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

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Huggable Dog Cooling & Heating Pad

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

Beige plushie dog heating and cooling 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

Dusk blue cotton robe with a tie
Parachute Home

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 Mini Projector

3Stone Mini Projector with Remote

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.

Adjustable Super Storage Lap Desk

Pale blue tie dyed lap desk with a white top
PB Teen

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

Cream-Colored Fuzzy Slide 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.

360 Electrical PowerCurve Mini 3.4 Surge Protector

Mini Surge Protector with two regular plugs, two USB outlets.
Container Store

Plug space may be in short supply in their apartment or dorm—so maximize every inch with this petite power strip, which lets you plug two regular plugs plus two USB charges into a single outlet—and protects those precious electronics from electrical surges.

OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Cold Brew Coffee Maker With Carafe

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

White Ramen Bowl with Chopsticks that says Brain Food
Lenny Mud

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.

Polaroid Now+ Instant Camera

Polaroid Now+ Instant Camera with five colorful lenses and a case
Urban Outfitters

Gear them up for a good time chronicling the high school party scene and their first tastes of adult life with this fresh upgrade of the classic Polaroid camera. It includes a lot of features to create the coolest shots, including auto focus, double exposure and self-timers—along with an array of lens filters to make the image even more vibrant.

Madewell (Re)Sourced Laptop Case

Mint Green padded laptop case

They'll be carting their laptop everywhere for the next few years—help protect that college essential from damage with this sleek laptop case that'll cushion it from impacts, and have a lighter impact on the planet too. The sleeve is made from 50 percent recycled plastics that would otherwise end up in the landfill.

Twinkly Flex Light String

Twinkly Flex Lights

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.

Collapsible Storage Ottoman Chair

Gray Chair With in-Seat Storage

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 Noise-Canceling Headphones

Bose Black Wireless 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 Kit

Vintage prints of sayings and illustrations arranged on a wall
Jess Collages/Etsy

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.

Google Nest Hub

Google Nest Hub
Best Buy

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.

Osprey Farpoint Travel Pack Carry On

Red Travel Backpack

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.

Apple Airtag

Apple AirTag

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.

Stanley Home Tool Kit

Home Tool Kit
Home Depot

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

High school graduation gifts - Letters to my future self kit

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.

Bedside Essentials Pocket

High school graduation gifts - bedside pocket

If their new, post-grad digs lack a nightstand—or they just have too many literary interests for one nightstand to hold—this sleek pocket makes a great high school graduation gift. They can slip the pouch into their bedframe to keep everything handy, whether that's notebooks or video game controllers.

Holly & Tanager Pro Backpack Tote

Navy blue backpack tote
Holly and Tanager

This sleek ecofriendly bag, crafted from recycled nylon, can be reconfigured to be used as a backpack, crossbody bag, or tote, depending on their mood—and has plenty of pockets to help them keep their phone, laptop, and other gear handy.

Five Two Silicone Straws

High school graduation gifts - Food52 Five Two Silicone reusable straws

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 DoubleShot Blow-Dryer 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 Lamp

casper glow lamp

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

The Real Simple 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

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

Maya Brenner States Pendant

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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