Every graduate’s path to a diploma is different. So why give them a one-size-fits-all graduation gift, like cash or a gift card? You should know that 2021’s personalized presents are not like they used to be. They can be totally budget-friendly, and half of our finds are even less than $30.
At the end of the day, yours will be a gift that will be kept and remembered, long after cash would have been spent and forgotten. So here’s where you start making your mark on that graduate’s heart.
Hammered Solid Copper Monogrammed Mug ($31.95 with personalization; williamsonoma.com)
This gleaming mug is handmade by Turkish artisans. Lined with tin, it’s the classic design for Moscow Mules. Of course, it will keep any cold beverage nice and chilly. This is as useful a gift as a coffee mug, but 100 times more interesting and unexpected.
TheModishHome Personalized Map (starting at $39; etsy.com)
This striking wall art can be totally personalized, from the large quote to the name and date at the bottom. Whether your graduate is decorating a dorm room or a new apartment, this is inspiration in a frame.
New York Times Custom Front Page Puzzle ($49.95; uncommongoods.com)
How cool is this? The actual front page of The New York Times on a significant date of your choice, memorialized as a 500-piece puzzle. Order up their graduation date, first day of classes or birth date, then get ready for a gush of gratitude.
Cathy’s Concepts Personalized Wooden Wine Trough (starting at $87.99, originally starting at $220; macys.com)
Help them celebrate their accomplishment with this elegant wine bottle cooler. It not only looks really, really nice, but it’s also built for years of use, reinforced with a removable galvanized metal bucket. They’ll be using it all summer long as they toast their success with friends.
The Leather Passport Case ($29.50; madewell.com)
Now that pandemic restrictions are finally easing up, you can bet travel is in that graduate’s future. Whether it’s studying abroad, a business trip or just that long overdue getaway, this soft yet strong passport case will be along for the ride. It’s crafted of sustainably produced, vegetable-tanned leather and also comes in “English Saddle,” which is a cool orangey brown.
Urban Map Glass ($18; uncommongoods.com)
Did your graduate always talk about the fun, eclectic neighborhood around campus? Maybe that dream job necessitated a new apartment in a new city? Or is there simply no place like home? Commemorate a city close at heart with one (or more) of these etched rocks glasses. They can muse over their favorite grid while tippling their favorite cocktail.
Embroidered Shower Caddy ($17.49, originally $24.99; personalizationmall.com)
A must-have in a dorm is a shower caddy. They can corral their essential toiletries and tools in this personalized, water-resistant tote with plenty of pockets. Having this on hand will make it near impossible to grab a dorm mate’s stuff by mistake.
GrowlerWerks uKeg (starting at $171; markandgraham.com)
You can never go wrong with a personal growler for a grad, are we right? This one is a standout because of how great it looks. Made of vacuum-sealed stainless steel with chrome-plated brass fittings, it’ll keep anything carbonated bubbly and fresh for as long as two weeks.
IMESilver Handwriting Bracelet (starting at $38.25; etsy.com)
This is about the sweetest thing we’ve ever seen, especially apropos if your graduate is going far from home. Write out a short message, and your actual handwriting becomes a bracelet. It’ll be like having a little piece of you there with them. One idea: “You can do it!”
Northwind Supply Personalized Leather Key Ring (starting at $9.95; amazon.com)
Isn’t it the best when you find a present with a great price but doesn’t look cheap? Here you go. Pick from nine leather colors and gold, silver or antique hardware, then customize this key ring with a name or initials.
TheCrayCo Crayon Names (starting at $14; etsy.com)
Do we have any preschool or kindergarten graduates in the house? Spell out their name in petite crayons, melted into swirly rainbow hues. No two are alike. And they arrive gift boxed, with a rainbow string tied into a bow.
JoyfulTidingsBridal Personalized Tool Bag ($26.95, originally $29.95; etsy.com)
Your beloved trade school grad, whether set to be a carpenter, electrician, plumber, auto mechanic or any other type of craftsperson, needs one thing if nothing else: a grab-and-go tool bag to toss in their truck. This one stands out as theirs and theirs alone.
PreppyPineappleShop Custom Tumbler (starting at $14.99; etsy.com)
Any grad will use this fabulous stainless steel travel tumbler (and think of you) all summer long and beyond. It’s an especially good idea for a nursing school grad. When you’re on your feet all day, sometimes going without a lunch break, hydration becomes crucial. This can be customized with lots of pretty colors, both for the name and the tumbler itself. A reusable straw is included.
Crisscross Carry-All Slouch Tote ($78; minted.com)
No matter where that graduate is headed next, this easy-snap tote fits right in. It can be a grocery bag, a back-and-forth-to-work bag, a weekend tote, a beach bag, a “personal item” on a plane… You get the idea. It’s durable enough for everyday use, being 100% cotton and fully lined, yet it still vibes upscale, owing to the buttery soft, 30-inch leather straps and foil-pressed name tag.
WithInitials Laundry Bag ($17.95; etsy.com)
Rest assured your college student’s underwear will not get mixed up with their roommate’s with this distinctive laundry bag in tow. The fabric is tough enough to last through their undergrad years, and the bag holds a ton of clothes. The monogram comes in your pick of 45 colors.
Here for the Burn Candle ($35; herefortheburn.com)
Here’s a fun idea for a grad who’s setting up a new home. This luxe candle can be totally customized, but it also comes in scads of on-point sayings. We were torn between the one shown, “It’s My Time to Shine,” and “Well Done, You.” In a reusable glass vessel, it’ll burn for 60 hours with the scent of mango guava, bergamot, green grass and tonka bean or Moroccan amber.
Pet Photo Blanket (starting at $44.99, originally starting at $59.98; shutterfly.com)
Who are they really going to miss when they get to campus? Sorry, two-legged family members. A snuggly fleece blanket that’s an homage to their best bud is just the thing to keep homesickness at bay. It can be machine-washed and -dried too, so it’ll stand up to dorm life.
SouthernLinen Monogrammed Sheets (starting at $98; etsy.com)
It’s time to toss the XL twin dorm bedsheets. Mark their official passage into adulthood by gifting them grown-up sheets. These crisp Egyptian cotton sheets with grosgrain ribbon trim and matching monogram get our vote. You can order the ribbon and initials in a selection of colors.
Floating Frame (starting at $79; artifactuprising.com)
This statement piece is an out-of-the-ordinary gift for a special person who just earned a master’s degree or graduated from medical school. Their thesis cover page is printed on archival paper and housed in this stunning floating frame. Whether displayed in their office or their home, it feels more elevated than a framed diploma.
MignonandMignon Initial Disc Necklace ($15.50; amazon.com)
This delicate, hand-stamped necklace is the perfect gift for a grad with a chic, minimalist sensibility. It comes in your choice of gold, silver or rose gold-plated. And it will look like you spent more than you did, don’t you think?