I got an announcement for a friend's daughter that is graduating from high school. They live out of state and are having a party, which obviously I can't attend.
I was considering sending a gift...but what to send? How do you decide what to send a kid who has everything...or at least whatever she might need/want her parents will probably buy?
She's going to college, and living on campus - which means a small dorm room. I hate to get anything too specific because what if it doesn't match her stuff? But, I feel like a gift certificate isn't that personal. I keep trying to think back to what I got....
Don't ask the locals for directions, they already lost one colony!
I know you said you feel gift certificates would be impersonal, but I enjoyed and have had great success giving kids gift certificates to their university's bookstore. Along those lines, I've also given kids t-shirts, sweatshirts, blankets, etc. with their university's logo on it. I think that would be a much appreciated gift for a new college freshman and certainly wouldn't be on that "need" list of things her parents will think to buy. I usually pair it with one of the many books that can be found at Barnes and Noble that share tips and anecdotes about surviving college.
Something that would still be a gc yet more personalized is doing some research and finding out some local restaurants, sub shops and pizza places on or near campus and ordering some gift cards. You can never have too many pizza gc's as a college freshman!
I think I mostly got $, but the gifts I got aren't very practical to mail, like a laundry basket filled w/ dorm room stuff. I would probably do a GC over cash simply bc my niece just graduated from HS and she likes to spend her spare cash on dumb stuff, like tattoos.