The Ultimate High School And College Graduation Gift Guide

It really seems like the older I get the more people I know who are graduating high school or college. Sometimes it’s a relative, other times it’s someone who attends my church or a co-worker's child. Have you noticed that too?

Well, if you have you’ve probably also noticed that with graduations come graduation gifts. I admit when I was graduating I really liked the gift part! Now that I’m the gift giver I still enjoy the gifts, but sometimes there's not a lot of room in my budget to buy expensive gifts for every graduate.

Gift Guides For High School And College Graduates | A Relaxed Gal
(This information is not meant to be financial advice and is just for educational purposes. This post may include affiliate links. Should you click an affiliate link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

If you're like me you may have a certain part of your budget or a siinking fund designated for buying gifts each year. And with the number of graduations happening each year, the further that gift budget has to stretch.

To help make this graduation season easier, here are some gift ideas for high school and college graduates that won't break your budget. And as a bonus, you can get them all online.

High School graduation gift ideas

In today's world, not all high school graduates are leaving home and headed off to school. Some may have decided to go to a local trade school, move out on their own and start working, or maybe stay home and do virtual college. No matter what their next move here are some gift ideas perfect for high school graduates.

1. Graduation tumbler

You can get tumblers customized with the year of their graduation, their name, college colors, or almost anything else.

2. Toiletry set

A gift set of toiletries like body wash, deodorant, body lotion, toothbrushes, and toothpaste can help your high school graduate feel and smell fresh all the time.

Also, getting a good hanging toiletry case or basket is also good because there isn't always a lot of counter space or storage space in a dorm room or bathroom. Or it can be handy when you are traveling.

3. Shower shoes

These can be either official shower shoes or cheap flip-flops. When I was in college I opted to buy $1 or $2 flip-flops and use those. With the dorm communal showers, believe me, your high school graduate will love you if you give these as a gift. I still use shower shoes when I stay in a hotel or other people's homes.

4. Bed sheets

Bed sheets make a great gift because you can never have too many of them. I had only two sets of bed sheets in college and ended up buying a few more. Partly out of laziness. I liked changing my sheets on a regular basis, I just didn’t like having to do laundry every couple of weeks.

5. Gift card

If you go for the gift card, I suggest getting one for a store, like Walmart or a grocery store, where your high school graduate can buy snacks or last-minute odds and ends.

6. Laundry supply kit

My mom taught me how to do laundry as a child so when I went to college I knew how to sort clothes and work the machines. What I didn’t realize was how overwhelming buying laundry detergent could be. I can only imagine that new high school graduates feel the same.

Gifting them a laundry kit that includes things like laundry detergent, stain remover, collapsible hamper, and laundry bags could help make that first load of laundry away from home less overwhelming.

7. Portable battery charger

I didn’t need one of these, and I don’t think they existed when I was in college. Now that college students have so many different devices that they carry around having a backup power source or charger is almost a necessity. For my personal use, I bought a Lumina Compact Portable Charger but there are many other portable charger options available.

8. School pride decor

Blankets and pillows are really useful in college. So why not let them be ways to demonstrate school pride. Stores like Walmart and Amazon are great places to find school decor.

9. Comfy clothes

As a college student, you can never have too many comfy clothes. Things like oversized t-shirts, sweatshirts, joggers, or yoga pants are perfect pieces for a comfy college wardrobe.

10. Water bottle

I know I mentioned Tumblers earlier but they aren't always practical to carry around whether it's to classes on campus, to work, for a job, or even to church. 

If you get a water bottle get a good one, like the Healthy Human Water Bottle or one from Simple Modern, that keeps the water in it cold for a good length of time.

11. Amazon Prime Student membership

College textbooks are expensive and an Amazon Prime Student membership can help with that. The membership includes free two-day shipping, streaming of TV shows and members, and some exclusive college deals.

20 graduation gift ideas |

College graduate gift ideas

These gifts are perfect for college graduates who may be moving into their first place and/or starting their first full-time job.

1. Coffeemaker

While I’m not a coffee drinker I included a coffeemaker on the list since I know so many people like to get their workday started with a cup of coffee.

2. Cleaning supply kit

I’ve given this gift myself a few times. And I’ve gotten feedback that the cleaning kit has come in handy. You don’t have to spend a lot of money creating this kit either. You can find several good cleaning items at Dollar Tree and Amazon.

3. Digital picture frame

With a small digital picture frame, your college graduate can keep their college memories close whether at home or work.

4. Portable power bank

A power bank or external battery charger is useful when traveling and a wall plug isn’t available for charging a phone or tablet. I’ve been traveling more so I purchased this Anker one for my iPhone. The portable power bank also came in handy when the electricity has gone out.

There are so many different styles of portable batterries or chargers for phones. I prefer and see recommen ded ofren chargers from the Anker brand.

5. Gift card to HomeGoods

HomeGoods is my favorite store for buying things for my home. Here your college graduate can get some great home decor to add style to their first apartment. They can also find stylish desk supplies to add personality to their workspace.

6. Toolkit

Toolkits make a great gift because of how useful they are. Even if your college graduate will be living in an apartment they’ll have a need for basic tools.

7. TV streaming device and gift subscription

Jobs for new graduates don’t always pay a lot so your college graduate may not be able to afford the cable package that mom and dad have at home. To get around this get them a Roku stick and a subscription to a streaming service. The Roku Express stick is great because it’s compact and has multiple options for streaming services like Sling TV.

8. Noise canceling headphones

Your college graduate will thank you for some good noise canceling headphones if they end up working in an open office space and need something to drown out the office noise. And bonus if they have a microphone that can use for video calls.

9. Meal delivery service

I don’t like to cook and when I was first on my own I had no idea how to plan and grocery shop for meals. A meal delivery service like Blue Apron can fix that. And by gifting this you’ll know some of the meals they'll be eating are healthy.

10. Pots and pans

While your college graduate may not cook every day, there may be some days they want to make some spaghetti, rice and beans, heat up some canned soup, or even host a dinner party for friends every once in a while. A nice set of pots and pans can help them with that.

What was the best graduation gift you’ve gotten or given?