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Being beautiful: Make the gifts as special as the graduates


David Creel



From elementary children filled with wonder to bigger ones leaving high school or college -- full of hoping to make the world more wonderful for us all -- it's that time of year again for graduations.  


I will never forget my kindergarten graduation. Mama had waited until the last minute as usual to shop at the old Casey's Department store downtown. As I saw Mrs. Evelyn sigh, shaking her head from left to right, I knew Mama was not going to leave happy. But when Mrs. Evelyn pulled open that huge drawer and my eyes met the most spectacular blue bow tie in the world, it was just meant to be. Sure, all the others had on regular neckties, but I stood out with my bow tie. Come to think of it, I still like standing out, as my brightly colored socks will prove.  


The invitations have kept coming in from friends with little ones and big ones graduating this season, and as I flip through the photos of "grown up" seniors, my mind wanders back to what seems like yesterday. Little Blaine sitting on my knee or learning to ride a bike, perhaps even trying not to giggle when I cut his bangs, now all handsome, and smart, and ready to take on the world. I know all the parents are so proud. 


So, what are the best things to reward these special graduates with this year? The little ones would be happy with most anything I'm convinced, but the 18-year-olds pose quite a challenge. Gift cards from some of their favorite shopping places would be welcomed. In fact, I'm sure Blaine is getting one from his favorite, J. Crew.  


Some might appreciate a motivational book with a personalized inscription. Anything monogrammed would do just fine or perhaps even a fashionable bow tie for making a marvelous first impression. All the parents who know their kids best say that say cash is still king, but cash just seems thoughtless to me, almost too easy. Anybody can roll up some twenties and add a pair of argyle socks, but not me. I want to give a gift that both reminds them of where they have been and where they can go in life. Of course, that probably just means they like all of the cash gifts better than mine! 


Perhaps a keychain that can hold up to 200 digital photos or an engraved bookmark with something witty for them to see while studying chemistry or reading some great novel? I am definitely putting some thought into my gifts this year, and maybe you should, too. One of my favorites was told to me by a friend who stuffed a Christmas stocking full of little things for the college freshman: an assortment of batteries, candy, manicure set, scissors, gas card for emergencies, flashlight and other things that one might need at 2 a.m. miles away from mom and dad (and who doesn't like to think of Christmas at all times of the year?). 


Whatever you choose to give a graduate young or old, make it extraordinary so she or he will remember it and you for a lifetime -- and thanks for the bow tie memory, Mama.


Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at [email protected]


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