30 High School Graduation Gifts They’ll Actually Use and Cherish (or Post on TikTok)

Plus, all the etiquette intel around gifting grads

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gifts-for-high-school-graduates: group of robe-wearing graduates
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Whether they’re setting off for college, entering the workforce or taking a year off for a good old-fashioned travel-the-world gap year, high school grads will (eventually) appreciate any and all gifts that will help them transition into adulthood. Here are 30 high school graduation gifts that they’ll actually use.

The Top 5 High School Graduation Gifts

Meet the Expert

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life, and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, which has for 20 years trained business professionals, university students and individuals on how to confidently navigate social and professional situations.

What is the Etiquette for High School Graduation Gifts?

According to a National Retail Federation survey, $116 is the average expected spending for a high school graduation gift. The most commonly cited gifts are cash, cards, gift cards, apparel and electronics. "There are no hard and fast rules but traditionally, the graduation gift is meant to help the graduate along their next journey in life," says Gottsman, who recommends attaching a gift receipt to any gift, so the graduate can return it for something else they need or if they get duplicates.

The Texas-based etiquette expert says it's not mandatory to send a gift if you receive a graduation announcement, which is traditionally less formal than an invite to the graduation itself or the after-party. However, if you are close to the graduate and want to give a gift, do so. As for the etiquette of gifting cold, hard cash, which some family members may interpret as less than thoughtful? "Cash is king!" says Gottsman. "The graduate will put the money to good use and will not think it’s impersonal. It’s actually a thoughtful gesture and easy to send or carry."

Where to Buy the Best High School Graduation Gifts

Stores with generous return and exchange policies are key, with Amazon free returns and fast delivery policies making the retail behemoth a great place to start. Similarly, department stores such as Nordstrom not only offer a wide variety of covetable and useful gifts, they also allow returns in exchange for a gift card. As for electronics, a popular high school graduation gift, Best Buy has a standard two-week return and exchange policy.

How We Chose the High School Graduation Gifts

Trawling TikTok. Interviewing recent graduates. Peppering all the high school seniors in our lives with with questions. These are all the methods we used to determine what's going to be a hit to this year's grads. We also looked at the most popular interests and pursuits of these late teenagers, which is why wellness items (no-alcohol cocktails, a massager) and bling (diamonds and nameplate necklaces, duh) are on the list. And lest these young adults make any mistake, dinner isn't going to cook, hello, meal delivery gift card.

The 33 Best Affordable Jewelry Brands, Starting at Just $32

Top Gift for Yogis

1. lululemon Adjustable Yoga Mat Bag


  • Why They'll Love It: wide opening makes stashing a mat easy
  • Why They Might Not Like It: can be hard to finesse heavy mats inside
  • Return Policy: free in person or online
  • Shipping: free standard shipping (2 to 6 business days)

Made of water-repellent fabric, this 5.6- x 30-inch carry bag has a strap that extends as long as 55 inches, so they can easily sling this crossbody to tote around their mat and the keys and credit card they put in the zippered exterior compartment. There’s even a separate side pocket to hold a water bottle (a resusable one, of course).

Top Dorm Room Decor

2. Kottova Vanity Mirror with Lights


  • Why They'll Love It: three light settings, USB charging port
  • Why They Might Not Like It: might be too large for cramped spaces
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: free two-day shipping with Prime

We saw this mirror on TikTok as being a college freshman dorm room essential, since it not only gives users blue, neutral and warm-toned lights to choose from, it also is bright enough to act as a lamp when doing homework. It's 18 x 23 inches, and easy to hang on the wall with included wall-mounting screws. But honestly, if your giftee just wants to lean it against the back of her desk or dresser top, that works too.

Tops for the Jewelry Lover

3. Bony Levy Diamond Initial Necklace

Bony Levy

  • Why They'll Love It: delicate, classic and sparkly
  • Why They Might Not Like It: so slender it might get lost in lots of other necklaces
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: free shipping

Their initial in diamonds, hung on a solid gold 16-inch chain with a two-inch extender, will become a classic heirloom they’ll treasure always. And wear on a daily basis.

