Graduation Gift Ideas: Useful & Unique Gifts Grads Want

High school graduation might be a little different this year, but it’s still an accomplishment worth celebrating. To help you commemorate this special moment, we put together a list of high school graduation gift ideas. These are great grad gifts whether you’re shopping for your son, daughter or best friend. You’ll find gifts that are inexpensive, some that are practical and some that are just for fun. Many people like to give cash as a graduation present, but these gifts are more unique.

1. Bose Alto Audio Sunglasses to arrive in style

bose alto audio sunglasses

You have to experience the Bose Alto Audio Sunglasses with built-in speakers to understand how incredible they are. Coming from Bose, the listening experience is anything but ordinary. You’re immersed in sound that seems to emanate from all around you. Plus, the sunglasses have Bluetooth connectivity so grads can play music from their phones and take calls – all while cruising around campus (or the park if they’re practicing social isolation) in some seriously stylish shades.

If you’re looking for an expensive graduation gift that will wow the grad, these sunglasses should be at the top of your list. They come in two sizes to fit your recipient and can be fitted with prescription lenses if the grad wears glasses.

2. Scratch off travel map for tracking their journey

scratch off travel map

Does your grad have big travel plans for after high school? If so, then a scratch-off map is the perfect graduation gift. You can select a U.S. travel map or a world map for the truly adventurous. The grad can record a journey across the country or around the world and hang the travel map on their wall as a keepsake. Even if they have to delay travel plans a bit right now, this is an inexpensive graduation gift that can be used and cherished for years.

3. Travel gift cards to get the journey started

Speaking of traveling, send grads on their way with travel gift cards. Options include a Southwest Airlines or Delta Air Lines gift card, an Uber gift card or an Airbnb gift card. If you’re teaming up with friends for a group graduation gift, a travel gift card is a great option. Everyone can chip in and load the card with enough funds to take a long flight or book a weekend stay in a dream destination.

4. Instant camera to capture summer fun

fujifilm instax mini 11 instant camera

The years after graduation may be some of the best your friend or child will experience. A fun way to capture those memories is with an instant camera. (Yeah, those are making a comeback!) Fujifilm makes a great little instant camera – the instax mini 11 – that’s about $60. It comes in 5 colors and there are tons of accessories to personalize it.

If you’re a Polaroid devotee and don’t mind spending a little more money, check out the Polaroid OneStep+. It adds a self-timer and connects with a smartphone using an app.


Related Gift Guides
> Budget Gift Guide: Gifts Under $50, $25 and $10 for Men, Women and Teens
> Long-Distance Gift-Giving: What to Give When You Can’t Be There in Person
> Research: These are the New Rules For Gift Giving


5. reMarkable Paper Tablet for studying and note-taking in college

remarkable paper tablet

The reMarkable tablet is probably unlike any tablet you’ve ever experienced. It’s a digital notetaking tool, similar to an iPad, but it feels like writing on paper. Like, for real. If your grad has college plans, they’ll be taking a lot of notes. With a reMarkable tablet, they don’t have to deal with a bright LED display, worry about battery life, lose a Bluetooth connection to their stylus or get distracted by notifications from email, YouTube and social media.

The reMarkable tablet has an eInk display that’s easy on the eyes, a battery that lasts for weeks, a pen that requires no connection and no other apps to distract you while studying.

It’s a pricier graduation gift, coming in at $400 currently, but is extremely useful and will help them as they continue their learning.

6. CraveBox Snack Package so parents don’t go broke feeding them

cravebox snack package

We first shared this care package in our budget gift guide as a gift for teens under $25. (You can check out that gift guide if you’re looking for budget-friendly graduation gifts or need ideas for under $50, $25 and $10.) This is a great idea if you want to send a care package or gift basket. It comes with 45 snacks including chocolate, chips, crackers, granola bars and more. You can have the CraveBox delivered to the grad’s door or have it shipped to you so you can wrap it up for the party.

7. Streaming gift cards for movies, music, gaming and TV

netflix logo on tv

Many grads may want to spend the summer relaxing and recuperating. A streaming gift card is a great gift for that. You can buy gift cards for music from Spotify, movies and TV from Netflix or gaming credits for PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo.

8. Blazer to instantly dress up any outfit

If the graduate is starting a new office job after high school, give them a versatile blazer. It instantly dresses up just about any outfit and will fit seamlessly into their new wardrobe. Express sells classic blazers designed for men and women that come in a variety of colors. It’s a good starter piece for their new adult life.

9. Magic bullet blender to get them started as an adult who makes their own meals

magic bullet blender

Unless the grad has developed cooking skills, going to college without any cooking experience can be tough. The Magic Bullet Blender is a great tool that can be used to make smoothies, salsa and dips, omelets and more. The small size is great for single-serving meals and quick dorm room snacks.

10. Comfy sheets for a good night’s sleep away from home

macbook on a messy bed

If college isn’t close to home, getting a good night of sleep can be difficult. And we all know how important sleep is. JCPenney sells a 400 thread-count sheet set that has thousands of five-star reviews. The sheets come in a variety of colors and you can currently get a full-size set for less than $50.

11. Happy Graduation Gift Card to buy whatever they want

happy graduation gift card

If you don’t know exactly which gift suits your graduate’s personality and likes, give a Happy Graduation Gift Card. Cash gifts are popular for graduation, but gift cards can sometimes be more personal, and it gives the recipient permission to spend the money on whatever they want or need. This is also a great option if you need to mail your gift due to the current COVID-19 situation.

The Happy Graduation Gift Card can currently be used at Bed Bath & Beyond, Express, JCPenney, AMC, Buffalo Wild Wings, Aeropostale and Dave & Buster’s. Many of the gifts on this list can be bought at the stores on the card or the grad can use it for dinner, a movie and arcade games with friends.


These are some great graduation gift ideas. These gifts are unique, so you don’t have to worry about someone else showing up with the same gift. They’re also useful, so your gift won’t get stuck in a drawer.

If you’re looking for some inexpensive graduation gifts, check out our Budget Gift Guide for gifts under $50, $25 and $10.

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