The 9 Best High School Graduation Gifts to Buy in 2018

Mark the special occasion with presents they'll treasure for years to come

African American family celebrating graduation with cake on deck
Hero Images / Getty Images

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Graduating from high school is a huge accomplishment — and it marks the start of adulthood. Finally, after all those late-night study sessions, carpools and endless hours of homework your grad got their diploma. Celebrate such a special occasion by getting them a high school graduation gift that is tailored to their needs and hobbies. Regardless of whether your new grad is taking a gap year to travel, starting a new job or heading off to college, one of these gifts is sure to make an impact during this special time in life. And don't forget to pat yourself on the back for helping them get here. 



  • 01 of 09

    Best Book: Goodnight Dorm Room

    Heading off to college is a huge adjustment for most 18-year-olds. They’re away from Mom and Dad (something they’re probably looking forward to!) and they suddenly have to share a room with a complete stranger. They’ll have to manage their own schedule, feed themselves and actually do their own laundry for once. This book helps them get through it all with a little light-hearted advice. It tells them what to pack, how to make friends and how to have fun and learn at the same time. Don’t expect a full-blown manual: This book is meant to be a fun read — it rhymes! — that makes your new grad laugh.

  • 02 of 09

    Best for Food Lovers: Instant Pot Duo Mini

    Becoming an adult means you need to learn how to cook, but it doesn’t mean you need to jump into the culinary world at full force. The Instant Pot introduces new home cooks to an easier way of preparing dinner. This tiny machine can sauté, pressure cook, slow cook, steam, cook rice and even make yogurt. The three-quart container is the perfect size if you live alone and want to cook only for yourself. Plus, new cooks just need to flip through the manual to find the right setting for their food. The Instant Pot even comes with a recipe book to make food prep extra easy.

  • 03 of 09

    Best for Music Buffs: Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker

    Being young means you can blast your music without a care in the world, and this Bluetooth speaker lets a music-loving grad do that from anywhere. It can connect to a device from up to 66 feet away and lasts up to 24 hours on a single charge. Even though it’s so small, the speaker has crystal-clear sound (with great bass, too). It’s lightweight enough for travel but also features a solid, drop-proof design. Your grad will love taking it camping, to the beach or to a friend’s house.

  • 04 of 09

    Best for Amateur Photographers: AMIR Camera Lens Kit

    If you know someone who’s a budding photographer but doesn’t have the budget for a fancy camera, get them this phone lens set. It comes with three different lenses that can clip right over the built-in camera on a smartphone. Each lens has a different purpose: The 0.4x Super Wide Angle Lens helps you capture an entire room or group of people in one shot. The 10x Macro Lens is great for extreme close-up photography that captures the small details of an object. And the 180-degree Fisheye Lens is perfect for travel photography because it captures a panoramic view to create stunning rounded images

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Best for Travelers: Sole Society Lacie Faux Leather Duffel Bag

    'Lacie' Faux Leather Duffel Bag SOLE SOCIETY
    Courtesy of Nordstrom

    The end of high school can mean the start of a summer full of travel. Gift this faux-leather duffel bag to start off your grad’s jet-setter life in style. The bag is roomy enough to pack at least a weekend’s worth of clothes — if not a week. The interior has a few smaller pockets for important items like a passport or wallet and the comfy shoulder strap means this bag is never hard to lug around on an adventure.

    What is great about this bag is it will work for males and females and will work well beyond on college into full-fledged adulthood. 

  • 06 of 09

    Best from Parents: Personal Safety Smart Tag and Alarm

    Personal Safety Smart Tag and Alarm
    Courtesy of Uncommon Goods

    Gifting your kid a personal safety alarm might make you seem like a helicopter parent, but living on your own can be scary. Your recent grad might roll their eyes when they unwrap a safety device among their other gifts, but they’ll be thanking you later when they go on an early-morning run or walk home late at night. The tag is very unassuming: It simply clips onto a bag or a belt. The wearer can press a button to notify a network of friends that they feel unsafe or set off an alarm to scare away anyone that’s following them.

  • 07 of 09

    Best from Grandparents: Glerups Slipper

    The Danish concept of “hygge” (pronounced hoo-ga) is everywhere these days. Hygge represents the idea of cozy contentment and meaning in life’s everyday moments. To you, that could mean sharing laughs with friends or curling up with a good book. Grandparents typically opt for cozy gifts anyway — like sweaters — but they can change up the routine by offering the spirit of hygge through these highly rated slippers. They’re known for keeping your feet warm and insulated while still letting them breathe.

    Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best slippers

  • 08 of 09

    Best for Gamers: Nintendo Switch

    Right now, everyone wants a Nintendo Switch. It’s the hot ticket in the gaming world. And after passing their finals and surviving the past four years of high school, the gamer in your life might just want to veg out and play some Zelda. The Switch can make that happen. There will be plenty of time to impart your wisdom about adulting. For now, let this new high school grad bask in the accomplishment of a high school diploma through hours of gaming with their friends.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Best Décor: Color Changing Cinema Lightbox

    Color Changing Cinema Lightbox
    Courtesy of Uncommon Goods

    Whether your high school grad is about to decorate a dorm room or move into a new apartment, they’re going to need some cool stuff to liven up their space. Get them this retro lightbox as a colorful conversation starter. They can use it to celebrate holidays or get really creative with their weekly grocery list — they won’t forget to “BUY MILK” after seeing it lit up like that. It’s a high school graduation gift that celebrates the fun part of growing up and shows that you don’t have to become too serious just because you’re an adult now.