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100+ Clever Graduation Gift Ideas From YourTeen and Our Facebook Friends

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It’s that time of year — grad gift giving season. If you’re like us, each year you run out of good ideas. That’s why we asked you to Help a Parent Out by sharing the best graduation gifts you’ve given or received. Your response was overwhelming. From cash to car tires — and everything in between — you shared great ideas. Here are the suggestions. We hope they help others as much as they’ve helped us. Thanks.

Books For Graduation Gifts

  1. Atlas coffee table book and globe
  2. Clark Howard books
  3. Family Recipes
    • 3-ring binder with their favorite recipes
    • Cookbook with family meals
  4. Four Agreements Book.
  5. If God Gave Your Graduation Speech
  6. Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess
    • Ask favorite teachers to write notes
    • One organized mom had every teacher since kindergarten sign the book 

Car-Related Gifts for Your Graduate

  1. Emergency items for cars like a car battery jump starter
  2. Cars
    • New car • Used car • Cosigned car loan
  3. New Tires
  4. Cell Phone Holder

Clothes to Celebrate Graduation

  1. ID wallet keychains in their school colors  
  2. Compass
  3. Pocket watch
  4. Personalized/custom wallet: add gift card(s) for a special touch
  5. Suit for interviews and formal events


  1. Amusement park tickets for the graduate and friends.
  2. Concert tickets
  3.  Party
    Graduation party with family and friends
    Surprise party

Food For Your Graduate

  1. Bi-monthly snack box subscription
  2. Personalized graduation M&Ms with their picture and school colors
  3. Self addressed envelope with a card in it
    “The card says to return the 3 x 5 card with all of your favorites (Fill in the blanks with favorite candy ____ favorite cookie _____ ,etc.) and your college address and I will send you two care packages.” 

Creative Suggestions

  1. A College Education! 
  2. An eviction notice 
  3. Diploma for high self esteem/confidence
  4. Love and understanding for the last 18 years 
  5. Pillow case with “call mom” written on it


  1. A ️‍ pride ring
  2. Engraved necklace that has the coordinates of home
  3. Good, engraved watch
  4. Grown-up piece of jewelry
  5. James Avery cross on a necklace chain
  6. Pearl necklace 
  7. Personalized bracelet 
  8. Personalized tie clip 
  9. Necklace with the graduation year on it 
  10. St. Christopher lacrosse player necklace 
  11. Start a charm bracelet

Keepsakes for Graduation Gifts

  1. Book of notes from people who have been meaningful or encouraging to them  through the years
  2. Boombox!
    “Invite friends, family, teachers, and coaches to submit a memory and photo to Boombox Gifts website. The team then compiles designs and prints them on card stock — and they arrive in a keepsake memory box.”
  3. Emergency Box
    “Fill with stuff they will need: sewing kit, first aid kit nail kit with clippers and tweezers, desk set with tape and dispenser, stapler and staples, envelopes and stamps, gift cards to local food places.”
  4. College flag or pennant
  5. Compass engraved with a quote
  6. Custom cornhole games with the college logo
  7. Doorstop with a poem about opening doors
  8. Engraved pen
  9. Hope chest 
  10. Keychain with their high school’s coordinates engraved on it
  11. Nice leather bound journal with a note encouraging them to go on adventures and write about it
  12. Personalized laundry bag
  13. Photo album/scrapbook depicting memories and friends, preferably in chronological order
  14. Plaque with graduation announcement 
  15. Sign or pillow with the number of miles to back home 
  16. T-shirt quilt with their favorite, old and sentimental t-shirts 
  17. Inspirational Letter
    “Write a letter which includes hopes, advice and other thoughts on their future and where they come from. Have it enlarged, printed and framed.”

