13 Gifts Any High School Graduate Will Really Appreciate

13 Gifts Any High School Graduate Will Really Appreciate

13 Gifts Any High School Graduate Will Really Appreciate

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While graduation season may not last a few months yet, it’s never too early to start planning the awesome high school graduation gifts for your future graduation to mark the occasion. Graduating from high school is a big deal – and you might want to give your recent or soon-to-be high school graduate the perfect gift. The best graduation gifts celebrate this important life event and milestone, while helping the recent graduate take their first steps into the next chapter of their life.


Whether your graduate is continuing their education, taking a vacation, or starting a new career, a great graduation gift can help them relax after work or class. You want a gift that will show them that you support their decision and that you’re excited for the high school grads in your life to begin this new phase of their own.

It’s easy to give them cash, which high school grads always appreciate, but they’ll probably be even more grateful for a graduation gift that’s meaningful, useful, and won’t immediately go to gas and in grocery stores. After all, the best graduation gifts come from the heart.

We’ve rounded up an assortment of practical and unique graduation gift ideas that are considerably more thoughtful than a wad of cash. From dorm essentials to sweet keepsakes, these graduation gift ideas will prepare them for the future.


If you’ve ever slept on a dorm mattress, you know how horribly uncomfortable they can be. So if your favorite grad is moving into a dorm in the fall, they’ll be grateful for an upgrade. This mattress topper makes a great gift and just what they’ll need to add extra padding and transform their sleep experience. Bonus: a mattress topper also makes it easier to clean up spills after a late night snack in bed.

Be sure to purchase a Twin XL as this is the standard size mattress for most dorms and college dorms.

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Nothing can replace mom or dad’s home cooking, but a cash-strapped grad would love to have more food options beyond the dining room. College students don’t always have the ability to cook in their dorms. So if you’re looking for high school graduation gifts, this might be perfect.

DoorDash is a popular choice for food delivery, and it’s our top pick among food delivery apps, thanks to its extensive dining options and simple app interface. You can buy gift cards for between $25 and $500, personalize them with a graduation theme, and send them to your graduate by mail, text, or email.

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery life

Rated up to 32 hours

noise cancellation

Yes (ANC)



helmet type

On-ear wireless headphones


No IP rating

For college graduates who aren’t staying home, they’ll likely have to deal with rowdy roommates. The latest iteration of Sony’s best noise-canceling headphones will block out unwanted noise so your grad can focus on homework or just relax with some music. Thanks to its long battery life, comfortable fit and refined sound, Sony’s WH-1000XM5 received our Editors’ Choice award. Older – but still excellent – ​​XM4 models remain available and sometimes drop as low as $280.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM5 review.

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Cuddle Clones

Leaving home is especially difficult when you have to leave a beloved pet behind. If you have a new grad who adores their pet, consider getting them a plush Cuddle Clone to comfort them and constantly remind them of their favorite furry friend.

The ordering process for Cuddle Clones is quite simple. Simply start with the name of the animal, followed by the type of animal and the breed. Then answer a few simple questions, upload photos and voila, your graduate will have a fuzzy version of their pet in eight weeks.


If your new grad moves out after graduation, chances are they’ll end up living in a smaller space, which means there’ll be less room for their precious stacks of books. The Kindle Paperwhite is a great choice for bookworms who are attached to their physical book collections and want a similar experience. It features warm light settings, long battery life, and is completely waterproof. While the retail price is $140, this model is often discounted, sometimes as low as $80.

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All young adults enjoy their sleep (right?). So your new grad will appreciate this silk sleep mask. Not only is it washable, but the wide band ensures you have enough coverage on your face to block out all the light. Bonus points: It’s designed to muffle noise since the band fits over your ears.


It’s hard to say goodbye to your new grad, which is why you want to give them a good excuse to visit. The Away carry-on can fit in most luggage bins, and it’s perfect for weekend trips and longer vacations at home. This durable roller bag can also take a beating. It has a limited lifetime warranty, which means the company will cover any damage to the case’s shell, wheels, handles, zippers and more.

Standard carry-on costs $275, but if you want to include a USB charger to charge a phone on the go, it’s $20 more. And if you want to add a personalized luggage tag with their initials, it’s an extra $10.


If your new grad is moving into a dorm in the fall, shower shoes are a must. Flip flops or slides help protect their feet from fungus and bacteria that thrive in shared bathrooms (ewww).

Adidas’ hugely popular Adilette shower slides are a classic – and for good reason. They’re comfortable, durable, and have plenty of textured traction to prevent accidental slips on wet tiles. Prices start at $25.


If the new grad in your life is moving to a different state, a Homesick candle will give them a sweet reminder of home. These 13.75 ounce candles are created with a blend of natural soy wax and fragrances tied to each state’s geography. So no matter where your grad ends up, they can turn that on and let the nostalgia in.


The graduate in your life undoubtedly has a favorite movie, TV show, or sports team. Any graduate would smile ear to ear to see a home video of their favorite celebrity or reality TV star congratulating them on their graduation day. Cameo lets you search for the person you think your grad would love the most and pay for a quick video from them. Prices vary a bit, but the end result is always pure bliss.

Things we remember

Things Remembered specializes in personalized gifts for all occasions, including high school graduations. If you’re looking for a keepsake that will help you capture the day forever, this is the perfect high school graduation gift idea. There are a number of frames available, with prices starting at just $20.

Bed bath and beyond

Being an adult is tough, but it’s especially tough when you have to do your own laundry and haul it from a dorm to a laundromat. You can make this tedious task much easier for your graduate with this personalized laundry bag. It’s big enough to hold a week’s worth of laundry, and the sturdy backpack straps make it a breeze to carry from place to place. For a more thoughtful touch, you can add laundry essentials to the front pocket, like coins, detergent pods, and fabric softener.


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