Jun 8, 2010

10 Links to the Most Memorable Graduation Gifts Ever

If you want to break from the herd of indistinguishable gift card givers or you hate shoving a few bucks in an envelope, consider a graduation gift that is memorable, significant, and maybe even useful—go logo! Students on either side of undergraduate—newly admitted or newly minted—love logo gear and you'll look very cool giving it.

“Part of the fun of being invited to a graduation celebration is selecting a gift,” said Kathryn Hollis, as she ran between parties celebrating graduates of various DC area high schools. “University bookstores are always great sources for logo merchandise, but there are independent companies licensed to sell keepsake items that are actually welcomed gifts.”

It’s really pretty easy. Simply let your fingers do the walking and check out the following website suggestions:

College Bookstore: This time of year, bookstores do big business and frequently sell out of the most popular items. Nevertheless, it’s a good first stop on the college logo tour. Simply enter “bookstore” in the search function located on the college website and a link should appear. Note that many bookstores are run by Barnes and Noble and that a gift card to the college bookstore always “fits.”

Team Shop: In addition to typical bookstore items, many college athletic departments or boosters maintain separate team shops where you can find logo gear. Use Google or your favorite search engine and enter the college name and “athletics.” Not all these sites sell team products, but it’s worth a try.

Amazon: In its pursuit of commercial dominance beyond books, Amazon features an impressive selection of college logo gear. After entering the name of your targeted college or university in the Amazon search, you will be presented with a list of relevant departments including Sports & Outdoors, Books, Clothing & Accessories, and Home & Garden. Some products are sold directly by Amazon, but frequently the items will come from independent vendors selling under the Amazon umbrella.

UGrad Shop: This site features classic products ranging from cuff links to sports coats. Seasoned shoppers recommend UGrad’s service and price. The collection of colleges featured on the site includes Georgetown, University of Maryland, UMBC, UVa, and Virginia Tech.

Ebay: If you’re looking for a slightly offbeat or keepsake item, try Ebay. Not everything is “used” and if that’s not a problem, you might find “collectables” such as college prints and old fraternity pins or barstools and used flip flops.

NCAA College Store: This site advertises as having the "largest selection of college merchandise anywhere." There are over 550 colleges and universities from which to choose, and the selection of products is nothing short of amazing. Look for some real bargains among sale items.

Vineyard Vines: Check out the college collection for everything from boxers and loungewear to ties and tote bags. The "preppy" designs are unique and very much in vogue among undergrads. It’s so popular that many college bookstores have “exclusives” on their Vineyard Vines products.

Alumni Gifts: This is another all-purpose logo gift site featuring products from 400 colleges and universities, including George Mason, Catholic, George Washington, Loyola Maryland, the Naval Academy, VCU, VMI, Radford, and Washington & Lee. Shipping is free on orders over $50.

Collegiate Snuggie: The blanket with sleeves comes in over 50 college logo designs available on the Snuggie site or at Target or Walgreens. They are enormously popular among undergrads who wear them to sporting events, class, and to study—sometimes.

Magnolia Lane: These unique pottery and ceramic items periodically show up at local Hallmark Stores and include UVA and Virginia Tech in the product line. You can shop directly from the manufacturer, but a better price point is at invitationbox.com.

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