Uncommon Graduation Gifts for Guys

My second born graduated from high school a few weeks ago. Thankfully I was much less emotional this time around. (That is not to say that I was not emotional, but I was not feeling as mournful as I was when our firstborn graduated!) I really, really, love being a mom, so transitions such as graduations really get to me.

While it is true that most graduates really appreciate the gift of cold, hard, cash, I think it is fun to give graduates a little something extra. However, choosing graduation gifts for guys can be challenging. I’ve found, in my life in a houseful of five guys, that their taste in gifts runs more toward the funky and ironic. However, the mom in me likes to keep things practical as well!

When I look for fun, funky and unique gifts, UncommonGoods is often my first choice. I enjoy the many handcrafted items and appreciate that much of what they sell is made right here in the USA, and 1/3 of the collection incorporates recycled and upcycled materials. And, as a non-profit fundraiser, I LOVE that with every purchase, UncommonGoods will donate $1 to a non-profit of your choice. In the past 12 years, they have donated over $1 Million to charities around the world!

I was asked to select some fun graduation gifts for guys and UncommonGoods kindly sent them to me for my review. These were a huge hit with my recent graduates!

Will is a huge outdoors guy. As a matter of fact, a few weeks after graduation he headed out for his third summer of working at camp. He also, like most 18-year-olds, is very attached to his phone. It may as well be an additional appendage. So this Waka Waka solar-powered charger and light was a most appreciated gift. This handy portable charger can be charged the traditional way, via USB, or it can be charged with the large solar panel on the back. The nice, bright light will give off light for up to 150 hours! Hello, bedtime reading in a power outage!

Waka-Waka Solar powered charger and light

My boys have a slight addiction to microwave mac and cheese. As a foodie mom, this alternates between being disturbing and distressing to me. I work on redirecting. (Young adults are not so different from toddlers!) These handy microwave recipe mugs just may help my young men eat a slightly more balanced, real food, diet in their first apartment. This set of four mugs includes recipes for one that can be made within the mugs (including the mixing) for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.  From hearty oatmeal that does not come from a packet to yes, even mac and cheese from scratch, these mugs will have your graduate eating slightly better, or at least eating at home.

recipe mugs

College chemistry is not much fun. However, it is a necessary evil for those going into healthcare careers, like my son. Why not make it a little more fun with these Periodic Table Building Blocks? These blocks are made in Michigan (where my heart resides) from Basswood and printed with non-toxic inks. Even my little girls think these are fun, maybe they will get a head start on their chemistry education!  Periodic Table Building Blocks


You can spend all the time in the world teaching your son how to be a proper man, however, they will forget. Help them to remember, during their hands of penny poker in the dorms with this unique card deck.  From how to tie a tie, to what to say to your future, in-laws, the bases are covered on how to be a proper gentleman.  Gentleman's card deck

No matter who is on your gift list, I am guessing you can find something that you like here.

Chime in! What is your favorite graduation gift (other than cash) to give? What is the most memorable gift that you have received?

Budget Friendly Mothers Day Gifts

Sometimes I question the calendar placement of Mothers’ Day. It is usually smack-dab in one of the busiest times of the year, in the midst of graduations and end of school year preparations, and also right around the time things like summer camp registrations are due. Money may be tight, but you still love Mom!

I generally follow the same gift giving rule that I teach my children, give people a gift that you yourself would appreciate receiving. So, I’ve compiled this gift guide full of things that I too would love to receive for Mothers Day–and I bet you would too!

  • Nice Colored Pencils : Every mom knows that all of her favorite supplies are often “borrowed” by children working on their monster map of South America that is due, OMG, it is due TOMORROW! Bonus points if you buy her a different brand than what the kids use, making them more difficult to “borrow.” Sweeten the pot by adding in this beautiful Journaling Bible with over 500 verses to color–perfect for someone like me who loves the idea of a journaling bible, but has zero ability to draw pretty doodles. OR, for the snarkier mom (can I admit that I am a little of both?) a fun adult coloring book about the lighter side of motherhood may just make her day!
  • EchoDot: Because sometimes Mama just wants to listen to her stories, or her music–or maybe she wants to drown out the sound of chaos. This little voice-controlled, hands-free device is small enough to tuck in a tote and travel from work to home and back again. At just under $50 it is a fun gift for the tech-inspired mom in your life.
  • Water Infuser Bottle: Mom’s on a diet? Well, this little gadget may make her a little less crabby! Water tastes great when it is infused with fruit flavor and the mesh basket helps keep seeds and pulp out of your water!
  • Cute Shoes: These sweet Mary Janes from Hot Chocolate Designs are adorable and a fun splurge for the shoe-loving mom. Hint-hint–I wear a size 10!
  • Miss your mom? Me too. This sweet coffee mug can be custom made with any of the United States and the Canadian provinces! They also have a sweet quote on the back: “My mother forever, never apart, maybe in distance but never in heart.” A sweet sentiment and I know of at least one mom who is getting one–wink!
  • I often like to start my mom on book series–she is a reader like I am. Last year I started her on the Anthems of Zion series, and I cannot wait to purchase her the third of Katie Schuermann’s novels when it is released in a few weeks. This is a perfect series for the “church lady” in your life.
  • You can never go wrong with a cookbook! (that is, if your mom cooks!) And I have found that you can never go wrong with a cookbook from Six Sisters Stuff. None of their recipes may be groundbreaking, but they are all delicious and family friendly! They are also full of tips on streamlining meal planning and your kitchen! This one is next on my list of cookbooks to buy!

So, there you have it! My favorite, budget-friendly mothers’ day gifts! What is your favorite gift to share with your mom?