Perfect Gifts for Graduates in the UK

Graduation marks the end of many years of hard work and consistent studying, of exams that seem to stretch on forever and of essays with word counts that always seem to be just out of reach.

Gift Ideas for graduates in UK Finally, the years of study are over, and it’s time to mark the occasion! If someone special in your life is celebrating their graduation, it’s definitely worth showing them how proud you are, whether by giving them a special gift or by simply being there on their graduation day. We’ll be covering everything you need to know about the graduation process so that you can do your part in making this day a special one.

Graduation in UK

Graduation in the UK

Unlike in some other countries, formal graduation only happens in the UK when you graduate from university, after finishing a period of study there. How long that period of study is depends on the graduate’s chosen field of study. This period is usually around three years for many humanities subjects and closer to five years for many medical degrees.
When British students finish their period of study in high school, it’s considered a very important occasion. Not only are they saying goodbye to being surrounded by their school friends and class timetables, but they are also beginning a new chapter in their lives – whether it’s a chapter of work, travel or further studies.

What to Get for Graduates Depending on Their Area of Study

If you would like to show your graduate just how proud you are of their achievements, then a gift is usually a great way to do so, especially if the gift you give them is inspired by their area of study.


graduation gift for history student
A historical map of the region in which the graduate undertook their studies makes for a thoughtful gift and an interesting decorative piece in their new abode.


graduation gift for medicine student
A trainee doctor can walk their fair share of steps around the hospital wards. Get them a new pair of smart trainers so that their working days will be slightly less strenuous.


graduation gift for english student
If your graduate is a bookworm just like Belle of Disney fame, then gift them a red eternity rose, which will be a great complement to all the books on their shelves.


graduation gift for language student
Learning a language and staying fluent in it can be challenging. A box set of films or some books in their language of choice will help to make sure they stay bilingual.


graduation gift for law student
Entertaining potential clients is essential when you’re a student of the law. Strike a hole in one with any business deal with a playable 24-karat gold golf ball and tee that will make sure they stand out!


graduation gift for business student
Students of the business world know how important it is to make a lasting impression. Invest in some personalised business cards for a gift they’ll definitely utilise.


graduation gift for art student
Art students come in many forms – painters, sculptors, embroiderers and so on – but they all appreciate broadening their horizons. Thus, an annual pass to galleries in the UK will definitely come in handy.
graduation gift for business student

Why It’s Important to Acknowledge This Rite of Passage

Why important to acknowledge graduation? Graduation is the end of years’ worth of study, not only in university, but in all the years of education that came before it. Gaining a degree can be an expensive and mentally taxing process, so marking this achievement well is definitely important. In addition, it’s the moment when the graduate begins to start their professional life and the beginning of many changes for them. They may be moving to a new city or even a country, starting a new job or planning on travelling the world.

Whatever it is they’re planning on doing, you should do what you can to support them in their newest ventures, whether that’s by offering to help them move and prepare or by getting them an item that will prove essential in the future.

What to Get for Someone Going On to Further Education

Graduation gift for further study

If the graduate in your life has decided they would like their next step to be furthering their education, then they’re going to need your support, whether that’s in the form of a useful gift or some money to help them along.

  • There really is no better gift for someone who is about to be living on a tight budget than money or gift vouchers!
  • A railcard could be a great idea as it will mean they can always afford to get the train home if they start to feel a little homesick. You can get a railcard for students in the UK, and it usually discounts the cost of a train ticket by about a third of the price.
  • A digital photo frame is another great option and means they’ll have pictures of everything they love from back home all together in one small frame. It’s also an easy way for them to decorate their new student pad.

You could also look at buying them some kitchen essentials, such as pots, pans, mugs and crockery.
Bedding can also be particularly expensive, so buying them a set that will make sure their new bedroom looks lovely at all times is a great idea.

What to Get for Someone Moving to a New City

Graduation gift for someone moving to new city

Your graduate will already know by now that moving home can be hard, but home comforts can make it all a little easier. You don’t want to give them anything too big that will prove difficult for them to transport, so focus on smaller items that manage to make a huge impact. Gift vouchers for homeware stores will prove invaluable as they focus on getting all the items they need for embarking on a new life. You could also buy them the following items:

  • Luxury bedding that will be great to wrap up in after a tiring moving day. Consider investing in matching cushions and throws to make their new bedroom as cosy as can be.
  • New slippers to help them feel at home in their new city – you don’t want them to get cold feet about their new situation after all!
  • A new subscription to a food service to make sure they stay fed. Funding a move can be difficult on a student budget, especially as they may be waiting a month until they get paid. Making sure they can still shop for their weekly essentials is a wise move and one they’ll definitely appreciate.

