11 Special Ways to Recognize Your Child’s Graduation

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Graduation is an important and special time. Family and friends want to congratulate the graduate with gifts, nostalgic memorabilia, and items for their future. Beyond the ceremony and a graduation party, consider these ideas for making this time special and unique and show your graduate that you are proud of them and will support them in their next ventures, whatever they may be.


Flowers are always a good graduation gift from family and friends near and far. It’s easy to send flowers to people who live far away, making it popular with long-distance family members. For a creative idea, consider a flower lei. More people are starting to give flower leis for graduation, a long-standing Hawaiian tradition.

Scrapbook or Photo Book

A scrapbook or photo book, whether homemade or purchased, is a nostalgic gift that many graduates treasure for life. Filled with pictures and mementos from the graduate’s childhood, this book is special both for the creator and the recipient. Make sure to start this project far enough ahead so you will have time to finish it.

A Letter Book

A letter book compiles special letters of congratulations, shared memories, and advice from family and friends far and wide. If you want to make one of these for your graduate, start far in advance and ask family and friends to send a letter and picture for the gift. Then you can mount all the items in a scrapbook for your lucky graduate.

Personalized Photo Items

Items such as mugs, water bottles, blankets, and even shirts and bikinis can be personalized with photos. Special gift items that have been customized with photos of family and friends are perfect gifts for graduates who are leaving town to go to college or some other far-off pursuit such as taking a gap year to travel or starting a job in a different town. 

Make a Video Montage

Video montages are one of the best ways to commemorate a graduate’s life, childhood, and accomplishments. Many people make these montages to be played at graduation parties but they can also be shared online over social media and other platforms and can help make the day special for family members who can’t attend a party in person. 

A Special Experience

A special experience is a great way to make a memory and congratulate your student for all their hard work. Many students have special experiences they want to do, such as going skydiving, climbing a mountain, or learning to snorkel. These experiences are a great way to celebrate the graduate’s introduction to adulthood and get them ready to launch into a new life with one last special memory of their childhood to take with them.

Graduation Trip

Many families celebrate each child’s graduation with a family trip or vacation. This is especially meaningful if your family hasn’t been able to take a lot of vacations. A special trip such as the first visit to a foreign country, an amusement park, or a tropical cruise can be a wonderful memory and reward for your new graduate.

A Year of Books

This gift is perfect for book lovers. For this present, the giver compiles twelve must-read books for the graduate and wraps them up separately. Most people label the books with the month they are intended for. Others let the recipient choose when to read each book and instead label them with cryptic clues as to the plot, setting, and character.

Nonfiction books are also a good choice, especially if they are on topics that the giver considers important life books for the student to read at the beginning of their journey into adulthood.

Mother/Child Jewelry

Matching mother/child jewelry items are a sweet gift for a graduate who is leaving to go to college or head out on some other adventure. These gifts are available in many styles and jewelry types from necklaces that fit together to matching bracelets to many more. This special gift will help your departing graduate feel close to you as they learn to live on their own far from home.

Personalized Planner or Journal

A special personalized planner or journal is a great gift that can help the graduate get started on their next venture, whether college is in the picture or not. Planners and journals are special, and this is a special time of life to begin using them. Engraved leather-bound journal covers, custom planners, or personalized sketchbooks are a unique way to support your graduate.

Going-Away Adventure

Consider planning a final going-away adventure for your graduate and their close friends before they go their separate ways. Friendship is one of the special parts of the teen years and your graduate’s friends will always hold a special place in his or her heart. Give them one last memory together by organizing an outing like a day at an amusement park, an escape room, or some other fun adventure.