Bookish Graduate Gift Guide


Congratulations class of 2020! Flip those tassels! You did it! If you or a loved one graduated this year, cheers to you! I’m sure this was not exactly the way you were planning on celebrating your degree this year, but your hard work still deserves to be recognized and celebrated. Personally, I always love when graduation time rolls around; it is a joyous occasion filled with pomp and circumstance whether you are finishing high school, college or beyond. This year however, I’ve had to get a little more creative in thinking about how to celebrate the grads in my life since we are not able to be with them in person but still want to let them know that they are summa cum laude grads to us.

If you are looking for creative ways to celebrate a bookish grad in your life, whether it’s a friend or family member crossing the (virtual) stage this year or if YOU are a bookish grad picking up a diploma this year (congratulations again, by the way, you’re awesome!) you’ve come to the right place. Every year there are lists of suggested books that pop up but picking out a book can be tricky if your grad has different reading preferences than you or has already read everything under the sun. So, here are some suggestions of ways to celebrate your favorite booklover’s academic accomplishments from afar that are not necessarily books but that will still speak to their inner bookworms.

Treat them to a Bookish Subscription Service

Now that your grad has earned their degree, they presumably have more time for (non-required) reading. Gift cards and books are great of course (and can help your local bookstores too!) but what better way to usher in a new part of their journey than with a recurring bookish subscription? The possibilities are endless, and many are customizable to your grad’s tastes. Whether it’s a monthly audiobook subscription, a subscription service that lets them choose a book per month, or any of the countless offerings that intersect bookish and other hobbies. There are plenty of options for all tastes, ages, medium preferences, and budgets so there is sure to be a perfect option for your bookish grad.

Surprise Them with A Customized Book Accessory

Is it just me or does nothing say “distinguished grad” more than having your name or initials embroidered, carved, or printed onto a personal item? You can surprise your grad (our treat yourself) with a custom bookish accessory. Here again the possibilities are varied. You can find plenty of talented artists and creators on Etsy and similar platforms who can create amazing custom bookmarks, bookplates, book stamps, Book Sleeves, pens, reading lamps and more. This is especially handy if your bookish tastes vary from your grad or if you’re unsure if they’ve already read that book you’re thinking of getting them. A unique customized bookish accessory is a sure way to go.

Send Them a Convocation Speech

One of the highlights of any graduation, apart from watching your grad cross the stage of course, is listening to the keynote commencement speaker impart their wisdom and advice to the graduating class. It’s hard to listen to a convocation speech and not feel inspired and uplifted and the good news is that many of the most memorable convocation speeches like Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman, In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham, and Congratulations, By The Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders, and Dream More by Dolly Parton are available in print format and are perfect pocket-sized pieces of inspiration to send to your grad to welcome them to post-grad life.

Write Them a Letter

Not every celebration or gift needs to break the bank. While all bookish gift ideas can be great ways to celebrate your grad (and I am all about them), there is honestly nothing quite like receiving a good olf-fashioned handwritten letter. Getting a physical letter in the mail from someone who cares about you offering sincere congratulations on your special accomplishment, doesn’t get much more heartwarming, personal or special. Never underestimate the power of pen and paper to make someone’s day so write a letter to your grad letting them know how proud you are of them! If you’re the grad, write a letter to your future self as a reminder that you can accomplish the goals you set for yourself. You can also write a letter to a current student in your life cheering them on and letting them know that all the hard work they’re putting in is worth it.

Of course, we all wish we could spend the day celebrating with our grad in person. But even from afar we can still partake in their celebration, laude their accomplishments, and wish our grad the best on the next step of their journey. If you’re the grad, you can still take the time to celebrate your accomplishments and treat yourself because you did a difficult and important thing and that’s amazing. So, toss your cap in the air and let’s hear it for the class of 2020!

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