Meaningful Graduation Gift Ideas

May 17, 2019 | by rebecca stewart | sponsored by Billings Catholic Schools

With high school graduations looming, perhaps you’ve got a graduate in the game who is near and dear to your heart and you’re looking for something special to gift along with the practical. Now, keeping it real, these gift ideas are meant to come from someone in the graduate’s inner circle; a gift from the heart because they occupy such an important space in yours.


  • We all know about Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go, I mean, they even have a Graduation Keepsake edition with eight extra pages for personalizing with pictures, notes/advice from grad party-attendees, teachers…Clearly it’s a staple.
  • The book that has most recently caught my eye, however, is I Wish You More. Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and perfectly illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, I Wish You More is everything you might wish for your spectacularly special young person’s future. The line, “I wish you more pause than fast-forward,” will particularly resonate with the gift-giver as you find yourself wondering how it is we’ve arrived in this moment already. Weren’t they a baby just yesterday?
  • This Recipes Passed Down Journal from Write to Me might feel more in line with a wedding or college gift, but if we’re sending these young ones out into the world, we should arm them with their favorite family recipes. One day, they will treasure having your handwriting and that of your family’s handwriting outlining these beloved recipes. This particular book allows for one recipe to a page with the following sections: name of recipe, who recipe is from, history of the recipe, tips and advice, ingredients and method.

Get Creative

  • Or, if you’ve got the time to make it happen, go the Photo Book route. Have family and friends send you their favorite photos with and of the graduate from all ages and stages of life. Never before has it been so easy to create a photo album, which just might help stem any homesickness that might crop up in their first year away from home.
  • As we recently helped to pack up my oldest nephew’s dorm room, I discovered that his youngest sister had sweetly written him letters to open at certain points during the year – complete with pictures. Take a page from her book and Write Letters for your graduate (you can even enlist other family members and friends to write letters to round out your gift). These letters can be sharing some pearls of wisdom you’ve gathered along the way, a trip down memory lane, or a warm fuzzy shout out to their fabulousness and what they mean to you.
  • We loved familyeducation’s idea of creating a Video of family, friends, and important people in your graduate’s life (teachers, mentors, coaches) sharing their thoughts and wishes for the graduate.
  • Of course, you can also go the jewelry or special keepsake route, though I would recommend avoiding a dust-collector that will end up in the back of a cupboard one day not long after the sentimentality of graduation wears off.
If you’re thinking jewelry/Special Keepsake, here are a few of our favorites: 
related articles: