Recommended High School Graduation Gifts

Gifts the High School Graduate Can Really Use

Graduation from high school is an important step in a young person's life, and you may want to give a special gift to the graduate. Whether you are a relative, a friend, or a mentor, you may be looking for the best way to commemorate this major accomplishment. Your graduate may be college bound, career ready, or preparing to enlist in the military. One or more of the items listed below is bound to please your graduate.

Before shopping, you should also consider that it is the personal card or letter that can be the most meaningful gift. You may want to extend some advice. You may want to recount a moment you shared with the graduate. Be sure to take the time to express your best wishes for success, sharing a sentiment that can accompany one of the gifts suggested below.

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Of course, the top gift that all graduates appreciate is money. The graduate will have new responsibilities, and money can be used to meet a variety of expenses.  As long as you do not care how your cash gift gets spent, money is an excellent choice as an all around graduation gift for anyone graduate who is beginning a career, military service, or starting college.

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Gift Certificates

If you want to direct the graduate towards a specific purchase but still allow for his or her personal choice, you may want to use gift cards or gift certificates.

For all graduates the popular choices may include gift cards for restaurants, gas stations, technology stores, or large retail stores for everyday items. Online stores also offer gift certificates.

If the graduate is planning on going to college, you may opt to get a gift certificate to the school store. A gift certificate to the school store might help offset the costs of textbooks or supplies.

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Inspirational Books-Suggested List

Inspirational books can provide the graduate with advice or information they can use to be successful. Regardless as to which book you might choose to give to a graduate, you should be sure to take the time to put a congratulatory message with the date and your name(s) on one of the first pages. Your sentiment in the book will be a lasting memory. Suggested titles include:

  • This picture book in rhyme by Dr. Seuss is a favorite graduation gift.. This book, while written for children, is relevant for those entering adulthood. 
  • Angela Duckworth's book that helps to explain that effort is the why in the how of success. Her formulas?  "Talent × effort = skill. Skill × effort = achievement." Her message is a great way to prepare a graduate to meet the challenges of the real world.
  • Charles Duhigg, New York Times journalist, provides information on how we develop habits and how those habits can be change or new habits developed to be  "happier, healthier, and more successful."
  •  Lisa Congdon's book features 100 hand-lettered inspirational quotations including: Abraham Lincoln, Oscar Wilde, George Eliot, and Walt Whitman. 
  • Charles Fishman and Brian Grazer, the Academy Award-winning producer, interviewed a selection of highly accomplished people to determine what has led to their individual success. Creativity, the authors agree, is one key quality seen in successful actors, writers and CEOs.
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While technology can be a great gift, the new high school graduate may already have specific requirements in mind such as the size of the processor, RAM, graphics, and display. The purchase of laptop computers or handheld devices is an investment that is too costly to make without clear recommendations. If you do not know what to buy, it would be best to ask the graduate. This is where the gift card or gift certificate may be a better option.

For less costly technology items, you may be better off purchasing support devices such as handheld battery chargers, external hard drives, surge protectors, or extension outlets. High quality headphones (wireless) are usually a safe purchase. These choices in hardware support can be used with multiple devices.

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College Spirit Gift

If your graduate is headed off to college, he or she will definitely enjoy a college spirit graduation gift related to their college of choice. Check out the store (online) of the university or college the graduate will attend for "spirit wear" clothing such as sweatshirts, hats, or scarves. You might want to add an extra t-shirt for use during laundry day!

Some universities and colleges also offer throw pillows, banners, blankets emblazoned with the school name and logo for dorm use as well as notebooks, pens or backpacks for daily use.

Be sure to include a college window decal for the proud parents!

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Personal Photos

 Depending on your relationship with the graduate, you may want to provide a small framed photo of you or other loved ones with a congratulatory message on the back such as, "I knew you could succeed!" or "Best wishes from all of us!"