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Queen of Free's graduation gift ideas

Graduation gifts for every party and open house can really add up, especially for parents of a senior.

INDIANAPOLIS — With graduation ceremonies and open houses looming, Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free, offered some tried-and-true grad guidance on 13Sunrise and in her blog this week.

"No matter how you celebrate your favorite graduates," Lowe said to keep in mind that "the time you spend with the ones you love is much more valuable than any dollar amount" you spend on a gift.

If you have a senior, you're likely to be hosting a party and could be attending a dozen or more. You may be looking for ways to simplify and keep costs from getting out of control during all that celebrating.

Lowe recommends buying cards and gifts in bulk. For instance, if you buy a dozen mugs, you can fill them with candy, small bags of coffee and a gift card. Buy journals and pair them with pens.

Instead of spending $5 on a single card, try to find a box of 36 cards that will average less the $1 per card, and may last two graduation cycles.

"You may not have money to give to every graduate on your list, but you can always write a letter," Lowe said. She suggests collecting written comments from people and assembling them to share with the graduate, maybe in a book that you can circulate and present to the graduate.

Lowe also suggested a deferred cost gift idea -- a care package post card. "I created a printable postcard and let them fill it out requesting their favorite snacks and school supplies in the fall," Lowe explained, then she sent those items to the graduate during their first semester in college.

Watch Lowe's full 13Sunrise segment with WTHR's Gina Glaros in the video player.

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