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Congratulations are in order...
Graduation marks a significant transition — the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new. Reaching this point takes hard work and dedication, with many meaningful memories made along the way. Amidst so many years and accomplishments to celebrate, you may find yourself wondering what to gift a graduate to make this milestone even more meaningful.
Truth is, the most thoughtful gifts are ones that recognize and relive past experiences together. That’s where your photos come in. Whether for college, high school, middle school, or even kindergarten graduation, we’ve rounded up 16 creative graduation gift ideas to celebrate them through photos.
A note on the times: We know this season of transition might look different than expected. Even if your celebrations are virtual or walking across a stage isn’t quite possible yet, we hope this list provides inspiration for how to still honor grads and all they’ve accomplished.
This year we’ve learned there are so many creative ways to celebrate. No matter what graduation looks like, we know you’ll make it feel special.
They’ve made it. With four years+ of college under their belt — they’re ready to leave university life and enter “the real world.” Honor this momentous time with these college graduation gift ideas from parents (or for friends!) that set them up for their next chapter of life.
Is your grad a young artist, writer, or photographer? Guide them into the next phase of their education or career with the gift of their first portfolio — perhaps amongst the most practical and thoughtful college graduation gift ideas. By having their work in a physical book, they’ll be able to show off their talents, allowing friends and employers to see firsthand their accomplishments and capabilities.
Pro tip: Gather their art, photography, writing, etc., and upload .jpgs of the work into the editor as you customize the book. For gifting writers, our Softcover Photo Book allows you to easily add text while editing.
To encourage them in the days to come, trade pictures for inspiring messages on each month of a photo calendar. Simply choose 12 quotes from inspirational figures whose words will help when they need a little mood boost: grandma's go-to phrase, famous literary quotes... it's all up to you. Not only will this gift brighten their day — it is also sure to spruce up their new home or office space.
Pro-tip: To make this one work, you'll need to upload a .jpg image of each written quote into the editor. Look to a free design tool like Canva to create and save your images.
Liven up their future living space with an Everyday Print Set that they can use to create a gallery wall. Best part? If you're helping the grad move into their next home, you can put the prints up on the wall together, playing with arrangements to tastefully display photos without frames. Just remember to adhere prints with washi tape to ensure their security deposit makes its way back.
Psst… If you’re looking for a college graduation gift idea for friends, this is an easy way to put your many photos together to good use.
Pro tip: Pair that print set with photo holders to give home decorating a head start — whether a simple print stand, a floating shelf, or a one-of-a-kind display box.
Need a creative and useful college graduation gift? Some post-graduate students have just finished up a detailed and time-consuming thesis that deserves an audience beyond their dissertation panel. Put it on display by printing the cover page of their paper in a Floating Frame. Modern and minimalistic, it's the perfect way to honor (and show off) their hard work, especially in a home office.
A note: This gift can be especially meaningful for graduates who are unable to present their thesis in person due to canceled classes and finals. After you give them this gift, add the thoughtful touch of offering to hear it yourself, celebrating all the effort they put into it.
Gift a taste of home with a book of family recipes that may just inspire them to cook for themselves more often! Curate images of the meals alongside text of the recipes, whether it's mom's famous fajitas, grandma’s spaghetti sauce, or dad’s secret soup. We even have a guide for how to make a DIY cookbook to help you easily make yours from scratch. Make a night out of it by preparing one of the recipes together before they head off to their new home.
Whether they’re off to college, trade school, or straight to a job — help them relive their best days and hold on to a little piece of home with these gifts for high school seniors.
Many stories make up a milestone. For a nostalgic and timeless gift idea, create a book documenting important moments through the years. From childhood to graduation, honor the photos that tell their unique story. This is a great opportunity to digitize old photos and give them a permanent home in print. Like flipping through a highlight reel of their life, be ready to cue those happy tears (from both of you!).
One of our favorite creative high school graduation gift ideas is to create a guest book with photos for a graduation party or ceremony. Make use of senior photos and print them in this heirloom-quality album with pages that lie flat, allowing guests to sign with well-wishes and encouragement for the future. After the party, gift the book to your grad and let them take this sentimental book wherever they’re headed next.
A note: We know graduation ceremonies and parties may be postponed again this year or happening digitally. You can still give your grad the same feeling of celebration and support from loved ones, even if they cannot be with them in person. Gather notes from friends and family and place them in the guest book — whether writing them in yourself or adhering physical notes.