You could also look into buying them decorative items for their home such as scented candles, a nice print or an eternity rose. Available in a range of colours, eternity roses are glazed real roses that will last forever, meaning they’ll always have something in their new home that makes them think of their old one. You could match the shade of the rose to a colour you know they like or even to the colours they were wearing when they graduated.

Gifts for People Beginning a New Role

Graduation gift for new job

Going to university is all about increasing your chances of finding a role that suits you down to the ground. If the graduate in your life is about to embark on the first steps of their new career, then make sure you help them on their way. Some of the best gifts you can buy include such things as the following:

  • A smart new handbag or work satchel will help them be prepared and ensure they make a good first impression.
  • Stationery will also prove useful. Think of superior-quality pens and bound journals.
  • Make their commute just a tad more comfortable by buying them a flask to keep their tea and coffee warm in the morning.

Consider what items you think are essential for daily life as a full-time worker and use that as your inspiration.

Essential Items for Budding Travellers

Graduation gift for traveller

However, the graduate in your life may not be going on to build their career just yet. Many university graduates take a year off after graduating, using the time to travel around the globe before they settle down into the world of work. If this is what your graduate plans on doing, then make sure they are well prepared for the more difficult moments in their grand tour.

  • A sturdy rucksack will make sure they don’t have to drag around an unwieldy suitcase on their world travels.
  • A water purifier bottle is a thoughtful gift and will make sure they – and you! – don’t have to worry about their health if they’re travelling to countries that don’t have the best sanitation.
  • A portable charger will make sure they can stay in touch even if they’re on the other side of the world.

Gifts aren’t the only things you have to consider. Before they’ve even become a graduate, there are many other things to think about, such as how to get to the graduation ceremony and whether you’re even invited to the event.

Graduation Day Etiquette and Who You Should Be Celebrating With

Your closeness to the graduate usually dictates how likely it is that you’ll be at the graduation ceremony as, in the UK, tickets to graduation ceremonies are limited. Usually each graduate will receive two guest tickets. However, there is often the option to buy more, if space allows. Some universities will show a livestream of the ceremony in another place so that extra guests can still watch the proceedings.

Celebrate graduation with parents and relatives Taking your parents to the ceremony is the traditional practice, as a nod to their years of support. However, if you aren’t close to your parents, then you may wish to take your siblings, partners or other relatives. There is no hard-and-fast rule on who should be allowed to attend the ceremony; the graduate should choose the two people they are closest to and who they most wish to celebrate the day with.

Traditional Graduation Gifts

If you’re attending the ceremony, then the assumption is that you’re very close to the graduate in question, and as a result, you may feel like a gift is necessary. If you’re stuck for ideas, then turning to the traditional is a good solution. It’s common to gift things relating to the graduate’s university, especially as this can help them to remember their university days as they embark on the first step of their new lives.

Traditional graduation gifts in UK University clothing, such as hoodies and T-shirts, is a good choice, and you can often find these items for sale on campus. Mugs, pens and mascots are also usually available to buy and will be coveted by any new graduate.
Other traditional gifts include a good-quality briefcase or a nice bag. The idea behind this gift is that the graduate will use it in their working life. It will help keep their things looking neat as they commute to and from the office. Finally, the most traditional of all graduation gifts is an engraved pen from a specialist pen company.

Unique Graduation Gifts

If traditional gifts aren’t quite your cup of tea and you would like to get something really special for the graduate in your life, then these unique graduation gifts are just the thing.
Unique graduation gifts in UK
  • This Is Water
    American author David Foster Wallace gave just one graduation address in 2005, and it is now one of the most famous addresses, known for its focus on how to live a compassionate life. Gift your graduate a copy of his speech to instruct them on how to conduct themselves in adult life. For an alternative piece of literature, you could also gift the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, which contains important lessons on growing up.

