No matter the price range, one can always find a meaningful graduation gift for their senior.

As graduation day quickly approaches, many are preparing to say goodbye to their friends and professors that have helped them along the way. Students may want to show their support with a gift but may not have the means to purchase something expensive. In this list, students who know a graduating senior can gain inspiration for affordable gifts to suit any kind of graduate.

Subscription box

As graduates get acclimated to their new lifestyle, they may have more free time than they’ve had in a while. Perhaps they can spend this time reading with the Book of the Month box, cooking with Hello Fresh recipes or discovering new music with the Vinyl Post membership. Luckily, there’s a subscription box for all hobbies and interests that can be shipped right to their door. From boxes for plant collectors and theater fans, to coffee addicts and spice connoisseurs — there’s something for everyone at a variety of price points — many under $50. 

Gift cards

Perfect for any occasion, gift cards are versatile and loved by many. One can get gift cards to their senior’s favorite stores and restaurants, or a graduate may enjoy a set of gift cards to local restaurants and stores if they’re moving to a new city. Gift cards are easy to find and can cost as much as one can afford. Cards from Amazon, Target and appliance and home goods stores can make a recent grad’s life easier and save them a great deal of money. Especially if one doesn’t know what to get, gift cards allow the graduate to buy whatever they want or need. 

Scratch-off map

If the graduating senior is looking forward to traveling again, a scratch-off map can give them a visual representation of all the places they’ve been. Available in both a world map and a map of the U.S., this gift can help anyone keep track of their past destinations and their voyages to come. Amazon has several options and styles to choose from, some as low as $12. 


Nothing says celebrations like a bottle of champagne. Another gift that’s perfect for almost any occasion, alcohol acts as a bridge into one’s adult life. Whether celebrating with others or keeping it for a special occasion, graduates can celebrate their accomplishments in good company. Casual spirits such as vodka or tequila are affordable go-tos, but scotch, whiskey or cognac are more sophisticated options available at higher price points. 

College apparel

Even after leaving Harrisonburg, graduates can still represent the Dukes from afar. The JMU bookstore has a wide variety of clothing and gifts for past, present and future JMU fans. The campus bookstore, as well as several other retailers in Harrisonburg, even sell alumnus gear. A purple and gold blanket or sweatshirt is a fun and comforting reminder of one’s college years. If a senior is continuing their education, apparel from their graduate school is a good way to support them in their new chapter. 


A staple housewarming gift, candles come in a wide variety of colors and scents that can make any space feel a little more homey. Homesick Candles creates candles that have scents inspired by cities, states and moments. A graduate who’s moving away could receive a candle that smells like Virginia with notes of rain water, honeysuckle and sandalwood, or a candle that reminds them of their hometown. There are even candles to celebrate a new job and a new home. All candles are $34, and one can even add personalized text. 

No matter what one’s graduating friends are going on to do, showing them that someone cares and is proud of them is the best gift anyone could ask for. Whether one’s willing to spend $10 or $100, there’s something on this list for any interest and any budget. 

Contact Maeve Summers at summermm@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.