Niece Graduation Gift?
April 13, 2009 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Eldest niece will graduate High School soon. We aren't particularly close, but I'd like to give her something useful and lasting - any suggestions?
posted by sarajane to Human Relations (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe something from Etsy. Hand made stuff rock.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:12 PM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I still use a nice backpack I got for high school graduation 13 years ago. The regular school type backpack, not a camping pack.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 1:15 PM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

A blank book for journaling. All sorts of pretty/funky covers are available. If she doesn't do it already, maybe this will encourage her to start. Tell her it's just like updating her MySpace page only more private.
posted by qurlyjoe at 1:17 PM on April 13, 2009

Not particularly thrilling, but I got a nice set of luggage that I used for almost 10 years after graduation. It took me to Europe and across the country. If you can't do a set, just one really well made carry-on size piece would be ideal.
posted by kimdog at 1:18 PM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

echoing kimdog - my luggage was the best gift my father ever got me.
posted by nadawi at 1:20 PM on April 13, 2009

Don't know if you've seen any these:

Also previously
The return of previously
The son of previously
Previously's revenge
posted by phoenixy at 1:21 PM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I got a monogrammed luggage-quality duffel bag from my grandmother when I graduated 16 years ago. I still have it and I still use it.
posted by unixrat at 1:28 PM on April 13, 2009

Can you take her on a trip, like to an artsy or historical city near you for a weekend?
A camera with a fish-eye lens?
A fountain pen?
A beautiful copy of a book that's meaningful (was she named for a character, for instance?)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 1:40 PM on April 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you all.. clearly I had not searched the archives diligently enough - only found suggestions for guys.
Currently thinking a really nice dictionary (I am old-school, what can I say) and a toolkit - maybe tucked in a carryon/duffel/backpack.
posted by sarajane at 2:05 PM on April 13, 2009

I gave each of my nieces a nice photo frame with their name and year of graduation engraved on it. I got it at one of those engraving booths in a mall. They're sisters and only one year apart in age so I got them both at the same time (and crossed my fingers that the younger actually did graduate the following year!) so they received the same gift.

I've also given a nice engraved pen as a gift and it was well-received. The engraving booth had pens but they were over-priced and not great quality so I bought my own at a stationery store and then just had it engraved. The recipient still uses it a few years later.
posted by nelvana at 2:27 PM on April 13, 2009

This tends to be a suggestion for guys, mostly, but if I had gotten a leatherman at my graduation (as a girl) I would've absolutely loved it.

For my own graduation, I bought myself a very nice photo album, engraved it with the class year and school name, and filled it with pictures from prom/exam-time/etc. It wasn't that expensive, but I love it.
posted by Phire at 2:35 PM on April 13, 2009

Nthing luggage, and a leatherman. I am 21 and I got a great luggage set for my 16th birthday that has served me well, not just for travel but when moving apartments/dorm rooms as well. My dad gave me an old leatherman that I use constantly. Also, if she has a car maybe an air pump/instant battery charger, depending on the dependability of the car and how hands on she is. The alternative to this is a paid year of membership to AAA, which I would have chosen over a picture frame any day.
posted by toni_jean at 2:54 PM on April 13, 2009

Ditto on the luggage. And as for a dictionary, I wouldn't bother- if she's college-bound, she might not have room for one in her dorm room, and given that all computer have spell-checks and online dictionaries, it would probably sit unused.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:58 PM on April 13, 2009

Yeah, don't get a dictionary. I just finished college and opened a dictionary maybe twice.
posted by stray at 3:20 PM on April 13, 2009

a really nice dictionary

She'll never use a dictionary. But I like the tool kit idea.

If she's going away to college, maybe a gift card to a store where she can buy stuff for her dorm room.
posted by jschu at 4:18 PM on April 13, 2009

If she's going to college, luggage would definitely be useful. Especially one of those weekend rolly bags for when she goes home. Of all my high school graduation gifts, it's the one I still have and use. It was really nice luggage with my initials on it. Also, gift cards to a Target-type store are good.

I used my gift dictionary a little bit, but I'm old school like that. Although, now that the OED is online, I very rarely use it.
posted by bluefly at 4:40 PM on April 13, 2009

This is simple and cute and has been a hit for my grads.
posted by inkyr2 at 4:59 PM on April 13, 2009

Y'know, I LOVE dictionaries and still read them for fun (especially the old American Heritage that someone had given my parents for their wedding and that I kind of "acquired" when I first went off to college), but even I have to agree with the folks saying that maybe a dictionary isn't the best gift right now, given how easy it is to just look up what you need online these days ... having said that, this is probably rather far-fetched but perhaps you could look into footing the bill for her first half-year of internet access in college (erm, assuming she's going to college and assuming she won't be in a dorm that has free internet access in each room)? Okay, that's probably ridiculous but I know I would love getting that from someone now ... thought I'd throw it out just in case =P

Perhaps on a more realistic basis, if she is going to college in the fall maybe you can set her up with some dorm basics - a microwave or hot-plate or some such thing? Failing that, I REALLY like toni_jean's suggestion of getting her a AAA membership - my mom got me one before I went to grad school and I have used it a ridiculous number of times for flat tires and the like.

Failing that, how about some sort of iTunes gift card if she's got an iPod? Or what about one of those personalized throw blankets from Things Remembered? Okay, I know they can be kind of cheesy, but for some reason I keep thinking that in the right circumstances, with the right picture (maybe a map of her hometown? A picture of some place, person, or event that was important to her or to the family overall?), they could be kind of special ...
posted by DingoMutt at 6:51 PM on April 13, 2009

Ask her parents, or someone close to her. When one of my nieces graduated from grade eight, my sister told me Becky wanted something I never ever would have thought of: a quilt. A quilt is useful and beautiful and, if used with reasonable care, it'll last a good 20 years, so that was my criteria for a graduation gift all met.

Not that I'm saying you should buy your niece a quilt. My point is more that since you don't know your niece that well, discreetly ask someone who does. It'll still be a surprise.
posted by orange swan at 7:03 PM on April 13, 2009

I got a monogrammed luggage-quality duffel bag from my grandmother when I graduated 16 years ago. I still have it and I still use it.

I'll second this. This is soo useful in that period of your life. Laundry and moving. It's just so handy. And everything is better obviously when your name is embroidered on it.
posted by Sreiny at 8:55 PM on April 13, 2009

Toolbox - definitely! Nothing else saw quite as much use during my first year of college. Hammer, 6-in-one screwdriver, box cutter, super glue, duct tape, jar of random screws/nails/nuts, picture hanging wire, twine, a good flashlight, extension cords.
posted by Mrs_Eep at 9:31 PM on April 13, 2009

I second the laundry - I'm now almost 30 and a professional; the one gift I received upon graduating from highschool that I still have and use is a monogrammed laundry bag!
posted by mccn at 8:39 AM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks again.. scratching the dictionary. Clearly, I am so old school that we didn't even have online dictionaries back in my college days. Big rolly, monogrammed duffel is sounding better and better.
posted by sarajane at 9:24 AM on April 14, 2009

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