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14 Gifts High School Graduates Will Find Way More Meaningful Than a Card Full of Cash

Well, friends, the time of year has come. You know what I’m talking about — when you start receiving a million bajillion graduation party invitations from all of the special teens in your life. Maybe you’re even receiving more than usual this year because according to the National Center for Education, an estimated 3.6 million students are expected to graduate from high school at the end of the 2018/2019 school year and all 3.6 million of those students will need the perfect graduation gift.

Buying gifts, in general, can be a daunting task, but when it comes to buying a high school graduation gift, you can go one of two ways. You can either purchase something functional, something the future college student can use in the fall. Or, you can take a more personal approach and give him or her something that’ll remind them of home.

Ahead, we’ve gathered 14 gifts your grad will definitely love.

Subscription box

Image: Love Goodly.

For the eco-conscious grad who loves beauty products and also likes to give back, the Love Goodly subscription box is chock full of non-toxic, cruelty-free, full-sized beauty products (and snacks!) and ships every other month. All boxes support a worthy cause, too.

Essential bi-monthly subscription box, $35.95 at Love Goodly

Amazon Prime membership

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

Custom map pillow

A great addition to any dorm, these personalized throw pillows will always remind your recent grad of home.

Custom map pillow, $39 at VintageBeachMaps/Etsy

17-month academic planner


The cover art on this planner, created by Bijou Karman, alone is worth the $20 purchase. Spanning August 2019 through December 2020, this planner not only gives users a year, month and week view of their schedule, but also stickers, a personality quick and a 3D page with glasses.

17-month academic planner, $20 at

Smart backpack

Image: Amazon.

Most students spend hours on campus — lugging around books, notebooks, their laptop. On those days when they just can’t get back to their dorm or apartment and they desperately need a charge, they’ll thank you later when they realize they have a phone charger built into their backpack.

Modoker backpack, $23.99 at Amazon

The laptop

Image: Best Buy.

Ah, the laptop: Grads really want one, and you dread buying it. 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 a 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 laptops (and even come with a warranty), but are less expensive.

MacBook, $899 at Best Buy

Wire rolling hamper

Image: Urban Outfitters.

Hampers don’t have to be boring. And this wire hamper at Urban Outfitters is far from it. Plus, it rolls, making it easy to travel from the dorm room to the laundry room.

Tike wire rolling hamper, $79 at Urban Outfitters

Yucca throw blanket

Image: Anthropologie.

On chilly nights, an extra-large throw blanket will keep anyone warm. And this one from Anthropologie will complement any trendy dorm room.

All Roads yucca throw blanket, $103.60 at Anthropologie

Single-serve coffee maker & compostable pods

Image: Amazon.

After pulling all-nighters, coffee is a must for college students. Opt for this CHULUX single-serve coffee maker, which is decently priced and will last your grad at least one year of excessive use.

CHULUX single-serve coffee maker, $39.99 at Amazon

Image: Woken.

To pair with the single-serve coffee maker, choose Woken, earth-friendly espresso pods. These pods are 100 percent compostable and compatible with Nespresso OriginalLine espresso machines.

Woken espresso pods, $13.50 for 20 capsules at Woken

Twin carafe

Image: Of a Kind.

For the grad who wants a more hands-on, stylish coffee maker, this pourer coffee makeover will win her or him over. This coffee maker, which can be used to make tea, too, has a colorful silicone filter that pops out for easy pouring and cleaning.

Twin carafe, $29 at Of a Kind.

Dinnerware set

Image: Amazon.

For grads moving into an apartment where they’ll have an actual kitchen at their disposal, they’ll need a dinnerware set. This one from Amazon comes with 16 pieces, eight plates in two different sizes, four mugs and four bowls.

Hoomeet white marble design dinnerware set, $64.99 at Amazon

Tassel keyring

For a more subtle nod to the grad’s success, add on a custom tag to this high-quality, leather keychain with his or her’s graduation year engraved.

Tassel keyring, $20.04 at VantlerLeather/Etsy


Lazy loaded image
Image: Roku.

For those grads moving out, they’ll need their own streaming device, and Roku is an affordable option. For less than $30 and no monthly equipment fee, the Roku Express not only includes a high-speed HDMI cable, but also access to hundreds of free channels.

Roku Express, $29.99 at Roku

Boxed delivery

Lazy loaded image
Image: Boxed.

Sometimes the simplest gifts can be the most useful. Boxed offers the pricing benefits of Costco, but without a yearly fee so you can stock your recent grad up with all of the staples they need but probably can’t afford right now.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale. 

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