Gift Giving and Receiving
If you have a few special grads in your life, you may want to put some extra thought into their gifts. Start planning and shopping early.
Graduates appreciate something heartfelt as well as practical. To help you with your shopping, here's a list of some fun and unique Graduation Gifts for all budgets:
- Cash or Check: This is by far the most popular gift to give. Write a check for an amount equivalent to the graduation year (e.g. $20.11). Our experience is that $20-$25 is the average amount given but you can give whatever you like depending on how well you know the graduate and how much you can afford.
- Personalized items: Put a monogram or the grad's name on gifts they can use in college - bath towels, flannel blankets, coffee mugs or key chains.
- Laundry Bag: A large bag for dirty clothes personalized with the grad's name. Include a box of detergent and a roll of quarters.
- A Subscription: An annual subscription to your grad's hometown newspaper or their favorite magazine.
- Photographs: A collage of photographs, a class or group photo framed with personalized writing on the frame, a tailor made shadow box, or framed photographs are great gifts to give. Carlson Craft offers a "Signature Frame" that can be signed by the graduate's friends and family. Or check out our Snapfish page for other photograph ideas.
- Digital Photographs/Digital Frames: Send your grad off to college with a digital frame loaded with photographs of friends & family. Or give your grad an empty digital frame and let them load their own pictures.
- Memory Books: Carlson Craft carries a senior year memory book that can be personalized with an engraved name plate. Memory books include pages for written memories & notes, mementos, autographs & congratulatory messages and photographs.
- Photo Books: Create a book of photo memories as a keepsake for your grad. Check out our Photo Books webpage for some great ideas.
- Sweatshirts, T-shirts, Hoodies & Caps: College wear from the college your graduate is going to is a great option. We have a number of websites listed on our College Wear webpage. They offer a huge selection of graduation & college tees, hoodies, caps & more.
- Teddy Bears: A little trinket or stuffed animal is a perfect keepsake for graduation. How about a stuffed bear dressed in garb from their college of choice? Or an autograph animal they can have their friends sign? Our Novelty Gifts webpage has a selection of fun toys and gifts to choose from.
- Books: We recommend a book that graduates can treasure over the years. How about a poetry book, motivational book, a quality dictionary, or a leather bound journal.
- Jewelry & Watches: Graduation inspired jewelry & watches including bracelets, necklaces, charms, ladies watches, and men's watches.
- Electronics: The latest in computers, laptops, cameras, tablets, MP3 players, and iPods.
- Digital photo products: Digital photo products, including digital photo key chains and digital photo frames.
- A quilt made with scanned photos: One friend found a company that scanned photos onto fabric and a different person to sew the quilt.
- A quilt made with your grad's sports or school jerseys: Find a local seamstress to do this for you if you can't do it yourself.
- Snake light or flash light.
- Gift Cards: Gift Cards to a bookstore, the local mall, a major retailer or a restaurant. How about a LIDS Gift Card - a great gift for those whose head size you aren't too sure about!? Choose an online retailer or a store or restaurant close to the college the grad will be going to. Make sure it's a store the grad will like!
You may also want to stock up on graduation greeting cards. Order now so you don’t find yourself paying top dollar at the card store at the last minute.
Don't forget to get greeting cards for your graduate to give to their friends, too.
Our online store has fun and unique packages of greetings cards. Or check out your local card shop, although they usually carry single cards only.
Thank you etiquette
After the ceremony and after the party there is one last detail that the graduate needs to take care of … sending thank you notes.
It's customary for the graduate to thank each person who gave a graduation gift.
To make this task easier, order personalized thank you notes well in advance of graduation. You can also order graduation themed return address labels and envelope seals at the same time. These are good for thank you cards as well as invitations.
Check out our selection of Thank You Cards on our Thank You Cards webpage.
Saying “thank you” is easy …
Never written thank you notes before? Don’t worry. Just follow our simple guidelines. If you’re still stuck, check out our sample letters for some great ideas.
- Every gift, whether received by mail or in person, should be acknowledged with a thank you note.
- Don't limit thank you notes to people who have sent gifts. Now is the time to remember and thank special teachers, coaches, relatives and friends from high school or elementary school.
- Send thank you notes promptly. Start right away and finish no later than one month after graduation.
- Always hand write thank you notes and hand address the envelopes. E-mail is not appropriate.
- Mention the gift specifically in the note and express appreciation.
- When you receive money as a present, don’t mention the amount. Do, however, mention how you plan to spend the money.
- Avoid making thank you notes look like form letters by adding a personal reference to each one. See our sample letters.
Money as gifts
“Before the cards started arriving, we talked to our son about how he was going to spend the money he received as gifts. We agreed that he could have half of the money, but the other half went into his savings account. I taped the checks to a cupboard and he was allowed to deposit them when the thank you note was mailed. I’m glad we discussed it ahead of time.”
Barb in Dallas, Texas
Don't forget to get stamps, too. The latest trend in celebrations is PhotoStamps. You can turn your grad's photo into real US postage using PhotoStamps.
Add another fun and unexpected touch by using these one-of-a-kind stamps on your thank you cards and invitations.
Photo Confetti & Wordfetti
Some people like to spice up their thank you cards and invitations by including a little bit of confetti in them. Why not go the extra step and add some Photofetti or Wordfetti!
Photofetti is photo confetti made with your snapshots and Wordfetti is made with congratulatory messages, mixed with colorful accents.
In addition to including it in your thank you cards and invitations, you can also sprinkle it on your tables the day of your party.