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When it comes to choosing the right gift for a recent high school or college graduate, the ideal choice is not always obvious. Luckily for many, there is no shortage of potential gift sources in the Columbus area.

Parents, other family, and friends can find gifts ranging from art, jewelry and other items offered by Terry Janis to Israeli bonds that can be purchased through Israel Bonds Ohio.

“Israel gets to use the funds for its budgetary needs until the bond matures,” Thomas Lockshin, Israel Bonds Ohio’s executive director, explained to the Columbus Jewish News in an email. “Israel bonds help support every aspect of Israel’s economy. The graduate gets the satisfaction of helping Israel. It is also an investment that earns the graduate interest. At the end of the term, the graduate can reinvest into a new Israel bond or redeem for cash if they have other financial needs.”

New Israel bonds are issued twice each month, with interest rates being fixed for the term of the bond.

“Israel bonds start at $36 and have terms from 1-15 years,” Lockshin wrote. “Israel bonds must be held until they mature, then the holder has access to the funds and any accrued interest.

This allows these bonds to have a significant benefit, which is important as Lockshin said that gifts for grads should be “meaningful and long-lasting.”

While that certainly can be the case for both Israel bonds, it is also true for more traditional gifts such as the Terry Janis Collection in Columbus, which offers a wide selection of possible gifts for graduates, created by many different artists. Along with having artistic value, the items in her collection are often also useful for practical purposes, making them helpful as well as appealing for those who receive them as gifts.

For instance, in non-pandemic times, pieces of jewelry tend to be among the most popular items in Janis’s collection, but the relative lack of demand in this area over the past year has forced her to adapt in a way.

“Before the pandemic, it used to be jewelry (that was most popular), but with the pandemic, nobody’s getting dressed and nobody’s going anywhere,” Janis explained. “I think now that the restrictions are being lifted, jewelry will probably come back into being the number-one topic. Going along with that would be accessories such as purses, handbags, things that you need anyway. If you’re going out, you’re going to need a purse or a wallet or something like that.”

It is these types of gifts, which can be used for practical purposes, that Janis believes are often the most appropriate for graduates.

“Nowadays, I would say practical (gifts are best),” Janis said. “When you get kind of crazy, then they kind of forget what it’s used for.”

Janis works with a great variety of artists, often traveling the country and attending shows to seek out gifts that can be added to her collection.

“I represent over 200 artists, and I pick (gifts) that fall into any category, whether it be graduations, weddings, general gifting, baby, garden, all these categories where you can use art, enjoy art, wear art,” Janis said. “I’m lucky to be able to meet the artists themselves when I pick out these things that I think would be good for my gallery. When I go to shows, I get to meet them, and then I learn about the process and not just the item.”

Collections like Janis’ can be very convenient for finding personalized gifts, and she hopes small businesses such as her own can continue to find success and even thrive during difficult times.

“I hope after going through a year where we were isolated and everybody was at home and ordering online, (that we) continue to support local and small businesses,” Janis said. “As much of a struggle as it’s been for all the big guys and everyone that people normally like to go to, the small businessperson is struggling as well just to keep their name out front, and so just shopping local and shopping small … would be a big help.”

Ben Blotner is a freelance writer from Columbus.

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