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Graduation is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. Whether it’s high school, college, or a specialty program, graduation is a time to look back on a journey, celebrate a major accomplishment, and start looking forward to where all of the hard work is taking someone. And like any job well done, graduation should be celebrated—but should you buy the recent grad in your life?
While there are plenty of great grad gift ideas floating around the internet, one of the most special ways to celebrate a graduation is with a customized gift. From custom planners with your grad’s initials to photo keepsakes to remind them of home when they’re moving on to the next adventure, we’ve rounded up a bunch of items perfect for any graduate. Whatever their age, whatever their major, and whatever your budget, order one of these personalized graduation gifts and you’re sure to make their big day even better.
1. For the graduate with a sense of humor: Custom graduation socks
Socks are always a good gift, but socks with someone’s face on them are even better. This pair is totally customizable, and can even include up to three faces and text, like “Class of 2021.” Some people might find it weird to have their own face on a pair of socks, but if your grad really is the class clown, they probably couldn’t think of a better gift.
2. For the graduate who is ready to show off their hard work: Custom diploma frame
At the end of it all, the reason for the struggle and hustle was to get a very expensive, very important piece of paper. So why not celebrate your grad’s achievements by gifting them with a custom frame to protect and hang it on the wall to show the world? This Etsy best-selling frame can be customized in many different ways and include text, the diploma, photos, and even cap and gown so the reminder of the hard work is always right there on the wall.
3. For the soon-to-be business person: Customized notebook
Once your graduate finally steps into the business world, let them step into it in a professional style with this classic leather portfolio customized exactly how you want. Measuring 9" by 7", the portfolio has a memo notepad, business card pocket, and pen holder so they have everything they need to hit the ground running on the first day of their new career.
4. For the stylish and organized graduate: Customized leather tray
After a long day on the new job, every graduate needs a handy place to empty their pockets before settling into a glass of wine to reflect on “the real world.” This leather tray, which ships out in just two business days, can be customized with your graduate’s name, class year, and even the seal of their university.
5. For the hydrated graduate: Customized Yeti 26-ounce Rambler
Remind your graduate that it’s important to drink water when classes are done by gifting them with this 26-ounce Yeti Rambler. Designed to keep whatever they’re drinking cold all day long, this Yeti Rambler is dishwasher safe, has a special “chug” cap, and can be customized with text, logos, and more directly from Yeti.
6. For the graduate that likes to stay cozy: Customized throw blanket
With a diploma in hand, it’s finally time for your graduate to hit the couch to Netflix and chill. Make that experience better for them with this customized throw blanket that includes their name, graduation year, and a quote or text to remind them of their hard work. Available in two sizes, this fleece blanket can be made with two different colors (school colors, for example) and customers receive a proof of the blanket within two days to make sure it looks exactly how you want.
7. For the jet-setting graduate: Customized passport cover
After getting their diploma, many graduates grab their passports and set off on adventures around the world. If the new graduate in your life is one of those people, what better gift than a customized passport case to protect their travel documents? Available in six different colors, this U.S-made, leather, and sailcloth passport case can be custom ordered with gold foil names or initials.
8. For the whiskey-drinking graduate: Customized whisky glasses
A stiff drink is a great way to celebrate graduation, and a custom whiskey glass celebrating the occasion makes it all the better. With nine different customization options, this handcrafted glass has tons of positive reviews and, at $13 bucks per glass, it’s perfectly affordable.
9. For the graduate who loves paper: Personalized notepad
Every new graduate needs a personalized notepad to adorn their new desk, and this Etsy store has plenty of options to choose from. Available in two sizes, 8" by 10" or 5" by 7", and with or without a magnet, these notepads come with a large initial above the name and come lined or unlined. For an added gift, toss in custom envelopes and maybe the grad will even write you every now and then.
10. For the graduate moving on: Gold-foiled, customized wall map
For many graduates, getting a diploma means it’s time to move on. For high school graduates, it might be moving onto college, and for college grads, moving to a new city for work. Wherever your graduate is going, help them remember the good times with a foiled map of their favorite place. Available for basically any location (or a number of pre-made maps for countries, states, and major cities), these maps can be framed or unframed and include a specific address at the bottom corner.
