Gift Ideas

30 Best High School Graduation Gifts for 2021


As shocking as it may be to you and your loved ones, your 2021 grad is about to enter the real world. No matter if your high school grad is heading off to college, trade school, a gap-year adventure or right into the work force, take a moment to celebrate this important milestone before they embark on their next great adventure. A graduation party is a must, but a heartfelt gift is really the best way to show your grad just how proud you are.

On our list of high school graduation gifts, you’ll find college dorm essentials, stylish wardrobe refreshers, Amazon best-sellers, personalized Etsy finds and Good Housekeeping Institute-tested picks. While there are a few practical presents down below (think: Twin XL sheet sets and mattress toppers), we’ve also gathered tons of gift ideas that tap into your grad’s biggest passions, whether it’s outdoor sports, cooking, buzzy tech or the latest fashion trends (matching sweat sets, need we say more?). As a parent, family member or friend, you may prefer to mark the special occasion with sweet sentiment. If that’s the case, go for something personalized, like a framed foil map of the place they grew up, to serve as a permanent reminder that you’re always cheering them on.

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Practical Enough for Her to Actually Use

Crossbody Cell Phone Purse

The school may give her a lanyard for her ID, but she’ll be able to store so much more in this this crossbody bag. It’s just the right size to hold her smartphone, credit cards, cash and hand sanitizer.  

A Creative Pick That’ll Wow Them

Mini Projector

Even if their dorm room doesn’t have room for a TV, they can hook their smartphone, laptop or iPad up to this projector to project movies or TV shows onto any blank wall. When they’re not using it, they can just stick it in their backpack or tuck it away under their bed.

Go Custom for Cheap

Personalized Leather Keychain

Northwind Supply


It’ll be much easier to keep track of their keys once they attach them to a leather keychain. Pick from three hardware types and eight leather colors, then personalize it with their name or initials. 

Cool Gadget That They’ll Really Use

Hatch Restore

They thought their smartphone alarm was good enough, but that was before they met Hatch. Not only will it gently wake them up with a sunrise alarm clock, but it also offers different light options (a soft glow for late-night studying, for example), soothing sounds and white noise. 

A Gift Box That Will Arrive at Her Door

Graduation Party Gift Box



If you live far away from your grad, ship this themed care package, complete with a luggage tag, mini candle, cake in a jar and pouch of confetti, straight to her door. It’ll show up ready to be gifted, even personalized with her name and graduation year.

Especially Sweet From Parents

Actual Handwriting Bracelet



Write down a short message or inside joke that you know your grad will appreciate and turn it into a gold, rose gold or silver bracelet. A sweet option for this moment in time: “You are loved.” 

Unique Gift for Any Grad

Weighted Blanket


Weighted blankets have been said to have a calming effect, which is especially important if they’re leaving home for the first time. If this is your first time buying a weighted blanket, here’s a trick: Follow the guide to find the perfect blanket weight for your grad’s body weight. 

Something Inspirational for Your Daughter

Black Futures Matter Lined Notebook

Erin Condren


When she’s in the thick of it (read: under piles of textbooks and papers), she may need a reminder of where the hard work is taking her. The cover of this lined notebook will tell her exactly that.

Works for Him or Her

Adilette Comfort Slide Sandal

Because shower shoes are a must whether he’s living in a dorm or going to the gym. This pair, which also comes in navy bright blue, and grey, will keep his feet healthy while still looking cool enough to wear out and about.

Travel Cord Roll

Brouk and Co.


They’ve got a laptop, smartphone, smartwatch, tablet, and just about every other gadget you can think of. Help them keep all of their cords and cables under control with this carrying case, which is small enough to stash in their backpack when it’s all rolled up.

If You Want Something Thoughtful

Gold Foil Map



They’ll never forget the place that made them who they are, especially when it’s plastered on the wall for all to see. Pick from any of the major U.S. cities or if your nearest city isn’t on the list, message the Etsy seller for a custom order. 

Daytimes Sweat Set

Cosmopolitan Shop


You might as well give her something that she’ll actually wear — to class, to the dining hall, to just about everywhere. For maximum comfort, throw in the evening sweat set, too. 

The Modern Snap Backpack



He’s moving on up, and his style should reflect that. This cotton twill backpack from Everlane looks incredibly chic and sophisticated, but still has the functionality that he needs for work or school. 

Handmade Leather Bookmark



They just closed one chapter, but they’re about to embark on the next one — literally and figuratively speaking. The quote stamped on this leather bookmark will encourage them to lean into the journey … and ya know, actually read their textbooks. 

Custom Coordinates Necklace

Remind her that no matter where she goes, she’ll always be close to home. Get the coordinates of your grad’s favorite spot engraved on this necklace in your choice of silver, gold, or rose gold. You can also add a message on the back, plus choose the length of the chain.

Monogrammed Laundry Bag



Now there will be no confusion between roommates as to whose clothes are whose. You can choose from a cream or black laundry bag, and the monogram comes in more than 45 colors.

Custom Personalized Name Tumbler



She doesn’t have to skimp on style to keep hydrated as long as she has this adorable tumbler, customized with her name in an assortment of fonts and colorways. 

Foldable Travel Duffel Bag

This lightweight travel option is perfect for students who plan to visit home regularly (they promised!). The 20″ bag zips itself into a square pouch, so it can be easily stored under their bed between trips.

PowerCore 20100 Charger

She’ll need some extra juice to keep her devices alive during a long day of classes. This one, in particular, only takes one charge to give her devices new life on seven different occasions. 

“Why I Miss You”Fill-in Book

This gift will have more meaning later on, especially once your grad moves away from home. Think of all the reasons why life is better together, and write them down in this heartfelt gift. Cue the tears.

Cute High School Graduation Gift for Friends

Filter Heart Snapshot Mix



Commemorate their best high school memories with this heart-shaped collage from Minted. Carve out time to do some digging on their Instagram or Facebook for photos before you place your order. 

“She Believed She Could, so She Did” Bracelet



Boost her mood even when you’re miles away with this inspirational bracelet from MantraBand. Available in silver, gold or rose gold, this adjustable bangle is the perfect companion as she chases after her dreams. 

Plush Robe

Seven Apparel


Perfect for cozying up in the dorm or walking to the showers, this best-selling robe is available in seven colors, ranging from light pink to bright red.

Microwave Popcorn Popper

Midnight snacks are hard to come by in the dorms. Gift your grad a portable popper instead. It holds enough popcorn for them and their roommate (depending on the day) and collapses when it’s empty.

Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Quarterly Subscription Box


The best gifts are the ones that continue to give all year long. This quarterly subscription box will arrive at her door at the start of every season with trendy beauty, fashion, fitness and wellness products at a fraction of the price.

RELATED: Makeup Subscription Boxes to Sign Up for This Minute

Brushed Microfiber Sheet Set



They’ll need a fresh set of sheets for a dorm bed — size Twin XL, of course. Enter this budget-friendly, cooling sheet set, which comes in a range of pretty colors to match their new bedspread. 

Eileen French Press

French press coffee makers are perfect for late-night study sessions when the dining hall is closed. To caffeinate, just add some hot water and coffee grounds — no outlets necessary.


What Do You Meme?


This Cards Against Humanity-esque game serves as the ultimate icebreaker for anyone who loves memes — a.k.a. everyone in their  freshmen dorm. 

Rambler 20 oz Tumbler

Take her daily coffee habit up a notch with this tumbler.  Because of its vacuum seal construction, the 20 oz. cup can keep drinks hot or ice cold until the very last sip. 

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