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I’ve had two high school graduates, and I’ll probably have my first college graduate next spring, so I have some experience with this.
First of all, let’s be honest. Cash is king. That is what most kids prefer, so don’t feel like it’s a copout.
That said, it’s fun to give a small gift along with cash or a gift card, or perhaps you just can’t spend a lot and prefer a small memento instead of money. And then there are some people who simply prefer not to give money or gift cards, and that’s okay too!
Whether you need something large or small or somewhere in between, I’ve rounded up a bunch of graduation gift ideas for those needing some inspiration.
Gift Ideas for Graduates 🎓
#1. LapGear Home Office Lap Desk // Let’s be real, most college kids use their desk for everything but studying. This lap desk makes it easy for them to get their work done where they want to do it — in their beds.
#2. Passport Cover + Luggage Tag Set // For the kid who likes to travel, this stylish set looks great and keeps their essentials protected.
#3. Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker // The convenience of a Keurig, in the perfect size for a college dorm or small apartment with limited counter space.
#4. Apple Watch // If they don’t already have one, they probably want one. A smartwatch will help them stay connected and give them their music without needing to be constantly on their phones.
#5. Shower Shoes // Any kid headed off to a college dorm or one that uses the gym will need a pair of shower shoes, and I love how these have drainage holes on the sole. They come in lots of colors and are very affordable.
#6. Collapsible Laundry Hamper with Removable Laundry Bags // Every kid planning to live in a college dorm or apartment can use this collapsible laundry hamper. It has two removable laundry bags for easy transport to the laundry room, handles for moving around, and a sorting card pocket on the front.
#7. Selfie Ring Light // This mini ring light clips onto a smartphone and immediately improves the quality and appearance of their selfies. It’s inexpensive, but a fun little gift to accompany cash or fill out a gift basket.
#8. Cash or Gift Cards // Thoughtful gifts are nice, but at the end of the day, most college students love to receive cash or gift cards to use how they want. It may seem impersonal, but if you’re at a loss for anything else to do, know that cash and gift cards are always appreciated. For gift cards, Amazon is always popular, as is Starbucks, Target, and Uber.
#9. JBL Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker // My college-aged son takes his everywhere, and it’s even waterproof so he can use it in the shower. Yes, that’s a thing. It has great sound, excellent battery life, and a protective travel case so they can have their music on the go.
#10. Bose Wireless Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling Headphones // We all know how loud college dorms are, so these noise cancelling headphones are a necessity when it’s time to focus and study. They’re also great for travel.
#11. Gravity Weighted Blanket // With the stress levels our kids are under these days, who doesn’t need a big hug? This best selling blanket is perfect to calm and relax you when it’s time to recharge.
#12. Reading Pillow // For the kid who likes to study in bed, this reading pillow with shredded memory foam molds itself to their comfort level. It has a convenient carry handle, and the cover is easily removable and machine washable for quick cleanup.
#13. Master Lock Portable Safe // Every college kid should be locking up their valuables, and this 9.41 x 5.1 x 2.2 inch safe is perfect for protecting their smartphones, passports, cash, and credit cards. It’s also nice for travel.
#14. Collegiate Tumblers // If they’re headed off to college, these collegiate university tumblers are always fun grad gift.
#15. Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case // Everyone in our house has a pair of these, and they get used daily. They’re even compatible with Android phones, my older daughter has one and is able to use them together.
#16. L.L. Bean Adventure Duffle // This makes the perfect weekender bag. It comes in several colors and patterns, and it’s made with rugged fabrics, reliable zippers and a reinforced base. My son received a similar L.L. Bean duffle for his high school graduation, and it has been used a ton — from weeks at summer camp to weekend trips with his friends — and it has held up great.
#17. Béis 21-Inch Rolling Spinner Suitcase // For the college grad hoping to travel, or a high school grad going a plane ride away for college, a rolling carryon bag is essential.
#18. Our Place Always Pan // This convenient do-it-all pan is perfect for apartment living. It replaces 8 traditional pieces of cookware, and it looks cool too. My daughter took one of mine to college with her, and she uses it in her dorm kitchen to cook simple dinners when she doesn’t feel like going to the dining hall.
#19. Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote // It doesn’t get any better than this versatile tote bag. It’s easy to clean, but still looks stylish with the touches of leather. I gifted one to my older daughter for her high school graduation, and she’s already gotten a lot of use out of it in college.
#20. Anker Portable Charger // There’s nothing worse than your smartphone running out of battery when you’re out and about all day long. This is one of the most powerful chargers out there, and it looks chic too. It works for both Apple and Android phones.
#21. Mesh Shower Caddy Tote // This convenient shower caddy is another must for communal living. It comes in tons of colors, and it’s less than $10.
#22. 40-Piece All Purpose Tool Kit // They won’t know they need this until they actually do. This portable tool kit is a great gift for any kid headed off to college or moving into an apartment.
#23. Mini Projector // They can turn their dorm/living room into a mini movie theater with this portable home theater projector. It’s compatible with TV sticks, laptops, tablets, Blue-ray DVD players, PS4/XBOX/WII, and media players. You can also connect it to your iPad, iPhone, or Android smartphones.
#24. Ikea Storage Bag // These lightweight duffle bags are enormous and hold so much stuff. It’s a great way to transport all their stuff to and from college at the start and end of each semester.
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