Illustration for article titled Here Are The Best Pandemic Graduation Gift Ideas For 2021Photo: Drazen Zigic (Shutterstock)

Any high school or college student about to graduate can be assumed to have had an interesting senior year. They spent so many of their classes, extracurricular activities, and traditional milestones either virtual or masked and spread out. This is not the year to give them a “Congrats, Grad!” Coffee mug. splashed over the side. This year’s graduates deserve something more creative, a nod to what they’ve just been through.

Give them an experience

Do you know which graduating students didn’t get much of it this year? Experiences outside of their home. I’m always a fan of an experience gift because these gifts don’t take up space and create happy memories. If your graduate is fully vaccinated (or scheduled to be soon), this will be the summer to do things again.

You could make it big by giving them a weekend getaway with friends – or keeping them local with tickets to an amusement park, sporting event, outdoor concert, or other activity. They will appreciate having moments to look forward to again.

Give the gift of self-care

If we have learned anything during the pandemic, we need to take care of ourselves. These graduates come from one of the most stressful years of their young life, but there is also a lot of change ahead of them whether they are going to college or starting their careers. Now is not the time to loosen up self-care – it is the time to lean into it.

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Knowing that they are struggling with fear can give them a weighted blanket. (As the youngest recipient of such a gift, they are the most amazing things for someone who needs to relax.) I also think there is nothing wrong with things like that a foot bath or Back massager. If you would like to combine the idea of ​​“experience” with the idea of ​​“self-care”, get yourself a gift voucher for a professional massage or a particularly pampering pedicure.

Give them a surprise video gift

If all of your friends and family can’t get together in person for the grand graduation ceremony (and even if they can), nothing says “Congratulations on Surviving the 2020-21 School Year” like a compilation of video messages from everyone you love.

I’ve personally used VidHugIt allows users to request, collect, and assemble videos from friends and family to create a special, personalized montage of love and joy. (There are other similar services like Tribute.co and VidDay.) Encourage loved ones to share fun memories or offer advice and support as they begin the next chapter in their lives.

Of course, when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a gift of money – you will surely appreciate it, whether it’s a pandemic or not.