When Should I Buy a Laptop for a Graduation Gift?

studentswlaptopsm Follow Me on Pinterest Choosing a laptop as a graduation gift seems like a slam dunk decision.  Nowadays every college student needs a laptop.  Your high school grad should already be pretty familiar with computers so they may already have something in mind.  Be sure you understand the computer needs of your new grad before you commit to buying that laptop.

Some of you may be asking why a laptop and not a desktop.  Today’s student requires the mobility offered by a laptop.  Though laptops are usually more expensive than desktops the additional expense is necessary.  At time college students are taking notes right on their laptops in class.  You can’t carry around a desktop.

One big factor to consider when buying the laptop is the college or university that they will be attending.  You need to find out what the requirements are and what software they recommend.  You don’t want to buy a PC Windows based computer only to find that a Macintosh computer is required.  Many graphic and art schools rely on Apples versus PCs.

This leads us to the question of when you should buy the laptop.  If you can get the requirements for the institution your grad will be attending I personally think the sooner the better.  That can be as early as graduation.  The main reason for this is that every computer and software program has a learning curve and you should have your high school grad hit the ground running when they start college.

Picking a computer may be hard but once you have the requirements regarding operating system, memory, processor and hard drive space I would recommend looking at reviews online.  Amazon has a section with a breakdown by brand which includes reviews and best seller lists which may be helpful in picking the right laptop.

This is usually a graduation gift that is pretty hard to beat and will save the grad a buck or two come the fall.

Time Management Graduation Gifts

timemgmt Follow Me on Pinterest One of the greatest gifts you can give someone going to college/university or entering the real world in their first jobs is the gift of learning to manage their time.  There are debates about whether you like one approach or another but the most important thing is to use a system and a method that will work for you.  I have older nieces that have been to college and one of the greatest weaknesses I saw them face was the proper use of their time.  Being on your own for the first time can be overwhelming to many.

I am an avid fan of time management tools and processes.  I was first exposed to them by a boss I had in one of first jobs.  In hindsight maybe he was giving me a hint 😆 .  All joking aside though he signed our whole department up for a Franklin Covey time management course that included training in the system and planning binders to make sure you had the tools to implement the system.  I wish I would have been exposed to these approaches earlier in life.

PlanPlus For Outlook V.6 -  Full Version BoxIn those days computers were not as indispensable as they are today.  Currently I use a program called Plan Plus from Franklin Covey that is integrated with my Microsoft Outlook software to automate the process I learned way back when.  The Outlook Plug In also can sync with PDAs to take your organizational process mobile when you need to tough nowadays kids always seem to have their laptops with them.

Do your new grad and yourself a favor before those thousands of dollars are spent and school loans are taken out.  Talk to your grad about making the right choices about how they spend their time and give them some graduation gifts that will keep them on track.

This of course assumes your grad already has a computer but I guess that discussion is for the next post…

Graduation Gift Ideas Depend on the Graduate

kidjourney Follow Me on Pinterest Graduation is a big deal!  We’ve entered commencement season and many of us need to consider getting graduation gifts for our loved ones.  Graduation gift ideas are not that hard to come up with if you take the time to know the graduate.  Many of us are far removed from the graduation experience and need to take ourselves back to both the exhilaration and fear that accompanies this great accomplishment.

So to refresh ourselves, what is the meaning of graduating?  In the simplest sense it means “to receive a degree or diploma for completing  some set course of study”.  If you take it further it marks the end of something and the beginning of something else.  Nowadays you have graduation ceremonies that may start as early as preschool.  This would mean you could have graduation gifts for:

  • Preschool/Kindergarten
  • Gradeschool
  • 8th grade
  • high school
  • college/university
  • grad school
  • med school
  • law school

Those are the simplest ones I can remember but there are even more specialty types of graduation out there.

The type of graduation is the first tip to the kind of graduation gift ideas you should be thinking about.  The main commencement events in life seem to be high school graduation and college graduation(or university graduation).  We associate both of these times as both great accomplishments with significant next steps.

So what is a good graduation gift for a high school grad?  Assuming that they are going to college or university I would say the best graduation gift ideas fall into these categories.

Commemorative Gifts/Personalized Gifts

Your graduate is bound to be feeling some nostalgia wrapped up in relief.  Getting something that allows them to remember not only the commencement ceremony but their school and friends will be very thoughtful.  This could depend on the high school involved but you might be able to get clothing with the school name/mascot or other things like pens and mugs that someone may put on Cafepress or something like that.  You could also get personalized engraved frames with a picture of the graduate on graduation day.  The picture of course would have to be given after graduation.

College Related Gifts

College related graduation are made up of what the new student will need to be successful in their studies.  This could include anything from a Kindle to a computer laptop or netbook depending on the school.

