Avoid These Lame Graduation Gifts

By Sarah Acosta
|  Tuesday, May 4, 2010  |  Updated 2:30 PM CDT
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Avoid These Lame Graduation Gifts

Somos/Veer-Getty Images/Somos RF

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It’s that time of year again when you’ll start receiving those pretty little envelopes in the mail. You know, the ones that look like wedding announcements, but when you open it you’re greeted with a shiny picture of a cap and gown-wearing graduate.

So yes, it’s that season again -- Grad season.

Whether that means high school, college, or graduate school, these graduates will walk across the stage and look at you for a pat on the back -- or something a little bit more rewarding.

Even though it is the thought that counts, no one wants a horrible graduation gift. We’ve all received them from that crazy aunt or relative. But, to prevent this tradition from continuing, we’ve come up with a list of the worst graduation gifts to give. Avoid them at all costs.

1. An empty picture frame or empty photo album: Like we said, it’s the thought that counts, but these gifts are thoughtless. If you ever give a picture frame, put a nice picture in it. A photo album filled with wonderful school time memories or a picture of the grad has great sentimental value, but an empty one shows a careless gift.

2. A Children’s Book: For some reason, relatives think a children’s book draws up sentimental childhood memories, but really it’s just a lame gift. So put back “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” from the shelves.

3. A Money Clip: For some reason, that nutty uncle thinks a strapping young man always needs a good money clip. This might be true, but don’t give a money clip unless it holds some precious green. Grads are starting a new life, money is the best way to help them out.

4. A Chain Gift Card: Choosing a place for the grad to shop or eat is usually kind of cheesy and thoughtless. If it is to somewhere like Best Buy or Bed Bath and Beyond, that might be a little more practical. But don’t just pick a random Bath and Body Works or Chili’s gift card -- grads would prefer just plain money.

5. A Charity Donation in the Grad's Name: This is probably really selfish of us to say, but seriously do you think a college or high school grad is really going to feel any satisfaction out of this? They’ll probably forget about it the next day. If you’re going to give money, give it to them!

By avoiding these clunkers and giving just a little bit more thought to your graduate's gift, you'll lose the ugly label of "useless gift giver."

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