Tag Archives: High School Graduation Gift IDeas

High School Graduation Gift Ideas for DC (or, Really, Anywhere) Teens


This post was inspired by recent experience — both my own search for graduation gifts for Owen and family friends, as well as by some of the fun and thoughtful gifts he received.  I wish I had thought to do this post a little sooner, because we’re already in the thick of graduation season.  But if you’re still looking for gift ideas for graduates, here is some inspiration.  These would also make great going away gifts before they leave for college…


DC Flag Pillowcase
How great is this DC flag pillowcase for a local graduate?  Owen received this from friends with a sweet note that it will remind him of home and add to his dorm room decor — and show some hometown pride.  And if the graduate isn’t a DC kid, just do a search for a pillowcase from their state.



Pet Pillow 
If you have a beloved pet at home, this is perfect for a grad who will miss their furry family member when they head off to college. (We got Owen the above Teddy version to bring with him.) Since this one takes a bit longer to ship, it can be a going away gift.  Even better, you can sneak it into their stuff, so it’s a surprise when they unpack at school.




Abstract Name Necklace
These pretty name necklaces make fabulous gifts for grads who like unique jewelry.  [Side story:  I recommended them as Mother’s Day gifts a little while back, my mom saw it, and actually gifted them to Sasha and me… so I can attest that they are lovely IRL.]




College Embossed Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener
This is another gift Owen received from family friends.  Not condoning underage drinking, of course, but it’s very clever and very college — something fun to hang on the wall.  Plus, soft drinks come in bottles, too!




Fun (But Practical) Book

A friend told me about this book, and we’ve gifted it to other friends getting ready to go to college.  It has good and sometimes funny advice about everything from what to expect in the dorms to the social scene to managing classwork to finding grants and loans. This book also looks like a good one for a kid about to leave home.




Inspirational Book
Of course, if you’re gifting a book to a grad, it doesn’t have to be about college.  It’s a perfect occasion to give an inspirational, or enlightening, book to them.  Something with a good “life lesson,” a topic related to what they’ll be studying in school, a read that suits their interests, a memoir by someone they admire, or simply a great novel would make an excellent graduation present.



Adventure Archive Box
I gifted these to friends who will be going on a traveling adventure with Owen this summer.  They can save mementos from the experience, as well as future ones, and hang them up in their dorm rooms to remind them of good times with friends from home and add some decor to the walls.  It’s not very expensive, so you can add a gift card, too — even put it in the box for a nice surprise.



Travel Accessories
If the grad has big travel plans coming up — or even if they don’t, chances are they will be doing some at some point — gear for their trip(s) is a thoughtful and practical gift.  Some ideas:
* A set of packing cubes to help keep clothes organized.
*microfiber towel for both showers and swims.
*passport pouch that hangs around their neck to keep it close and safe (stuff a gift card in there, too).
* A travel accessories organizer that you can even include with a power converter, phone charger, and even some fun items.
* A toiletry bag or jewelry organizer would come in handy, too.



Whether or not they already journal regularly, you can’t go wrong with the gift of one. The beginning of a new chapter of life is a good time to start writing about all of it. Or they can just use it to jot down notes, reminders, or do some doodling.




Photo Book
Go old school and put together an actual photo album of images. If it’s your child, make a collection of family memories. If it’s a longtime friend of your kid, tell the story of their friendship through pictures.



Duffle Bag/Backpack
From trips between home and school to bigger travel they might have on the horizon, grads are going to need luggage to transport their stuff. A large duffle bag that can convert to a backpack is ideal.  This one also has lots of great reviews. And this is always a solid brand.



Concert or Sports Tickets
You have to know the grad pretty well for this one, or at least know their favorite music and sports teams — and maybe an idea of their upcoming schedule.  If you do, and timing works, tickets to see their favorite music artist in concert or sports team in action would be rad.  Even better if you can make it work in their new college town.



Book of Gift Cards
I randomly came across this idea on Instagram and thought it was so clever.  Just buy a small photo album like this, and fill it with notes and gift cards that they can use in their new college town.  Look up eateries and stores that will be nearby their campus, and include Amazon and Visa/Mastercard gift cards to use online/anywhere.  Owen loved the one we gave him.



T-Shirt Quilt
If, like me, you’ve been saving special pieces of your kids’ wardrobes — sports jerseys, school and camp t-shirts, and other favorite T’s — over the years, this gift is why. Project Repat will take all those shirts and make a quilt from them.  What a great way to capture pieces (literally) of their life in one cozy way that they can bring with them to college.  Here is another company that makes them, and this one, too.


Do you have a good idea for a graduation gift?  Feel free to share in the comments!


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