Graduation season is upon us! With friends and relatives expected to spend a record $5.6 billion on gifts, knowing what not to buy is perhaps just as important as knowing what you should gift your grad. Unless you want your gift to end up in the garbage bin as soon as it's socially acceptable, heed the advice in this handy guide.
Unless you're a grandmother, you are not permitted to buy a teddy bear in a cap and gown — or any other tchotchke bearing the year of your giftee's graduating class. Such items are usually sewn together by children in Third World countries, and make a quick trip from the card store to the garage sale to the landfill.
AmEx/Visa/MasterCard Gift Cards
If cash seems impersonal, what makes a gift card preloaded with currency more thoughtful? Though your grad may appreciate having some spending money, unless they are the goodiest of goody-goodies, you know they will not be spending it on anything pragmatic. You might as well just buy them a case of beer.
Oh, the Places You'll Go! (and Other Inspirational Books)
There was a time, a very short period of time — the year 1990, to be exact — when buying Dr. Seuss' last published work was a quirky, fun gift. These days, it is a meaningless, cliched gesture. And don't bother with similar inspirational titles, as they are sure to simply be donated.
Unlike the above, books with information on how to do stuff might come in handy. Thing is, all that information is on the internet these days. Save some trees and skip it.
Each year, there is always some new gizmo or gadget that's seen as a must-have item. After a few months, there's either something better or it turns out we never needed it to begin with. If your potential gift fits this description, put it back on the shelf and walk away.
SEE ALSO: 8 Best Credit Cards for College Students
We were tempted to throw tablets in with the category above. As they continue to be seen as a useful item, we're singling them out. It's highly likely that your graduate's phone can do everything a tablet can do, and if not, it's better done on their laptop.
Stuff the College Provides
While gifts like a gym membership or a desk might seem thoughtful, your grad probably won't need them. After all, the college they'll be attending will have a gym where they can work out, and dorms equipped with desks. If you're unsure whether your gift would be redundant, you can always contact the school.
Readers, what do you think? Are there other things you wouldn't buy a grad? Let us know in the comments!