Retail Therapy: From cash to coffee cups, ideas for grad gifts

FresnoMay 17, 2014 

Keurig personal coffee maker sold at Bed Bath & Beyond that is suggested as a graduation gift, $99. Special to the Bee


Graduation season is here.

Picking the right gift can be tricky and all depends upon how well you know the graduates, and if they're going off to college or a job.

We asked local retailers and gift experts for gift suggestions at a variety of prices and here's what they said.

A local author and a Fresno State grad have published "Life After College: 10 Steps to Build a Life You Love." The book is about surviving the culture shock between school and the real world. It's for sale online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for about $28.

It's written by Betsy Hays, a public relations expert and Fresno State associate professor, and Tori R. Terhune, a public relations and social media professional.

-- Leather laptop cases and messenger bags are popular graduation gifts at Aporjon Leather & Luggage in Fig Garden Village.

These are high-end bags with metal clasps and other details, appropriate for both men and women. The graduate's initials can be engraved in the leather. Prices start at about $250.

Aporjon carries bags from Johnston & Murphy, Jack Georges and Tumi and can order any bag from those manufacturers not carried in the store.

-- Bed Bath & Beyond has some more affordable options, including a Tervis to-go mug that can be used for hot or cold drinks. The store has some mugs with logos of big colleges on them, but not Fresno State. They run from $15.99 to $22.99.

If that doesn't seem like enough, you can pair a Keurig personal coffee maker with it. Whether it's early morning classes or a new job, most grads will be drinking coffee on their way out the door. The Keurig K10 Mini-Plus personal coffee maker costs about $99 and comes in eight colors.

-- Retail expert Trae Bodge of the website RetailMeNot recommends an all-occasion note card set by Two Trick Pony. The collection of 20 cards, including thank you, birthday and sympathy cards, will make it easy for grads to have good manners — and to send a thank you note after that job interview.

The set is available for $18.95 at and some retailers that carry Papyrus.

-- Cash is still king when it comes to favorite graduation gifts. Today's college students graduate with an average debt of $27,000, so money to spend on anything will be appreciated.

Since giving a check or some greenbacks lacks the presentation of a wrapped-up gift, many people get creative with the presentation of the money. Pinterest is full of ideas, including stuffing rolled bills into balloons the student has to pop or nestling big bills in the little brown wrappers of a See's Candy box.


The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on

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