22 High School Graduation Gifts That Are Fun and Practical (but Mostly Fun)

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Real Simple / Amelia Manley

New graduates, especially high school graduates, need a lot of gear to kick off their new away-from-home lives, regardless of whether they're heading to college or straight into the workforce.

Help the recent grad in your life get it together with practical yet creative presents that will help them put their best foot forward. Our list of the best high school graduation gifts for her and him go beyond your basic college care package, with plenty of items they'll enjoy and use (and, if you're lucky, brag to their new friends about).

Huggable Dog Cooling & Heating Pad

Heating pad

Urban Outfitters

When they're feeling under the weather, this cute and cozy guy can come to the rescue. Filled with rice and lavender, it can be frozen or microwaved to provide cool or warm comfort as needed.

Parachute Cloud Cotton Robe

Parachute Cloud Cotton Robe


Make lounging around their room or heading to the dorm showers feel a little more spa-like with this ultra soft and comfy Turkish cotton robe. Its gauzy feel isn't too stifling for use during the summer months, and it has two hidden side pockets perfect for stowing their toothbrush or other essentials for a quick bathroom visit. And bonus? It's a unisex style that works for every high school graduate you're gifting this year.

3Stone Video Projector



They won't have to lug a flat screen into their apartment or dorm to catch their favorite binge. This tiny projector will cast their favorite movie (or even a group project) onto a blank wall (or an extra twin XL sheet!), and has built-in speakers for an all-in-one solution.

Pottery Barn Adjustable Super Storage Lapdesk

Adjustable Lap Desk

Pottery Barn

Help them get comfy when they're studying (or just catching up on their latest binge-watch) with this lap desk, which has plenty of space inside to hold pens and study tools (or snacks), plus an adjustable lid that'll hold their book or tablet at the perfect angle for viewing.

Minnetonka Olivia Slipper

Minnetonka moccasin


Make trips to the dorm bathroom (or just lounging around their apartment) comfy with fluffy spa slippers. The rubber sole helps keep them clean (even if they take a quick trip outdoors), and the fuzzy footbed features a contoured, memory foam insole that hugs their feet.

OXO Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker

OXO BREW Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker


For the budding coffee connoisseur, this kit makes the perfect coffee (or tea) cold brew to power them through whatever the day brings—and one brew cycle can produce enough concentrate to get them through a busy week.

Brain Food Chopstick Bowl

Brain Food Chopstick


Ramen and Chinese takeout are practically an entire food group for those newly on their own (and newly trying to test out their fledgling cooking skills). Gift them a perfect bowl that encourages them to use their noodle when they're pulling an all-nighter.

Twinkly Flex Light String

Flex Lights

Home Depot

String lights are a nearly ubiquitous part of college decor. But you can give them a major upgrade from the standard white twinkles—this sleek band of light can be twisted into fun shapes, then programmed into thousands of colors and animated effects to match their room decor.

Dormify Hope Collapsible Storage Ottoman Chair

Collapsible Ottoman


In a tiny dorm or studio apartment, every inch of space matters. This clever chair features ample storage in the seat for nine pairs of shoes (or whatever else they want to hide away), and it collapses nicely to squeeze into a car for packing.

Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones


Noisy dorms or open office spaces can make it difficult to focus—so your grad will be grateful for these top-rated headphones, which can cancel out background noise with silence or their favorite study music. (They can also be set to keep them in tune with their surroundings, if needed.)

Pastel Green Wall Collage - 40 physical prints

Etsy Wall Prints


The old "posters of your favorite band" aesthetic doesn't quite cut it anymore for dorm or apartment decor. Cool collage kits of vintage prints make for a soothing, Insta-worthy backdrop for their post-graduation adventures.

A smart display can be a go-to assistant for a newly minted adult. They can track their calendar and to-dos, check weather and commute times, set alarms, play music or videos, and even show off their favorite pics from their Google Photos account. Pair it with a smart bulb so they can turn off the lights without getting out of bed.




For their post-graduation or gap year adventures, this super-light and super-sturdy backpack will be their essential travel companion. It features heavy-duty compression straps to keep everything in its place (and help it shrink up in size when they aren't carrying a full load); a padded, lockable slot for laptops and other valuables; and stowaway straps to help avoid damage if they need to check it on a flight.

Stuff gets lost. And stuff seems to get lost quite a lot for those newly out on their own. Help your recent high school graduate keep track of their possessions with these small trackers, which stick easily to keys, backpacks, and more and link to Apple's Find My network for easy finding.

Help them handle every at-home task with this handy tool kit equipped with all of the right gadgets for the job—from hammers and tape measures to pliers and screwdrivers.

Letters to My Future Self

Letters to My Future Self

Uncommon Goods

Take the sentimental route with this high school graduation present. Encourage them to write letters for the future all at once or throughout their first year at college or in the real world; when they read them in a few years, the letters will serve as a time capsule for this exciting new stage in their life.

Food52 Five Two Silicone Straws

Five Two Silicone Straws

Courtesy of Food52

Encourage their sustainable leanings with this colorful, reusable silicone straw set, which includes 10 straws, four travel cases, and even some cleaning squeegees—plenty of extras in case they lose a few straws along the way.

Drybar The Double Shot Blow-Dryer Brush

drybar the double shot hot air brush


College is both a time of messy buns and sloppy ponytails and polished, groomed locks, depending on the occasion (and the day of the week). Help them out a bit with this clever blow-drying brush, which dries and smooths hair at the same time, helping them save time in the morning or before an evening out with friends.

Casper Glow Light

Casper Glow Light

Bed Bath & Beyond

For the grad who fully embraces the snooze button, this innovative bedside lamp from the sleep experts at Casper is a serious game-changer. Glow is a gradually dimming light that helps you wind down before bed, plus it syncs up to the Casper Glow app, a handy program that schedules morning wake-ups.

The Real Simple Guide to Real Life: Adulthood Made Easy

Guide to Real Life


When it comes to being a proper adult, Real Simple has you covered, thanks to our tell-all guide that tackles tricky obstacles like apartment hunting and negotiating one's salary. Gift any grad with the guide and rest easy knowing they'll reach for it during tough-to-navigate times.

Mark & Graham Commute Clutch

Mark & Graham Commute Clutch

Mark & Graham

Help her keep track of her goods on the go with this handy leather clutch. Available in nine versatile colors, each accessory boasts enough space for a phone, keys, cards, cash, and chargers, making morning commutes a breeze.

Maya Brenner States Pendant

State Necklace

Maya Brenner

Do your part to kick any feelings of homesickness before they ever set in. This pendant, available in sterling silver or gold and multiple lengths, keeps her home state (quite literally) close to her heart. For an extra-special gift, add a diamond to pinpoint her hometown.

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