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What Not to Give Your Graduate

It’s graduation time, and along with that comes many opportunities to give terrible gifts. Like the fruit cake at Christmas, or the 5-pound gummy heart on Valentine’s Day (I know this is a thing because I was the lucky recipient of one in the past); here are a few things you might want to resist buying for that favorite grad come June.

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1. Any Variation of the "Best Colleges" Book

By graduation, your grad has already made her college choice. You don’t want to be responsible for a life filled with regret once she flips open that book and sees that the school she's picked is ranked last on the list, or has a reputation for turning out really good fry cooks.

2. One of Those "World’s Best Grad" Trophies

Unless it’s filled with cash, these hollow vessels of fake achievement only serve to express one thought: I wasn’t sure if you had any real trophies, so I’m going to give you one from Walgreens.

3. Alcohol

I know what you’re thinking—I’m going to be the cool uncle/aunt/family friend and give him this bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream! But unless your grad is of drinking age and you’re certain he imbibes (remember, most high school grads are still underage for alcohol consumption), you should just let him score his booze from his roommates like all the other kids.

Not everyone will appreciate tie-dyed sheets or a Twilight: Breaking Dawn rug.

3. Anything Related to "Finding Yourself"

Inspirational books, DVDs and poetry-inscribed rocks are given by well-meaning friends who want to help grads on the quest for the meaning of life. It sounds like a good idea, but we all know it’ll come to him in the middle of a raging frat party at 4 a.m. just like it did for the rest of us.

4. Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go

I’m hearing this is a very popular—and now cliché—gift to give to grads after someone probably saw it in one of those "Unusual Gifts for Grads" articles and went out and bought it to be clever. Don’t be that person.

5. Dorm Décor

Unless you know your grad very, very well and are absolutely certain you know her taste (or that she is even moving into a dorm), stick with a gift card to a department store. Not everyone will appreciate tie-dyed sheets or a Twilight: Breaking Dawn rug.

6. A Piggy Bank

Again, unless it’s filled with cash, this popular symbolic gift will only stand as a cruel reminder of all of the money the grad will not have while in college, and of all the money he’ll spend during the decades of paying back student loans once he graduates.

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7. Ridiculously Huge Stuffed Animals

Do not buy that 5-foot tall teddy bear wearing a graduation cap. Repeat: DO NOT BUY THAT 5-FOOT TALL TEDDY BEAR WEARING A GRADUATION CAP.

8. This Thing:

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