Alternative lei ideas for graduation


Receiving an extensive amount of leis for graduation is like a rite of passage for local students.

With graduation right around the corner, it can only mean one thing – it is lei season. Giving leis for graduation is extremely important in Hawaii’s culture. Those who aren’t from Hawaii, believe that leis are given when they step foot off a plane in Hawaii, but it is much more than that. Leis are normally given to commemorate someone’s accomplishment.

For college students, spending money on leis can be difficult. Here are some lei alternatives that are finically friendly to penny-pinching college students.

Old high school leis
On graduation day when graduating from high school, local graduates normally worry most about how many leis they will be receiving because being covered with leis is almost like a rite of passage. Since half of the received leis are artificial ribbon leis, they packed away even knowing the leis will never be used again. Digging out the old leis from high school and using those to lei friends at graduation is the perfect opportunity to save money after a long semester.

Do it yourself (DIY) leis
There is about a week between finals week and graduation. Since college students are usually recovering from finals or recovering from partying, making leis for the upcoming graduation season is great therapy. Although there are those pretty ribbon leis that grandmas and aunties spend all day hand sewing, college students do not have that kind of time or expensive materials. College students need simple ideas like cutting flowers out of construction paper and stringing it through yarn. Because the paper is thin, it would be silly to cut endless amounts of paper flowers. By cutting disposable straws into five to six even pieces and stringing the straws in-between the cut flowers, it makes the lei-making process quicker.

Savers and Goodwill
When fighting for time, searching for old leis from your high school graduation or making tedious leis may be out of the question. Going to secondhand stores is a great alternative. Stores like Savers and Goodwill carry quality ribbon leis for about $2. This is great especially when you want to give out pretty leis but don’t have the time to make them or have the money to buy them.

Party City’s luau leis
Although locals make fun of haloes for producing false, luau-themed parties and wearing those tacky Hawaiian shirts, those cheap imitation plastic leis make it affordable to lei friends at graduation. At about $12 for a box of 50 leis at Party City, not one friend will be without a lei. Since these leis are cheap, a graduate won’t feel guilty about tossing it later. To make the lei feel a bit for personal, attach a small card or paper to the lei with your name and “Congratulations.”

Keiki inner-tube
Although child inner-tubes aren’t necessarily considered a lei, giving a giving a cute animal inner tube can be memorable. Also writing a special message on it about unforgettable events and inside jokes can touch a graduate’s heart, making it a unique lei that the graduate will keep as a memento.