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The Best Gifts for 2018 Graduates

Kristine is an expert editor, writer and 'The Office' binger.

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all

High school has four very distinctive major milestones and life moments: getting your license (double points if you get it before all your friends), speeding around town around in your first (read: used) car, getting all gussied up and going to the prom, and — the big one! — your high school graduation. Nothing felt more "I made it" leading up to that point than hearing your name called at the podium, gliding across the stage and finally receiving your diploma. Sayonara, suckers!

For parents, grandparents and all the other family members in that grad’s life, they have their own set of pressures to deal with — OK, just one: getting the perfect graduation gift. All the questions are asked: How much should I really spend? Is this gift enough? How do I show him/her how proud I truly am?

Don't fret! We’ve got you covered. Below are 12 gifts your grad will love.

More: 12 Mother's Day Gifts That Are So Much Better Than Flowers

Subscription box

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Goddess Provisions

It’s the gift that keeps on giving: the subscription box. The best part about subscription boxes is that there is one for every price point. From Birchbox’s beauty samples to something a little more unique like a Goddess Provisions box (my personal favorite), there’s plenty to choose from.

Birchbox beauty samples, $10 per month at Birchbox

Goddess provisions subscription, $33 per month at Goddess Provisions

Record player

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Best Buy

Speaking of music, a record player is not only the superior music player (sorry, not sorry), but it'll look great in your grad's dorm or apartment.

Victrola Bluetooth stereo turntable, $46.99 at Best Buy

Amazon Prime membership

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Julie Clopper/Getty Images

Another gift that keeps on giving: the Amazon Prime membership. What's great is students get a discounted monthly membership rate of $6.49 vs. $12.99, so you're paying less. Free shipping, two-day delivery on Prime items and a very easy way for you to ensure the grad always has toilet paper stocked? Call this one a win for both parties.

Amazon Prime membership, $6.49 per month at Amazon

Instant camera or portable photo printer

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Urban Outfitters

This is a fun gift the grad can take everywhere: while studying abroad, on road trips or just at a party. As far as the instant camera goes, we suggest the Fujifilm Instax Square instant camera. But if your grad's phone is practically glued to their right hand, then pick up the Prynt Pocket smartphone photo printer. It allows you to attach your smartphone and print photos from your phone anywhere.

Fujifilm Instax Square instant camera, $284 at Urban Outfitters

Prynt Pocket smartphone photo printer, $150 at Urban Outfitters

More: 22 Gifts Your Kid's Teacher Will Totally Appreciate

A smart suitcase

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Away

Your grad will be traveling back and forth between college and home over the next few years, so get them a suitcase with the most important feature: a built-in charger.

Smart carry-on luggage, $225 at Away

Wireless earbuds or stylish headphones

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: V-MODA

If your grad’s heading to college in a few months, they're in for four years of walking around campus, hopping from class to class and back to the dorms — making earbuds or headphones essential. (There’s also the potential loud dorm mate, so make sure those headphones are noise-canceling too.)

For wireless buds, we recommend the Jabra Elite 65t, which have up to five hours of battery life. For headphones, get the V-MODA Crossfade II Wireless; they're durable and stylish.

Jabra Elite 65t, $169.99 at Amazon

V-MODA Crossfade II Wireless $314.81 at Amazon

The laptop

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Apple

Ah, the laptop: Grads really want one, and you dread buying it. They can get pricey! But keep this tip in mind if you do go laptop shopping: Head directly to stores like Apple, Microsoft and Best Buy, and ask them what their student specials are. Most of them offer some kind of student discount. Some manufacturers (such as Apple) also offer really good deals on refurbished models that are just as high-quality as the brand-new ones (and even come with a warranty), but much less expensive.

MacBook Air, $999 at Apple

Bluetooth speaker

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Ultimate Ears

Another great dorm item: the Bluetooth speaker to drown out all the possible noise. And if your grad is a music lover, they'll love you forever. For a speaker that’s robust, durable, waterproof and comes in plenty of bright colors and fun designs, go with Ultimate Ears Boom 2 portable Bluetooth speaker.

Ultimate Ears Boom 2 portable Bluetooth speaker, $179.99 at Ultimate Ears

More: 10 Baby Shower Gifts That Are Game-Changers for New Parents

T-shirt quilt

Give your high school grad a more tangible reminder of their high school years in the form of a T-shirt quilt. You can use old shirts they acquired through the years from the various clubs and groups they joined; or maybe your grad has so many band T-shirts they bought at concerts and shows, but they don’t wear them anymore. Send them to Project Repat.

T-shirt quilt, $130 at Project Repat

Self-cleaning sheets

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Silvon Home

Young adults aren't exactly known for their cleaning skills. You can help them out by gifting them a set of self-cleaning (yes, really) sheets.

Sheet set, $180 at Silvon Home

Nintendo Switch

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all

Image: Amazon

Why should they be tied to a TV when there's a gaming console that goes wherever they go? Whether they're on the couch or on an airplane, we can pretty much guarantee this will be their new favorite way to relax and unwind.

Nintendo Switch, $299 at Amazon


Single-serve coffee maker

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: CHULUX

Leaving high school means an increased workload at college, which means an increased consumption of coffee. CHULUX’s coffee maker is decently priced, looks pretty cool and has great reviews.

CHULUX coffee maker, $39.89 at Amazon

Portable charger

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Poweradd

Everyone needs a sturdy portable charger. For Apple users, one of the best out there is Poweradd’s Apple portable power bank, while Samsung users should grab the Anker PowerCore 10000. Both have excellent reviews on Amazon.

Apple portable power bank, $24.99 at Amazon

Anker PowerCore 10000, $29.99 on Amazon

A state pendant necklace

From functional to sentimental grad gifts, we have 'em all
Image: Dogeared

And finally, remind your grad of home with a subtle, adorable state pendant necklace. Dogeared sells one for every state, and the packaging also includes a sweet note. Your grad will love it.

State necklace, $58 at Amazon

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