Friday, May 01, 2009

The Perfect Gift for the High School Graduate

If you know someone who’s graduating from high school and heading off to college, you’re undoubtedly wondering what sort of gift to give. Marie Pinak Carr, who coauthored the book, Sending Your Child to College: The Prepared Parent’s Operational Manual, has some great gift ideas for the college-bound. Thanks, Marie, for being the guest blogger today!

The Perfect Gift for the High School Graduate

By Marie Pinak Carr

Soon, thousands of high school seniors will be graduating. Beautiful pens, picture frames and gift certificates are always in good taste as gifts, but here are three unique and creative gift ideas that will be needed in that first dorm room or apartment. These are actually assemblages of many products and can be as simple and small or as elaborate and large as your budget and time allow. Think outside the box for the box. Shop drugstore sales and dollar stores, and with the exception of the multipart bag, plan on packaging your gift in totes, boxes, baskets or tins. Label the container so it is easy to locate when needed. Have fun, be creative and be prepared for the graduate (and their parents) to thank you profusely.

First Aid Kit - Every dorm room and apartment needs one. Soon, the communal family medicine cabinet and its supplies will no longer be accessible, and it’s no fun being sick and having to leave bed to buy medicines.

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for aches, pains and fever
Alcohol pads
Antibacterial ointment
Calamine lotion
Cough drops
Cough syrup
Eye drops
First aid tape
Hot pack
Ice pack
Liquid bandages
Medicine for allergies
Medicine for colds
Medicine for diarrhea
Rubbing alcohol
Second Skin blister or blister bandages
Sterile gauge

Desk Items – Everyone starting out needs office supplies and a means of keeping them in order and neat. Boxes, tins, coffee mugs and glass jars are ideal containers. Plan on gathering these purchases into a plastic crate, which is perfect for packing and moving and can also serve as an additional shelf in a closet, bookcase, or even small table. A small bowl or tin in a special place can become home base for those keys, cell phone, or eyeglasses that are always getting lost.

Box for keys
Containers with pencils, pens, paper clips, etc.
Duct tape
Hole puncher
Index cards
Post-it notes
Ream of paper
Rubber bands
Scotch tape and dispenser
Spiral bound notebooks
Staple removers
Wall calendar

Traveling - There will be many different ways in which students travel between home and school or that first apartment. REI, Hudson Trail Outfitters and even Filene’s Basement all offer the “multipart bag” manufactured by High Sierra and Eagle Creek. When fully assembled, this bag can easily be rolled through the airport and security as a single unit. Their advantage is that you can unzip portions or parts of the large bag that become additional duffel bags, day bags, book bags, etc. Additional travel items are listed below as suggested add-ons.

Multipart bag
Bright luggage tags
Bright ribbons to tie onto handles so luggage will stand out
Box of quart size plastic bags
Duct tape
Inflatable pillow
Small travel blanket
Travel size versions of containers
TSA locks that can be used after flights in hotels, trains, cabs, etc.

Marie Carr is the mother of three college daughters who has spent the past six years sending them to four different schools and to study abroad. She has been an active participant on three college parent councils and coached hundreds of parents of college-bound students. Her book,
Sending Your Child to College: The Prepared Parent’s Operational Manual, is available in bookstores or from

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