Graduation Gifts to Avoid

Suggestions for graduation gifts to pass on when shopping for graduates.

"It's the thought that counts." While those words should hold true when giving gifts, we all have received gifts that make us go, "What were you thinking when you got this?" Graduation is a time of celebration and graduation gifts should be items that will be cherished and appreciated. Knowing which gifts to avoid is just as important as knowing what to get your graduate.

Avoid getting gift cards that are too small to be of use. A $50 gift card may work wonders for many big-box retailers, but the same amount will buy very little at more upscale department stores. Also, avoid getting gift cards for stores that your graduate will not use or will not enjoy shopping at. An example of this would be giving a male graduate a gift card to stores that target female shoppers.

In most cases buying clothes as a graduation gift is not a great idea. Remember the looks you used to give parents when you received clothes at Christmas? That is the same look most people will give when receiving clothes as a graduation gift. If you want to take your graduate clothes shopping, that would be a better alternative. That way your graduate can pick the styles and outfits they would enjoy.

Some people will give savings bonds as a way to encourage saving and to help someone build their future. Buying someone a savings bond is a nice gesture but also sends a message that you really do not know enough about the graduate to buy them anything they would enjoy. Most graduates want something they can use now not something they will need to wait to use in the future. Gift cards, gift certificates, and even cash are better alternatives. While these gifts still may not involve a lot of thought or effort, they are at least usable and can get your graduate something they really want without the wait.

Graduation gifts can be tricky at times, but one rule of thumb should always apply: is this the type of gift you would want to receive if you were their age? Sometimes you have to set aside the practical and sensible and remember that gifts should be things that people should enjoy.

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