8 Gift Ideas for Graduating Seniors

‘Tis graduation season. Whether you have a child who is graduating from high school or you have extended family members or family friends graduating this year, you’ll likely want to celebrate their accomplishment by giving a graduation gift. If you can’t decide what to give, consider these gift ideas for graduating seniors.

8 Gift Ideas for Graduating Seniors

What you give depends on your relationship with the graduating senior and your financial situation.


All young adults welcome cash. If the teen is going to college, he can use the money for food, books, or other incidentals. If he’s moving out on his own, he can use the cash to help set up his living space.

As the gift giver, you determine how much to give. You might gift as little as $10 or as much as $100; the choice is yours.


One present that will always be useful is a nice piece of luggage. The graduate can use it to travel back and forth from college if she attends a school a few hours away. She can also use it for international or business travel ten or twenty years from now. Luggage is a gift that keeps giving for decades.

Laundry Basket Filled with Goods

Once a student moves out, he’ll have to do his laundry. Make this task easier for him by gifting him a laundry basket full of laundry essentials such as detergent, softener or wool dryer balls, and a roll of quarters. You may also want to include a stain-release pen for those hard-to-get-out spots.


If the graduate is going away to college, one gift she’ll likely be grateful for is a mini-fridge. She will be able to store food and drinks in the fridge, allowing her to have a bite to eat when the campus cafeteria is closed.

A mini-fridge is surprisingly affordable. One that holds four to six cans of soda is approximately $30 to $40, while larger ones that have several shelves and a small freezer compartment are $130 or more.


Just like luggage, a toolset is another gift that will last decades. Even if the graduate doesn’t like to tinker with things, he’ll need a toolset for basic repairs around the house. A small one that contains a hammer, a variety of screwdriver sizes and types, scissors, a tape measure, and a wrench can be had for as little as $20. The most expensive portable toolset is about $30, making this an economical, practical gift.

Monogrammed Towel and Bathroom Caddy

If the graduate will be living in a dorm, a bathroom caddy is essential. Fill the caddy with shower essentials such as soap, shampoo, a razor, and perhaps a loofah. If you’d like to do a bit more, consider adding a monogrammed towel set.

Gift Card to College Bookstore

Another idea is to give the graduate a gift card to their chosen college’s bookstore. She can use the gift card to buy books, supplies, or even spirit wear.

Cookbooks & Kitchen Essentials

Especially if the new graduate is moving out on his own, consider gifting a cookbook and kitchen essentials such as a spatula, ladle, good knives, and potholders. He can put these items to work immediately if he’s living in an apartment. Even if he’s going to college and living in a dorm, you could gift him a hot pad and a soup pan for making quick meals in the dorm.

Final Thoughts

If someone in your life is graduating from high school this year, know that for gifts, cash is always king. However, if you want to give something practical and enduring, you can’t go wrong with these suggestions to help the new graduate begin adult life.