Thursday at 6:05 AM

Graduation Gift Idea: How to Avoid Disappointing Your Graduate

Graduation is a time for celebration, right? New beginnings, heartfelt wishes, big smiles. So how will you feel when your graduate opens your present and immediately forces a look of appreciation?

Avoid disappointing your graduate by taking advantage of the best graduation gift idea, a gift card.

The Importance of a Gift Card for Graduation

Do you know that one out of every three gifts a graduate receives will be a gift card? With the average spending on a graduation gift being around $50, a simple gift card that can be used like cash is a perfect way to honor the special occasion.

Furthermore, gift cards bring benefits to both the recipient and the gift giver:
  • Gift cards let graduates buy what they truly want. How many hideous, out-dated, or ill-fitting items do you have tucked away in your home, gathering dust because they were presents you do not want to give away? A gift card to a graduate’s favorite shop can solve that problem.
  • Gift cards can now be saved longer. Since August 2010, retailer gift cards must carry at least a five-year expiration date. The Federal Trade Commission also points out that stores cannot charge an inactivity fee for at least the first year, which means that graduates have longer to decide on what they want to buy.
  • Graduation gift cards can often be personalized with photos or special messages. You can also combine a gift card with another meaningful present, such as a picture of you and the graduate together, a tassel or commemorative mug, or even a handwritten card expressing how glad you are to be part of this monumental occasion.
  • Gift cards are available even outside of the typical graduation season. Have you ever tried to purchase a graduation gift after the traditional May/June graduation period? You were likely limited to a couple cards on the short shelf and possibly a key chain. The good news is that gift cards can be purchased year-round, so they are always available when you need them.

Choosing the Right Graduation Gift Card

Now that you understand why a gift card is the best way to avoid disappointment, here are a few tips for choosing the right graduation gift card:
  • Focus on the graduate’s interests. Is he/she a sports fan, a movie buff, a fashionista, a techie, or a music critic? Where does the graduate spend the most time?
  • Consider the graduate’s needs. Buying a gift for someone who is graduating often means looking at the person’s goals and immediate needs over the next year.
    • Furnishings and home decor: A high school graduate going off to college may appreciate a gift card to a place for dorm furnishings, while a college graduate may need some new office furniture or wall art.
    • Restaurants and fast food: Everyone needs to eat. Whether the graduate hosting a celebratory dinner with friends or grabbing a quick breakfast on the way to the new employer, restaurant gift cards are always a popular choice.
    • Travel: Does the graduate live far away from her family? Giving the equivalent of free airline tickets is sure to help ease the burden of returning home for the holidays.
  • Decide how much you want to spend. We’ve discussed the size of a typical graduation gift, but your situation may warrant a higher or lower gift card balance. Never feel obligated to give a certain amount. If you are on a tight budget, think about getting free gift cards and then splitting them into smaller amounts.

With the right graduation gift card, you will avoid seeing any disappointment, and you will be giving a present that truly matters in the graduate’s life. Use these tips to make this graduation season even more special.

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