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Graduation gifts that never go out of style

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Shopping for gifts for graduates can be a little tricky. It seems that many graduation gifts come and go with different fads from year to year. There are some graduation gifts, however, that never really go out of style.

After high school graduation, there are always some essentials that a college-bound student will need. When you give these practical graduation gifts, you take one or more items off the have-to-purchase-out-of-pocket list and for that, graduates will be truly grateful.

Printed calling card
Printed calling card Digitalphotos.net, artur84

Printed calling card

A calling card, which may also be referred to as a visiting card, is much like a business card but without the need for a job title.   This card can be printed with the graduate’s name, cell phone number, college major, and if desired, the name of the college dormitory where he or she is living.

This simple card can be the difference between making friends or study buddies or flailing around
alone that first year of college.   A calling card will allow the student to quickly hand out his or her contact information when there may be no time between classes to plug numbers into a cell phone or look for a pen and paper.

iTunes gift cards
iTunes gift cards Spencer Platt, Getty Images

iTunes gift cards

iTunes gift cards are a perfect gift because they allow the student to shop for exactly what they need.  If you aren’t familiar with iTunes, users can purchase music, apps, books, podcasts, videos and more.   An iTunes gift card allows the graduate to determine whether they need a reference book, helpful app, or just want to load up on their favorite study music.

Messenger bag
Messenger bag Freedigitalphotos.net

Messenger bag

Whether the graduate will be doing a lot of walking or bicycling around the college campus, a messenger bag can quickly become his or her most treasured possession.  Messenger bags come in several styles and can be used for toting books, hauling groceries or campus store items, collecting their mail, or packing up a deck of cards and snacks to take to a friend’s dorm on game night.

Bicycle or rolling duffel bag
Bicycle or rolling duffel bag Freedigitalphotos.net, tiverylucky

Bicycle or rolling duffel bag

Just as a messenger bag helps a student carry their never-ending pile of things, a bicycle or rolling duffel bag is like striking gold.   College campuses are big places and some days students don’t want to face all that walking, especially with a load of books.   Make your graduate’s college experience much more relaxing with a set of wheels to get around, or a rolling bag to help move their stuff around.  College kids are always on the go, so make it easier with wheels.

Digital camera
Digital camera Freedigitalphotos.net

Digital camera

Chances are your high school graduate is already getting a glimpse into how fast time goes by.  The high school years have gone by in a flash and now, she doesn’t want the college experience to slip away too quickly.   A digital camera makes it possible to capture all the faces and places she’ll want to remember.

 Memory cards
Memory cards Freedigitalphotos.net, scottchan

Memory cards

Just as a graduate will enjoy taking photos of her new college friends, she’ll also enjoy being able to take unlimited pictures.  Stocking her up on memory cards will let her avoid the dreaded “memory full” message and allow her to keep right on making memories.

Auto club service
Auto club service Freedigitalphotos.net, Naypong

Auto club service

If your college graduate is lucky enough to have a vehicle, he’s probably going to need help with that vehicle from time to time.   When mom and dad are no longer a mile or two away, an auto club service is the next best thing.  Take the worry out of flat tires and minor breakdowns with a prepaid service that will help get him back on the road in no time.

Binoculars
Binoculars Freedigitalphotos.net, imagerymajestic

Binoculars

College sports are an exciting part of the university experience.  If your graduate is a sports fan, a pair of binoculars will be a welcome gift when he finally gets to head down to the stadium and cheer on his team.

Fireproof safe
Fireproof safe Freedigitalphotos.net, FrameAngel

Fireproof safe

Imagine your graduate losing important documents or an essay she’s spent weeks constructing.  The worry and frustration of those experiences can really put a damper on a student’s mood.  A fireproof safe makes a great gift for graduates as it gives them a secure place to hold their school work, identification, cash, or cherished letters from home.

Flash drive
Flash drive Freedigitalphotos.net, renjith krishnan

Flash drive

Your graduate may be relieved to have finished high school, but the parties and celebrations don’t last forever.  Sooner or later, that graduate will head right back in to homework and deadlines.  As there is never a shortage of projects to work on, a student can never have too many flash drives to back up all that work.

Snacks
Snacks Freedigitalphotos.net, Paul

Snacks

This is really a no-brainer.  High school graduates are most likely broke and yet heading into one of the most work-intense times of their life.  They are going to need fuel for all that late-night studying and those no-time-for-breakfast mornings when they have an early class.  A basket filled with snacks such as crackers, cheese in a can, protein bars, beef jerky, cookies, and dried fruit will keep the graduate’s body going, even when his mind is struggling to keep up.

Essentials basket
Essentials basket Freedigitalphotos.net, imagerymajestic

Essentials basket

There are many things your high school graduate enjoyed in the comfort of home that he or she may not even realize is missing at college until its needed.  A gift basket of essentials such as an umbrella, ice scraper, small tool set, fingernail clippers and tweezers, Band-aids, headache and stomachache medicines, a flashlight, jumper cables, and a tire gauge can really give your graduate a sense of security.

Studying supplies
Studying supplies Freedigitalphotos.net, nuchylee

Studying supplies

Everyone knows that college kids spend a lot of time studying, so why not equip your graduate with everything she needs to get her off to a good start?  Fill a gift basket with a book light, bookmarks, highlighters, a dictionary, thesaurus, sound-eliminating headphones, digital voice recorder for lectures, and a lap desk to make writing papers from her dorm room bed a much more comfortable experience.

Stack of postcards and stamps
Stack of postcards and stamps Freedigitalphotos.net, scottchan

Stack of postcards and stamps

While your high school graduate may have good intentions of sitting down and penning a letter to mom and dad each week, she may quickly find that her college workload doesn’t allow her much time for keeping in touch.   A stack of postcards and stamps will give her the freedom to jot a quick note while still keeping up with her homework.   The small act of linking to loved ones with a few lines will help her battle loneliness and still feel connected to family.

A “When you...” box
A “When you...” box Freedigitalphotos.net, mapichai

A “When you...” box

When you want to forego the practical for something a bit more sentimental, a “When you...” box can truly be a lifeline for your new college student.    All you need is a decorative box, or any box that will hold index cards, index cards and index tabs.  Label the front of the box “When you...”  Then, make index tabs for several possible scenarios such as “when you are feeling homesick,” “when you’ve done something stupid,” “when you think you’re going to fail” and more.   Fill in your own words of wisdom, a Bible verse, or an uplifting message that would fit each situation.  The “When you...” box will undoubtedly become one of your high school graduate’s most cherished possessions.

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