The 36 Best Graduation Gifts to Celebrate This Milestone
These practical gifts go the extra mile by preparing grads for their life as an adult with a career. They're also great for enterprising high school graduates, so be sure to bookmark this page for all the grad gifts you'll need this season.
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They deserve a memento to mark the occasion
Graduation season is just around the corner, which means you may be looking for graduation gift ideas for the high school, college, or other higher learning student in your life. “Graduation gifts are a great way to congratulate the new graduate,” explains Felicia Parker, a gift expert and founder of Any Occasion Baskets. “It’s also an opportunity to help the graduate with household items, monetary gifts, or tech gifts, which assist in preparation for adulthood. There is nothing better than receiving essential gifts that take the stress out of a new move-in, relocation, new job, or a new academic endeavor.”
Parker suggests sticking to easily appreciated, high-quality household essentials like bedding, pillows, towels, and kitchenwares for a home-away-from-home experience, as well as tech items that streamline the tasks of adulthood and work. To save you valuable time, we’ve found the best gifts for her, gifts for him, and even inspiring graduation quotes you’ll want to scribble inside cards and cash envelopes.
You Will Leave a Trail of Stars: Words of Inspiration for Blazing Your Own Path
If you’re looking for an affordable, meaningful graduation gift that will make a big impact, You Will Leave a Trail of Stars: Words of Inspiration for Blazing Your Own Path is the book new grads will read over and over again for wise words, musings, and motivation. It’s one of the best books to give as graduation gifts and an upbeat conversation starter for the whole family.
Made by Mary Lana Bar Necklace
Personalized gifts are always a nice touch for milestone moments like graduation, which is why she’ll love wearing this Lana bar necklace in an eye-catching gold tone finish. The brand will stamp it with tiny uppercase Arial font with the name, word, or date of your choosing up to 12 characters. It also comes in silver and rose gold finishes, and you can choose a chain length varying from 17 to 19-inches.
Beautiful Cookware Set by Drew Barrymore
This 10-piece cookware set comes from Drew Barrymore’s new affordable line of homewares, Beautiful, that ships ultra-fast through Walmart+ and the store’s two-day option for non-members, in case you’re searching for last-minute graduation gift ideas. This set offers a range of fry pans, saucepans, and even a Dutch oven to get their new adult life started out right, and comes in four on-trend colors perfect for grads of all types. It’s made with a durable, scratch-resistant three-layer nonstick coating that won’t chip or peel, and is safe for use with metal utensils (because hey, adulthood comes with a learning curve).
Life is Good Class of 21 Virtually Greatest Crusher Tee
This was a hard year for students of all types, especially given how many new grads spent their last semesters either remote learning or on a hybrid schedule. This Life Is Good tee offers an upbeat, punny take on virtually the greatest class of all time, 2021. It’s made of 100 percent USA-grown cotton, offers an easy classic fit that’s a pleasure to wear, and will add a dose of charm under their graduation gown. It’s one of the wittiest gifts for boys who love casual, comfortable clothes.
Keurig K-Express Essentials Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker
This sleek, simple-to-use Keurig machine is one of the brand’s most affordable models thanks to an under $50 price point that is ideal for new grads. It also solves that classic roommate argument of whose turn it is to make the coffee and clean the coffee pot, because a cup of hot coffee is just a moment away with a touch-button Keurig machine. It comes in sleek black, red, or tropical blue to match just about every kitchen’s color scheme, and brews six, eight, and ten-ounce cups. The 36-ounce reservoir also means it’s ready to go just about any time they’re jonesing for a coffee, hot cocoa, tea, or other K-cup drink. This one also makes a great hostess gift if they’re moving into a new apartment or dorm.
Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Expandable Hardside Spinner
When the world reopens for travel, your grad will be ready for adventure with this smart luggage from TravelPro. The stylish spinner is lightweight and ultra-durable with an easy-to-clean polycarbonate shell, lots of interior zip pockets (including one for damp items), four spinner wheels that practically glide on their own, a two-inch zipper expansion, a built-in TSA-approved lock, and fast-charging USB A&C ports (with external FAA-compliant storage for a power bank) that let you power up on the go. TravelPro is so sure of the quality of this luggage—it passed 15 durability tests, including something called a “cold drop test”—that it comes with a Built For A Lifetime Limited Warranty.
