Perhaps you’ve gotten some graduation announcements in the mail, or your own child, grandchild, niece or nephew is getting ready for college. If you’ve been waiting for inspiration before shopping for a gift, you’re in luck. We scoured stores, catalogs and the Internet for gift ideas in every price range, and asked recent graduates what items came in handy as they settled into college or their first apartment.
(Note: This is not an exhaustive list — for one thing, it doesn’t include a new car, which tops many graduates’ gift lists —but it’s a start.)
Have fun shopping. And congratulations, graduates!
A Good Pen
Make it a keepsake by having it engraved with the grad’s name or initials.
Price: $20 and up
Price: About $200, depending on the model and features
To really surprise him, tuck some goodies inside — a pocket-size dictionary, a cookbook, airline tickets to someplace fun.
Price: $25 and up
Laundry Survival Kit
Fill a sturdy basket with a few good towels, detergent and a roll of quarters.
Price: About $35
Price: About $10
Price: $700 and up (way up)
Price: Varies greatly depending on size and manufacturer, but $60 is a good starting point.
A Good Pillow
Pair it with a premium cotton pillowcase in his favorite color.
Price: $25 and up
For a more substantial gift, pair it with a sweatshirt for cooler days.
Price: $10 and up
Price: $100 and up. (Be sure to include a memory card and other accessories.) For a low-cost alternative, consider a disposable camera and photo album.
It always fits.
Price: You name it.
Pack a gift bag or basket with candy, nuts, granola bars, coffee, hot cocoa and other munchies.
Price: About $20.
Good for the soles, especially in communal bathrooms.
Waterproof Fire Safe
It’s one of those gifts he’ll really appreciate later.
Price: About $30.
Consider a subscription to your hometown newspaper, so he can keep up with current events and news back home.
Price: $15 and up.
Having a basketball, football or Frisbee handy will encourage exercise as well as socializing.
Price: $10 and up.
Roll Of Carpet Or Area Rug
To brighten up a drab dorm-room floor.Price: $25 and up
So he’ll have everything handy for writing letters back home—or just paying bills. Fill a bag or basket with stationery, envelopes, stamps, address book, and a calendar with relatives’ birthdays filled in.
Price: About $25
A Share Of Stock
Oneshare.com offers framed stock certificates for well-known companies such as Krispy Kreme, Nike, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.
Price: Varies. At Oneshare.com, a framed Krispy Kreme certificate costs about $100; unframed, $59.
Consider prepaid phone cards or a gift card to a bookstore, electronics store, restaurant, grocery store, gas station or auto parts store (they’ll need oil and wiper blades).
Price: You name it.
Pizza Of The Month Club Membership
Each month, your grad will get one deep-dish and two thin-crust specialty pizzas.
Price: A full academic year (nine months), $320 at www.greatclubs.com. A cheaper and healthier option: Eight months in the Fruit of the Month Club, $190 at www.harryanddavid.com. Even cheaper: some pizza coupons and a wad of cash.
It adds 26 square feet of precious living space — essential for dorm rooms or small apartments.
Price: CollegeBedLofts.com offers plans for $10, completed wood lofts for $180 and up.
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