11. For the graduate with space on the walls: Custom graduation photo collage
A custom photo collage is a fabulous way for a graduate to remember the fun they had during their academic experience. Luckily, Minted has a fun, pre-made collage template so all you have to do is pick the photos, place the order, and give the gift of treasured memories. Available framed or just as a print, it can be customized to feel exactly how you want.
12. For the one always on their phone: Custom Popsocket
New graduates spend a lot of time on their phone, right? Hopefully answering emails and applying for jobs, but probably scrolling Instagram and Twitter. Whatever reason their hand is glued to a phone, help them help themselves with a fun, custom Popsocket that makes it easier than ever to, well, hold a phone to keep scrolling.
13. For the graduate with a desktop: Customized photo mouse pad
Whether your graduate works on a PC at home or is starting a new computer job, help them personalize their space with a custom photo mouse pad so their favorite memories are only as far as their dominant hand. This mouse pad from Shutterfly is stain-resistant, easy to clean, and customized right here in the U.S.
14. For the poker-playing graduate: Customized playing cards
When graduation is over, it’s time to take a second and cut loose. For some that might mean a fun party with familiar faces sitting around a card table playing poker. Take those familiar faces to the next level by gifting your grad a custom set of playing cards with their own photos on the deck to make it all the more special. With over 400 5-star reviews, it’s safe to say people are showing their hand with how much they love this product.
15. For the graduate who really loved their school: Embroidered college pillow
Finishing school can be tough because it means leaving behind friends, campus, and maybe even a city that a student has come to love. These embroidered college pillows—made for a handful of universities in the U.S.—highlight the school’s landmarks, mascots, colors, and more. A little on the pricey side, these pillows have “exceptional” workmanship, according to one review, and can help the memories of school last forever.
16. For the graduate who keeps a calendar: Customized walnut desk calendar
Artifact Uprising is a brand that’s well known for its simple yet stunning photo creations, and this desktop photo calendar is no exception. Ready to ship in two days, this calendar can feature a different photo each month along with your choice of different fonts or foiled text to really make each month special.
17. For the photography-loving grad: Square photo prints
While there are so many graduation gift ideas out there, one great option is to keep it simple with beautiful photo prints to remember the years gone by. In the age of Instagram, why not bring those digital photos to life with Artifact Uprising’s 5" by 5" bordered photo prints. Or, if you want to keep things simple and send your grad regular photos, you can get more traditional prints from Shutterfly.
18. For those who can't wait to travel again: Away carry-on
Once your graduate has their cap, gown, and vaccination card, surprise them with one of the most popular suitcases on the market so they can finally put down the books and pick up their passport. Away bags come in a variety of sizes, but the standard carry-on is a great bag to have on hand. Even better, order online and Away can customize the bag with initials or a monogrammed luggage tag so it’s all the more special.
19. For the graduate who loves Apple: Personalized Airpods
When Apple introduced Airpods it changed the headphone game forever. Then, according to our experts, the Airpods Pro took it one step further. If your graduate is still tethered, literally, to their device, why not splurge and reward their hard work with the gift of impeccable, wireless, instantly-connected sound. And better still, order either the regular Airpods or Airpods Pro directly from Apple and you can have the case engraved with letters, numbers, and even emojis.
20. For the graduate who finally gets to relax: Custom spa robe
With finals over, dissertations submitted, and the books all closed, hopefully your graduate is setting aside some time to relax. Encourage a break with a custom spa robe, like this one that we tested and found to be a solid choice in a world with many different robe options. Made with 100% Turkish cotton and available in a handful of colors, this super soft and easy-to-wash robe can be monogrammed for an additional $10.
21. For the graduate who really loves the Real Housewives: Custom Cameo video from celebrity
For a really, really special gift, skip the material goods and surprise your grad with a custom video from their favorite celebrity. Cameo, an app that’s becoming increasingly popular, lets you request custom videos from celebrities to basically say whatever you want as a surprise gift. From reality stars like The Real Housewives to Olympians, drag queens, to the cast of The Office, what better way to say “congrats!” than have someone more rich and famous do it for you?
22. For the graduate hitting the road: Leather monogrammed weekend bag
With school over and weekends no longer dedicated to studying, hopefully your graduate is getting ready to safely start traveling a little more—especially as the world returns to normal thanks to vaccines. If that’s the case, why not gift them a classic leather duffle bag that can hold enough to get them through the weekend. Even better, why not monogram it so it’s theirs forever.
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 22 personalized graduation gifts they'll love