I have graduation on the brain. This Saturday, a ton of English majors I know will be leaving my school and moving onto the real world. This got me to thinking—what makes a good graduation gift? For English majors, the answer may be obvious: books. There are a whole slew of books that have become cliché graduation gifts.
Children’s books, like Oh The Places You’ll Go and The Giving Tree aren’t the only genre of book that graduates get. For some reason, a ton of self-help books show up on multiple “must give” lists for graduates.
And, you know, I’m one that likes a good cliché, so I’d be one to get these kinds of gifts for graduating friends. But I would also be sure to personalize it by writing a little bit inside of the pages myself. After all, what makes a gift special is the person who’s giving it. At least, that’s my thoughts on gifts.
Personalizing can take many forms. I am a huge fan of writing a lovely letter within the first few white pages of the book. Often times, because I creatively write, these blank pages will be filled with poems too. What I really want to give my friend’s graduation is my love, and the best way I can convey that is through my words.
Another great way to personalize a book is to read it first, annotate it, and leave little messages and jokes within the margins for your graduating friend. It may seem odd or you may feel as if you’re giving them a used book, but I really enjoy books that have been annotated. This way it’s as if you aren’t reading the book on your own, but are rather apart of an ongoing discussion about the book. This also prompts your friend, once they’ve read the book and the notes, to call you up and discuss the book and get further feedback than just your notes.
If you go the self-help book route, marking up specific sections you think would be helpful is a nice gesture. Personally, I would have a lot of fun and transform that self-help book into a masterpiece by turning into a book full of found poetry and doodles. That may seem like the oddest modification of all, but all the help your graduating friend really needs is your love and support, so give it to them with a book full of your personalized encouragement.
Most of all, have fun when personalizing these books as graduation gifts and enjoy watching your friends, family, and loved ones walk on their very special day.
You can follow Amanda on Twitter @ThePandaBard, on Pinterest @ThePandaBard, or on Medium @ThePandaBard. You can also find her research on Academia.Edu at Cpp.Academia.Edu/MandaRiggle.