Money: A Sure Thing for Graduation Gifts

  1. Cash
    • Airline gift card
    Cash is king
    Checking account/cash card with enough money to afford a plane ticket home
    College bookstore gift card
    Food delivery service gift card
    Gas card
    Grocery store gift card
    Movie theater gift card
    Nail salon gift card
    Rideshare gift card
  2. Investments
    • Donation to organizations that help first generation college students get to school
    Establish a Roth IRA: consider contributing a bit each year until they are fully employed
    Graduation Year Coin Sets at the Post Office
    Life insurance
    Set up a custodial account at ETrade: fund it with start up money
    Silver ingot
  3. Money Art
    • Candy bar bouquet with gift cards
    Candy tower with a roll of money inside
    Donation to organizations that help first generation college students get to school
    Give cash/check/eTransfer in the amount of the year. So this year they’d get $20.22
    Money cake
    Money lei
    Nectarine tree: tie $ bills to it
    Pizza box with money with a “Need some dough?” note
    Umbrella with college logo: attach money inside so that when they opened it, it “rains money
    Wrap $ bills up in ribbon like diplomas

School Supplies and Work Supplies

  1. Backpack filled with school supplies
  2. Nice messenger bag/soft briefcase
  3. Professional portfolio folder for resume and other interview materials 

Stuff for House/Dorm

  1. Acrylic tumblers with the grads name and an icon
  2. Blanket with college logo 
  3. Camping mattress for visiting friends
  4. Coffee maker
  5. Command Strips
  6. Cookbook and a journal
  7. Crockpot with favorite recipes 
  8. Dorm Kit
    Over the counter medicines, bug spray, sunscreen, hot/cold packs, travel size cleaning stuff, a door stop, tiny flashlights, batteries
  9. Enviro cloth and a window cloth to clean 
  10. Fireproof safe with birth certificate and social security card in it
  11. Good quality, fun, personalized beach towel
  12. Graduation cake a tower and we hot glue items to it that are college small items like school/desk supplies food first aid tide to go pen etc. 
  13. Hammock
  14. Hydro flask with logo or monogram 
  15. Umbrella
    “I met my husband in college because I had an umbrella and he didn’t. He asked if he could walk under mine. I said yes! Then we got married and had four kids! So I always give umbrellas.”
  16. Laundry basket with towels, gas and gift cards 
  17. Metal bucket with their name or school
    Fill with candy, deck of cards, Tylenol pens, highlighters, gift cards, etc.
  18. Mini refrigerator 
  19. Nice camp chairs
  20. Pampered chef micro-cooker mix & chop and a case of ramen  
  21. Period Pack: Heating pad, chocolate, and medicines
  22. Popcorn popper
  23. Portable fishing rod
  24. Sheet sets
  25. Tool box
  26. Travel steamer
  27. Underbed storage ottoman
  28. Yeti bottle 
  29. Laundry
    • Canvas tote with name embroidered on it
    Laundry basket filled with dorm essentials: laundry detergent, duster, tool kit, cleaning supplies
    Roller laundry basket/hamper
    Set of towels
    Sheets set

Technology Graduation Gifts

  1. Cell phone
  2. Charging
    Charging station
    Customized iPhone charger
    Extra long charging cord
    Small to medium extension cord
    Surge protector
  3. Electric pencil sharpener
  4. Gaming system of choice
  5. Laptop
  6. Laptop bag 
  7. Mobile device projector
  8. Nice camera with a photo printer and album
  9. Scientific calculator
  10. Smart Speakers
    Echo dot
  11. Surge protector with usb plugs
  12. Tablets and mini tablets
  13. Tablet pen
  14. Turntable 
  15. Wifi jetpack
  16. Wireless speaker

Travel for Graduation Gift Idea

  1. Family Trip
    • A trip. Destination based on the personality of the kid
    Cross country, summer, family road trip
    Family road trip to the graduate’s choice of destination
    Graduation cruise
    One-on-one trips with parents
    Travel kit: passport cover, travel size toiletries and containers, toothbrush cover, etc.
    Trip to a place where the locals speak with language the graduate studies
    Travel to a sports event
    Travel to the home of a friend (former international student, pen pal etc.)
  2. Friend Trip
    Bring a friend(s) along on a vacation
    Summer trip with friends
  3. Luggage
    • Backpacking gear
    Blue IKEA FRAKATA Bags that convert into a backpack for moving in/out of college dorms
    Good set of luggage with luggage tags and packing cubes
    Jon Hart duffle bag or the Patagonia rolling duffle
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