17 Gifts Any High School Graduate Will Truly Appreciate

$70 at Amazon

Nutribullet blender

Nutribullet Personal Blender

For a quick nutrition fix

$25 at Amazon

Apple AirTag

Apple AirTag

For the grad who’s always losing things

$68 at Amazon

sopat mattress topper

Extra thick mattress topper

For a good night’s sleep

$48 at Lunya

lunya sleep mask

Lunya Sleep Mask

For blocking out light and noise

$30 at Zappos


Adidas Adilette shower shoes

For showering or heading to the pool

See at Cameo


Cameo video message

A personal message from their favorite celeb

Graduating high school. It’s a big deal. So of course you want to buy your recent or soon-to-be high school grad the perfect gift. The best graduation gifts celebrate this important milestone, while also helping the new grad take their first steps on their next journey. 

Whether your graduate is taking time off, starting a new career or heading off for further schooling, a great gift can help prepare them for whatever life throws their way. You want a gift that will show your new grad that you support their decision and are excited for them to start this new phase.

An easy gift is cold, hard cash — which high school graduates always appreciate — but the best gifts come from the heart. And they’ll probably be even more grateful for a gift that’s meaningful, useful and won’t immediately get spent on gas and groceries. 

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

Nutribullet blender


If your graduate is moving away from home, their healthy eating habits may very well take a nosedive. A Nutribullet blender will help them easily pack fruits and veggies into their daily diet. It’s easy to use, powerful and involves way less cleanup than a standard blender. And it comes with a flip-top lid so they can take their smoothie on the go.

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Amazon Echo Show 5

James Martin/CNET

If you want to get your grad a full-featured Alexa smart screen, you could spring for the bigger, pricier Echo Show 10, but we think the Echo Show 5 is a better size for a dorm room or small apartment. Like its bigger sibling, the Echo Show 5 can serve as an alarm clock and is great for taking video calls, as well as streaming movies and music. Bonus points: Your grad can set it up to display photos of friends and family.

Read our Amazon Echo Show 5 review.

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If your grad likes to make a daily run to Starbucks, they’ll appreciate the Breville Bambino Espresso Machine. It churns out Starbucks-worthy cappuccinos, espressos, lattes and more. It’s easy to use and doesn’t take up much counter space. And the steaming want produces a thoroughly Insta-worthy milky froth.

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Apple AirTag


If your grad is a bit messy and disorganized, that’s only going to get worse once they leave home. An AirTag makes a great gift for anyone who’s constantly misplacing things. These little item trackers can be slipped into luggage, backpacks and wallets or attached to keys, bikes and more. You can even personalize them with your grad’s initials for free.

spikeball set


Hopefully once your grad wraps up high school, they’ll still have time for fun and games. Spikeball is a great way to get their summer started the right way. This super-trendy, fast-paced game combines elements of volleyball and four square. Instead of hitting a large ball over a straight net, you’re smacking a softer, grapefruit-size ball onto a bouncy, ringed one, sort of like tetherball but without the string. It’s fast, fun, and requires some diving and maneuvering if you want to score the most points. It also packs up easily, so you can take it with you to the beach or park.

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sopat mattress topper


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

Be sure to buy a Twin XL since that’s the standard size mattress for most dorm rooms and residence halls.

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Nothing can replace Mom or Dad’s home cooking, but a cash-strapped graduate would love having more food options beyond the dining hall. College students may not always have the option to cook food in their dorms. So if you’re looking for high school graduation gifts, this could be perfect.

DoorDash is a popular choice for food delivery, and it’s our top pick among food delivery apps, thanks to its numerous restaurant options and easy app interface. You can purchase gift cards for any amount between $25 and $500, customize it with a graduation theme, and send it to your graduate via mail, text or email.

A pair of white Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones against a blue background

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Product details

Battery Life Rated up to 32 hoursNoise Canceling Yes (ANC)Multipoint YesHeadphone Type Over-ear wireless headphonesWater-Resistant No IP rating

For college-bound grads who aren’t staying at home, chances are they’ll need to deal with noisy roommates. The newest version of Sony’s top noise-canceling headphones will block out unwanted noise so your graduate can focus on homework or just relax with music. Thanks to its strong battery life, comfortable fit and refined sound, Sony’s WH-1000XM5 received our Editors’ Choice award. The older — but still great — XM4 models remain available, and sometimes dip to as low as $280.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM5 review.

cuddle clones

Cuddle Clones

Leaving home is especially hard 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 provide comfort and a constant reminder of their favorite furry friend. 

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



If your new grad is moving after graduation, chances are they’ll end up living in a smaller space, and that means there will be less room for their precious piles 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, a long battery life and is completely waterproof. While the retail price is $140, this model is often discounted, sometimes as low as $80.

lunya sleep mask


All young adults value their sleep (don’t we all?). 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 actually block out all light. Bonus points: It’s designed to muffle noise since the band fits over your ears. 

away luggage


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 overhead bins, and it’s perfect for weekend trips and longer vacations back home. This durable roller bag can also take a beating. It’s got a limited lifetime warranty, which means the company will cover any damage to the suitcase’s shell, wheels, handles, zippers and more.

The standard carry-on costs $275, but if you want to include a USB charger for charging a phone while on the go, then it’s an extra $50. And if you want to add on a personalized luggage tag with their initials, it’s another $35.



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

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

Arizona Homesick candle


If the new grad in your life will be 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 natural soy wax blend and fragrances tied to the geography of each state. So no matter where your grad ends up, they can light this up and let the nostalgia kick in.



The grad in your life no doubt has a favorite movie, TV series or sports team. Any grad would smile ear to ear to see a personal video from their favorite celeb or reality star congratulating them on their graduation day. Cameo lets you seek out the person you think would most delight your grad and pay for a quick video from them. Prices vary quite a bit, but the end result is always pure joy.

grad frame

Things Remembered

Things Remembered specializes in personalized gifts for all occasions, including high school graduations. If you’re looking for a keepsake that will help 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. 

personalized laundry bag

Bed Bath & Beyond

Adulting is hard, but it feels especially hard when you have to do your own laundry and cart it from a dorm room to a laundromat. You can make that one tedious chore a whole lot easier for your grad with this personalized laundry bag. It’s large enough to hold a week’s worth of laundry, and the sturdy backpack straps make it a breeze to carry from one place to the next. For an extra-thoughtful touch, you could add some laundry essentials to the front pocket like coins, detergent pods and fabric softener.

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