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#56. One of the nicest parts of Summer is graduations, or if you or one of yours is a senior, GRADUATION DAY! While most colleges and high school have commencement exercises while it is technically still Spring, here in Virginia it already felt like Summer before my daughter’s college graduation. It was definitely summery the week we attended a friend’s son’s high school graduation party. My friend’s in-laws did a Hawaiian pig roast — yes, in the ground for hours, weighted down with bricks — again, definitely Summer.

My favorite part of graduations, as with all special events, is the presents. Giving them, getting them, exchanging them — I don’t care, I just like presents. (Full disclosure: I dislike shopping for people who are “hard to buy for” (you know who you are!), but a graduating senior is usually not in that category.) For graduations, there are built-in themes to help with the shopping: something connected to the college, whether celebrating a rising freshman or a newly minted alum, or things related to the student”s chosen major or career path, and of course, financial assistance is alway welcome. Our daughter’s gifts (from us) were a new computer (laptops get old and slow after four years of nearly constant use), a stylized print that referenced her college colors and traditions (thank you, Pluff Mudd Designs!), and a tea tray with a cross-stitch of her college seal under glass, all wrapped in the school’s signature pink and green. For my friend’s son, we chose a very nice leather wallet, filled with gift cards to Starbucks (he’s chosen an urban campus), Itunes (he’s a teen, after all), and Amazon.com (where my daughter managed to purchase the lion’s share of her textbooks at deep discounts). A little gift box wrapped in blue and tied with a “buff” ribbon (again, school colors), and it was ready to go.

Even for students who live far away, making shipping a gift impractical, there are way to send something personal. Some college bookstores will ship a gift for you. My daughter received a call from her campus shop to “come pick up a gift” that was wrapped and waiting for her. One year I contacted the bookstore on another campus and they mailed a  purse made of school spirit ribbons to a friend’s daughter who would be going there that Fall. You’d be surprised, I think, by the fun gift items available. Yes, no teenager or young adult is going to have hurt feelings over receiving a check, but why not make it more personal? A gift certificate to their campus shop could be just the thing.


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