10 gift ideas for the grad in your life

What do you give someone for one of the most important moments of their life (so far)? Try one of these easy ideas.

A young woman in graduation robes hugging an older woman with both smiling while holding a gift Photo: RDNE Stock project

Gift-giving on any occasion can be difficult, let alone the pressure of finding the right gift for what many people consider one of their biggest accomplishments. If there’s a graduate in your life you’d like to do something special for but you’re having some difficulties choosing what to get for them, here are some ideas to commemorate the start of their new chapter!


A briefcase or messenger bag

What better way to help a graduate step into a new career or internship than with a fancy bag to carry all the things they’ll need? I suggest something sleek and timeless—cruelty-free leather or vegan leather is going to be your best bet—and make sure it’s big enough to fit a laptop or tablet!

Similarly, you could also get a new laptop case if you’re not 100% sure of their tastes. It’s the same idea but less pressure to get them something they would wear constantly.


A massage gift card

Really, no explanation is needed for this one. I legitimately can’t imagine a better gift for a graduate than a professional massage to fix the damage caused by four years of hunching over a laptop in the library.


A specialized frame for their degree

Any alumni knows that if you don’t frame your degree right away, chances are you won’t frame it at all. Just ask my mom: it took her finding her degree when I was in high school to finally frame it. And her parents ran a framing business! I’m telling you now, a frame is the perfect gift. Maybe throw in a wall hook and screws as well so they can put it up at the same time.


A scrapbook of university memories

I’m always an advocate for giving handmade gifts whenever you can because it offers an opportunity to create something ultra-personal and one of a kind. Scrapbooks are something I recommend over other creative projects because, even if you’re not artistically inclined, they’re always cute in the end. What could be more exciting than getting a book full of your favourite pictures from the last four years surrounded by funky stickers?

But if you’re really doubting your abilities with a glue gun, there are plenty of websites where you can submit photos and they make a photobook for you. I won’t judge your choice!


A scratch map

As a symbol of all the places their new path could lead them, a scratch map could be a cute way to commemorate their accomplishment as well as any more to come! It’s exactly as it sounds—a map with countries that you can scratch off after you’ve visited them—and it’s usually pretty affordable. I highly recommend this for any graduate with ambitions to travel, either for leisure or work. It shows that you trust their plans for the future and believe they’ll succeed.


A new hobby

Leaving university is both an exciting and a hard time for graduating students. It's easy to feel like they’ve lost some of their purpose after they’ve accomplished something that’s consumed years of their life. One way to help the transition is finding new things to fill the free time they’ll have.

I especially recommend gifting a few classes to an activity like yoga or an art workshop. Anything that gets them out of the house and utilizes the body and brain in creative ways can be very beneficial to finding fulfillment. On the other hand, puzzles or cookbooks could influence creativity in the home as well.


Mindfulness activities

Similarly, gifting tools that can help center them during this chaotic period of their life could be a special way to commemorate their accomplishment and set them up for a successful future. Many places (especially bookstores) sell either mindfulness journals or sets of cards that have quick and easy prompts to help people engage in their days more thoughtfully. Graduating is usually a busy time, so anything that can help them slow down rather than getting swept away might be appreciated.


A bento lunch box

I love giving gifts that will actually be used and that promote healthy habits. As much as I love the pizza sub I eat three times a week, I know my Subway habit will have to change once I graduate. A bento lunch box is a classy way to instill in any graduate the same feeling of showing off their new Spider-man lunchbox in elementary school and hopefully encourage them to eat their carrots!


A crock pot or rice cooker

First jobs can be highly demanding and the transition from university into a career exhausts a lot of energy, both physically and mentally. A crock pot or a rice cooker could take the pressure off somebody in this position because they won’t have to worry about spending long hours making dinner when they get home. Instead, they can cook meals during the day while they’re at work and come home to dinner already made!


One last university souvenir

As someone who has spent the last few years perusing the Dalhousie Bookstore, ogling all the trinkets I’d never buy myself but secretly wish someone else would get me, I can assure you any graduate has done the exact same. Furthermore, I believe you can never have too many sweaters or T-shirts and your graduate’s Dal tee from first year is likely no longer in working condition. Now’s the chance to get them a shirt that's not ripped under both armpits! All in all, Dal merch is a 10/10 way to commemorate a Dal grad!

I recommend the sock monkey! Good luck!