Best Graduation Gift Shopping Strategies!

April 19, 2012    |    By +
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Looking for the perfect graduation gift? I’m here to help! I’ve thought long and hard about the best types types of gifts for grads and am laying them out for you, buffet style, in this post! Thank me later.

Teens and young adults can be impossible to shop for. They’re so picky and their tastes change by the hour. How can you possibly give an award worthy graduation gift? It all starts with what you know going in to it.

Shop by Superlative:

If you know enough about them to know which award they would get from their senior class, this guide makes your gift Most Likely to Succeed. Whether they’re Best Sense of Humor, Most Likely to be CEO, Best Dressed or anything in between, I’ve found gifts that match up with 8 Class Superlatives.

Dorm Checklist:

They’re heading off to college & are planning on hunkering down in a dorm room for their freshman year. That means they are going to need a lot of stuff to get situated away from home. Use this handy dorm essentials checklist to help you put together a care package that will be worth its weight in gold. Or, you can see all of our favorite Going Away to College Gifts.

Your grad is in the grade school set & you want to encourage many years of good grades ahead. Shop for Kindergarten Graduation Gifts.

They made it through high school and are about to embark on the journey into adulthood. If that’s all you know, start by perusing a broad variety of graduation gifts and go with something that you personally like. That way, you can tell them the story about why you picked it and it will at least have sentimental value even if it doesn’t win ‘best gift of 2012’. Shop for High School Graduation Gifts.

After years of dedication and possibly a full-time job too, the college grad is ready to stop hitting the books and start a serious career. If you don’t know much more than that, then start by checking out our favorite college graduation gifts & see if anything reminds you of them, their course of study, or their hopes for the future. They’ll love a gift that helps get them to the next level. Shop for College Graduation Gifts.

They’ve got the brains and the focus to achieve the highest levels of education. Your gift should show the same amount of maturity that it took for them to get where they are today. Shop for Graduate & PhD Gifts.

When all else fails you can always go with a commemorative personalized gift that honors their graduating class. Looking for a gift to commemorate the class of 2012? See the best commemorative graduation gifts!

And there you have it. If you’re still at a loss for what graduation gift to get, I recommend just sending cash, a check or a share of stock. My personal issue with sending cash or a check is that you don’t know what they’re going to use it for. Of course, you can send it to the parents to deposit in an account that they can use for important and practical things like a car or a new suit for job hunting. On the other hand, they worked hard to get to this place in their lives and deserve a little extra spending money. So, you’ll have to go with your gut if you decide to send money.

No matter what you give, make sure you send a congratulatory card too.

Happy gifting!

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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.