Graduating from high school is a pretty big deal. It marks leaving childhood behind and entering the real world. Unfortunately, the Class of 2021 is graduating under a bit of a cloud, as young people have faced a lot of challenges recently. Many schools have had a combination of in-person and remote classes due to the coronavirus. Even schools that stayed in session have been forced to cancel school events such as prom, robbing teens of the chance to celebrate important rites of passage with friends and family. On top of all that, kids face an uncertain future and a world in turmoil as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.
For all these reasons, finding the perfect high school graduation gift is more important than ever right now. You may think you have to spend hundreds of dollars to find gifts that teens will like, but some of the best gifts for teens aren’t that expensive. Some of our favorite gift ideas for high school grads cost as little as $20.
To help the newly minted high school grads in your life get a head start on adulting, give them one of the best high school graduation gifts. Of course, cash is always a welcome option, but it’s nice to celebrate what they accomplished over the last four years — and what’s to come — with something more personal. Whether they’re heading off to college or starting their first big job, these gift ideas will help carry them through the next chapter of their life.
Show them how much you care with one of the best high school graduation gifts.
Kodak Printomatic Instant Camera
We love this mini instant camera from Kodak, and teens are sure to love it to. The best gifts for high school graduation aren’t left behind when teens finally leave the house, but go with them as the move into the world. This Kodak camera instantly prints on 2″x3″ photos with a sticky back, perfect for creating photo walls.
Woods Mammoth Camping Chair
It’s inevitable that every young person will at some point this summer find themselves sitting around a campfire. And there’s no better way to take a seat than in the reasonable priced $80 Mammoth Camping Chair, an oversized-yet-foldable camp chair with comfortable padding and a drink holder.
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels
Traveling is still dicey these days, to say the least, but one day your grad will be able to take a trip to celebrate earning their diploma. That’s what makes a sturdy carry-on suitcase that will literally go the distance a great high school graduation gift. It’s practical and optimistic, giving them the promise of upcoming adventures. Available in a range of colors, this has everything your future jetsetter needs: multi-directional spinner wins for easy maneuverability, a TSA-approved carry-on size, a 10-year warranty, a tough polycarbonate shell that’s scratch-resistant and TSA-approved locks.
Now Hotter by One Degree Wine Glass
When you can’t raise a glass to your grad in person, send this funny wine glass instead, along with a bottle of bubbly or vino, to say congratulations. The stemless glass reads “now hotter by one degree.” It’ll be a fun reminder of all they accomplished by making it to graduation in 2021, one of the craziest years on record.
Michael Kors Slim Leather Card Case Wallet
A sleek, sophisticated card case is just the thing to send them off into adulthood, making it a great high school graduation gift. This unisex leather card case by Michael Kors also doubles as a wallet. They can use it to store the essentials, like credit cards and cash, along with their very first set of business cards.
Now that they’re entering the real world and getting their own place, that means they’ll actually have to cook for themselves. Having an Instant Pot will be a big help, since the magical multitasker will allow them to make a range of dishes. The incredibly popular seven-in-one device works as an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker and warmer. It’s an essential they’ll need for their new kitchen, so it’s a great practical high school graduation gift.
Plants for Pets Succulent Plants (5 Pack)
Speaking of sprucing up their own space, plants will help them do just that. Greenery is a fun way to brighten their home and literally bring some life into it. Since succulents are low maintenance, they’re the perfect option for new grads. This set comes with five succulents that are fully rooted in their pots, so they don’t require a green thumb.
Hot Sox Conversation Starter Novelty Casual Crew Socks
No matter the occasion, everyone loves a fun pair of novelty socks. That’s what makes these the perfect little something for a high school graduation gift. Plus, they’re comfy, delivering happy feet on every level.
Amazon Fire 7 Tablet
After a year of virtual learning, your high school grad has probably seen enough screens for a lifetime. But the reality is a tablet is a handy thing to have, especially if they’re headed to college next year. They’re much lighter and easier to lug around campus than a laptop. With its 7″ display, 16 or 32 GB of internal storage, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, dual-band WiFi, 1 GB of RAM and two front and rear-facing cameras with 720p HD video recording, it has everything they need to ace their 101 classes. And it’s not just strictly for school, since it comes with a hands-free version of Alexa and is ideal for watching videos and listening to music.
