11 best graduation gifts – Save the Student

Graduating is such a huge achievement, so finding the perfect present to congratulate a recent grad takes thought. To help, here’s a list of some really special gifts that we’re sure they’ll love.

Woman with graduation cap holding present

Credit: Prostock-studio, Roman Samborskyi, SedovaY – Shutterstock

It’s no secret that university can be very tough for a lot of students. Simply reaching the end of a degree takes so much hard work and dedication, so the efforts and successes of graduates should always be celebrated.

Whether they’re your friend, relative, girlfriend, boyfriend or just about anyone you know who’s graduating, simply acknowledging their huge achievement will mean the world. And if you decide to get them a little something to mark the occasion, this will definitely be appreciated.

If you’re wondering where to buy graduation gifts, wonder no more. With this list of 11 great present ideas, you can find one that’s ideal for the lucky graduate.

  • Personalised stationery

    personalised notebooks and pen

    Credit: Paper High – Not On The High Street (left), EDSG – Amazon (right)

    Whether you’re buying a graduation gift for him or her, personalised stationery is such a fitting gift for graduates.

    For example, if somebody’s spent a lot of their degree writing essays or noting down equations, a pen that’s engraved with their initials and/or the date of their graduation could represent all of the hard work they’ve put into their studies.

    It would be even more fitting as a gift if they’re also going into a career that involves writing. If you’re buying a graduation present for a future lawyer or journalist, a special pen would be something that they could genuinely use in their day-to-day life after uni.

    Alternatively, a personalised calendar or diary would be both thoughtful and super practical for a recent graduate. It would help them organise their time after uni, whether they’re planning to start working, study for a postgrad degree or even go travelling.

    Try sites like Not On The High Street and Etsy for personalised stationery from small businesses.

  • Watch or jewellery

    Watch against tartan cushion

    Credit: AlicjaBoutique – Etsy

    Anything from rings to necklaces to watches can make brilliant graduation gifts. These items last a lifetime and will always act as a reminder of their success at uni.

    While some fine jewellery will undoubtedly cost a lot, it is possible to find some good deals on pieces that are still beautiful.

    At the time of writing, the watch in the above picture costs around £60 from Etsy, but don’t worry if that doesn’t suit your budget – you should be able to find something lovely, whatever price range you go for.

    For jewellery that’s more in the upper price range of the high street, you could consider brands like Pandora and Kate Spade. Or, if you’re on a tighter budget, try Accessorize and have a look through the options on Amazon.

    It’s also worth having a look for jewellery pieces in local independent stores and in charity shops to see if you can find any affordable yet eye-catching gifts.

  • Spa day

    Spa day voucher from Buyagift.com with spa

    Credit: Buyagift.com

    After all of the stress and hard work of their degree, a recent or soon-to-be graduate will very much appreciate the chance to unwind and get pampered. And what better way than on a spa day?

    Depending on where you book and what treatments are included in the offer, spa days can be quite expensive – but there are plenty of good deals out there if you know where to look.

    You can find some good deals on spa day vouchers on sites like Virgin Experience Days, Red Letter Days and Buyagift.com.

    On these sites, try sorting the results by low-to-high price to find the cheapest offers. But, when looking through the deals, make sure the reviews are good and check whether the voucher would include a spa treatment.

    Some vouchers only allow access to facilities like the pool and sauna – still great for a day out, but it could end up disappointing anyone hoping for a massage or similar spa treatment.

  • Champagne

    Aldi and Tesco champagne

    Credit: Aldi (left), Tesco (right)

    If there’s ever a good time to pop open the champagne, graduation is it. While it’s definitely not the cheapest of drinks, it is possible to find good deals on champagne.

    Our food and drink deals page is a good place to start, as is your local supermarket – if you have a big food shop near you, they should have a big range of drinks and would therefore be more likely to have reduced prices on their champagnes.

    Aldi is known to have a great wine selection for decent prices (you can sometimes find champagne there for under £15!).

    And, of course, prosecco, cava and other sparkling wines are excellent alternatives to champagne. They should cost a fair bit less than their famous cousin, and will still taste delicious.

