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What Is The Right Gift For Graduation?

Rewarding the Class of 2011 for their hard work.

The end of June is a special time for kids. School wraps up and summer is on their minds but many of our children will be taking part in an important rite of passage: graduation. Donning cap and gown, nerves bubble as "Pomp and Circumstance" encourages our scholars to march excitedly to the podium and collect their hard-earned diploma along with their classmates.

Proud parents take this time to watch their child in awe of all that has been accomplished. Whether high school or college, preschool or 8th grade, our kids have come a long way to get to graduation and their future is right in front of them. Where will it take them?

When our children reach this turning point, the emotions can be overwhelming for parents. As Erma Bombeck once put it, "Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After 22 years of child-raising, they are unemployed." 

On this important day, we want to reward our graduates with a gift for all of their tremendous work but what is appropriate? I have heard of graduates receiving everything from cars to plastic surgery...yikes! Controversial gift ideas aside, examining your graduate's needs is important.

Is your high school graduate bound for a west coast school like Stanford or UCLA? Our California-born Chatham Patch editor, Laura Silvius, says, "Get them a car! They'll need it." If your child is heading to a more walking-oriented area, a car would not be ideal. Think about your child's interests and needs. Is your college grad taking some time off to travel abroad before diving into the workforce? Luggage and/or money would serve them well.

In trying economic times, big ticket gifts may not always be possible but that does not stop parents from rewarding their graduates. How about putting together a scrapbook illustrating and highlighting all of their accomplishments and experiences from the years leading up to graduation? This is a true gift from the heart that can be kept in remembrance in the years to come.

For kids headed to college, how about a basket of small but great items like gift cards for books or music downloads, a new subscription for their favorite magazine, flash drive to store their documents or pictures. Taking care of necessities like linens, towels or even week's worth of groceries can be a big help too.

When you give from the heart and think about your child's interests and needs, you can never go wrong. Your love, support and interest in their life and future is the best reward anyone can receive.

Chatham and Madison Parents - We know you are creative thinkers and some of us could use some fresh ideas. How are you rewarding your graduate this year?

Colleen Bohensky June 22, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Well, we only just finished kindergarten and toddlers... so no major graduates to deal with yet. I can say... the best most memorable gift I received was from a friend who had gone to college the year before me. She loaded up a laundry basket with Tide, Downey, hangers, a couple rolls of quarters, pens, post-it-notes, and tons of random things that dorm room college student needs. It was perfect. (I STILL have that laundry basket!)
Elizabeth McConnell June 22, 2011 at 09:28 PM
I also just have young children, so I haven't had to feel like Erma Bombeck describes it yet (unemployed?! If I don't laugh at that, I'll cry. Or maybe I'll cry either way.) The best gift I got was a Cross pen. I know it's cliched, but I was just deciding to pursue writing as a career (took me several years to get there) and it made me feel like it could really happen. Of course, I never actually use a pen to write any more.
Carol Spaulding Eiseman June 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Here are some of our family favorite graduation gift ideas.. they run the gammit from fun, funny and functional.. the favorite is the Tailgate Toss...not super practical, but those have gone to college and even come back to their apartments.. too funny : http://www.celebrationideasonline.com/graduation-gift-ideas.html

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