Great for Dorm Dwellers

4. Audecook Electric Hot Pot


  • Why They'll Love It: multi-functional, easy clean-up
  • Why They Might Not Like It: seven-cup size might not cook enough for guests
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: free two-day shipping with Prime

Equipped with 360-degree round-shaped embedded heating element technology, this little (8.9 x 7.2 x 9.1 inch) Audecook electric hot pot cooks the dorm dweller's food done more rapidly than using traditional cookware—it acts like a sauté pan, rapid noodles-cooker and steamer. Also, it will re-heat whatever dog your giftee brings home from their visits with you.

Great for the Handy Person

5. Stalwart 130-Piece Tool Set


  • Why They'll Love It: compact size (2 x 9 x 11 inches) for a household's worth of tools
  • Why They Might Not Like It: they'll still need to visit the hardware store for picture-hanging supplies
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: free one-day shipping with Prime

Everyone needs their own hammer to hang a picture or knock a door frame back into place. But this kit, while slender enough to fit on a shelf or under a bed, allows them to do so much more than just hammer—they can measure, level, cut, screw and even use the Allen wrench sets to assemble some Ikea pieces.

Perfect for the New Householder

6. Wayfair Gift Card


  • Why They'll Love It: never expire, can be used for items, assembly services and upgraded delivery
  • Why They Might Not Like It: they might not be shopping for home goods right away
  • Return Policy: nonrefundable
  • Shipping: eGift and printable gift cards available instantly, physical gift card delivered in 4 to 6 days

Not sure what they’ll need for their new home? Let the graduate choose from thousands of furniture and décor items of affordable quality in a range of styles from contemporary and modern to bohemian and eclectic. Available in denominations from $25 to $500, these cards are redeemable for everything on the Wayfair site, as well as AllModern, Birch Lane, Joss & Main and Perigold brands.

  • Why They'll Love It: pasta straining made easy, works with induction cooktops
  • Why They Might Not Like It: may be too heavy for some users
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: free two-day shipping with Prime

This six-quart pot has a four-quart insert that lets you just lift it up to drain water away, eliminating the tussle (and potential burns) involved in holding a colander just so over the sink. And one thing we know about early adulthood—it’s about eating a lot of fast, easy to prep noodles.

Perfect for the Pool Partier

8. Brooklinen Checkerboard Robe


  • Why They'll Love It: thick 460 grams per square meter fabric, doubles as swim coverup
  • Why They Might Not Like It: wide cropped sleeves might be inconvenient on active types
  • Return Policy: year return window, $10 fee
  • Shipping: free ground (4 to 10 days), $10 premium ground (2 to 6 days), $29 expedited shipping (2 to 3 days)
  • Size Range: XS to XL

This 100 percent Turkish cotton robe does dual duty as a bath robe and a swim coverup. It's a gender-neutral fashion statement available in mint, mango and pop pink that's got a slightly oversized fit and cropped sleeves.

Super for the Wanderluster

9. Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage


  • Why They'll Love It: ultra-lightweight, lots of interior pockets
  • Why They Might Not Like It: light silver color needs scuffs cleaned if turned over to checked luggage
  • Return Policy: return window is 30 days, comes with $25 shipping fee
  • Shipping: free for orders over $75

Your graduate wants to take a trip, so why not help them show up in style with this luggage piece that's loaded with features. Dual spinner wheels are sturdy and smooth (so when they're running to their gate they won't be slowed down), the 21-inch size is rated for carry-on statues but fits 43 liters of volume and finally, there's a TSA-approved lock. Oh, and it expands two inches for then they head home with all those trinkets they picked up.

Perfect for Chill Room Vibes

10. Fanhao Himalayan Salt Lamp


  • Why They'll Love It: compact tabletop size (5.4 x 3.7 inches), cycles through rainbow of colors
  • Why They Might Not Like It: needs a power brick, not included
  • Return Policy: free returns within 30 day
  • Shipping: one-day free delivery with Prime

This little LED night light/decor element glows orange, blue, pink, red, green and purple when it's plugged in. There's little evidence to support the lamp's purported health benefits (it's said that the salt releases negative ions, which help calm users); however, the happy little light, in our experience, is a calming presence to look at, sort of like the contemporary version of a lava lamp. Mined in Pakistan of pure salt from the Himalayas, this lamp will appeal to your high school grad. Note: The lamp comes with a USB cable but not a power brick, so include one with your gift to be super-thoughtful.

