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High School Graduation Gift Guide


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When high school ends, the future begins. Like shooting stars, our grads are heading in all directions: college, employment, gap years, travel. It’s time to celebrate!

One thing we’re all looking for: unique and personal graduation gifts. Whether classic, practical, whimsical or high tech, here are suggestions in every style and price range. Find one that’s right for your special high school grad!

Items for the dorm room

If your freshman will live in a residence hall, these items can help them create a comfortable and homey space.

Dorm room bedding

Bedding set

Nothing is more important than a good night's sleep and that starts with a comfy bed! Find a bedding set that your student will love.

Cozy light decor

Dorm rooms don’t always have ideal lighting. Decorate their dorm with these unique string lights that will make their space feel warm and cozy.


Your student will appreciate a humidifier to add moisture to the air helping with any dry skin, throat, nose or lips.

Laundry basket

This adorable cactus option can be delivered right to your front door on Amazon. Help keep your student organized and their laundry clean.

Bluetooth speaker

For those midnight jam sessions.

Graduation gift ideas under $25

Don’t break the bank with these thrifty and memorable items.

The 5 ingredient College Cookbook

Your student could use a cookbook with easy recipes to match their living situation.

Vintage laptop backpack

An affordable, efficient and stylish gift to carry their school supplies.


T-Shirt quilt

Gather favorite t-shirts from your student’s growing-up years to create a tapestry of memories. If you’re not confident in your sewing abilities, a company like Project Repat can get the job done!

Something personalized

Picture frames, throw blankets, storage items… Create a one-of- a-kind gift with the help of vendors like Mark and Graham or

Gift idea belt buckle

Monogrammed belt buckle

It doesn’t have to be Brooks Brothers, but theirs is a classic. Your grad will feel like the “cat’s pajamas” (says one parent whose son’s belt buckle from a beloved aunt was his favorite gift).

Graduation gift idea: longitude and latitude charms

Latitude & longitude charms

Add a personal touch to a bracelet, necklace or keychain. These are a reminder of where home will always be. Lots of hand-stamped choices in Etsy or check out the collection at Lat & Lo.

Engraved Pocket Watch for Graduation

Engraved pocket watch

Time has gone by so fast since their first day of high school! Share a personalized message on a pocket watch that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Custom Oil Painting

Commemorate a special memory by turning it into a custom oil painting! Mavenart will create handmade rendition of your grad's favorite photo so they can take it with them wherever they go!


Electronic essentials

Noise cancellation headphones

Help them block out the noise and concentrate while studying anywhere on campus.


A necessity for every college student to read, write papers and upload assignments. Add in a protective case or software such as antivirus and cloud backup.

External hard drive for college

Portable external hard drive

Dealing with so many important documents and files, your student will appreciate having an external hard drive.

Kitchen supplies

Electric Kettle

For tea time when they get a head cold. College students love these quick and easy water boilers — especially the ones with the see-through style and fun lights!

Coffee maker

The Keurig K-Mini series will fit well in limited space for students living in dorm rooms.

Dish sets for the dorm room

Dish sets and silverware

Durable plastic plates, cups, bowls and silverware will be useful in a dorm room setting.

Don’t forget one last thing…

Somewhere amidst the events, gifts and guests, take time to slow it all down. Maybe you sit down on the couch with your student and look through their baby photo albums. Or you go for a dog walk, or a drive with the car windows down. (Just a short one — they have places to go and people to see!) Let them drive, so you can steal glances at them. Talk a bit about nothing…and everything.

Savor the last few moments of this childhood chapter and know that the best is yet to come.

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Susie Watts
1 year ago

Parents often ask me what they should give their graduate for a gift. I often suggest that a monogrammed pillow, bedding or towels make long lasting gifts that are a reminder of the occasion for years to come.

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