So Purr-oud Cats Graduation Card
If this isn’t the perfect dose of mom, dad, and grandparent humor, what is? They’ll love this cute, cuddly, and very punny graduation card that’s perfect for warm words and paper-ready sentiments like a little cash or a gift card. It’s the ideal gift for grads of any age or stage.
Spy Bewilder Sunglasses
Form meets function in these trendy-looking sunglasses with UV protection, and they’re perfect for any grad with a future so bright they need some shades. They offer a secure, comfortable fit for both men and women, and boast polycarbonate lenses that make days on the beach, ski slopes, music venues, and even just hanging around a million times cooler-looking. The frames are also made of 50 percent organic plant matter that is both lightweight and durable, and reduces plastic consumption—something the forward-thinking great mind in your life will appreciate.
SOUL S-Nano True Wireless Earbuds
Tech gifts are always a big hit, and these budget-friendly wireless earbuds are going to be their new favorite go-to item. They’re a portable, truly wireless way for them to catch up on work, quietly attend virtual interviews from home, listen to music, watch their favorite shows, podcast, and so much more. They’re also available in a wide array of fun colors to suit every personality.
Travelpro Platinum® Elite Carry-On Expandable Hardside Spinner
Oh the places they’ll go—and how stylishly smart they’ll arrive there with this hard-sided carry-on luggage with leather trim. The expandable bag has been sizer-bin tested so they’ll never be scrambling for overhead bin space and it features on-the-go external USB A & C ports with FAA-compliant storage for the power bank. And thanks to the 360-degree wheels, they’ll be ready to roll in an instant.
Home Grown Succulent & Cactus Seed Grow Kit
This fun, DIY succulent and cactus seed grow kit comes with everything they’ll need to grow their own windowsill-perfect greenery that requires minimal effort and attention. They’ll love adding these stylish pots to their desk for a splash of colorful plant life, and you’ll both love how affordable and fun the kit is to use.
California Design Den Cotton Bath Towel Pack
These extra soft, fluffy, and luxurious bath towels are just what they’ll need to start adulthood off on the right note. They’re made of 100 percent cotton and boast a no-lint texture that’s hotel quality at a bargain. Each of the four included towels in this set measures 27-inches by 54-inches long. Classic white is a great choice to match just about any bathroom decor and is also one of the most versatile Amazon Prime gifts for everyone on your list.
The Pioneer Woman Simple Homemade Goodness Drink Dispenser Set
This fun twin one-gallon drink dispenser with a base is great for an outdoor graduation party, BBQ events, and outdoor picnics for safer social gatherings, and sideline refreshments. You’ll use it for the family celebration, and they’ll continue loving it for every game night, Sunday brunch, and showing off their favorite flavored water recipes on hot summer days.
Personalized Mall School Memories Graduation Fleece Blanket
This cozy fleece blanket is hardly your average throw because it’s easily customized with all their special dates, important words and names, and memory tokens that will help them remember just how much you care every time they curl up with a good book, movie, or nap. You can even choose any two school or themed colors to make it feel even more personal.
Chelsea Charles Design Your Own Double Love Tags Necklace
She’ll love wearing this everyday-appropriate necklace from Chelsea Charles, and you’ll love that it’s one of the most easily customized graduation gifts you can buy thanks to each of the two gold-tone tags offering engraving with up to ten characters. Inscribe a name, special date, class of 2021, or inside joke hashtag that sums up the school experience you shared.
Nixon Customized Watch
Tell them it’s time for big things, be it the next level of learning or starting a career, with a totally customizable Nixon watch. You can design it for them as a gift, or let them walk through the process on their own choosing a shape, face, band, metal color, and so much more. It’s a piece they’ll wear for years, treasure, and may even pass on to the next generation. It’s one of the best gifts for men just starting their adult lives, and a memorable experience to create.
Pixel Blue Light Tech Glasses
These blue light-blocking non-prescription Pixel glasses are truly an ideal gift for anyone but are extra valuable for grads prone to viewing computers, iPads, cell phones, and TVs for hours on end. They offer a clear lens without a yellow tint for minimal color distortion and offer bold blue light blocking and 100 percent UV protection. Plus, the frames will look pretty cute while they’re fighting all that eye strain.
