Find a great gift for a high school graduate

When considering a gift for someone who is graduating from high school, many people feel comfortable just giving cash. However, sometimes we feel like giving something a little more personal instead of or in addition to money. Especially if we are one of the few family or friends who were invited to a ceremony.

You can find a good gift for a high school graduate by considering their upcoming plans:

  • Moving away from friends and family?    Give gifts to keep connections and memories strong.
  • Do they have travel plans this summer?  Help them make the most of their summer plans.
  • Are they going straight to college?             Give them gifts to ease the transition to dorm life.

Even if you don’t know their plans well, you can give personalized practical gifts for college life or symbolic gifts of luck such as items that contain 4-leaf clovers.

Highlighting Good Times and Growth

Graduation celebrations can be a great time to acknowledge the accomplishments, growth, and happy memories of the graduate. If you know enough about the graduate’s experience in high school, you might have an idea about aspects of their life that you can highlight with a photo, collage, or inspiring message. Then you could capture those memories with a laser engraved photo on wood (from Etsy), a 3D laser engraved photo (from Etsy), a canvas print (from Etsy) or a film roll keychain (from Etsy). If you go with an inspiring message, you could give a personalized wallet card (from Amazon).

Honoring Special Connections

If the graduate is moving away from close friends and family, you might give a gift that honors special bonds and how those connections can still thrive despite long distances. There are a variety of accessories that are designed for long distance relationships such as keychains (from Etsy), necklaces (from Etsy), and bracelets (from Amazon). You can also get items like mugs (from Amazon) or wall decor (from Amazon).  If the graduate is part of a small tight-knit group or club, you can give puzzle-piece accessories such as this 5-piece necklace (from Etsy) or this keychain set (from Amazon). If you are close to the graduate and they will likely feel homesick at times, you can upgrade to giving a pair of friendship lamps (from Etsy). They connect to wifi and each will light up the same color as the paired lamp(s) when one lamp is touched.

Summer Plans

If the graduate is planning to go away during the summer, you can give a gift they can use on their trip or that they can use to reminisce about their travels. If they don’t already have one they might appreciate a personalized passport cover (from Etsy).  Perhaps they are going somewhere where they could use a personalized compass (from Etsy) or personalized duffle bag (from Etsy). There are an assortment of wall maps that could be great gifts for avid travelers. If they focus on the United States, you could give, a scratch-off (from Etsy), cork (from Amazon), wooden (from Etsy), or a photo map of the United States (from Amazon). For a world traveler, you could give a cork (from Etsy), canvas (from Amazon), or a wooden world map (from Etsy) to reflect their wider travels.

Relaxation and Hobbies

When basing a gift off of the graduate’s free time, consider their hobbies and what they do for relaxation. Maybe everyone knows that they worked hard throughout their high school years and could just use some downtime. If so, something as simple as a bath bomb (from Amazon)  could show that you value their self-care.  Or, if you know their hobbies and interests, you could get a gift that is related such as:

Conversation Starters for College

If you know that the graduate is headed off to college, you have plenty of options for gifts that will come in handy in the Fall. Some gifts are helpful as novelty items that can serve as conversation starters when the graduate is making new friends. For example, few people have: a magnetic chess set that is designed to hang on the wall (from Etsy), game dice that are larger than your hands (from Etsy), a domino set with pieces that are as tall as your hands (from Amazon), or a bobblehead toy made in their image (from Etsy). If you want to get creative with your conversation-starter gift, you can customize a personalized shirt (from Etsy) or personalized puzzle (from Amazon)

Personalized Practical Items for College

If you’d prefer to give a more pragmatic gift to someone headed to college, there are still plenty of options.  Personalized gifts not only add to the sentimentality, but also help identify their stuff as it potentially gets mixed in with everyone else’s! College students could use a variety of personalized items:

Even if you don’t know their preferences very well, personalized beverage containers are versatile and useful:

General Personalized Practical Items

Even if a graduate is not going to college right away, there are practical personalized gifts that can be useful:

Gifts that Symbolize Good Luck

Since the graduate is starting a new chapter in their life, they will definitely need some good luck in their journey. While four-leaf clovers are rare, there are more than we think that are picked and supplied to independent artisans to create gifts with genuine four-leaf clovers embedded. Here are just a few of the items that you can find as gifts to spread good luck:


Whether you are crafting a detailed message of inspiration or writing just a few words, it’s important to include a card as well. Here are some options that can stand out from the rest.  Some cards are specifically designed as graduation cards, such as this 3D card of a wise graduating owl (from Etsy) or a 3D paper bobblehead card (from Etsy) that you can personalize using image of the graduate. You can also design your own card with a general 3D personalized card (from Etsy). If you know the graduate’s interests and hobbies, you could add an extra personal touch by giving a card that reflects something important to them. For example, there are blank 3D cards featuring a camera (from Etsy), drum kit (from Etsy), musical notes (from Etsy), or a soccer player (from Etsy).

We hope these suggestions help you find suitable gifts for high school graduates as they celebrate their accomplishments and look forward to the next adventures. If you’re looking for more handmade gifts that can add a personal touch to your next gift-giving occasion, feel free to check out our main page at Thank you!