How to Find a Cool Graduation Gift – Ideas from the Virginia Shopper

“What should I give as a graduation gift?”  It’s the nagging question I face almost every May and June!  The graduation announcement arrives, and I panic.  “What can I give that will make a lasting memory?” The dilemma gets worse over time and even right up to graduation day I still have doubts about the gift I chose.

Used to be I could give a quality pen or desk set.  That’s still “in style” but slightly old hat,  and the trend is

for technology gifts – computers, IPhones, Droids, digital this and wireless that.  The question is, “How many Droids can a newly released, just-out-of-school- graduate carry around anyway?”

Well, The VIRGINIA SHOPPER has been on the prowl again to find unusual graduation gifts.  For a graduate who is about to face the big wide world, school days are already fading into distant memories. They will come back much later as THE GOOD OLD DAYS – and knowing that is what I discovered makes it easier to get the perfect graduation gift!  Memories! – the stuff of songs.

SECRET FORMULA REVEALED….. Town Features + Area History + School History = Great Gift = Great Memories

First, I needed to identify what’s different about my graduate’s town or school.  Most schools have their own spectacular or peculiar landmarks and history.  Take the little town of Lexington, Virginia – a place with two universities and a lot of history.  Washington and Lee University (W&L) and Virginia Military Institute (VMI) are both famous for their colorful beginnings.  With its real-life heroes like George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and George C. Marshall, this little town is a great resource for uncovering perfect gifts.  A-HA!

Based on what I found in a few minutes of online research, here is a list of cool graduation gifts I’m convinced will generate fond memories of the good old days.

  • Engraved Virginia Pewter Cups
  • W&L (Washington & Lee) Bistro Etched Wine Glasses
  • VMI (Virginia Military Institute) Bistro Etched Wine Glasses
  • Robert E. Lee Bust for Desk or Library
  • W&L Brass Trivet
  • George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior – a book written by our first President at the age of 14!
  • VMI Panorama – a framed, 360 degree sepia toned, panoramic photograph showing the drill field at the heart of the VMI campus.    
  • Stonewall Jackson Bust for Desk or Library
  • Handmade VMI Cadet Nutcracker
  • Handmade George Washington Nutcracker
  • Handmade Robert E. Lee Nutcracker
  • Collegiate Art –A 3-photo keepsake combo of architectural landmarks form school initials 

Words of Wisdom from THE VIRGINIA SHOPPER:   “Look for the unique characteristics of the school or town, the history of the school itself, and the things that make the location different.  After that, the search for cool graduation gifts gets easy.”


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