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Graduation Gifts

Dear Gift Gal:
My only grandson is graduating from high school in June.  I don't want to give money, a watch, a set of suitcases or any of the other usual gifts.  Do you have any ideas for a unique yet memorable gift?   P.J., Montgomery, AL

The Gift Gal responds:
As my own graduation from high school drew closer, I realized that I didn't want to give my friends the typical graduation gifts.  Just giving them a card didn't seem like enough.  As a senior scrimping and saving for college tuition,  I couldn't afford to buy each of them expensive monographed gifts or give them money.  Gifts like books, clothes or friendship jewelry seemed too predictable and impersonal.

Since I've always loved writing and editing, I decided to give them a gift that would be uniquely from me, yet practical too.  I would put together a notebook of hints on surviving in the adult world. I perused stacks of books and magazines for articles on topics such as budgeting, doing your own laundry, surviving freshman homesickness, and dealing with difficult roommates. I made photocopies of those articles and put them in a 3- ring notebook.  The first page included a message personalized for each of my friends.  My friends seemed to appreciate the practicality of the gift at the time.  But I never realized how useful the notebook was until about a year ago, when a friend told me she had hers and was still referring to it--even though it's been 20 years since we've graduated!

Why not adapt this gift idea to your own situation?  Write a letter to your relatives, telling them that you are compiling a notebook of practical hints for your grandson's graduation gift.  Ask them to assist you by jotting down a tidbit of advice and sending it back to you.  Encourage them to be creative, practical, and maybe even a little humorous! You will probably find that some of the responses are silly, others poignant and still others filled with helpful information.  Compile those pearls of wisdom into a hand-decorated notebook and present it to your grandson on graduation day.  I'm sure it will be one of the most memorable gifts he has ever received!

Cheryl Schroeder publishes the Creative Gift Giver, an online guide to imaginative gift giving.

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Rachel Paxton
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