Great for Nutrition-Minded Types

11. Home Chef

Home Chef

  • Why They'll Love It: meals range from 45-minute prep to heat and serve, all dietary restrictions accommodated
  • Why They Might Not Like It: they'll need enough fridge space to store between cooking sessions
  • Return Policy: non-refundable
  • Shipping: instant customized e-gift cards

Home Chef is the meal delivery kit that has so much to offer, even to young adults who don't have their home cooking worked out completely (or at all). Whether you're vegan, calorie-conscious or just wanting to eat healthier, the meal delivery service curates meal kits that are based entirely on your preferences and delivers them straight to your door. And there's all sorts of dishes, from quick, 10-minute balsamic-glazed chicken cutlets to restaurant-quality panko-crusted mahi-mahi served with lemon cream spaghetti. Home Chef requires two meals of two servings apiece, a minimum of $55, to send an order, so we recommend sending a new card of at least that amount.

high school graduation gifts soak

For the Nervous Sleeper

12. Thisworks Deep Sleep Bath Soak


  • Why They'll Love It: fragrant, effective
  • Why They Might Not Like It: they'll need a bathtub, so dorm dwellers won't be able to use
  • Return Policy: free returns in unused condition
  • Shipping: free two-day shipping with Prime

These lavender bath salts with chamomile and vetiver are a calming addition to a daily wind-down ritual, which every young person can benefit from. "This is fantastic; you only need a small amount no more than a teaspoon," writes one reviewer. "I always have an amazing nights sleep after using it, so relaxed."

Super for Heavy Sleepers

13. Cabtick Sunrise Alarm Clock


  • Why They'll Love It: simulates both sunrise and sunset, plays music via Bluetooth or FM radio
  • Why They Might Not Like It: some users might want a longer snooze button option
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: one-day free delivery with Prime

This digital alarm clock lets you simulate a bright sunrise lasting from 10 to 60 minutes, and a dimmable sunset function that can be set from 10 to 120 minutes. Set it to one of 12 colors, and enjoy waking to not only music bur pre-set nature sounds (chirpy birdsong, anyone?). Most importantly, your sleepy giftee can hit the snooze button for 9 more minutes of sleep up to five times per alarm.

Perfect for the Schlepper

14. Hulken Collapsible Medium Tote Bag


  • Why They'll Love It: snazzy gold polypropylene body, three sturdy reinforced handles
  • Why They Might Not Like It: no top zipper or closure
  • Return Policy: 30-day return window
  • Shipping: two-week standard shipping, $9

This cute reinforced rolling bag is a lifesaver for lugging laundry, hauling groceries or whatever else. For example, cooking obsessed grad can just roll this along behind them and won’t have to touch any yucky grocery carts. This allows them to plunder supermarkets, farmers markets and specialty food stores and load up to 66 pounds inside. Best of all, the 6- x 12- x 20-inch bag collapses flat to stow under a bed between uses.

Great for Active Types

15. Inbox Zero Conna Standing Desk

INbox Zero

  • Why They'll Love It: adjustable height, medium 48 x 24 inch size
  • Why They Might Not Like It: requires assembly
  • Return Policy: 30-day return window
  • Shipping: free standard (five-day) shipping

From the broad strokes (you can assemble the adjustable up-down mechanism to the left or right side, depending on your primary hand) to the small details (there's a hook for hanging headphones to keep your desk tidy), this standing desk is ideal for energetic types or recovering couch potatoes. There are four lockable wheels and plastic pads to prevent scuffing floors, and even four memory settings to quickly resume the perfect standing or sitting heights.

Best for Germophobes

16. PhoneSoap 3


  • Why They'll Love It: disinfects and charges simultaneously
  • Why They Might Not Like It: large phone-and-case combinations might not fit inside
  • Return Policy: refund or exchange within 30 days
  • Shipping: $3 standard shipping (3-6 days)

Our reviewer gave this phone sanitizing device high marks for ease of use and aesthetics, so we’re thinking this it’ll be a slam dunk for young adults who are very not into germs. Using UV-C light technology, 99.99 of bacteria—tests have proved it works on  Salmonella, E. coli, MRSA, H1N1, Coronavirus 229E, Staphylococcus, Rhinovirus and Rotavirus—are eliminated safely from your device after shutting it inside for just 10 minutes.

