Graduation is an important milestone in anyone's life. It marks the beginning of a new life ahead, with bigger responsibilities and greater challenges. That's why it's called a commencement.
For a special occasion such as this, a graduate would usually expect a token that would make him/her feel that all the hard work he/she put in for several years was worth it. More than the graduate, his/her accomplishments are celebrated.
So what to reward a graduate with? They need not be expensive things. Give gifts that are useful and practical.
When selecting a gift, consider these questions: Who will you give to? What things will give instant gratification and what will be things that he/she will find use for in his/her next endeavor, in the future? Do you want to give something that has short-term or long-term value? What will the graduate treasure more?
For kindergartners, elementary is the next phase. Kindergarten graduates may need bigger bags for the next school year, or summer wear for trips to the beach. But kids can be finicky, and almost always, they hate receiving clothes for gifts. To be safe, remember that you can never go wrong with toys for this age group.
A personal computer is a necessity nowadays. High school is when elementary graduates will start having to turn in many
school papers. Even younger students already have basic computer techniques in their curriculum. For researching, encyclopedia sets may be good, but I can tell you I stopped opening a volume from my own set when Encarta, the CD version, is so much easier to access. But in this day and age, the most popular form of research is done online, so an Internet subscription may be best for graduates of elementary, if their parents haven't gotten them one earlier in their
grade school years.
Elementary graduates are already heavy consumers of media (TV, radio, publications) and are in the know when it comes to pop culture. So they might want monetary gifts to burn in music stores, magazine shops or bookstores. That, or give them an out-of-town graduation party they will never forget. You save money, too, 'cause this can double as your family's summer trip. If the kid is inclined towards the arts, try enrolling him/her in a summer course like cooking, public speaking, acting, filmmaking--something that will keep them busy before they take on the other world that is high school.
High school grads may be a little trickier. Teenagers are fickle beings; they're not even completely comfortable in their own skin yet. So getting a gift is treading dangerous waters, for you never know when a gift will be appreciated. Sincerely.
Try getting the high school grad the latest gadgets and gizmos available. The iPod mini is one such hot property presently. A new mobile phone is another, or a
digicam to capture college days with. But the
best bet may be a Palm Pilot, something that can help make a freshie's life a little more organized as he/she enters college, where he/she will have to juggle classes,
organizational duties, homework, term papers, campus concerts and parties. Also because gadgets make statements. They decide whether one is cool or uncool. I remember my first day as a freshman and how I felt
"in" just being able to exchange numbers with my blockmates.
Then there are credit cards. It might be scary to trust a supplementary card to a kid who has just entered college, but emergencies are inevitable. This may also prove helpful especially when the daughter or son will live in a dorm while in college, apart from his/her folks. Friends may get their friends who might be going to another university small things for the dorm, like picture frames and other decorations that will remind them of their high school days.
A practical gift will be a sturdy umbrella, especially because the first few months in college is the rainy season. Goodness knows how many times I've had to buy umbrellas in my first semester alone, because the ones I bought turned inside out every time the wind blew hard, getting me soaked to the skin while waiting for a bus home.
Now comes the college graduate. The gifts that those who just got out of university may want include
anything from a stereo to a laptop,
to a DVR to a trip to Europe or the US or a condo unit. But it's not like everyone can afford any or all of these, so opt for more pragmatic gifts instead. These include things that he/she can use for job-hunting, such as business suits, shoes or accessories like a fine watch or a necklace for girls. However, if you know that your graduate wants to chill out first before jumping into the corporate world, gift certificates to music stores and bookstores will do.
There's a myriad of things you can get for a new graduate; they are in no way limited to these suggestions. But remember that beyond material stuff, the most important gift a graduate could get could well be the simplest tap on the back or a tight embracing--an acknowledgment that he/she is ready and armed for bigger fights, such as the real world.
world advice from a practical expert.