Landmass Scratch Off Map Of The World
A great high school graduation gift for the class of 2021 is something that gets them outside, away from their desks and enjoying life. Like we said, travel is still iffy, but this fun scratch off map of the world is a fun way to remind them that the world is their oyster — and soon they’ll be able to explore a lot more of it. The black and gold scratch off world map poster reveals pops of color after they mark their latest destination. Impressively detailed, it features 210 flags of the world, state outlines for Australia, Canada, and the US and island outlines.
Mellanni Bed Sheet Set
For kids who are off to college in the fall, one of the most useful high school graduation gifts is a set of twin extra-long sheets for their dorm room. The gift of a good night’s rest is a gift that keeps on giving. Made from soft brushed microfiber to keep them comfy, the set comes with one flat sheet, one fitted sheet and a pillowcase. Since the fabric is hypoallergenic and resistant to stains, wrinkles and fading, it’s one thing that will keep their dorm room looking tidy, which is a major plus. Available in a range of colors and patterns, you can pick the set that best suits your grad.
Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack
New school, new backpack. It’s a must if your grad is heading off to college. And this one by Herschel Supply Co. is a modern classic. Simple but not boring, the unisex staple has everything they need: A padded and fleece-lined laptop sleeve that holds computers up to 15”, a media pocket with a headphone port, a key clip inside the front pocket, magnetic closures for easy access and padded shoulder straps for comfort. It’s plenty spacious, so they can pack in everything they need for class and beyond.
Bodum Chambord French Press
Coffee addictions are born in college. When late night study sessions call for caffeine, this French press is the answer to brewing a cup or two in their dorm room. The plug-free maker is dorm rules approved! It only takes four minutes — along with ground coffee and hot water — to make a cup of Joe. Designed to deliver maximum flavor, the stainless steel and BPA plastic free carafe is built to last.
Homeweeks Essential Oil Diffuser
It’s no secret that dorm rooms can often come with a funky smell. Since candles aren’t an option, fix that funk with an essential oil diffuser. This one is quite the multitasker. In addition to being a diffuser, it also works as a humidifier and nightlight. With safety first in mind, it automatically shuts off once the water or oil level becomes too low or after the time is up.
COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
Trying to study in a noisy dorm or coffee shop is pretty much impossible — unless you have a great pair of noise cancelling headphones. Drown out the din wherever you are with this pair that boasts professional level active noise canceling technology in both wire and wireless mode. These entry-level headphones deliver high quality sound, including a deep bass, have a top-notch built-in microphone and provide 30 hours of play time per charge in Bluetooth mode.
The Original Popco Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper
Finding good snacks in a dorm can be tough. That’s where this popcorn maker comes in handy — and pops practically every last kernel because it spreads the heat evenly. The all-in-one features a lid, built-in handles and turns into a bowl. You can add salt, flavorings and oil to personalize your popcorn. It holds up to 15 cups, making you the most popular person on your floor.
Oaskys Twin XL Mattress Pad Cover Cotton
Dorm beds aren’t exactly the stuff that dreams are made of, not to mention they can be pretty icky. A good mattress pad can make all the difference. This one is made in breathable cotton to keep you cool and comfy. The quilted design offers more support, plus it’s machine washable.
Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker
Though this speaker is small, its sound is impressively big. It features crisp stereo sound with deep bass and no distortion, and the battery lasts for a whopping 24 hours. The Bluetooth connection is strong enough to connect up to 66 feet. Since it’s petite and lightweight, it’s ideal for on-the-go and has a drop-proof build in case things get a little crazy.
Magnolian Led Photo Clip Remote String Lights
They may not want to admit it, but there’s a good chance they’ll get homesick when they head off to college. Let them bring some mementos of home with these fun string lights that will literally light up any dorm room. Spread along a little over seven feet, there are 20 clip lights that attach to photos or small items, giving a warm glow over each one. The innovative way to display pictures is the perfect homey addition to any dorm room. It’s powered by three AA batteries (not included) and comes with a remote.
Power Bank Portable Charger
Whether your high school grad is off to college or work, everyone in life has a lot of devices that require charging. Ensure their favorite gadgets never die with an on-the-go power bank. This heavy duty cportable harger features 26800mAh capacity yet only weighs14.4 ounces. It has two USB ports that can charge two devices at the same time, with two input options: USB Micro and USB C. Best of all, the LCD screen tells you the percentage of battery left so you know exactly when to charge it.
adidas Men’s Adilette Shower Sandal
Dorm showers can be a questionable place. Keep tootsies safe from athlete’s foot in style in these classic adidas shower sandals. And even if your high school grad isn’t headed away for school, these sandals are equally handy for the gym. They come in plenty of color options and the rubber sole will save them from slipping on wet floors.