Southwest Metro Graduate Gift Guide

Southwest metro high school students tell us what they really want for graduation.
Chanhassen High School Senior Bridgette Grobe wants cooking lessons- like the ones offered at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum- for her high school graduation.

If you’re gearing up for the high school graduation open
house season, we have one piece of advice: Close the check book, and back away
slowly. Sure, money gifts are solid go-to options come graduation, especially
when the month of June is booked solid with commitments. But you don’t need to
rely solely on an i-something or a crisp Andrew Jackson to make your graduate’s

We polled four recent and
soon-to-be high school graduates for gift ideas that don’t involve cash or
expensive technology. Here’s what 2013 Chanhassen High School graduate Matt
Tyson, 2013 Jefferson High School graduate and International School of
Minnesota student Andrea Brinkman, 2014 Holy Family Catholic School graduate
Will Farner, and 2014 Chanhassen High School graduate Bridgette Grobe told us.

First-aid Kit

Why? Emergencies
happen. A good family friend, and nurse, gave Brinkman a first-aid kit. Not
only did Brinkman appreciate the thought, but so did her parents. “When you
need a first-aid kit, you really need a first-aid kit,” mother Christine
Brinkman says.

Thermos or Coffee Mug

Why? With papers
and exams come late nights. A dependency on caffeine tends to follow. “I never
drank much coffee or tea before college, but that changed pretty quickly. It’s
nice to have a mug for in the dorm, and a thermos for going to class on cold
days,” Tyson says.

Bonus Points: Jazz
it up by purchasing the thermos or mug from the graduate’s future school or
place of employment.

Laundry Basket and Supplies

Why? Daily needs
make great gifts too. Brinkman insists she appreciated receiving necessary
college life items such as laundry detergent and an alarm clock. “There are a
lot of day to day things that you don’t think about until you don’t have them,
but really need them,” Tyson adds.

Desk Organizer

Why? Forego messy
and unorganized clutter for easy studying. “I’ve found that between papers,
notebooks, writing utensils, books and other desk supplies, the desk in my room
gets cluttered pretty quickly. It’s awesome having a workspace at the desk in
the room, and unique or personalized desk organizers are a great way to keep
things uncluttered,” Tyson says.

Personalized Photo Book

Why? Make new
friends, but don’t forget the old. “To look back on when you are missing your
friends and family,” Grobe says.

An Adventure

Why? Celebrate
your graduate by helping them cross something off their bucket list. Grobe’s
choice? Skydiving lessons. “I have always wanted to skydive, so it would be fun
to experience before I go off to college.”

Want to keep
their feet a little closer to the ground? We’d recommend a gift certificate for
Kerfoot Canopy Tours zip line in Henderson.

T-shirt Quilt

Why? Add
personality to a mattress. “I’m a bit of a geek and have had a bunch of
t-shirts over the years, some of which I’ve outgrown. But a great personal gift
is to take those t-shirts and have them turned into a quilt,” Farner says.

Board Games

Why? Introductions
and orientation can be tricky. “These are a great way to get to know hallmates
and people in the dorm. There’s plenty of free time in the beginning of the
year, so playing games is a great way to meet people and stay busy,” Tyson

A Roommate How-to, like 'The
Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College' by
Harlan Cohen

Why? Living with someone new often presents challenges. Brinkman
says the copy she received offered helpful talking points and advice for working
through disagreements. Farner agrees it is a funny book about going to college.

Cooking Lessons

Why? Ensure an easy culinary transition from home to dorm or
apartment life. “So you can learn how to cook at college in order to make a
healthy meal, especially when you become bored with the meals offered on
campus,” Grobe says.