Graduation: Fantastic Gift Ideas for High School and College Grads

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Graduation season is right around the corner. You may be struggling with what to gift your own graduate, or you may be thinking about those announcements from family and friends that will be arriving in your mailbox soon. Although it’s tempting and easy to just write a check or Venmo a new grad some cash – we all know that’s very much appreciated – sometimes you want to be a little more personal and present them with a thoughtful and helpful item that they’ll be sure to use often during their young adult years.

Here are 10 of those for you to consider:

Trip “Stuff”

If a new grad is taking a celebration trip after graduation, a gift to help fund or enhance their adventure is sure to be appreciated.

You can purchase Airbnb gift cards directly from their site, on Amazon, and from several large U.S. based retailers like Walmart, Safeway, and Target. Gift cards for Southwest Airlines, known for their booking flexibility, and for Hotels.com, which is always offering savings at some of the top spots to stay around the world, are also excellent choices for gifting young travelers.

Portable Lap Top Table/Desk

A multifunctional laptop desk can be used for working while sitting up in bed, on a couch, or as a standing desk when it’s placed on a table. This one from KLEAR offers both wireless and wired charging, a non-slip surface, double storage drawers, and slots for a phone and tablet. Any grad would be happy to use this for work time or for relaxing and watching their favorite streaming services.

Work From Home Self-Care Kit

With many young adults still working or taking some classes from home, a new grad might appreciate some items that will make that a little more comfortable and enjoyable. Things like blankets, quality lounge wear, candles, and a coffee maker are all helpful items to get them through work or study days at home. Pinch Provisions offers this fun and affordable kit that includes items like a Do Not Disturb sign, ear plugs, conference call bingo, and a webcam cover.

Books

Whether a grad will be starting college, a new job, another academic experience, or still figuring out their next move, the transition to a new chapter in life can bring excitement, confusion, anxiety, and self-doubt. The gift of books from experts can be a welcome source of help and inspiration.

Here are some excellent ones to consider: Your Turn: How to Be an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims; The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay, PhD; Financial Adulting: Everything You Need to be a Financially Confident and Conscious Adult by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley;  The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters by Adam Smiley Poswolsky; Now What?! Conversations about College, Graduation, and the Next Step by Ari King; and Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders. For more selections, see this list from Business Insider.

Portable Outdoor Chair

A sturdy outdoor chair is perfect for tailgating, camping, music festivals, or just hanging outside with friends. This one from GCI has an adjustable backrest, ventilated mesh paneling, and a beverage holder. It also includes a carrying strap that automatically folds up the chair for fast and easy transport.

Exercise Equipment and/or app/gym subscription

Help set up a new grad to keep – or start – exercising as a regular part of their life, even if they they’ll be working out at home in a small space. You can find equipment at all price points on Amazon. Consider gifts such as mini stair steppers, mini trampolines, a weight bench, or a portable home gym set with multiple accessories like this one. A half or full year membership to a gym would also be a great gift, or a subscription to a fitness app like Peloton Virtual.

Carry-on Luggage

Lots of graduating students are in need of new luggage. These carry-on size bags from Coolife have 360-degree spinner wheels, a separate front pocket for a laptop, and a double TSA lock. They have a durable hard shell but are lightweight and come in three colors.

A Suit

Whether or not a new grad needs business attire for work, they would probably love a good-looking suit for more formal events like weddings, interviews, and meetings. Retailer H & M  has a wonderful selection of affordable tailored blazers, suit jackets, suit pants, blouses, skirts, and dress pants for every vibe and every body.

An Adult Lunch Box

Every “new” adult needs to be aware that they can save thousands of dollars a year by bringing their own lunch to work or school. Monbento makes beautiful and reusable two-tiered bento boxes that are airtight – so no spills – and are dishwasher, freezer, and microwave safe. They are also BPA-free and come in a variety of gorgeous colors and patterns.

A Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Ok, this may not be the most exciting graduation gift, but it will undoubtedly end up being the most used one. Everyone needs a dustbuster, especially people living in small spaces like dorms or apartments that don’t have room for bigger, corded versions. This Black and Decker hand vac is an Amazon best seller for many reasons – it’s lightweight, fast-charging, has a pull-out crevice tool and a flip up brush, so it works on multiple surfaces.

Happy gifting and Congratulations to the Class of 2022.

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Marybeth Bock is a native San Franciscan, who spent 13 years living and working in two European countries and four U.S. states as an Army spouse. (Faves: Germany and Hawaii). She’s been enduring the heat of Arizona for 14 years now with her husband, two adult-ish kids, and one crazy coonhound. An alumna of UCLA (Go, Bruins!), she has a Master’s in Public Health and loves to research and write about all health topics, particularly the mental and physical health issues of adolescents and women. Her writing can often be found on the Grown and Flown and Blunt Moms websites. As a new empty-nester, she is thoroughly enjoying the role of “College Mom”, and is finding more time for crafting, hiking, Happy Hour and travel. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

2 COMMENTS

  1. My oldest is graduating next month. I cannot believe we are already here! I love this list – so many creative and truly helpful ideas!

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