Ask Design Mom: Graduation Gifts

May 23, 2007

Ask-Design-Mom-Question:
[ I received two graduation related questions — one for males, one for females — that I'll try to answer in the same post. ]

1) Design Mom, My sister (who I’m very close to) is graduating from high school next week. I’m a little late to thinking about it, but I wondered if you had any ideas for not too expensive gifts that would be nice and meaningful as she steps into another phase of her life. I was going to make her something that celebrated our relationship, but time is running out, so I’ll have to find something that is meaningful that I can purchase and mail. Thanks! — Laura

2) Hi Design Mom, I guess my question is this: I’m looking for a graduation present for my husband who is graduating from medical school. I think presents for guys are hard in general, but congratulatory presents always seem to stump me. You want them to be something nice that he can remember he got for graduation, but he’s not especially sentimental. We’re moving soon, so I don’t want something I have to work on or put time into creating, I just want to buy something nice that he can keep, not ridiculously expensive, but I’m willing to spend money if it’s worth it. Got any ideas? Thanks a ton! — Jen



Design Mom Answer:
Oh! Graduation gifts. So fun! What do you say Design Mom Readers? Any brilliant ideas?

5/24 Edit:
Wow. The comments are in deed full of brilliant ideas. I have only 2 things to add.

1) For my high school graduation I was given a 1/2 gallon of my favorite ice cream (Snelgrove’s Canadian Vanilla) and I didn’t have to share a single bite with my siblings — which was luxurious. My point? Even a simple gift, if thoughtful, is memorable.


2) I was just introduced to a book called Get A Hobby. It’s very well put together and well designed with a basic introduction, history and sources on 101 hobbies. Plus you can take a personality quiz to see which hobbies would be a good fit.

Probably it’s a stretch, but there’s something about graduating, going to the next phase, being a little unsure of what’s coming, that brings to mind possibilities. Like, “I’ve finished what I committed to. Now. If I could do anything, how would I spend my time?” that seems like the perfect moment to introduce a hobby. Maybe this book, plus the materials to start a new hobby would make a good gift.

photo via Getty

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mamacita May 23, 2007 at 9:29 am

I tackled this question on my blog, if you’re interested: http://whatwouldjaneaustendo.blogspot.com/2007/05/graduation-gifts.html

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2 betc May 23, 2007 at 9:55 am

my husband got a paper weight, silver, with the seal of his medical school on the top along with his name and graduation date.
I don’t know where it was purchased, but it is a simple reminder of his huge accomplishment that sits on his desk.

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3 Little Kritters May 23, 2007 at 11:13 am

My favorite aunt gave me a great gift when I graduated from high school. A smallish tool kit. It was wonderful. I was the only one on my dorm floor with a screwdriver which was needed ans used ALL THE TIME! Now that I am married with kids of my own, I still use it and keep it seperate from my husbands tools. And, I think about my aunt everytime I fix something–10+ years later!

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4 Anonymous May 23, 2007 at 11:18 am

A gift that almost ANY graduating husband (or father for Father’s Day) would love is a genuine Louisville Slugger baseball bat. You can order them personalized with your man’s signature or name on them–or whatever you request. They run around $60, I think. Look up Louisville Slugger on the web.

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5 judy May 23, 2007 at 12:40 pm

http://www.ohmythatsawesome.com/2007/05/roots.html
I had bookmarked these amazing wine glasses that I saw on ohmythatsawesome.com, just incase someone I know graduates from college and then I would also get them a case of wine futures–which is so cool because in ten years they’ll have some breathtaking wine!
http://store.morrellwine.com/generic.jsp?id=FUTURES
In fact, I just remembered that I do know someone who’s graduating and this is exactly what I’m getting her!

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6 Biddy May 23, 2007 at 2:24 pm

my favorite gifts that i got for h.s. graduation: a toaster, a monogrammed laundry bag, and a College “Survival” Kit from my sister. That’s been several years, and I still use the toaster, the laundry bag is still great for storing clean linens, and I still have some of the things that came in the “kit” around my house (a wooden cross, a notepad & pen, stress ball etc). As for the Med School grad, I definitely reccommend a personalized pen set like one of these: http://gifts.com/search/product/Cross-Century-Chrome-Ballpoint-Pen-and-Pencil-Set?ideaID=8661&prodID=97041

he’s going to be a doc, so he’ll use it EVERY day and think of you every time he uses it! I got one of the wooden sets when I was baptised and still think of the aunt that gave it to me everytime i see the box on my desk…

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7 Lindsay May 23, 2007 at 3:00 pm

I was going to suggest a pen for the med school grad too! I’m fond of space pens. They can write upside down, underwater, and the ink lasts for a long time (www.spacepen.com). Kind of a cool gadget. You can have it engraved too!

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8 Adri May 23, 2007 at 3:37 pm

When my husband graduated from dental school and we headed half-way across country, I got him a beautiful framed photograph that represented where we’d lived (he went to school in Louisville, KY, so the photo was of race horses). It is great for his office, hanging next to his diploma, and reminds us both of our time in Kentucky. Incidentally…he also got a Louisville Slugger bat (mentioned in another comment)…all that Louisville stuff hangs together in his office. Congrats and best of luck!

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9 jen May 23, 2007 at 3:47 pm

My hubby graduated from med school last year. I got him a camera that he had been wanting – photography is one of his hobbies. I wrote something in the card about now maybe he’ll have time to do more of the things he loves. You could also get his diploma framed. It needs to be done by someone!

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10 Becky May 23, 2007 at 4:16 pm

There is a great book by Sandra Boynton called, “Yay, You”. It is absolutely perfect for a graduation (or life changing event). Very cute and meaningful!

Yay, You

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11 laura May 24, 2007 at 7:09 am

I figured out what to get my sister. She’s moving to an off-campus dorm, so she’ll have a kitchen. I got her a very cute apron on etsy and had it shipped directly to her. She’ll love how girly and pink it is and it’ll come in handy too.

But I love the tool kit idea. Maybe I can find a pink, girly tool kit to add to the gift!

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12 kristi brooke May 24, 2007 at 9:07 pm

i know the med school question was looking for a fast answer but i have some great ideas, but would take time.
my one friend wrote her husband a poem about their 4 years. it was amazing and she read it to him at the family party. ( i was crying like crazy)
for my husband i gave him a comission piece of art from a soon to be great artist (so it was cheap) i had listed about 25 items that would represent our time in New Orleans and she painted a 20 box print with the 20 different items. I could email you a photo, it is the most treasured item we have. you could almost make one yourself.

i bout a few h.s. grad gifts today and the Vera Bradley ID wallet is great for those going to college it is $9.99 and can hold their ID they take with them every year while living on campus.

i am also a fan of monogrammed towels for graduates to take to school.

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13 web design company June 2, 2009 at 9:00 am

very cool post

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14 Web Development October 29, 2009 at 2:16 am

Gr8 Resource for Designers. Thanks for helpful information. Good work.

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15 Web Designing India November 3, 2009 at 1:38 am

well written article. Thanks for your valuable info..

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