fresh Out of College offers solid, very detailed advice on positioning oneself for a career and landing a position.
If you've got ideas for useful, not-too-pricey gifts for grads, share them in the comments.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Ditch the Flip Flops in exchange for a book review (pending).