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Graduation Gift Ideas for Adults

Chuck WoodsonFeb 2011

Graduation Gift Ideas for Adults

Adults at every age are returning to school and graduating to pursue new careers, fulfill lifelong dreams or just enhance their current status and increase their opportunities for advancement. The task is not easy and should be appreciated with thoughtful graduation gifts. While an adult graduate may not have the same needs as a younger grad just starting out in life, new recognitions through thoughtful graduation gifts should be no less impressive.

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New Bags for Old Bags

Adults may carry briefcases or shoulder bags that they've used for years. The old and tattered bags not only show their age, but shouldn't have to stand up to additional use after the grads put in the effort required to graduate while holding down jobs or dealing with families. A new attaché case, laptop messenger bag or leather satchel is an ideal gift for an adult grad to enhance her confidence and update her wardrobe. Consider getting the case monogrammed with her initials to make the gift extra special.

Show and Tell

If you're operating from a stricter budget, you may want to think about other thoughtful gifts. And you won't be alone. According to the National Retail Federation, gift-givers in 2010 spent an average of $89.95 on graduation gifts. Still, you can pick up some thoughtful gifts on a budget under $100. Whether the adult grad attends a graduation ceremony, he should have mementos and pictures to celebrate the big day. Give him a set of picture frames so the event can be memorialized. Check out the Hall Gallery Frame Set at RedEnvelope. It features 11 frames that can hold a slew of college memories.

Write It Down

By the time they've finished a degree late in life or managed to double or triple their credentials, most adults have a story to tell. Encourage educated adults to share their experiences in journals and books to be viewed by their children or other struggling adults not sure how to proceed. The Story of a Lifetime hardcover journal at RedEnvelope gets the process started with thought-provoking questions the new grad can answer to fill in her story. Even if they keep it private, the journal is designed to help on a path of self-discovery, something adult students are quite attuned to.

You Can't Go Wrong

The can't-go-wrong graduation gifts include cash and gift cards. The National Retail Federation puts gift cards in second place as the most popular gifts from 2007 to 2010. Gift cards to bookstores, computer outlets and specialty shops still can show you put some thought into the gift, while allowing the grad to purchase something she really needs or wants. At the same time, a check can help to pay off some of the debts incurred returning to school. Cash also works well because it can be combined with other cash gifts to allow the grad to get something more valuable than one giver may be able to afford.

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