Skip the keepsakes: Here are 6 gifts your Virginia college graduate actually wants

Skip the keepsakes: Here are 6 gifts your Virginia college graduate actually wants

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Ava Edwards

May 7, 2024

If you have a graduating college student in your life, check out this gift guide from a graduating college student.

College graduation is an equally exciting and scary time for upcoming graduates. For many students, emotions are running high as a mixture of relief and anxiety accompanies our walk across the stage. We’re looking to step out into the world and start our careers after a long and difficult four years. That’s why the right graduation present is so pivotal.

What many family members don’t realize is that a graduation gift is an opportunity to help your graduate transition to post-college life, and hopefully ease their anxieties about their next steps. While gifts like a bobblehead or a silly t-shirt can be nice, it’s best to make sure your soon-to-be-former college student receives something they can actually use. A good rule of thumb is to give them something they can’t afford or wouldn’t buy themselves.

As someone crossing this important threshold myself soon, here are my suggestions for the best things to gift your graduate this spring. Class of 2024, baby!


Let’s be real: Cold-hard cash is always a safe bet for a graduation gift. College is expensive, and many graduates have likely depleted their funds through their schooling. Now that it’s time to start looking for a new place to live, a hefty endowment would go a long way to helping a recent grad lease their first apartment. (What do you mean you need two months’ worth of rent for a security deposit?!)

Skip the keepsakes: Here are 6 gifts your Virginia college graduate actually wants

Photo courtesy of Canva

Household Items

During their time in the dorms, students often get hand-me-down furniture and kitchen appliances. Gifting a recent grad a new loveseat, a nice air fryer, or even new sheets could help them in their first adult apartment. Local businesses like B’s Boutique (located in Charles City, between Richmond and Hampton Roads) can also monogram anything. Who doesn’t love a nice set of monogrammed towels?

MasterClass Subscription

Does your graduate still have a lust for knowledge? Are they always learning a new skill? Do they want to learn a new skill to stand out in the job market? Keep their educational journey going after college by gifting them with a MasterClass subscription.

New Luggage

Skip the keepsakes: Here are 6 gifts your Virginia college graduate actually wants

Photo courtesy of Canva

Whether your graduate is taking a gap year or starting a career fresh out of college, they certainly could use a new luggage set to prepare them for future travel. Check out North End Bag Co., a locally owned business in Virginia Beach that sells handcrafted luggage in a variety of materials.


After some of the most stressful (to date, anyway!) years of their lives, you can help your grad unwind by contributing to a vacation or a spa subscription. Another option is to check out Shop Made in Virginia (which has two storefronts, one in Alexandria and another in Charlottesville), which offers a Spa Day Gift Box Program that contains bath bombs, sugar scrubs, and other spa products.

Formal Wear

Formal wear is a multipurpose and helpful gift for any young adult. Whether it be a nice watch, some fancy jewelry, or a pair of high-end dress shoes, formal wear can help a recent graduate feel more confident as they prepare for job interviews, special events, or even a new job. Take your new graduate shopping this season: Franco’s of Richmond can tailor a custom suit, or visit Atlantic Leather in Glen Allen for a custom pair of leather shoes.

  • Ava Edwards

    Ava is an up-and-coming journalist who recently graduated from William & Mary with a degree in English. She's written for news publications such as her school's newspaper, The Flat Hat, and Hampton Roads' WAVY-TV 10. As a lifelong Virginia resident, she looks forward to informing her community on the latest information and events.



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