I used trusty ol’ Google to figure out the most common or most recommended gifts for a high school graduate. Among the list were things like a laptop, digital camera, a new bike, luggage, a magazine subscription, and some other kitchen or dorm room essentials. Those are all nice things, but what I’m going to share with you today is a gift your high school graduate will treasure far more than any gift I just listed. I say that because I treasure my graduation book more than anything else I was given on that oh-so-anticipated graduation day. The goal of this graduation book is to compile the advice, memories, and beliefs of the people most important to your teen. It will be a book they will turn to time and time again through the good days and not so good days of college life, and even after! I helped in this process with my other siblings and the first step is always to make a list of the people you would like to invite to participate. We would always reach out to immediate family, best friends, coaches, church leaders, neighbors and past teachers that played an important role in their life. You can choose how many people to contact, but we would recommend to try and keep it to 25 or less just so you are getting the most important people and the book isn’t super long. My mom would then send out an e-mail to those people explaining the book. (Find a copy of it here – just insert your child’s name and your own information.) Once the e-mails start coming in you can start compiling the book. We use an online book making company such as Mixbook, Shutterfly or Picaboo. There is almost always a discount code to use for free shipping or some money off, so be sure to search for one of those! Then just put the picture and letter on each page. Sometimes it was a picture from long ago with a life-long friend, or a more recent one. Any picture works great! The key is to get the letters in with enough time to compile the book and order it before graduation, so my mom would send out the e-mail around April 1st and give them a month to get back to her. It really is a beautiful gift that will be treasured for so long. I remember opening up my book for the first time and cherishing each page as I read letters from so many wonderful friends and family. I graduated almost 5 years ago and have since graduated from college and gotten married. To this day my graduation book still sits on my bookshelf and is pulled out frequently when I need to remember the things I was taught by so many good people, or when I just need a reminder of the many people who have touched my life. Even today there are times I remember specific advice given in that book to help me live the best I can. And really, that’s what graduation should be about – celebrating the old and preparing for the new.
Anne @ Unique Gifter says
I absolutely love this idea! Books are so easy to make these days, too. I think it’s fantastic that this is a family tradition in your household and I hope more people take it up as well.
Trisha, I’m so glad I found your post today on Pinterest. I only hope I have enough time to do this for my daughter. I really wanted to do something for her that was meaningful and sentimental. The other things will have to come anyway, but I really wanted to do something that was special for once. Thank you so much for sharing! I LOOOOOVE this idea!
Hi Alissa! Isn’t it great? I still love to read my book. I’m sure your daughter would love it!
I saw this idea a few months back and absolutely loved it and right away knew I wanted to do it for my son, who is graduating high school this year. I have all the letters/pictures, but most are pdf files or in word. Would you know how I can transfer those to mixbook? I am using mixbook to compile the book but am not computer savy and can’t figure out how I can transfer the letters without having to rewrite all of them.
Thanks in advance and especially for sharing this wonderful idea.
Hi Maria! So glad you are making a book for your son! Most of the letters we got were in word or in e-mail, so we just copy/pasted them on the Mixbook page. You shouldn’t have to rewrite them, just copy them on your computer and paste them into the Mixbook program. Hope that helps!