Graduations — one of life’s many milestones that has a bittersweet element to it. On the one hand, it marks a student’s achievements and celebrates the closing of one chapter and the start of another. On the other hand, it can be a shock for family members and close friends to see someone they knew as a baby or young child suddenly all grown up!
With graduation season right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how you want to celebrate the upcoming grad in your life. No matter your relationship to the graduate or your gifting budget, you want to choose something meaningful and useful to mark the occasion.
To help you find that perfect gift at the perfect price point, we’ve broken down our top picks for grad gifts for a college or high school graduate in order of their cost. Happy gifting!
Gifts For the High School Grad
Affirmation Cards | $13.99
The transition from high school to college, or whatever next step is on your grad’s path, can be a tough one to walk at times. Set them up with small bits of inspiration and wisdom in a fun and lighthearted package. These Affirmators Cards sport messages that promote positive thinking without being an overt “self help” deck — just the gift for a newly independent teen.
Self-Defense Keychain | $22.99
College is oftentimes a young adult’s first true experience at independence — so why not give the gift of safety? The Stinger Personal Alarm keychain is equipped with a high-volume alarm and an emergency escape tool that can be used within seconds to give everyone a little peace of mind.
Portable Hammock | $29.95
Looking for a high school graduation gift for an outdoors lover? If you’ve ever walked across the main lawn of any college, you know that a portable hammock is basically an unofficial school supply for plenty of students — and it makes a stellar gift they’ll love packing up for the move!
Lap Desk | $45.99
Some of the best gifts seem obvious — but they tend to actually be overlooked! A lap desk is a solid graduation gift that gives the flexibility to work from just about anywhere in comfort. Complete with an angled surface, cushioned arm rests, and precision-tracking mousepad, it even has a phone slot so they won’t miss a thing!
NutriBullet | $47.99
Some days, the dining hall just isn’t in the cards — that’s when a NutriBullet comes in very handy. When you can blend up nutritious fruits and veggies and hit campus, all with the same cup, it should go without saying that any high school graduate would love opening this gift!
Reusable Water Bottle | $55
You can never have too many reusable water bottles. I mean, they’re reusable! This BPA- and phthalate-free stainless steel bottle comes in a ton of fun patterns to reflect any grad’s personality and style, and keeps contents cold up to 24 hours and hot up to 12 hours.
Bath Robe | $66
It took me a long time to realize just how fancy it feels to step out of the shower and into my own bathrobe — and not at a hotel. Why not speed up the process for the recent high school grad in your life and give them their very own Turkish cotton bath robe to wrap up in? The best part: it’s machine washable.
Beats Wireless Headphones | $299.99
Let’s be honest: who doesn’t want a pair of Beats headphones? These classic over-the-ear wireless headphones are engineered to deliver premium sound, so whether it’s a lecture or a new album release, it’s always top-quality. Any grad will love opening this gift!
Gifts For the College Grad
Celebratory Mug | $12.49
College lasts four years, graduation takes up a full day — and then it’s all over. A celebratory mug is a great gift and reminder of any college grad’s accomplishments. If you’ve got a coffee-loving college graduate in your life, look no further! If you want to add to this gift, include a bag of coffee beans or a gift card to a local coffee shop.
Books to Survive the Real World | $11.99 – $99
After years of reading textbooks and academic articles, it’s safe to say that a college graduate is looking forward to reading “normal” material. From practical wisdom for surviving the “real world” to daily meditations and habit-forming tips, these books will inspire any graduate to embrace this new chapter of life.
Le Creuset Cookware | $17.99 – $641.99
For many people, Le Creuset is synonymous with refinement, professionalism, and “adulting” — all things that any college graduate should feel once they’re out of school. From a classic French oven to a casserole dish or a skillet, there’s so much beautiful cookware to choose from and stay on budget.
Cooking Apron | $29.99
Or, if you know a recent college grad who loves to cook but aren’t sure what they’ve already got in terms of kitchen supplies, a chef’s apron is another great gift option. After all, they’ve got fancy business-people clothes to keep clean! This 100% cotton option is made of thick fabric and is machine washable.
Macy’s MyStylist Appointment & Gift Card | $100 – $250
For the college grad who hasn’t landed a job just yet, but is eager to hit the ground running, schedule them a date with a Macy’s MyStylist who can help them find the perfect outfit for a virtual or in-person interview. Then, set them up with a $100 – $250 gift card so they can add a few new items to their professional wardrobe.
Gravity Blanket | $119 – $259
Life after college can be a whirlwind transition, and some graduates may have more trouble than others. Luckily, the Gravity Blanket can help. The weighted, science-backed material is designed to provide a stress-free relaxation and help contribute to a more restful sleep. Who wouldn’t want that?
Grown-Up Wallet | $150
Lanyards and velcro wallets are so college! After they’ve walked the stage and been handed their diploma, the next step toward adulthood for any college grad is a new grown-up wallet. For men, you can’t go wrong with a leather bifold, and for women, a vertical zippered wallet that keeps its contents snug is the name of the game. When in doubt, go for genuine leather.
Grown-Up Tote Bag | $199
Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something about walking down the street or into the office with a boss lady bag. If you know your college grad’s favorite designer and are willing to splurge, you know what to do! But if you’re looking for a sensible, chic tote, look no further than this Furla briefcase tote.
Just like any one of life’s big milestones, graduations come with a whole slew of emotions, from excitement and pride to fear and uncertainty. A gift — no matter the price — can help a graduate feel loved, appreciated, and seen, which is a huge help as they navigate this very new step in their life. We hope these gifts inspire you to celebrate the graduate in your life in a show of just how much they mean to you.