All over the state kids are donning caps and gowns while the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance fill the air. Next come the graduation parties and the inevitable gifts. Sure, there’s always cash in a card, but if you want to give something memorable that also helps the local economy, there are a surprising amount of unique local options from modest to extravagant.
Grad-Themed Picture Frame: Digital photos are everywhere these days, so framed photos have become very special. Take a shot of your favorite grad with their friends or family on their special day, print a copy and put it in one of these unique matted frames by Lena Marie Creations. The frame itself is a simple attractive silver rectangle, that changes its appearance based on the magnetic mat. Choose a graduation design, or one of dozens of other themes suited to your grad. Later they can easily change the photo and the look of the frame on their own. Available mats and/or frames range from $7-$27.
Networking Book: Networking is a critical skill, particularly to a new job hunter. Help your favorite grad develop useful techniques with a copy of Be Connected: Strategies to Attract the Right Opportunities, Connections and Clients Through Effective Networking by Terry Bean. The author is exceptionally gifted at connecting people together and has built his own group, Motor City Connect, into one of the largest networking communities in Michigan. The book is available online for $15-$20.
Coffee: The current generation has grown up with an unprecedented appreciation for java, but it can be an expensive habit, especially when footing the bill on your own for the first time. Why not get a grad started with brewable beans or gift cards? With well over a hundred locations around the state and an online store Biggby Coffee has plenty of options from which to choose starting as low as $10.
Soup and Mix Sets: Leaving school often means living on their own for the first time, which can make it hard to make or afford that home-cooked meal. The folks at Motown Soup can help bridge the gap with tasty soup and dip mixes that are easy to fit and taste like comfort. There are a variety of gift boxes from which to choose, including ones specifically designed as being from Ann Arbor, Detroit, or Northville. Sets range from $30-$44 and individual soups mixes are also available.
Distinctive Wooden Sign: Decorating that first new home away from home can be costly as well. Consider picking out a cool handmade piece like a Michigan is Home sign from Arts n Pallets. This stylish step-up from simple paper posters is currently priced at $55.
Michigan Roots: Unfortunately, your favorite grad may be leaving the state for specific academic or career pursuits. Help them take some of their home-state pride with them with Michigan-themed apparel. For example, hats, tees, and hoodies from MI RootsWear range from $20-40, and serve as comfy reminders that home is where their roots are.
Bean Bag Chair: Ford decades now, bean bag chairs have been a staple in dorm rooms and first apartments. Big Joe has plenty of options from which to choose, both in the traditional free-form style, as well as those that more closely resemble structured furniture. Affordably priced at $50-$75, and available in tons of styles, colors, and patterns, they make a terrific contribution to a new pad.
Bucket Bag: For many kids, before the next step officially begins there’s still a summer of fun in the sun to be had on the Great Lakes State. This large, round-bottomed backpack from Stormy Kromer is made of durable fabrics, perfect for the beach now, and the college campus later. It’s currently priced at $99.99.
Watch: One of the most popular and traditional graduation gifts of all time is a watch. Shinola has gorgeous options for both men and women, all of which are assembled right in Detroit. This timeless gift will last for years to come, and serve as a constant reminder of your love and support. Prices range from $550-$1500
Detroit Bikes: More and more we hear that millennials favor bicycles to cars. In fact, college campuses today have foregone many parking spaces in favor of bike racks. Urban environments are filled with young people who wish to live and work within a city, and utilize public transportation or bike trails to commute. Detroit Bikes makes a wide range of durable cycles from which to choose. Prices range from $700-$2000.
Congratulations and best wishes to all the members of the Class of 2017.