How to Pick the Perfect Gift for Your Graduate

Unfortunately, the art of gift giving seems to be slowly dying. Many of us have succumbed to the generic gift card when it comes to gifts, especially for graduates. It’s easy, fast, and doesn’t take much brain power. It also might seem like what young people want, but I promise you, if you give a personal gift, it will have stick with them long after whatever they buy on All it takes is a little time, effort, and creativity to find the perfect personal gift.

Great Gifts for Job Hunters

Most college and some high school graduates are looking for a job! But many of them are ill-equipped to interview for one. So here are some ideas to help them on the hunt.

Webcam for Video Interviews

Video interviews are becoming more and more common with recruiters.  Preliminary interviews can be conducted easily as long as your graduate has a webcam. Cost: $39.99 (available at the TCT Solutions Center).

Personalize it: Volunteer to do a mock interview with the graduate using his/her new webcam! Here is a great link to share too: the Big Interview guide to acing video interviews.

Premium LinkedIn Membership for Networking LinkedIn_logo

Networking can be the foundation for a successful job search today. While many people just use the basic LinkedIn for free, the premium membership offers so much more, especially for those job searching. Cost $59.99/month.

Personalize it: Send out a short introduction of the graduate to your LinkedIn list and ask them to share with folks who are looking for the graduate’s skill sets! If you know people, who know people, (think professional and civic organizations), set up a luncheon with them and take your graduate along to get the ball rolling.

Great Gifts for Those Entering the “Real World” (or Growing Up)

Going to college or starting a career is a big change, so help your graduate navigate becoming a grown up. It’s easy to develop bad habits away from home like eating poorly, not getting enough exercise, and stress. So how can you help?

MisFit Flash: Avoid – or get rid of – the Freshman 15! 

The MisFit Flash is a great device for tracking healthy behaviors like steps and sleep patterns. Remind your graduate how important it is to stay healthy to do well in school or their new job. Cost: $49.99 (available at the TCT Solutions Center).

Personalize it: Buy one for yourself and get a little friendly competition going with the graduate! Or set up a time each week to take a walk so you can catch up with each other while you get your fitness on.

Google Chromecast: Just Relax! 

A cheap and easy video streamer is a great gift for letting the graduate know it’s okay to relax every once in a while. These small gadgets plug into a port on the TV. They deliver services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Pandora, Watch ESPN and more while you use your smart phone or tablet as the remote. Cost: $39.99 (for the device only; streaming services will cost extra; available at the TCT Solutions Center).

Personalize it: Set a date for a movie night at home using the Chromecast, and don’t forget the popcorn!

Kindle Fire HD 

This powerful, full-featured tablet has a great 7” HD display, fast quad-core processor and dual speakers with Dolby Audio. Grads can use it for email, downloading videos, social media and more. Additionally, there are tons of books, including many of the textbooks they will need, available on the Kindle. Cost: $139 with 8 GB or $159 with 16 GB (available at the TCT Solutions Center).

Personalize it:  Make sure the first one loaded is Carl Siegel’s, Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By. Let your graduate know how important money management is to their future. Read the book yourself and have “book club lunches” with your graduate to discuss each of the 8 lessons in the book. Who knows, you might learn something too!

Cooking 101: Taste on a Budget! 
joy of cooking

Most college students survive on Ramen noodles and the Mickey D’s dollar menu, but a few learn the joy of cooking and are much better for it from a health and budget standpoint. Cost: less than $25.

Personalize it: Type up your own recipes or give one of the standard go-to cookbooks like Better Homes and Gardens or my favorite, the Joy of Cooking. Add at least one recipe you make that they always ask for. Then set some dates up this summer to cook a meal together and enjoy each other’s company.

Time for Travel! 
traveling alarm clock

This hilarious alarm clock is perfect for the grad that just can’t get out of bed. It runs around the room, beeping, until someone wakes up and turns it off—no snoozing allowed. It will be great for having to get up and go to work or class! Cost: $39.99.

Personalize it: Let it get you out of bed for your adventures. For ideas on places to go in Kansas, check out Marci Penner’s book, The 8 Wonders of Kansas.

Gift Cards

Okay, I’m giving in! If you still opt to give a gift card, you can add a personal touch. Do a little online searching to see which retailers are available where the graduate is going to be living for some of the following services:

  • Oil Changes – Tell them every time they use the card, they have to call and set up a lunch/dinner date. That way you will know the oil is being changed at least once every four months!
  • Indulgences     
    • For girls, plan a day to pamper yourselves together when you give this card, which can include pedicures, manicures, massages, and haircuts.
    • For guys, give the gift of adventure and head for the golf course, horse arena, museum, putt-putt or whatever activity they find interesting…unless they really want a pedicure too!
  • Groceries – Set a date to stock up the dorm or apartment and go shopping with them. After you are done, take them out to eat or catch a movie together.

Whatever you decide to buy, put yourself in the gift and have some fun!

Join TCT in celebrating local grads by sending them a “shout out/congrats” message on our Facebook page! The grad with the most likes wins their choice of a Kindle Fire HD or $100 gift certificate to the TCT Solutions Center. 2nd place wins $50 GC and 3rd place wins $30 GC. Here is all you have to do:

  • Be a follower of TCT’s Facebook page
  • Use the Hashtag – #TCTGrads2015
  • Post and tag a photo of the grad and add your congratulations (no inappropriate pictures please)
  • Start sharing and ask friends and family to like and share!

Ready to celebrate?! Congratulate your graduate today!