I've recently received a number of emails regarding this previous post and yesterday I noticed that a lot of readers were finding it through Google searches this week. Since I'm (still) tied up with trying to hammer out a house contract today, I decided to re-post it for those of you who are currently in a graduation gift quandary. Hope this helps!
* * * * *
Did I ever mention that I'm a rubber stamper? Was, actually. I haven't done much in the last few years but for a long time it was a big part of my creative life. I taught workshops and classes at rubber stamp stores...stamping on fabric, using window templates, designing pop-up cards. But that's fodder for another post. I mention it because yesterday it struck me that we're nearing that time of year again...graduation month. And I have a great idea to share, especially for those who are facing the 'multiple graduates' gift dilemma.
When Molly & K were 'around the age' and late spring signaled the yearly barrage of high school graduation/party invitations from friends, cousins and children of friends, I designed this gift certificate, somewhat out of exasperation.
Don't let me hear, 'But I don't haaave rubber stamps...' The main idea could be translated in many ways. Stick with me! This particular card was stamped (and colored in with Prismacolor pencils...I love an excuse to color) on a piece of cardstock in which I cut 4 slits to insert the return card/envelope. The inside of the card requests the recipient's college address and asks to allow for a 2-3 week delivery time. I write my address on the return envelope. When we give one, I sign our names in the lower right hand area of the cardstock (below the inserted return card/envelope) with a small notation that it's redeemable anytime during freshman year. I then purchase white or colored (8 1/2" x 11") envelopes to use (and sometimes decorate) so that the certificate can be delivered flat.
This may just have been my best idea ever. Aside from not having to come up with individual gift ideas or that magic, appropriate monetary amount which is *enough* but not *so much* (especially when gifting a group of friends), everyone gets one of these and when they're redeemed, recipients are off at their own colleges...no comparing! It also relieves the expense of a gift-heavy month.
Remember that however many you give will eventually be redeemed. It goes without saying that it's usually the day before you leave on your African safari trip or you've just returned from having a root canal that one of these will arrive in your mailbox. (Hence, the 2-3 week delivery advisory note on the return card, also a subtle hint not to redeem it a week before the end of a semester.) In anticipation, I always tried to have a few mailing boxes and plenty of brightly colored tissue paper on hand. My care packages varied in size and content, depending on the recipient, but always included at least one type of homebaked cookie. Additional insert ideas I've used at one time or another include:
- snack foods (nuts, fruit leather, chocolate)
- dorm toys (frisbee, foam boomerang, etc.)
- mug, hot chocolate, teas
- seasonal holiday items/decorations (depending on redemption time)
- cold hard cash (always popular)
- funny items appropriate to the individual (I was always *on the hunt* ahead of time.)
Often a return card would arrive with a excited note that it had been forgotten and just found in a desk drawer...like getting a gift twice! If you're stumped for gift ideas this graduation season and you don't mind sending packages, think about your own version of this. What student doesn't love a care package?