Bake Me A Wish! Graduation Cake
You don’t have to be there in person to offer the new grad in your life a mouth-watering slice of cake made just for them. This Bake Me A Wish! cake has light vanilla layers topped with creamy villa frosting. The best part? It ships just about everywhere in the United States and you can add a customized edible message to the top. Each of these adorable food gifts comes in a festive box with a greeting card that can also be personalized. It’s also a great last-minute gift for forgetful types because you can choose overnight or two-day shipping for most areas.
The Tassel Worth The Hassle Personalized Mug
This poetic mug is one of the best graduation gifts to pair with a coffee maker, tea set, or other kitchenware, but it’s also just as great on its own. It’s a cup of freedom that signifies all their hard work for the last four or more years, and an affordable item they’ll really use every day. The ceramic mug is available in 11- or 15-ounce sizes and can be personalized with their name and the drawing can be customized with one of five skin tones and 100+ hairstyles.
Shoott Photo Shoot
Tell them to put their best outfit on, fix their hair, and head to a Shoott photography appointment near them for a personal photoshoot that takes only a handful of minutes. You’ll be able to choose the best shots from a digital gallery and only pay for what you want to keep. Think of this as the budget and time-friendly way to get new headshots for resumes, take graduation-themed photos for printed cards to send family and friends, or just celebrating the milestone with a proud family portrait.
Sony SRS-XB43 Extra Bass Portable Speaker
This Bluetooth, waterproof, and bass-heavy speaker from Sony is about to be their new favorite daily essential thanks to a built-in mic that makes it a seamless helper for phone calls of all types. It goes above and beyond the normal Bluetooth speaker because it’s so portable, durable, hands-free, and even stands up to pool and beach days. Plus, they’ll use it on day one at the backyard graduation party to blast their favorite upbeat tunes.
Vous Personalized Vitamins
Whether they’re just incredibly busy, stressed out about a new career, or overwhelmed by the new post-grad life landscape, they’ll definitely benefit from personalized Vous Vitamins. They’ll take a lifestyle assessment quiz to determine just the right blend for them before, and be grateful some of the included supplements are some of the best vitamins for anxiety and stress.
Ruggable Machine-Washable Rugs
They’ll start adult life out on the right foot, but more specifically a warm and clean foot, with a Ruggable area rug. The brand’s clever, easy-to-machine-wash design and trend-forward prints make this gift a no-brainer for dressing up dorm rooms, high-traffic areas of shared apartments, and homes with pets.
The Company Store Company Conscious Down Alternative Comforter
This down alternative comforter from The Company Store is the hypoallergenic feel-good piece they’ll keep and treasure for years. It’s made with a polyfill made of recycled water bottles making it one of the most environmentally-conscious down alternative comforters and encased in a sateen-finish cotton shell that’s soft, breathable, and temperature regulating. The best part is the naturally dust mite-resistant material and fill means you’ll both sleep better knowing they’re safe and healthy.
Pluto Pillow Customized Pillow
Sending them off with a good night’s sleep is one of the best gifts you can give, which is why Pluto Pillow’s customizable pillows are some of the best graduation gifts money can buy, and certainly one of the best sleep products. You (or they) will take a quick lifestyle quiz to determine size and texture preferences, sleeping position, and more to have a pillow custom-made just for them at a dream-worthy price.
Just Add Ice Money Tree
Feng Shui tradition holds the money tree near and dear to its heart for gifting and encouraging prosperity. Legend says a man who was down on his luck prayed for prosperity, discovered the money tree, took it home, and was blessed with good fortune. For generations, families from all corners of the world have enjoyed giving these easy-to-care-for good lucks trees, even if half the value is in brightening an office space and offering a bit of clean air. This small pre-potted money tress is also an Amazon bestseller and a fun spin on more traditional graduation gifts.
Flexispot All-in-One Desk Bike Workstation V9
This very cool home office accessory is the 2021 answer to both workplace efficiency and fitting in light exercise. It’s something the grad in your life will treasure whether they’re onto an advanced degree or expected to take in hours of video conference calls each day as part of their new work-life balance. It offers a light-to-medium pedaling capacity to keep your heart rate up and calories burning instead of seemingly endless sedentary hours, a movable and adjustable desk base, the most creative way to watch a marathon TV series without feeling guilty about being a couch potato. Plus, it’s about the same price as an ordinary desk from a major retailer.