  • Luxury Pillows
    A student budget doesn’t stretch to good pillows. These items become even more important when your graduate’s day-to-day life begins to include eight hours straining their neck to look at a computer screen five days of the week. Invest in some luxury pillows that will give them the support they need and you’ll be supporting their future in more ways than one!
  • A Fun Day Out
    Graduation gifts shouldn’t all be about preparation and seriousness; some of them should be fun too! Give them a present that is for nothing more than having fun. You could buy them an experience day test-driving supercars, surfing or skydiving. Many options are available in the UK, so take a look online and see what you can find.
Graduation traditions around the world
Graduation gifts to get for children in UK

Gifts to Get Your Child When They Graduate

If your child is graduating from university, then this is an important time for you all. Not only will they be gaining letters after their name that will distinguish them as a graduate of their discipline, but they’ll also be embarking on a new life, whatever shape it may take. In the UK, it’s customary to acknowledge big life events by giving cards and gifts, but this doesn’t mean your child will expect you to give them a gift when they graduate. However, if you would like to give them a nice surprise, then these gift options may be right for you.

Jewellery for her graduation gift
Graduation Jewellery

Jewellery is often given as a gift to mark an important occasion, so it makes an excellent choice for your child. If your graduate is male, you could opt to gift him a quality watch and add an extra special touch by getting the back engraved with a special message. If your child is female, you could buy her a charm that will mark her graduation, if she already has a charm bracelet. If she doesn’t, this could be the time for her to start one. If a charm bracelet doesn’t appeal to you, a nice jewellery set will be a luxurious gift that will remind her of her achievements every time she wears it. Eternity rose jewellery comes in sets or with separate earrings, and each piece is made of real rose petals and 24-karat gold. This unique jewellery will help her to stand out from the crowd.

Tech gifts for her graduation

Your child is likely to be embarking on a new career, which means launching themselves into an industry that may require them to use certain technology. If that’s the case, then some of the best gifts you can get for your graduate are gadgets that will prove essential to them as they get their feet comfortable on the career ladder.

A new laptop may be necessary, and if they’re graduating into an industry that relies on the internet, then this is something they’ll have to get if they don’t already have one. If they do have one already, then you could always get them gadgets that tie in with it, such as portable power packs for charging on the go or some noise-cancelling headphones so they can get their work done without distractions. On the other hand, you could get them some gadgets that are more for pleasure than for work. A new camera, a coffee machine and a TV for their new pad are all great choices.

Gifts to Get Your Sibling When They Graduate

Graduation gifts for sibling Your brother or sister has worked hard for several years, and now they’re finally ready to graduate. If this sounds like your current scenario, then it’s very likely that you’re wondering about whether or not to get them a gift. The good news is you are not expected to get your siblings gifts when they graduate, and you should only do so if you sincerely would like to. The other good news is that if your sibling does expect a gift, it won’t be anything expensive. Mum and Dad will be covering more expensive items such as gadgets, which leaves you room to get the fun, joke presents that all siblings love to buy for one another.

A ‘participation’ trophy could be quite a funny gift, especially if your sibling was actually pretty hard-working at university! If, however, you’re a little older and would like to help set them up for the next chapter in their lives, then giving them themed hampers is a good idea. A laundry essentials, kitchen essentials or bathroom essentials kit will make things just a tiny bit easier if they’re planning on moving to their first graduate home.

Gifts to Get Your Friends When They Graduate

Graduation gifts for friends University can be a life-changing experience and is a great opportunity to meet new people from a wide array of backgrounds. As a result, all graduates tend to leave university with a clutch of new-found friends who will probably feature in their lives for many years to come. Graduation can be a somewhat bittersweet experience. Although it’s a time of great celebration, it’s also a time to part ways with these new friends as you all move on to new cities, jobs and experiences.

If you would like to get your university friend a graduation gift to remember you by as they move on to pastures new, then aim for the sentimental. There’s nothing better than looking at old photos and remembering you have friends scattered all across the globe. Because of this, gifts with photos in them, such as a personalised photo collage or a scrapbook of your memories together, are an excellent idea.

Another great idea is to gift your friend something they will wear on a regular basis, such as jewellery. Rose petal jewellery is made from real rose petals and 24-karat gold and makes for an individual gift that your friend will remember forever. However, if getting your friend a gift on your limited student budget is too much of a financial strain, then one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give them is your time. Book in a date for you both to catch up in a few weeks or months so that even if you’re moving apart, you’ll still be able to stay in touch.

DIY Thoughtful Graduation Gifts You Can Make at Home

DIY Graduation gifts at home Of course, just because you want to get someone a gift doesn’t mean you have the budget to carry out your wishes. In this case, a DIY gift is a great idea, meaning you still get to gift something memorable, without eating into your limited funds.