Home Gifts

This usually the first time the student is living on their own.  They will need to decorate their dorm rooms or apartments.  Graduation gift ideas for those moving out of the house could be anything that they would need to furnish a new space.  I remember getting my niece a small refrigerator and a gift card to WalMart.

For the college or university grad I would have to say that the graduation gift ideas are similar except for changing the college related category to new job related and adding one for travel related.  So the list would be more like this:

  • Commemorative Gifts/Personalized Gifts
  • New Job Related Gifts
  • Home Gifts
  • Travel Related Gifts

Colleges and universities have stores so it is usually much easier to find personalized commemorative gifts to buy for your graduate.  New college grads also have similar needs when it comes to home gifts because usually they are permanently moving out of the house.

College grads are hopefully entering the workforce and need things that they will be able to use in their new jobs.  They might be able to use a PDA to keep them organized.  Nowadays this is tricky because their are so many smartphones that have the same features so do your homework.  Pen sets, executive calculators, gift certificates to higher end clothing stores are just a few graduation gift ideas for the grad with a new job.

For the grad that plans to take some time off travel related gifts may be the ticket.  Many new grads choose to travel to Europe or other exotic places to experience more of the world.  Two gifts that come to mind are journals and rugged quality travel back packs.

I will continue next time with more….

Digital Picture Frames – An Upgrade to a Timeless Mother’s Day Gift

pictureframe Follow Me on Pinterest Thankfully long gone are the days when you had to make your own picture frames.  If you want to upgrade the way the mother in your life displays her precious memories a digital picture frame also called a digital photo frame is a good choice for a Mother’s Day present.

Most Mom’s nowadays have some form of digital photo taking device.  It could be as simple as her phone or as advanced as a Digital SLR Camera.  I admit that I am someone who has a hard drive loaded with beautiful pictures of my children and family.  I am not as good about printing them and sharing them as I would like.

Last year my husband and children got me a digital picture frame where I could transfer pictures and use them in slide shows right on the frame.  It is like having 10 frames in one or even more depending on how much memory the photo frame comes with.  Mine came with a usb connection, a flash drive connection and an SD card connection.

It has definitely made it easier to display my favorite pictures in the house.  I keep mine in the living room to display my beautiful children proudly to any guest that may stop by.

Choosing the right digital photo frame depends on the Mom involved.  You want to understand where she currently keeps her pictures (her camera, cell phone, computer…) so that the digital frame that you buy includes an easy way for her to transfer the pictures over.  You also want to take your budget into account.  The bigger the frame the higher the price and they span from 7″ to 10″ or more.  For more detailed breakdown of what to consider visit this Digital Photo Frame Guide.

Amazon is currently offering a Mother’s Day Special on a digital camera/digital picture frame combination.

If you are reading this this year you may have to use my late gift strategy since you may not get it delivered in time.  Here goes 😉 :

  1. Get a Great Mother’s Day Card
  2. Include a Printed Picture of the Present
  3. Make sure the Mother involved gets the card on or before Mother’s Day!

High Tech Mother’s Day Gifts

techwoman Follow Me on Pinterest Do you have a mom that loves all things digital?  Nowadays it is hard not to want or need devices to make your life easier and no one deserves that more than our Moms.  The problem is you want to buy her something that she will really use.  High tech gifts can be challenging to buy and can be expensive so you want to make sure and do your homework first.  In this post the recommended gifts are for active moms or those that want to be and for mothers that love to read and don’t have the time to read as much as they want to.

I have picked 2 higher end gifts that are very popular this year.  The first is the Nintendo Wii Gaming System and the second is the Amazon Kindle ebook reader.

The Nintendo Wii may seem like a gift for the younger set and I’m sure they will want to use it too but the Wii is also good for working out.  As a mom I know it is hard to find the time to go to the gym and honestly it can be boring at times.

nintendowii Follow Me on Pinterest The Wii comes with Wii Sports which includes games like tennis, bowling and boxing.  These games can be great for family time as well.  To really ramp up the fitness experience you can add Wii Fit to the purchase or buy it separately if you know the mom already has a Nintendo Wii system in the house.  The Wii Fit includes a balance board with over 40 training activities.  The Nintendo Wii is also a gift that keeps on giving with a catalog of games that will keep kids busy and giving mom a break.

amazonkindle2 Follow Me on Pinterest The second high tech gift is the Amazon Kindle 2.0.  This reader was recently released and is very popular for those who love to read.  If you know the mother on your list is a book lover this gift will truly blow her away.  Though on the expensive side you should consider that it is a one time cost for access to Amazon’s 3G network so that the user is connected anywhere and can download books less expensively from Amazon.