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How to Make a Graduation Memory Book

This graduation memory book is a meaningful gift to give your child. Letters from family, friends and mentors are included in this keepsake.

When my kids were little some days felt long as a stay at home mom.

Like really…really long.

But then all of a sudden one day you realize that little kid isn’t so little anymore.

You’re now looking up instead of down into their sweet face.

And before you know you’re left wondering how you got here so fast.

“The days are long but the years are short.”

This quote sure takes on new meaning as a parent doesn’t?!

As your son or daughter start to prepare for the next chapter, we have the absolute perfect gift for you to give them.

If you don’t have a child ready to graduate soon, then you’ll definitely want to tuck this idea away.

Because we’re pretty sure you’ll want to give this special gift to them someday.

It’s a meaningful keepsake that we know your graduate will absolutely treasure forever!

Some of the items used in this post include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. You can read our full affiliate disclosure policy here.

How to Express Your Feelings as Your Child Graduates

mother looking up to son in field with trees beyond

For those of you with high school seniors, the bittersweet end is coming faster than you thought possible. 

Wasn’t it just yesterday that naïve, nervous, “barely a teenager” started high school? 

You knew these four years would fly…but seriously…it just went way too fast!

Honestly, I wasn’t ready!!

Are we ever ready?

Neither Anne or I were ready for the emotional aspect of our children growing up and leaving home.

It was really hard!

man stading on rock formation with mountain range ahead and trees on either side of him as an example of an experience graduation gift idea

Anne wrote a beautiful emotional post sharing her feelings about her oldest son Ryan’s last year at home you need to read.

As for me, I started to get nervous and scramble at the end of my son Jake’s time in high school to preserve these memories of his childhood for him.

I was trying to find the absolute perfect gift to express all my feelings for him. 

All of a sudden, it felt like I was out of time.

Did I do everything right raising him?

It felt so imperative that he knew exactly how I felt about him before he left for college.

I just wanted to be sure he really, like really, knew how much I loved him. 

Like he didn’t already know! 

Losing my own mom at the young age of 23 was difficult.

I knew she loved me but having tangible evidence of that helps when she isn’t here with me. 

I wanted my son to have something he’d be able to keep forever.

And for me…I needed be able to express my feelings for him.

But how was I going to do that with a graduation gift? 

Handwritten letters? Yes! 

Share photos? Yes! 

I decided to create books for Jake as a graduation gift.

holding closed memory photo book

The first one I made him was a photo book that encompassed his childhood.

All the memories I had captured in photos, from the day he was born until he was 18 through his senior year in high school.

Maybe this book was a little bit for me.

Okay, maybe it was a lot for me.

Now I had a photo book of his childhood all in one place that’s easy to pull out and look at any time I want.

Because you know I ordered two copies of the book, right?!

One for him as a gift and of course another for me to keep.

The second book I created for Jake was a graduation memory book.

What Is a Graduation Memory Book?

graduation book with cap and tassel

I can’t take the credit this graduation book idea because I found the incredible inspiration on Pinterest.

Trisha from Let’s Get Together blog shared this amazing graduation book gift idea years ago.

It was exactly the kind of meaningful gift I was looking to give Jake.

To create this keepsake for him I wanted to include messages, letters, or quotes from his family, friends, teachers, and mentors. 

I started by casually asking him who his favorite teachers were during his four years in high school. 

He immediately told me all his favorites while I tried frantically to remember each name.

Because ya know I was trying to be sly and not take notes as he listed them off to me. 

And being a typical teenage boy he was oblivious to why I was asking him about his favorite teachers. 

Thank goodness!

I may have to be sneakier with my daughter when it’s her time to graduate!

After I made a list of everyone we wanted to include in the book, I sent an email to each person inviting them to write something for Jake. 

Trisha even shared a copy of the letter they used so it was super easy.

microsoft word on laptop with letter pulled up on screen

I just tweaked their original letter a bit, added Jake’s name and hit send.

The letters started coming in and the tears started rolling down my cheeks. 

It was such an honor to read all the messages written just for him. 

Of course, I think he’s amazing, he’s my son!

But it was so very special to see him in a different light through the letters everyone wrote to him. 

If you have the time to do this for your soon-to-be high school or even college graduate I highly encourage you to go for it! 

Even if you just ask family & close friends. 

This is something I’m sure they’ll treasure for the rest of their life.

How to Create a Graduation Book

graduation memory book with graduation cords laying across open book

I used Blurb to create this graduation memory book.

Click here to get started making your own book and get 35% off.

I’ve also used Shutterfly and other online publishers for photo book projects.

For this one, I preferred creating it with Blurb because I like to customize the pages exactly how I need them rather than using a template. 

open book with printed text inside and graduation cords

The cover page letter explained the idea of the graduation memory book for Jake.

I also included the letter that we sent to everyone as the second page of his book so he could have a copy of it.

holding book open on table

Once I received all the emails, I started creating the book by entering each the letter, message, and quotes in individual text boxes.

Giving each person their own page or even two pages, if needed, for the letter they sent for Jake..

holding open book with both text and photo on page of book

Some people even sent pictures, so I’d include the photo next to the letter on the same page. 

Using a different font on each page kept the book interesting and preventing it from resembling a textbook. 

I adjusted the size of the font for shorter letters to fill each page.

If someone sent a quote they wanted to include, I’d center that text in the middle of the page and use quotation marks.

I also added several of my favorite meaningful quotes throughout the graduation book.

If you know me, you know how much I love a good quote!

After creating these books and searching for the perfect sentimental quotes, I put together a list of 75 inspirational graduation quotes and shared it in this blog post.

Now you have a ton of quotes to chose from for your graduate.

I’m sure you’ll find something in my list that inspires you.

This memory book was absolutely Jake’s favorite graduation gift! 

He was genuinely humbled by all the love and support he received from everyone in those letters.

There may have even been a few tears shed as he read letters written just for him.

The graduation book gave all of us the opportunity to tell him how much pride, joy and love we have for him. 

All those sentiments gifted to Jake are now in one place, bound in a book that he’ll always treasure. ❤

cover of graduation book next to cap and tassel on table

Congratulations to all of you who will soon be celebrating this milestone with your children. 

I’m sending you a big virtual hug!

And for those of you who have a little while until the day your children graduate, just click that photo below to save this idea on Pinterest.

Then when the time comes you’ll be ready with the perfect gift!

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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Other Graduation Gift Ideas

Pin it to remember it:

Elena Rodriguez

Friday 22nd of January 2021

Omg you saved my life with all the tips and ideas for a photobook, I have twin girls and I was searching for help, and I found it!!!

AnnMarie

Sunday 24th of January 2021

Thanks so much for your sweet comment about our blog post! Congrats on your twins graduating soon. Anne has twin girls that will be graduating this year too. I just know your girls will love the photobook you will create for them!!