Practical Graduation Gifts for High School Grads

 You need graduation gifts and I’ve got ideas! And, although graduation season just ended in our area, I know many of you are gearing up for ceremonies in June. I personally have a couple of friends with some very cool kids who’ll be graduating soon. I had those cool kids on my mind as I prepared this list of practical graduation gifts for high school graduates.

Practical Graduation Gifts - The MamaZone

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. When you use them to shop, I earn a little bit to help keep the blog running. Thanks!

The graduation gifts below will fit every budget and work whether you’re a family member or distant friend. You’ll notice that they’re not sentimental and that’s because my focus was on pulling together a list of things that will help a high school graduate navigate the first year of college. You can make them sentimental with a sweet card or some Pinterest-inspired wrapping or presentation. I’d also suggest pulling several of these items together and creating a gift basket or bundle. Here we go…

Subscription Gifts for Graduates

  1. Amazon Prime. I would have loved a Prime subscription when I was in college! Considering all the books and supplies students might have to order there (plus all the free music and movies), this would make a great gift. If you’re a student who’s reading this and you don’t want to wait for a gift, Amazon Prime for Students comes with a 6 month free trial and the actual subscription is 50% off. For those giving, unfortunately, Prime for Students can’t be gifted, but you could definitely give an gift card along with instructions for taking advantage of the prime for students offer.
  2. Streaming Services. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are all subscription services most graduates will enjoy. You can purchase Netflix and Hulu gift cards to give this subscription.
  3. Xbox Live Gold. If your graduate is a gamer with a Microsoft Xbox, he/she will love a gift card for an Xbox Live Gold subscription. This gives them access to multiplayer gaming, free games and other bonuses.

You might also consider clever subscription box memberships if you know the graduate well. You can find gift cards for the above subscriptions at Target and Best BuyAnd, speaking of gift cards…

Gift Cards for Graduates

Don’t dismiss the idea of giving gift cards. There are a lot of expenses associated with your first year of college and gift cards will go a long way toward keeping the graduate stocked up. This is also a great gesture for later on in the school year. Here are a few places to consider:

  1. Super stores like Target and Walmart.
  2. Convenience stores like Walgreens and CVS.
  3. and Barnes & Noble (many larger campuses have Barnes & Noble stores on site where students can purchase books, clothing and more).
  4. Restaurants on or near campus. Take a look at the school’s website to see what’s close. Usually you can guarantee there will be a Starbucks and fast food restaurants for students to choose from.
  5. Ride sharing services like Uber.
  6. iTunes. An iTunes gift card does more than buy music. It can be used for the App Store, iCloud storage and iBooks as well.
  7. Parabo Press. This is a great place to get all the photos they’ll be taking off their phone and onto great photo products. They have everything from photo calendars to engineering prints and the college crowd will love their square prints. Use the code: DKFBPM for a free set of 25 square prints.
  8. Photojojo. And, speaking of photos and phones, Photojojo is a great place to get phone gadgets and it’s a gift card you can be certain no one else will think of giving!

Graduation Gifts from Target

School Supply Gifts for Graduates

Steer clear of supplies like towels, sheets and personal care items. Opt for a gift card if you want to help with those items because there’s so much personal preference involved. Instead, pull together a bundle that includes the college school supplies below.

  1. Premium pens, mechanical pencils and hi-lighters.
  2. Post-it notes and tabs.
  3. A quality back pack or duffel bag.
  4. Wall calendars, desk calendars or a planner (here’s $10 off at
  5. A portable phone charger and extra phone cables, earbuds and USB wall chargers.
  6. Thumb drives or a Dropbox subscription.
  7. Rolls of quarters. This is technically not a “school supply,” but it will definitely come in handy for laundry and late-night vending machine snacks!

By the way, I like getting standard supplies off the beaten path. One of my favorite places to do that is

Big Ticket Items for Graduates

  1. A bike. Many colleges don’t allow freshmen to have cars, so bikes are a great way to go.
  2. A laptop. (Keep in mind that many larger schools offer discounts for students to buy laptops. You may want to ask your grad’s mom or dad before purchasing.)
  3. A tablet.
  4. Personalized gifts. Uncommon Goods is a great place to shop for incredibly unique personalized items. It’s another one of my favorite places to buy gifts.

Tech Gifts for Grads

That was fun.

I’ve definitely figured out what I’ll be getting my graduate-friends. If you’ve found any clever ideas in this list, I’d love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments or on The MamaZone’s Facebook page. Enjoy your graduation shopping!

Psst…Pin this to save and share!

Practical Gifts for High School Graduates
Larger image will open in Pinterest window


Filed Under: idea |


  • Marian F.

    Great Ideas. Gift cards are usually my go to for gifting graduates. It’s easy and they can just get what they want or need.

© 2009-2017 Anitra Elmore. All Rights Reserved.