Smithey No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet
This classic 10-inch cast-iron skillet from Smithey is the perfect kitchen starter piece for young adults just building their collections of heirloom kitchen pieces. It’s ideal for smaller households, home bakers prone to experimenting with cornbread recipes, and outdoors people who love a good campfire cookout. It features a polished interior that makes cleaning easy and is generally easy to maintain and use for just about every recipe. Pour spouts and ergonomic handle set it apart from the rest of the cast iron pack. Plus, you’ll feel great knowing it’s made in the United States and supports local jobs.
Levenger Luxe Leather Five-Year Journal
This Levenger leather five-year journal takes daily thoughts and memory-building to the next level. It’s an elegant way to record a full five years of experiences, musings, and more on a daily level that’s ideal for grads heading off to college or an advanced degree. After they fill the book, they’ll get to look back on their entire collegiate experience, the ups and downs, teachable moments, and so much more. There’s also a section for personal information in case it’s lost, a ruled page for every day of the year, and the patch on the front can be monogrammed for an extra special personalized touch.
MantraBand Inspirational Bracelet
She believed she could, so she did —and that’s how she got through the last four years, right? This thoughtful MantraBand offers just the right amount of uplifting inspiration with timeless metal-tone elegance. It’s easily worn on its own, stacked with other bracelets and bangles, and wears from day to night with her favorite business casual looks.
EcoVessel Perk Vacuum Travel Bottle
If you’re looking for practical graduation gift ideas that are also affordable, this stainless steel vacuum insulated EvoVessel travel bottle is just the type of item they’ll use every day and thank you endlessly for. It’s great for both hot and cold drinks, meaning they can fill it with a refreshing iced tea or ice-cold water on a hot day for hours of cool sips, or pour in their favorite hot coffee for a morning commute and know that it’ll stay hot until they reach their desk and then some. It’s a safe, always-useful gift they’ll really enjoy.
Comma Home Faux Fur & Sherpa Throw
This minky-feeling faux fur throw is the vegan-friendly cozy classic they’ll love having in their first home away from home, and an easy piece to enjoy, wash, and enjoy some more. It’s great for chilling on the couch, catching up on advanced studies in a favorite chair, or just making the most of those after-work hours. The best part? One side is trendy faux fur, while the other is faux sherpa—making it 100 percent snuggly. The material is also made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles, so you’ll feel good about its environmental impact.
Penh Lenh Pearl Hoop Earrings
These elegant small 14 karat gold-filled hoops add a touch of charm to even the simplest outfits. She’ll love the genuine freshwater pearl that accents each hoop, the lightweight wearing, and durable materials that won’t chip or wear off thanks to pressure-bonding. The metal and pearls are sourced ethically from conflict-free regions, and each purchase empowers women to have access to fair, dignified employment and skills training.
Veestro Plant-Based Meal Delivery
Simplify their healthy eating plans or just help them curb the inclination to eat nothing but dining hall cheese fries with this 100 percent plant-based meal delivery service from Veestro. No chopping, cooking, cleanup, or grocery shopping is necessary, because all they’ll need to do is heat each pre-made organic, healthy, sustainable meal in the oven or microwave. Voila! And don’t worry, customizable diet preferences ranging from nut-free to gluten-free are available too.
Rose Box NYC Small Box of Long-Lasting Roses
Why give a traditional bouquet when you can give a boxed arrangement of Rose Box NYC long-lasting roses that can stay beautiful and fresh-looking for up to a full year without any maintenance at all? They come in display-worthy white boxes, ship directly to your favorite grad’s door, and offer the sight and scent of fresh blooms for months to come without having to water, rotate, or trim even once.
Cosabella x Journelle Sophia Pajama Set
This dorm and shared living space-appropriate pajama set from Cosabella x Journelle is just the type of luxurious graduation gift she’s really looking forward to. She’ll catch up on late-night study sessions, much-needed lazy Sundays at home, and all her other favorite covered-but-cute moments in this perfectly-tailored stretch silk matching pajamas set. It comes in a range of bright, happy colors, features mother of pearl river stone buttoning, and is offered in a range of sizes that fit most body types.
Gift of College & Invest529 Gift Card
This isn’t just any typical gift card — it’s a solid $100 earmarked specifically for 529 college savings or student loan accounts. It’ll help lighten their load, guarantee your graduation gifts are used appropriately, and offers a way to give financial help that you can easily purchase with your credit card online. They’ll thank you for the help, and you’ll feel good about giving this ultra-practical gift.