What Are The Best Traditional Gifts for Graduation?

Graduation is a tradition that has been with us for thousands of years. Some sources claim that graduation ceremonies started in the twelfth century, and undoubtedly, this tradition will live on for years to come. The ceremonies are not the only traditions we have held on to because graduation gifts are just as important today as they were then. 

Graduation gift ideas may be slightly different today, but the value of gift-giving is as important today as it was in the twelfth century. 

One issue that many people debate about is whether to give cash as a graduation gift. I must point out that no graduation gift-giving etiquette prohibits giving cash gifts. If anything, some people prefer or even request it.

However, others find cash gifts impersonal, and the value diminishes as the memory is fluid. The person may remember the gift if it goes into something they want. Sometimes, the memory fades as fast as the cash gets spent. 

Graduation is an important milestone in one’s life, and I try to give a timeless gift that one can look back to in the years to come. 

How to Choose a Traditional Graduation Gift

What would you consider a traditional graduation gift? The term traditional means different things to different people. For example, a car is a traditional graduation gift in some families. To others, it may be any other meaningful gift that conveys their joy in the person’s achievement. 

When looking for traditional graduation gift ideas, consider the following:

  • What next?: The question may seem unusual, but a graduation gift is the only gift that allows you to explore gifts based on the person’s next phase in life. Does the recipient intend to travel for some time, or are they job hunting? Are they moving to another city or state? The answers to these questions will widen the scope of gifts you can get based on items they will need as they move on to the next phase in their life. 
  • Meaningful keepsakes: The years in college are some of the most fascinating for most people. It is the period when they make friends because of shared interests. They also develop a road map on what they want to do with their life, so some people prefer having a keepsake that will remind them of their graduation.
  • Personalized graduation gifts: Personalization has simplified gift-giving. You can get a functional gift with a sentimental message. They can also be timeless gifts that will last a lifetime

  • Below are the 14 best traditional graduation gift ideas.

    Custom Year Necklace


    How far back custom year necklaces go to make them traditional graduation gifts is debatable, but they are a worthwhile graduation gift. You can personalize the necklace with the graduation year and the recipient’s favorite metal. The options are silver 925, matte silver, gold, and rose gold. 

    You can also choose your preferred chain type (box, cable, paperclip, or Figaro) and size. If the recipient loves jewelry, you can opt for a style they like the most. The metal is nickel-free and can last years without tarnish, especially when stored properly. Additionally, the necklace comes in an attractive gift box. 

    School Logo Keychain 

    It is not unusual for the graduation class to get gifts for one another. A reminder of the journey they undertook together, and now that they are taking different paths in life, they seek to share gifts to connect them. 

    A keychain personalized with the university’s name or logo is a great choice because it is a functional gift. The bulk purchase price lowers the unit cost of the keychains, making them the most affordable graduation gifts. You can get them in blue, burgundy, brown, coffee, green, and tan. The heavy-duty keyring and clasp look great with all the colors.

    Celebration Keepsake Box 

    If you’re looking for a simple but meaningful graduation gift, this celebration gift box could be it. You can personalize it by engraving the recipient’s name on the box lid and your graduation message within the box. It is available in natural pine or stained pine. These are available in two sizes; the stained box is slightly smaller.

    The natural pine (natural color) dimensions are 8.5”(21.6cm) (L) x 7.9”(20.1cm) (W) x 2.6” (6.6cm) (H). The stained pine (dark walnut) dimensions are 8.25”( 21cm)(L) x 7.75” (20cm) (W) x 2.25” (5.7cm) (H).

    Trifold University Leather Wallet 

    al Another graduation gift for him is this trifold leather wallet. It is 3.5” (9cm)L x 4.5” (11cm) W x 0.38” (1cm) and has sufficient space for eight cards. It also has 2 ID windows and two bill pockets. The wallet is made from full-grain distressed leather with polyester stitching. You can personalize it with the university logo and a congratulations message.

    Leather Bookmark 

    This leather bookmark is crafted using full-grain distressed leather for a timeless style. You can make it a unique graduation gift by engraving the person’s name, graduation year, and a quote. The bookmark is slim, stylish, and a reliable page marker, especially for someone who enjoys reading and will undoubtedly use the bookmark in the future. 

    Custom Graduation Journal Set 

    If you’re looking for a graduation gift for her, look no further than this personalized graduation journal. It is a sign of her achievement and a gift for her future dreams and aspirations. It is made with faux leather and is available in gray, light brown, bamboo, black with silver, pink, black with gold, teal, and purple. You can choose from three design options and can slip into a purse or backpack (5.25" ((L) x 8 1/4"(H). You also get a black satin bookmark. 

    Personalized Name Home Sign 

    The custom name sign is not your typical graduation gift but is worth exploring as a traditional gift amongst friends. When students meet and form bonds in college, they become a family. This personalized family sign is an awesome gift to remind them of the family they are leaving behind. You can stack their names on the home wall decor, and the recipient will remember the bond they shared whenever they look at the name sign. 

    Personalized Wood Coasters 

    Some graduates leave school when they already have job prospects, so they are in search of new items for their new home. If you’re looking for a “what next” traditional graduation gift, these rustic olive coasters are perfect. They are stylish, and you can personalize them with the recipient’s name and graduation date. You can get them in sets of 4, 6, 10, or more coasters. On request, the gift set may be packed in a special gift package. Unfortunately, you’ll need to pay more for the extra service.

    Personalized Pen Set

    The personalized pen set is another graduation gift idea that falls in the “what next gift category” because it will be handy as the recipient moves on to their career path. You can engrave an encouraging message on the pen, such that every time the recipient gets discouraged after dealing with one application after another, they will remember your love and belief that they will succeed, no matter what.

    Friendship Greeting Card 

    If you are too far from your loved one and are wondering how to wish them the best during their graduation, you can go with the traditional greeting card. This friendship card is 4.75” x 4.75” (12.01cm x 12.01cm) and is blank on the back. Write your graduation message there. Unlike other friendship cards, this one will bring a smile to the recipient’s face. 

    Graduation Survival Gift Box 

    This graduation survival gift box is that graduation gift that most people need but don’t know. The box has different cards with thoughtful messages that the graduate can read based on their mood and needs in the present and future. There are also some blank cards for them to write their thoughts. The box has a graduation cap motif that you can customize with the recipient’s name. 

    Wooden Heart Shaped Keychain 

    Keychains are traditional graduation gifts for him or her. It is symbolic, and some people believe it is a sign that it holds the key to the recipient’s future. For example, it may be attached to their new house keys or their office keys. The keychain is handmade and rustic, and the perfect graduation gift. 

    Running Boy Wood Name Sign 

    This running boy wood name sign is a good graduation gift for a non-traditional student. It is a home decor gift available in different sizes. To most people, it may be a name sign, but for a graduate, it symbolizes one’s best wishes for the future. Graduation season is full of uncertainty, and this gift is the motivation a graduate needs to figure out what they want in their next phase in life and run with it. 

    Portfolio Document Organizer 

    This leather portfolio organizer is a practical graduation gift that the recipient will appreciate when they go out for interviews. It is made from high-quality full-grain leather and has a magnet enclosure. It comfortably holds A4 documents and a small laptop or tablet. You can get it in blue, black, brown, coffee, burgundy, and green. 

    These are some of the best traditional graduation gifts based on their practical and symbolic function. Whatever your preference, these graduation gift ideas will guide you to choose the perfect gift for your friends and family.