  • Houseplant

    Chinese Money Plant

    Credit: Bloom & Wild

    Houseplants make amazing graduation gifts. Not only are they long-lasting presents that can be enjoyed for (hopefully 🤞) years to come, but they’re especially delightful because they’re a gift that the recipient can nurture and watch grow.

    Bloom & Wild is better known for its flowers, but they also have a small yet great selection of houseplants for sale – we’ve even seen a pineapple plant on there.

    Another popular online plant store is Patch Plants. They have a range of plants with rather brilliant names – at the time of writing, this includes Spike (a cactus), Tommy (a cherry tomato plant) and Big Ken (a kentia palm which is, in fairness, pretty big).

  • Art print

    Graduation art prints

    Credit: Timetobelove – Etsy (left and right)

    A personalised art print is such a wonderful and unique graduation gift.

    We love the ones pictured above from Etsy. They cost about £10 each at the time of writing, and can be custom-made for the person you’re giving the gift to.

    Alternatively, if you’re a talented artist yourself, you could consider drawing or painting something for them. Knowing that you took the time and effort to make an artwork for them is bound to mean a lot to any graduate.

  • Sweet treats

    Graduation biscuits and a box of brownies

    Credit: SugarCookieCoGB – Etsy (left), Yellow Submarine (right)

    There’s a huge range of biscuits, chocolates and other sweet treats on sites like Etsy, Biscuiteers and Not On The High Street. Prices for these gifts can vary quite a lot and will generally be higher for personalised ones, but they shouldn’t cost you a fortune.

    It’s also worth checking out the Life Changing Bakes from Yellow Submarine, a social enterprise that supports people with learning disabilities and autism.

    Their cakes taste incredible, and 100% of the profits go to charity. They also offer a handmade brownie with a personalised message on top – ideal for a memorable (and tasty) graduation gift.

  • Graduation scrapbook

    Scrapbook page about summer with photo of flowers

    Credit: Hobbycraft

    Scrapbooks themselves are usually pretty affordable (the one in the above picture was around £5 from Hobbycraft at the time of writing) – and you could customise it for free if you already have arts and craft materials at home.

    Find some photos of you and them and maybe add some notes along the way about the good times you’ve spent together. It’s even better if you have photos and stories that are directly related to their time at uni, but it’s not a problem if not.

    The important thing is that it’s thoughtful, well-presented and full of happy memories that will put a smile on their face.

  • Afternoon tea

    Afternoon tea voucher and cakes

    Credit: Buyagift.com

    As with spa days, websites like Buyagift.com have some great deals on afternoon tea experiences. You might even be able to find vouchers for spa days with afternoon tea.

    However, this isn’t the only way to treat a lucky graduate to delicious tea, cakes and sandwiches. You could consider sending them an afternoon tea box, like this one from Morrisons. It’s similar to their subscription recipe box service, but it acts as a one-off gift (with no recurring payments).

    Or, you could even make some indulgent sandwiches and cakes at home for your loved one, making sure to get their favourite tea and maybe even a glass of bubbly. It would be the most cost-effective way of giving the gift of afternoon tea, and quite possibly the most thoughtful way too.

  • Planted tree on their behalf

    tree on hill over landscape

    Credit: Willy Barton – Shutterstock

    It goes without saying that planting more trees is essential for the planet. By arranging for a tree to be planted on someone’s behalf for their graduation, you and them will have the joy of knowing that the gift is doing some good in the world – and will do for many years to come.

    For this gift, perhaps have a look at the National Trust website to donate towards their ‘plant a tree fund’. They ask for a minimum £5 donation which pays for a tree sapling to be planted. And, the more you donate, the more trees that get planted.

    You could also plant trees through Ecologi. At Save the Student, we use this site to plant trees and run as a climate-positive workplace, so it’s definitely one we’d recommend.

  • Handwritten letter

    Man writing letter

    Credit: Kate Aedon – Shutterstock

    When it comes down to it, the best graduation gifts really don’t need to cost much – and could even be free.

    It would be hard to buy a gift that’s nearly as heartfelt as a long, handwritten letter about how proud you are of them and their achievements – not just in their degree, but in everything they do.

    It may sound cheesy, but celebrating how well they’re doing, and letting them know that you’ll be there for them through whatever comes next is, as far as graduation gifts go, pretty hard to beat.

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