High School Graduation Gift Ideas

Graduate with gift

Graduation is a time of celebration, and what better way to recognize the achievement of earning a diploma than with a high school graduation gift? As you shop for the perfect gift for that special grad in your life, consider what makes him or her special, then look for a gift that really shows how proud you are that this young person has reached such an important milestone.

Gift Ideas

Whether you're looking for a gift that will serve a practical purpose or simply want to mark this important occasion with a symbolic gesture, there are lots of great ideas. Your budget and personal preference will play an important part in determining the perfect present.

For graduates who will be continuing their education, college supplies make helpful gifts. Some ideas include:

  • Writing utensils like pens, pencils, and highlighters
  • Paper products like notebooks, folders, index cards, and notepads
  • Reference books
  • A desk lamp or fun decorative lighting like a glitter lamp
  • A microwave
  • A small refrigerator
  • A fan if your climate makes a warm dorm room likely
  • Basic cooking supplies
  • Shower supplies like shower shoes and towels
  • Laundry supplies
  • Bedding
  • Blankets, pillows, and throws for comfy lounging around the dorm room
  • A computer chair, a beanbag chair, a TV/video game lounger, or some other seating suitable for a dorm room


A monetary graduation gift is always welcomed. Whether graduates are heading off to college or starting a job, they may be facing unexpected expenses.

Gift Certificates

Gift certificates are a great option because they encourage the recipient to splurge. While a gift of cash may be used on practical things like books, a gift certificate to a favorite teen clothing store or a local movie theater allows the student to have some fun. Gift cards for gas stations, fast food restaurants, and major retailers will get the most use. If you're giving a gift certificate with the idea that it will be used at college, make sure the store, restaurant, or movie theater chain is available near campus. Also consider giving a flexible gift card. For instance, get a gift certificate for the mall as a whole rather than one specific store in the mall.

Symbolic Ideas

Some gifts are designed solely to commemorate the special occasion:

  • Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss is a popular high school graduation gift. The book's message rings true for new graduates - there is untold potential in all people as they set out on new adventures. Check your local bookstore for additional graduation-themed books with quotes and inspiring messages.
  • A gift featuring the student's graduation year can be a great way to mark the occasion. From key chains to t-shirts to stuffed animals, you can find just about anything with the graduation year printed on it.
  • Graduation-related figurines can be a great memento. Brands like Precious Moments offer characters dressed in the graduation cap and gown, and you may also find paperweights, book-ends, and small knickknacks featuring diplomas, caps, and tassels.
  • If you know which college the student will be attending in the fall, a shirt, hat, or other item with the name of that school on it can be a good high school graduation gift.
  • Browse stores near graduation time for additional ideas. Gift shops, card shops, and even discount retailers offer a variety of items with inspirational messages.

Gifts for Friends

When you're planning high school graduation gifts for your friends, sometimes the standard gifts just don't fit, and you need some more sentimental ideas. Instead of a gift certificate, consider giving your lifelong friends one of the following:

  • A photo album or scrapbook of your favorite times together
  • Coupons for activities you can enjoy during your last summer together or IOUs for time together in the fall
  • A CD that reminds you of your senior year
  • A poem, song, painting, or other creative project made by you

Where to Shop

The following websites offer a wide variety of other graduation gifts:

  • Gifts.com - This website offers a great selection of gifts for the graduate. Choose from gift categories, including personalized gifts, going away to college gifts, new job essentials, jewelry gifts for grads, experiential gifts, and more.
  • PersonalCreations.com - From wooden graduation boxes to college party fund jars, you'll find gifts that are serious or whimsical, perfect for any graduate.
  • RedEnvelope.com - If a unique graduation gift is what you're searching for, then Red Envelope is the website for you. Here you'll find special gifts like the pocket compass, floating desktop globe, and the 100 wishes candle set.
  • Tiffany & Co - Choose from exquisite jewelry for her or elegant cuff links for him as well as many other gifts at Tiffany & Co.

Order as Early as Possible

When ordering online be sure to look at the shipping and handling policies of the websites you use. In addition, double check any orders that include monogramming, and be sure to print off a copy of your order to ward off any company discrepancies or mistakes. Finally, order as soon as possible so that you can give the gift to the graduate in a timely manner.

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High School Graduation Gift Ideas