For the Dedicated Athlete

17. Hyperice Hypervolt Deep Tissue Massage Gun


  • Why They'll Love It: lightweight (1.5 pounds), three speeds
  • Why They Might Not Like It: warranty expires after 1 year
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: free one-day shipping with Prime

Weighing just a pound-and-a-half, this intense massager is easy to wield, ideal for targeting the quads and glutes but also areas that take more finesse, like legs, feet and shoulders. Three different heads allow varied sensations, and the one-button, three-speed functionality is easy to master. The varsity athlete who’s going on to play college sports would so appreciate this one.

For the Aspiring Writer

18. 'If We're Being Honest' by Cat Shook

Celadon Books

  • Why They'll Love It: acclaimed debut novel by young writer, beach read
  • Why They Might Not Like It: family melodrama might hit too close to home
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: free one-day shipping with Prime

Our reviewer said "Pack this one in your beach bag—it’s a delight." Besides being a lively exploration of revelations spilling forth at a patriarch's funeral, and the extended family who deals with these long-simmering secrets, this book will be interesting to a young writer since its author, Cat Shook, graduated from University of Georgia in 2016. This is her first novel.

Great for the Overscheduled Person

19. Athetic Greens

Athletic Greens

  • Why They'll Love It: good-tasting health drink, comes with canister, shaker and 5 travel packs
  • Why They Might Not Like It: healthful taste might be challenging for junk-food fans
  • Return Policy: 90-day money back guarantee
  • Shipping: $9 flat shipping

This fresh-tasting all-in-one-health drink contains 75 vitamins, minerals and whole-food-sourced ingredients to support long-lasting energy, immunity, recovery and gut health. So even if they hate eating veggies on the daily, they’ll still get the health benefits they need for a balanced diet.

Great for Gamers

20. Insignia Essential PC Gaming Chair


  • Why They'll Love It: adjustable height, sturdy five-pointed star base
  • Why They Might Not Like It: assembly required
  • Return Policy: free return to stores or via pre-paid shipping label
  • Shipping: free two-day shipping

This plastic-and-metal chair can be customized for maximum comfort and support, thanks to an adjustable seat height as well as a swivel-and-tilt mechanism. The five-pointed star base with wheels makes it extra sturdy, and the maximum weight capacity is 275 pounds. (And you can tell your giftee that is also works for studying, in case all those hours spent gaming gets boring.)

Tops for the Sober Curious

21. Recess The Sampler


  • Why They'll Love It: alcohol-free, mood-elevating
  • Why They Might Not Like It: herbal taste might not appeal to everyone
  • Return Policy: 14-day return policy
  • Shipping: free shipping to most continental U.S. addresses

Sparkling water is infused with a calming blend of adaptogens and hemp, making these pre-made drinks a healthy, non-intoxicating way to unwind. For your giftee's NA cocktail hour, they can choose among 12-ounce cans in these flavors: Peach ginger, blackberry chai, black cherry, pomegranate hibiscus, coconut lime and blood orange.

Best for Restless Sleepers

22. Sleep Number True Temp Weighted Blanket

Sleep Number

  • Why They'll Love It: 12-pound weight, removable washable cover
  • Why They Might Not Like It: single size might not be large enough if they toss and turn at night
  • Return Policy: up to 100-night free return
  • Shipping: free shipping

This 12-pound channel-stitched blanket is sized for one person to crawl under it and feel soothed. And it comes with a removable cover, so it’ll stay tidy. Added plus: This blanket's outside layer has a patented technology that was created to balance sleep temperatures.

Tops for the Forgetful Housekeeper

23. Shark ION Robot Vacuum


  • Why They'll Love It: control it by app or Alexa/Google assistant, 120-minute run time
  • Why They Might Not Like It: bin capacity (.11 gallons) might be too small for some households without frequent emptying
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: free shipping

The Shark uses a Tri-Brush System—side brushes, channel brushes and a multi-surface brush roll—to handle debris on all surfaces. The 5.9-inch cleaning path lets it zip around whatever little room or apartment your graduate winds up in, and they don't even have to remember to use it, since schedules can be set to run remotely. Best of all, it learns home layouts, to avoid getting stuck before it can happen.

Great for the Mobile Student

24. Himawari Laptop Backpack


  • Why They'll Love It: holds up to 15.6-inch backpack, detachable USB cable for charging
  • Why They Might Not Like It: buckles might irritate exposed skin
  • Return Policy: free returns
  • Shipping: free two-day shippng with Prime

Eco-friendly waterproof canvas is minimalist-cook in your choice of 34 colorways. It's got a trolley sleeve to slip onto their carry-on suitcase handle if they are traveling with it, and tons of inside pockets to organize glasses, wallet, keys, earphones, cell phone and documents, as well as a laptop up to 15.6 inches. There's even a built-in cable to attach a power bank to, so your can charge your phone, iPad or earbuds with your backpack.