If you’re a friend of the graduate, then consider making them a friendship bracelet. It’s a cheap DIY that you can easily personalise with their favourite colours or by adding small charms throughout. You could also personalise a mug with a private joke that will make her smile each time she has a drink. Simply buy a plain mug and use a Sharpie marker to add the words and images you need.

A watercolour portrait is also easily done and requires nothing more than watercolours, pencils, paper and a nice frame. Finally, you could put together a hamper of all their favourite things that relate to memories you share together.

Ways to Make Graduation Special

Of course, giving gifts to your special graduate isn’t the only way you can make their graduation day memorable. In addition to buying them items that will help to make the next few months easier, or more special, there are a few things you could do on the day itself.
Graduation celebration with meal
A Family Meal

In the UK, graduates are usually taken for a meal with their family after graduation in their university city. Make sure you book well in advance so that you get a table; otherwise, it may be hard for you to find somewhere to eat on the day of the ceremony. If you would like to celebrate with other family members that can’t make the ceremony, then you could always delay this until you’re all back in your hometown.

Graduation celebration at home
Hold a Celebration at Home

Rather than having a meal that only a few people can attend, arrange to have a party at your home. Invite university friends of the graduate and make it into a big party. As many graduates tend to have some time off before beginning new jobs, and graduation usually occurs in the summer, this is a perfect way for them all to celebrate together while they still have plenty of time on their hands.

Graduation celebration arrive on time
Be Prepared!

There’s nothing worse than your family running late or turning up to the wrong place on the day of graduation, which means knowing exactly what is expected of graduations in the UK. There are some universities in the UK that have particularly unusual traditions, so finding out what is expected with your university – or high school! – is the first step to being properly prepared for the day.

UK universities with graduation traditions

Graduation after High School

Graduation after highschool

There isn’t a formal graduation in the majority of high schools in the UK, but that’s not to say the event isn’t celebrated. Students will typically honour their last day of mandatory education by playing pranks and writing messages on one another’s school shirts, as their uniform will no longer be needed.
Towards the end of the academic year, there will be a formal ball, which is often referred to as a ‘prom’. Students dress in formal wear and spend the evening making the most of their new-found freedom, before saying their goodbyes, whether they’re going on to further education or taking their first steps into the working world.

Graduation after University

Graduation after university

More often than not, when ‘graduation’ is mentioned in the UK, it usually refers to a university graduation. A university graduation ceremony is a very serious affair. Graduates are expected to wear formal robes that match the level of the degree they are receiving, as well as the school of study they are graduating from. At the beginning of the ceremony, a procession of academics associated with the university usually occurs, accompanied by music. After the procession, the names of the graduates are read out one by one. When their name is read out, graduates walk across the stage to shake the hand of the university’s chancellor or vice chancellor.
Some older universities in the UK may hold their ceremony in Latin, while institutions belonging to the University of Wales may hold it in Welsh. Whatever language is used, the ceremony is one of great importance and formality, and you should definitely regard it as an important turning point in the graduate’s life. Nothing would let them know how much you highly you regard their achievement than a graduation gift that was inspired by their area of study.

Graduation brown cap
Tips and Tricks to Make Your Graduate’s Day
Want to make sure their graduation day goes smoothly? Then you’ll need to know these top tips.
Graduation tips - eat breakfast
Eat breakfast.

Every day should start with a good meal, especially graduation day! The ceremony can be quite lengthy, so make sure your graduate has a substantial meal before starting the day.

Graduation tips - do own research
Do your research.

Checking things like where you’ll be able to park and what the weather is going to be like will make the day less stressful.

Graduation tips - use pins and grips
Use pins and grips.

Graduation caps are notoriously slippery, and gowns will never sit in just the right way. Pack hair grips to pin caps in place and safety pins to secure the gowns and your graduate will thank you.

Graduation tips - pack for the day
Pack for any eventuality.

Umbrellas, tissues, bottles of water...pack for any eventuality and any type of weather, just in case!

Graduation tips - save some cash
Put aside some cash.

It’s a great idea to get professional photos taken on the day of graduation, so make sure you’ve put aside some money so that your graduate can have these photos.

Graduation tips - charge camera
Charge your camera.

It’s a good idea to take your own snaps, whether or not you choose to get professional photos taken. Try to catch every part of the day, even if it means you have a lot of images to delete afterwards!

With all these tips and great gift ideas, we’re sure graduation day will be one worth remembering for your special graduate and your entire family.