Best Graduation Gifts for All Ages

graduation4It’s graduation time!  If you have a new grad in your life, you’re on the search for the perfect gift – but what to get and where to start?  Not to worry we’ve got you covered!  The Long Island Mamas surveyed local families and compiled our list of the best graduation gifts for all ages.

Cash: Let’s face it, nothing says “new grad” quite like an empty wallet. However, instead of throwing a few bills in a card, place them in a frame and top it with a funny quote such as: “In an emergency, break glass!”.

Journal: Writing is a useful skill, but it’s something that few people actively practice. Give a graduate a wireless space to document their thoughts and emotions. Their teachers, professors and future employers will thank you.


Maps: GPS is a wonderful invention for the directionally impaired. Unfortunately, it’s not foolproof. Cell phone batteries run out or the directions themselves can be incorrect. This is where the ability to read a map becomes useful. A book of US maps is a practical gift. Small children can learn to navigate their neighborhood and an older grad can keep it in their car for emergencies. Accompany the book of maps with Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” and the graduate is ready to travel.    (Be sure to check these local stores for great journal, book, or map options:  BOOK REVUE in Huntington,  BOOKHAMPTON in Mattituck, Southampton, OR East Hampton:, or THE DOLPHIN BOOKSHOP in Port Washington:


Room Décor: Graduations provide a great opportunity to upgrade. A kindergartner may want more of a “big kid” room, while a high school graduate may need to decorate a dorm. If unsure which specific items the graduate needs/wants, a gift card is always appropriate.   (These local stores can help you find just what the graduate needs:  WHAT A GIRL WANTS in Seaford:,  SPOILED ROTTEN TOO in Garden City:, or ROOMORS in Babylon village: 

A Bag: A high school or college graduate may need something more professional than their well-loved backpack for job interviews or evenings out. A younger student might appreciate a new school bag featuring their favorite movie or TV character. All graduates will enjoy taking their next steps into the world in style.     (Check out OOH LA LA BOUTIQUE with multiple locations on Long Island in both Nassau & Suffolk:

Personalized Gear: Portfolio folders and business card holders add a professional touch to an interview ensemble. Business cards and personalized stationary are useful for graduates hoping to enter the workforce.


Updated Technology: In an age where apps are developed for two year-olds and kindergartners use iPads, gifts of technology will always be appreciated. Gift options vary by price point. Kindles are great for the book lover. IPads can function similarly to a laptop, both of which make wonderful gifts. Kindles are great for book lovers, so fill it up with lots of Long Island authors!     (SOME GREAT LONG ISLAND CHILDREN’S AUTHORS:  AND

Emergency Bag: One LI mom said that she makes, “Hey, You Never Know” kits for graduates. These bags are filled with everything people always need, but might not think about keeping on hand. The bags can be adjusted for age appropriateness, but some ideas include: a sewing kit, glue, bobby pins, bandages, alcohol pads, cotton swabs, scissor, etc. Older graduates can leave it in their car or dorm room.


AND…from all of us at the Long Island Mamas, a big congratulations to the class of 2014!   Be sure to include us in your graduation celebration!  Send us pictures of your graduates, big & small!  Tweet us, post them to our Facebook page, or email

By Rachel Minkowsky


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