Top Customized Gift

25. Oak and Luna Mon Petite Name Necklace

Oak and Luna

  • Why They'll Love It: up to 9 character names, 16-inch chain with 2-inch extender
  • Why They Might Not Like It: cursive letters can be hard to read
  • Return Policy: can be returned in exchange for store credit
  • Shipping: free three-week shipping

There's no better way to recognize the accomplishments of a recent grad then by spelling it all out for them—namely, by gifting them a necklace with their name in delicate cursive letters. This iteration is done in .925 sterling silver—you can also order versions in gold plating, gold vermeil and rose gold vermeil. Trend alert: In addition to ordering with your giftee's given name, you might consider inspirational words such as “Strength,” “Breathe” and “Grace.”

  • Why They'll Love It: eliminates distracting noise without bulky headphones, up to 6 hours of battery life
  • Why They Might Not Like It: charging case latch is sensitive to breaking if it's dropped
  • Return Policy: return in-store or online or ship back with free pre-paid sticker
  • Shipping: free shipping

They can just slip these babies in their ears, lean back and zone out while they listen to everything from their meditation app to their fave podcast host’s vocal fry.

For the Backyard Games Lover

27. Zeny Portable Cornhole Set


  • Why They'll Love It: regulation 4 x 2 foot size, carrying case
  • Why They Might Not Like It: MDF wood can be vulnerable to damage
  • Return Policy: free within 30 days
  • Shipping: free shipping

Foldable legs and a tote bag make this game set easy to set up in the backyard, then tote to the frat house if he wants to pick it up on a weekend back home from college. You'll hope he won't, though, since these two attractive boards that come with four red bean bags and four blue bean bags are great for all ages, especially when you have a summer cookout or barbecue.

Perfect for the Bouquet Lover

28. Venus et Fleur 2023 Graduation Gift Set

Venus et Fleur

  • Why They'll Love It: authentic roses last up to one year, come with acrylic stands to arrange the flowers on a tabletop
  • Why They Might Not Like It: the roses and boxes will need periodic dusting
  • Return Policy: no returns
  • Shipping: expedited shipping available

Four separate arrangements of approximately 2.75 square inches each add up to this mega-arrangement, which comprises dozens of real roses that are specially treated to last up to one year. So she can hang these on a wall or arrange on a table to remember—seemingly forever—the sweet smell of graduation success. These flowers are vailable in red, blue white, burgundy, deep blue and black rose colors.

high school graduation gifts grogu

Perfect for the Star Wars lover

29. Build-a-Bear Grogu™ Plush Graduation Robe Gift Set


  • Why They'll Love It: TV character dressed in cap and gown
  • Why They Might Not Like It: might be too cutesy for some teens
  • Return Policy: refund with proof of purchase, otherwise exchange or store credit
  • Shipping: $10 Fed Ex economy shipping

Star of Disney+ show The Mandalorian, the Force is strong with little Grogu. Signal to your superfan giftee that they, too, have all the power in the universe now that they are a graduate, with this plush stuffed character.

Great Legacy Gift

30. Sean Cook Designs Embroidered University Sweatshirt

Sean Cook Designs

  • Why They'll Love It: embroidered school name plus mascots or butterflies
  • Why They Might Not Like It: sturdy cotton blend can be too heavy for some climates
  • Return Policy: returns not accepted
  • Shipping: $5 standard shipping
  • Size Range: S to 5XL

Is your high school grad so excited about the university they are headed to? And/or is their legacy graduate parent? Then the whole family will like this customized cotton-blend sweatshirt in your choice of 20 colors. It's embroidered—not just screen-printed like those ones at the college union—with school name and cute butterflies, school mascots or practically any custom design you ask for. You'll get an approval of your design before it's shipped, and the turnaround time for production and shipping averages a mere two weeks, so they'll have time to wear it all over their hometown before they depart.

Why You Should Trust Us

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space. Suitcases to sex toys, she's got an opinion on what's best. Dana is based in Los Angeles; her work has also appeared in Condé Nast TravelerVogue and The New York Times. Check her out on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...