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It’s June and that means one thing: It’s graduation time.

Note, this post is for the parents and family of the graduates, not the students! If you’re a graduating student, go play on Instagram or something.

Wherever you are, whether it’s high school, community college or university, someone you know is showing off their skills and crossing a stage, to take a piece of paper from a stranger they’ve never met, and you’re expected to get them a gift.

Heads up: The average student graduating can expect the cheques to roll in. We’re talking $1000, easy. Maybe more. And that’s just the middle class folks. Posh students will get loads more.

So what to do? You need something both appropriate and memorable to the graduate, a item that will make the family go ‘ahh’ and the graduate to say, ‘Cool, thanks!’

So here’s my top 5 gift suggestions for that graduate in your family.


Boys are maturing into young men, and there’s some things they’re going to need in their adult lives, even if they don’t realise it yet.

  1. Wristwatch (a smart one)

You can go sporty, posh, geeky or fun with this, depending on the guy. Yeah everyone now checks the time on their phone, but phones also break, get lost, broken, stolen, locked, and dropped in the toilet. A wristwatch can save the day and make him look cool to his friends.

  1. Cufflinks

Boys will eventually buy shirts that require cufflinks. Get him a pair of smart ones and he’ll impress in that job interview. Even if it’s to work as a delivery boy at Pizza Hut. And we love our pizza delivery boys, but how do you think they rocked that interview? By wearing cufflinks with that shirt.

  1. A smart suit

Think how Harry Potter and Ron Weasley needed wizards’ dress robes for the ball. The boy will have a smart party/function to go at university and he’ll need something, even if it’s just ‘off the rack’. Stick to colours like grey, navy, black, and for god’s sake not white or beige. We’re not talking tuxes, just a smart suit. He might not thank you but he’ll use it for meetings, dates and job interviews.

  1. For the gamer in the family, find his wishlist on Steam. Get him a game, he’ll appreciate it and be pleasantly surprised. You can also schedule when the gift of the game is delivered so you choose when he sees it. This is also super useful for holidays and birthdays. There’s also a monthly subscription to Lootcrate, which is awesome for all his geeky/movie/anime needs. Note, this works for the ladies as well!


  1. Money. If all else fails, you can never go wrong with a cold hard cheque, or cash. They will need it, and there’s never enough.


Because I can only speak for myself here, here’s my top of what I would want if I were graduating again. If the suggestions seem overly girly, it’s cause I am.

  1. An overnight bag

Honestly, she will be trucking across the country, or even farther, and she’ll need her own luggage. She will eventually get her own luggage set, but that can take years. Why not treat her to a smart looking leather duffel bag? Not something she can take to the gym, something that looks good. It will be useful if she’s going on a weekend volunteer retreat or travelling across country with friends.

  1. A store gift card to her favourite clothing store.

Girls need clothes. Now multiply that times 5. And factor in that she’ll want to choose her own. And her tastes change every minute. With some clothing retailers changing their collections every 2 weeks, there’s no way you’re going to keep up, unless you’re in the fashion industry.

Your best bet? Find out from her mum (unless you’re her mum in which case you should know this) where she shops for clothes. If you don’t know, look at the tags of her clothes. H&M, Urban outfitters, Boohoo, Gap, Forever 21, Wet Seal, they all sell gift cards. If she’s an ebay junkie go for that too. Just one card though.

  1. Jewelry

I know this is tough. Every girl has got her own style and if you see them about once a year it’s tougher. When in doubt, opt for a nice looking bracelet or necklace. These range in price, but since it’s graduation, choose something sterling silver that looks like it’s from Tiffany’s. Unless you’re super posh, in which case get her something from Tiffany’s, even if it’s engraving a Cracker Jack box ring.

  1. For the girly girl in your family, treat her to a 3 month subscription to a beauty box. Think Glossybox, Birchbox, Spookybox (for the little goth). It’s a treat, it’s fairly cheap and she’ll actually love it, provided she wears makeup. You could also do Lootcrate for the girl gamer, which is also really fun.


  1. Money

I can’t stress this enough. She will go through $50 alone just on campus supplies for class. Pens, notebooks, paper, pencil sharpeners, college t-shirts, shorts, you name it. Money tops everything.

So you’ve read the list and you’re thinking, meh. So here’s one more.

Extra gift idea!

For those who realise, oh shit, my kid is graduating and doesn’t know how to cook, or for the parent who is super crafty: make a food basket/box for your graduate.


There will be times when all they’ve got is a microwave or they’ve decided staying up all night is not only a good idea, it’s the only way to finish a paper due tomorrow (or is already late). Fill a basket or a box of snack food.


I’m talking instant noodles (the super cheap ones), Ramen noodles, easy mac & cheese that you only have to add water to, and chips, like Doritos, Tostitos, Lay’s, Pringles, and cookies. I would not recommend a cookbook unless the kid actually cooks, as they’re rarely going to use it. You get extra points if you include a plastic bowl/plate/utensils that aren’t metal and won’t blow up or melt in a microwave. Everyone there needs one. More points if they’re colourful. Think microwave-friendly plastic, not ceramic.

It’s a fairly cheap and easy thing to make, and while the parents and graduate might not realise it, gift boxes are a god-send to the college student. It’s helpful, tasty, thoughtful, and gives the person that little sense of ‘someone loves them from home’ that they might need, especially that first week in college which is super scary.

Hope this helps!

Love from London,