Those searching for quick graduation photo gifts need to look no further than that favorite family photo (you know, the one where somehow everybody is miraculously looking at the camera). Make a meaningful, creative gift in minutes by featuring that photo in one of our framed prints — available in design-forward styles and finishes. Even better? This gift is sure to upgrade their new living space and remind them of home.
Going off to college or entering the working world comes with distractions, and there will likely be some dates and occasions they'll need a helping hand remembering. (Think: Grandmother’s birthday or Cousin Maddy’s senior recital.) This high school graduation gift idea is perfect coming from parents who need to offer that reminding nudge often. Pair friendly reminders with friendly faces in a customized photo calendar that highlights the events and dates of your choice. With a sleek, modern design and perforated photo section, this calendar is stylish enough for their wall and complete with tear-and-keep images — letting them last long after the year is over.
As your grad transitions into a new season, help them hold on to words of love and support with this gift idea. Simply gather letters of well-wishes from friends and family to scan and upload into a photo book. Mix and match handwritten letters with emails, even texts, throughout the book. This gift is one they’ll return to often for encouragement, reflecting on the many people in their lives they can turn to for help or guidance.
A note: This gift can be extra sentimental and meaningful when hosting virtual graduation parties — making your grad feel supported and celebrated even from afar.
Because next steps are big steps — make this time meaningful with these middle school graduation gift ideas that tell their story so far.
Want to give a truly creative junior high graduation gift? Say hello to our Board Book... it's not just for little ones. Easily customized to suit any age, use it to give a nod to the classic gift of the timeless Dr. Seuss tale, creating an “Oh The Places You’ve Gone” book highlighting their favorite trips, moments, and accomplishments.
Pro tip: Select the “custom” theme before entering the editor and let this colorful, sturdy book become a home to their best adventures thus far.
The best graduation gifts are more than meets the eye, much like the Wooden Quote Box. Sustainably handcrafted in the USA from reclaimed mountain beetle pine, this timeless box can hold an assortment of meaningful little somethings. Create a set of Everyday Photo Prints to place inside, leaving room for those sentimentals like ticket stubs, notes, and postcards that they're sure to collect and keep through high school and beyond.
Honor the meaningful connections they’ve made so far by upgrading their room decor with photos of birthday parties, class trips, and sleepovers with friends. Select a sturdy, long-lasting print holder like our Wooden Photo Ledge that they can refresh from time to time with new faces and friendships. During a challenging (and often awkward) phase of life, this 8th grade graduation gift idea can help guide them into high school years with confidence and gratitude for the relationships they’ve formed.
Even the little milestones are worth celebrating. Show your mini-grad how proud you are with these creative gift ideas for preschool and kindergarten graduation.
Their early-on creativity is worth honoring with the fun gift idea of a childhood art book. Say goodbye to shoebox storage holding countless pieces of art projects and give them a permanent home in print. You can use your phone (yes, your phone will work!) or your home scanner to digitize the artwork and create a book sure to be held on to and returned to for years to come.
Each year of school comes with its own memories, milestones, and celebrations all deserving of permanence and preservation. Start a tradition of celebration while they’re young by creating a series of photo books dedicated to each year — honoring the moments that left their mark, so they’re always top of mind. Many of our albums, including the Color Series and Everyday Photo Book, are designed with series-friendly intention, for books that celebrate the individual pieces as well as the bigger picture.
Pro tip: This creative graduation gift idea is one you can return to year after year! Trust us, you’ll be glad you formed a habit of marking these moments early.
With another year of school complete comes the perfect opportunity to refresh your child’s room for the summertime. Gather photos of your little with their favorite faces, places, and things to create a gallery wall starring them! We believe even the little milestones are worth celebrating, so mark preschool or kindergarten with this thoughtful gift that makes them feel extra special.
Caps Off to the Grads...
The days leading into the next chapter of life are full of changes and, most importantly, celebrations. Mark the moment and make their day with photos — reliving old memories and creating new ones.
Don’t forget to share your grad’s joy when you give the gift of photos. Tag us on Instagram (@artifactuprising) and #TellOn — we’re looking out and would love to join in on the celebration!
This Milestone Is Worth Sharing
Send custom Graduation Announcements to share the news with friends and family.