Better Than Cash: 5 Gifts for Grads

Graduation is one of the most important milestones in a person’s life, and it’s one of those occasions where gifts can really help out a struggling student transitioning to bigger and better things. A lot of people resort to just giving money for graduation. And trust me, no one would complain about receiving cold, hard cash! However, if you want to give something a little more personal, check out this list of five gifts for grads that are sure to be a hit.

1. Stocks

Even better than money, purchasing a stock for a recent graduate can get him thinking about his financial future early. Not to mention, it ensures that your cash won’t be spent immediately on graduation parties. Purchase stock from a well-known company, request a stock certificate and protect it with a specially engraved picture frame.

2. Accessories

Graduation is typically followed by job interviews, and looking great can help your grad obtain his or her dream job. Help a female grade complete her look with tasteful dangly earrings, a chic silver necklace or some simple and stylish bracelets. Help your guy grad embellish his look with some smooth cuff links, a sophisticated watch or a professional tie.

18k Rose Gold Plated Sterling Silver Two-Tone Simulated Diamond Double Open Heart Pendant Necklace, 18″

18k Yellow Gold Plated Sterling Silver Two-Tone Double Open Oval Pendant Necklace, 18″

3. Solar Chargers

Designed for a green and on-the-go lifestyle, solar chargers make sure her essential electronics are easily accessible wherever she goes. This gift is especially perfect for outdoorsy types but can be a useful tool for any grad who’s attached to his smartphone, tablet, laptop or all of the above.

Opteka BP-SC4000 Ultra Thin Solar Powered High Capacity (4000mAh) Backup Battery and Charger for Cell Phones, iPhone, iPod, and Most USB Powered Devices

ReVIVE Series Solar ReStore External Battery Pack with Universal USB Charging Port for Portable E-readers , MP3 Players , Smartphones & More USB Powered Devices

4. Books

Just because he’s not in school anymore doesn’t mean he should say goodbye to reading for good. If you’re not sure how to give the best advice or feel a little awkward getting sappy in a graduation card, allow the pros to express your thoughts for you. A couple of the most highly recommended titles for recent grads include “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch and “Just Who Will You Be?” by Maria Shriver.

Yay, You! : Moving Out, Moving Up, Moving On

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

5. Cookbook and Supplies

Whether your grad is headed off to college or the working world, there’s a good chance he’ll feel a little lost without mom’s home cooking. Unless you want him to resort to McDonald’s for every meal, do a grad a favor by giving him the tools he needs to cook for himself. A book filled with slow-cooker recipes and an accompanying Crock Pot would be one great option. Grads will likely be busy, inexperienced and probably on a budget, so look for cookbooks that accommodate all of these needs.

Fix-it and Forget-it 5-Ingredient Favorites: Comforting Slow Cooker Recipes

Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

Remember to match your grad gift to the graduate wherever possible. For example, if your recently graduated friend or loved one is especially tech-geeky, purchase his stock from Apple and get him a Steve Jobs book. Graduating from college (and even high school) isn’t easy, so use this opportunity to really reward your grad for a job well done.

Picking the Perfect Personalized Bridal Shower Gift

As spring kicks into full gear, bridal shower season reaches its annual peak. I recently had both of my brothers get married within just a couple months of each other, and I was tossed headlong into the bridal shower experience. Given that I’m not married, I wasn’t really sure what type of gifts I was expected to get my future sisters-in-law.

After being at the showers and seeing the excitement on their faces while opening their gifts, I definitely have a better idea of what the bride-to-be enjoys. Here are just a few of the top gifts at their bridal showers.

1. Monogrammed stationery: Having a new last name is exciting, and stationery is the perfect place to show it off. Especially in the South, it’s pretty much expected that a bride will have monogrammed stationery for her thank-you cards. Pick out a simple, classy design incorporating the bride’s new last initial or monogram so she’ll be ready to show it off after the wedding!

Initial Monogram Personalized Stationery Envelope Seals

Floral Design, Set of 12 Monogrammed ‘M’ Folded Note Cards with Envelope

2. Personalized jewelry: Whether it’s something she can wear at her wedding or just a little item for her to add to her collection after the marriage, a bride loves receiving jewelry that celebrates marriage. Consider getting her a pretty initial necklace with the first letter of her new last name to let her show that off, or a heart necklace featuring her birthstone and that of her future husband.

Monogram Necklace 18k Gold Plated Personalized Initial Name Necklace

Monogram Necklace Sterling Silver Personalized Name Necklace

3. Wedding chest: Keeping mementos from the wedding safe is easy with the help of a wedding chest, which can also serve as décor in their home together. A large chest will hold everything from the dress to photo albums, whereas a smaller chest is perfect for keeping all the wedding cards in one place. If you’re handy, you can even build the wedding chest yourself.

The most important factor when looking for a personalized bridal shower gift is to make sure it’s appropriate and useful for the bride in question. Choose carefully and she’ll be inspired to think of your kindness each time she uses your gift.

Gift Ideas that Are Sure to Delight Your Daughter

Teenagers often assume their parents don’t understand them, and special occasions are your chance to prove them wrong. Picking out the perfect gift for your teenage daughter is as simple as thinking through her interests and giving her something you know she already loves. Here are just a few simple ideas of what to get your daughter for her birthday, Christmas, graduation or just because you want to let her know you’re thinking of her.

For the Accessory Queen: Jewelry

If your daughter won’t leave the house without at least one fashionable accessory, get her something to add to her collection. If she loves big and bold items, a huge ring or a set of bangles will be perfect. If she’s more delicate, choose dainty earrings or a simple ring. If she searches for meaning in her accessories, consider a word necklace or a charm bracelet.

Petite Princess Crown Necklace in Figural Gift Box

Cupcake Crystal & Enamel Pendant Necklace in Figural Gift Box

For the Music Lover: CD or Concert Tickets

You may have a hard time getting your daughter to turn off her sound system, but you can show you care by giving her some music she loves. Find the latest album by her favorite musician or get a throwback older album by a musician she’s recently started following. If you want to go one step further, get her concert tickets to see a favorite artist live.


Under My Skin

For the Fashionista: New Outfit

If there’s an item of clothing your daughter has been begging for, now’s the perfect time to splurge and get it for her. Unless you’re sure you can pick a winner, offer to take her out on a special shopping trip to pick the exact outfit she wants, and maybe grab some frozen yogurt while you’re out.

Wet Seal Women’s Novel Peasant Top S White

Wet Seal Women’s Beaded Necklace Top S Peach

For the Sensitive Soul: Journal

Teenage girls may not be willing to tell you everything they’re feeling, but that doesn’t mean they need to keep it all bottled up. Get your daughter an elegant journal with high quality binding and a pretty cover. Get away from the childish diaries and get something a little more grown up so she’ll feel more mature when she writes in it.

Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms

All About Me Teenage Edition: The Story of Your Life

For the Star Gazer: Movie

Any girl who follows news about Hollywood stars like they’re her best friends will love a gift related to the movies. Get her a DVD or Blu-ray of one of the films she has enjoyed recently, or pick up a pair of tickets so she and her best friend can go to a movie they’ve been looking forward to seeing when it comes out.

13 Going on 30 [Blu-ray]

Chasing Liberty

Your daughter’s personality and interests will affect what type of gift is best for her, so just take a close look at who she is today to know what to buy. This isn’t the time to project your interests or wishes on her; instead, you should celebrate who she is and what she loves. Seeing her face light up when she opens the gift will make your purchase well worth it.