Eight Easy, Thoughtful (and Mostly Locally-Sourced) Graduation Gifts

Now that I have a kid in high school who is friends with upperclassmen, I’m finding myself in a position to purchase several graduation gifts this year, and let me tell ya, things are certainly different now than when I was graduating from high school. (Insert a hearty “Back in MY Day” here.) As with most other things, now it seems like graduation gifts have evolved and you might find yourself scratching your head over what to get for the graduates in your life. While no one would be disappointed with cash or gift cards, sometimes you want to get something that means a little more and has more staying power. 

Here are some good gift ideas—many of them available locally—that will delight all of the high school and even college graduates taking that big step this month, and will also surely seal your status as “coolest aunt, Godmother, friend’s mom, or neighbor” for eternity. 

If you have one of those hard-to-buy-for males on your graduate list, head to Bexar Goods Co. for a handmade (in San Antonio, no less) wallet that will serve him well throughout college, trade school, the working world, and beyond. 

Know of a graduate who’s heading to or graduating from one of our local universities? Consider a box of customized stationery with an illustration of their school, plus their name printed on the front. Nothing is nicer than a hand-written thank you note after a job interview and these cards will make a lovely impression. 

If your graduate is leaving home to attend school or start a new adventure, a pillow or candle that reminds them of their hometown might be the perfect addition to their new home. 

Welcome to the South where we Southerners like to slap our monograms on anything that sits still long enough to attack with an embroidery machine! At Memory Lane, you can find a huge assortment of useful items that can be personalized for your graduate. From throw blankets to jewelry, you’ll find the perfect gift for even the most discerning graduate on your list—Southern or not!

I mean, yeah, it’s probably not legal, but it’s pretty much a given that college students will throw a party or two. And at these parties, there will be beverages. Now, I won’t speak to what SORT of beverages, but styrofoam cups are useful for keeping cold drinks cold. Two Funny Girls is run by Texas A&M alumna, Kristy, who makes sure to stock plenty of Aggie maroon in her personalization shop, as well as all of the other collegiate colors you might need.

Made right here in San Antonio, Jon Hart luggage, bags, and cases are a timeless gift that will remind your graduate of San Antonio. My go-to high school graduation gift for nieces is the Jon Hart Clear Lola Bag. This purse is perfect for going to sporting events at their new university or concerts where a clear bag policy is in effect. Be sure to get their monogram stamped on it, too. (Fun Fact: If your name ever changes, you can have your patch replaced and hot-stamped to reflect your new initials.) 

Made in San Antonio since 1979, Susan Shaw has a distinctive, classic look and several pieces that will carry your graduate from stuffy graduation luncheons to raucous social nights on campus. 

  • Hand-Curated Laundry Caddy

If you have a graduate on your list who you don’t know really well but you do want to acknowledge, a laundry caddy filled with everything they might need to navigate the murky waters (ew!) of a college dorm laundry room would be super practical and appreciated. Include laundry detergent pods, stain sticks, and lingerie bags, as well as a baggie with several dollars worth of quarters. (Wait—do laundromats even use quarters anymore?) Bonus: You can do all of this shopping at your local grocery store! 

Jenny is a 40-something, married mother of two (Anna, 2007 and Jack, 2009), who migrated to the Hill Country after doing a 14 year stint in Houston. When Jenny isn’t walking her slightly neurotic (and completely beloved) rescued Weimaraner, she enjoys writing, making to-do lists, and folding laundry (and sarcasm). Jenny holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University--Corpus Christi, and completed graduate coursework in Guidance and Counseling. She is a freelance writer who writes a weekly pet column for a Houston newspaper, and is a contributor at Dog Friendly San Antonio, New Braunfels Monthly and San Antonio Woman, as well as assorted other publications. You can also find her on Instagram (introvertsguidetosobriety). Favorite Restaurant: Bohanan's Favorite Landmark: The Alamo (duh) Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Wurstfest (not technically SAT, but closer to Jenny's stomping grounds).