Okay, so it’s graduation season. Everyone’s looking for the best gift, and the same old suggestions are coming up again and again. So, if you’re looking for something other than a new Bible or a new copy of Oh, The Places You Go by Dr. Seuss, you’ll appreciate the 5 out-of-the-box ideas you can use to show your Seniors you care (and that you are pretty cool).
1. Faith Journal. These gifts should be a balance between sentimental and sweeeeeet (5 e’s), and this is heavier on the former. Buy a nice journal and put a few pictures of the graduating youth from youth events on random pages throughout. On a handful of other pages, write down some Bible verses or quotes from lessons or that you enjoy. On even more pages, jot down some thoughts or reflections about that graduate. Last, on the first page, put the youth’s faith statement from confirmation (if you have access to it) and an inscription encouraging the youth to write in the journal, flip through it, reflect on the quotes, pictures and verses.
2. College Survival Kit. If the first one was heavy on the sentimental, this one is heavy on the sweeeeeet (6 e’s). You can use a hatbox, shoe box, old suitcase, anything that’s small and convenient. I like to decorate the outside of the box with an official looking label, but the inside is more important. Use pictures of the youth and your group, funny quotes and inside jokes to line the box, then fill it with some or all of the following: King Size candy bars, AA batteries, a roll of quarters, post it notes, travel shampoo/soap/tooth paste, first aid essentials, mini flashlight, cheap flash drive, a metal spork, microwave popcorn, and/or anything 3M. Feel free to ad lib anything that you know they like or is an inside joke.
3. Wall Cross. Okay, okay…so this is as close to cliche as this list gets…but only as cliche and impersonal as you make it. Every dorm-dwelling Christian needs a good wall cross to celebrate their faith and pull a room together. I suggest making a cross; go to a craft store, get a wooden one and go to it. decoupage it with old Bible pages or old youth group flyers. Write notes or verses on it with marker. Spray paint or go all Jackson Pollock on it. Create something that will fit the graduate and will remind them who they are and who’s they are.
4. Custom Towel. Want to really stretch your sweeeeeetness legs? Every freshmen I know needs a good towel to take off to college, and here you can put a custom picture on a beach towel for the low price of $30. This might be out of your price range if you have a lot of grads, but it may also be the best gift ever given. Pick out a goofy, crazy or epic picture of the graduate so they can display it with pride each time they decide to participate in that ever-so-important trend of personal hygiene.
5. Custom College Hack Book. The last suggestion I have for you is as fun to put together as it will be for them to receive. Make a list of college hacks from your experience and create a book with advice, pictures, funny stories and secrets you’ve figured out along the way. Be sure to keep it church-appropriate, no matter what other lessons you picked up in your collegiate days…here are some examples:
– An old cassette case (what are those…?) can double as an iPhone stand.
– Keeping a clean shirt in your backpack almost always pays off big.
– If GPA is important to you, build it up in the beginning of the year when classes are easier to give you wiggle room when the going gets tougher.
– Put the guts of blue or black pens into red pen outsides, because no one steals a red pen. Seriously.
– You can use visa gift card numbers to get free Netflix trials regardless of the amount on the card (until Netflix reads this blog).
– Dryer sheets in a fan can cover most any funk you have going on in your room for a limited time basis.
If you are looking for more than the cross necklace/key chain, target gift card or the books listed above, I humbly submit some interesting ideas to try to spur that creative mind of yours into giving a gift that keeps on giving. Graduates are a big part of our ministry, send them out in style. Got another great idea? Add it here in a comment!