Inquiring Minds Want to Know: “What is the Best Graduation Gift Guide List?”

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: "What are the Best Graduation Gifts?"|

Written By Melanie Studer

Melanie Prather Studer has spent the last thirty years as a mother and teacher- preschool through middle school. When her kids became teenagers, Melanie started keeping notes and doing research to help her children get a head start on getting into college and ultimately out into the real world. She shares real world ideas and solutions for raising teens in today’s world.

April 14, 2020

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The Best Graduation Gift Guide

Here is the best graduation gift guide that I put together with some help from recent grads!

Are you wondering what to give to the graduate in your life? There are so many ideas out there. I asked my two older sons who graduated from high school within the past few years which of their graduation gifts they appreciated the most and/or have used the most. I also asked my nieces who have all graduated in the recent past as well.

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Graduation Gift Guide|

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I also asked 12 other recent graduates, both guys and girls.  Here is what I found out with direct quotes about their favorites to make the best graduation gift guide…  *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

Graduation gift guide!

Gifts for Guys:

1. Money or gift cards to local eateries- “Who doesn’t love free money and food?!

2. College hat – “Great to already have when I got to school.

3. Shower caddy filled with supplies- “I liked having a caddy already filled so I didn’t have to think about it.”  This would take a little research to find out their favorite brands to fill it with, but such a useful gift!

4. MacBook— “My mom got this for me.  I have used it every single day for college and jobs.”  A bit more of an expensive gift, but all students will need some sort of computer.

5. Headphones– “I wish that I had asked for these when I graduated.  I had to buy them myself later.”

6. Microwave– “Have used everyday in my dorm and then my rental house because it didn’t have one.

7. Reading pillow– “I didn’t think that I would use this thing, but I did, and my friends all wanted one once they saw mine!

8. Amazon Prime for students– “This has been great for ordering books and watching movies when I probably should have been studying.  But, my grades have been good, so I guess it’s okay.

9.  Slammo game– “My brothers gave me this game.  It’s been fun out on our campus lawn.  Taking to my frat next year.

10.  External battery charger– “This thing is great.  I always have it in my backpack.  Been a couple of times that I was really glad I had it!

Gifts for Gals:

1. Money or gift cards to local eateries or beauty stores- “I love to eat out when I don’t have to pay for it!”  Here is a great blog post by Southernly Splendid with fun and creative ways to gift with money!

2.  Keurig– “Can’t. Live. Without!”  Great for coffee of course, but also hot chocolate, hot tea, soup…

3. Toolbox with little handy items such as:  hammer, screwdriver, tape, different sizes of batteries…  “I didn’t think that this was a good gift, but almost every week either I have used this or a friend has!”  Since this is a soft-sided bag, lot’s of other little things could be added like batteries, tape, string, Command hooks, even a deck of cards!

4. Monogrammed towels– “I love my pretty towels.  I got them in my school colors, and I still use them.”  This takes a little time to get the towels and find someone to do the embroidery, but I know even my son loves his!

5. Overnight/gym bag– “I had a bag already, so this was great because I could dedicate one for the gym, and then I had one to pack real quick to go away for a weekend!”  Bags are great because they can always use them for extra storage in small dorm rooms or apartments as well.

6. Lap desk– “I never had one of these before, and I always wanted one.  I use it all the time although not always for studying.  I do my nails and even eat on it when we order food.

7. Water bottle– “I got 3 of these, and I use them all the time.  When one is dirty, I grab another!

8.  Toiletry bag– “I love that it lies flat, but then scoops up all of my stuff.  It’s great to grab for running to my friend’s for the night or a weekend trip.

9.  Pretty jewelry– “My grandma got me a pretty bracelet that said, ‘Love you to the moon and back’.  I wear it all the time.”  You can never go wrong with jewelry!

10.  Catch-all dish– “My sister got a great little dish for her room that is great for keys, glasses etc.  I wanted one, too, so I ordered one myself for my dresser.  I can’t wait to take it to college.

Graduation gift research done for you!

I hope my graduation gift guide helps with these next few weeks full of high school and college-ending events.  It’s an exciting time for our kids, and the graduation gifts on this list will give them a head start with their new life!

Good luck shopping, and let me know if you have any other good ideas.

P.S.  My son got the best little book for graduation, and I had to share the link with you all!  It’s called Assume the Worst The Graduation Speech You Will Never Hear by Carl Hiaason and illustrated by Roz Chast.  It is really great!  It cuts through to the heart of what kids really need to hear about life in a hilarious way, and the pics are great.  Grab one for your favorite graduate:)

Graduation gift guide

Your student should try Amazon for College Students!

Prime Student 6-month Trial

Other gift guides that I have written:  for teen guys and teen gals

Other helpful posts:

What Will Your Freshman Will Really Need in Their Dorm Room,

10 Tips For Making a Care Package for Your Teen

Have you read my book?  It helps with the whole process of college and life prep.  It really is applicable to all teens!  Here is a link to a blog post that goes with the book.  COLLEGE BOUND: THE ULTIMATE LIST OF CONVERSATIONS TO HELP YOUR TEEN THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL

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Graduation Gift Guide|

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  1. Great List! I luv these ideas. I’m going to use these for a few graduates I have this year!!


    • Hey Lisa! Hope all is well with you!! Glad you found it helpful!!

  2. Terrific list! This made me go back and ask my kids what were their favorite gifts. Gift cards to food places won out!!!

    • Yes, and money! They love to not spend their own…

  3. The gift cards are always winners. Guys can use them to take a girl out on a date and girls can go shopping!

    • Yes! Plus they are easy to find, buy and gift with for sure!

  4. Great list, although, I would argue for blurring line between the guy vs. gal list. I think my high school self would have favored some of the guy gifts. 😉

    • I agree about blurring the line. However, there are a couple of things that more girls would appreciate, and the opposite is true of other things. I did try to choose the items that graduates mentioned that would appeal to the most. There were a number of things that didn’t make this list!

      • Yep, everyone is different. And, I know about things missing! It is hard to dry that line as well!

    • Thank you! Hope you had a great celebration!


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