Graduation is perhaps one of the most challenging events for choosing gifts. It's difficult to walk that line between personal and practical; while a check or gift card is generous, it's not the most tailor-made gift. And on the other hand, you don't want to give something frivolous when the graduate is trying to get started in life. Compounding the challenge is that we often know multiple graduates each spring, and our well of creativity can easily run dry.

The good news is that it is possible to create a technique for meaningful gifts that are personal and practical. You can have a sort of template for gift-giving that helps you choose what to present to each graduate without feeling formulaic.

The goal should be to find gifts that are applicable to the graduate's particular personality but still have an element of financial value that can contribute in some way to a good financial start. In this way, you're striking a nice balance between personal and intrinsic value. A great place to start is to consider the graduate's career path, so use this guide as a way to start thinking about ways to select gifts.

Political Science & History

Most people who venture into this field have a particular affection for the work or personalities of a few select figures. It may be the steady, unifying hand of Lincoln or the inspirational power of Kennedy. Whatever the case, a gift with relevance to those personalities can be a perfect fit.

A great first stop on your graduate shopping trip is to search for historical autographs for sale. These gifts are a perfect example of what we're talking about. You can give the graduate a gift that makes particular sense for him or her, yet it retains some financial value that can let it serve as an investment as well.

Medicine & Science

These fields are well-suited for gifts involving the tools of the trade. While few graduates of nursing or medical school will accept their diplomas without already having a stethoscope, other instruments may still be needed. Consider consulting other friends already established in the profession for ideas. Ask them what they wish they had received for their graduation.

Should instruments prove too challenging, it's always possible to provide a subscription to one of the prominent medical journals. It's a gift that not only carries real monetary value but can also foster professional growth and competence.

Business & Economics

Speaking of journals, what better gift for the budding financial guru than a subscription to any of countless financial publications? Any of these can provide insight into investments and other opportunities, opening the door for greater success. And it can be a big boost to provide a subscription when the graduate is fresh out of school and doesn't feel he or she can afford it.

For the more entrepreneurial grad, think again about historic documents from legendary figures. Imagine the motivation and inspiration a graduate could draw from having a letter from P.T. Barnum hanging on the wall.

Choosing a gift is all about finding something that makes sense for the recipient. For a graduate, it also means providing some type of financial boost to help start them on the right foot. When you tailor the gift ideas to the graduate's background and future plans, you'll find a gift that really suits the occasion.