10 gifts for high school graduates

Get your graduate a book, such as "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Suess.

Get your graduate a book, such as “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss.

And just like that, your baby is graduating from high school and leaving the nest. How time flies! What can you give them to make them feel special on their big day? Caps off to these great ideas.

1. Shadow boxes

Feeling sentimental in all directions? Shadow boxes can harness your nostalgic energy and funnel it into a memorable gift. Gather up momentos from your graduate’s school days and arrange it in an attractive display.

2. Books

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go” is a classic choice. Dress it up with handwritten messages on the inside cover from your graduate’s favorite teachers past.

3. Dorm decor

The possibilities are endless — bedding, posters, desk accessories, storage bins, hangers …

4. Luggage

Yes, they may roll their eyes and wish it were an iPad, but a nice set of luggage goes a long way, literally. Sweeten the pot with a celebratory trip to go with it.

5. Journals

There’s nothing like the good old glory days of college … if memory serves you correctly, that is. Give your graduate a line-a-day journal so they can record the experience in a manageable way.

6. Bikes

Or mopeds? Maybe a car if you’re feeling generous or a long board if you’re feeling bold. Get your graduate a way to get around.

7. Electronics

In this day and age, there’s sure to be some electronic product your graduate can’t live without. Do they need a laptop for college? Or a tablet? How about a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones for their rowdy dorm days?

8. Going to college kits

Fill a laundry basket with essentials for your graduate’s new life of independence — laundry detergent, gas cards, air fresheners, first aid supplies and snacks. Lots and lots of snacks.

9. Straight-up cash

The reality is, they’ll need it. Roll up bills into a fun pattern or stuff them into a cute container. Or you could open an investment account in their name, giving them the gift of a life lesson about smart savings.

10. Love

They’ve come a long way and hit a big milestone. Take a moment to say — or better yet, write — a few words about what they mean to you. Tell them you’re proud. Tell them you’re grateful. Tell them you’re excited for all that’s in store.


Samantha Strong Murphey is a lover of greenery, glitter and goat cheese, an advocate of media literacy, human rights and karaoke for all. She earned bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University and is a former writer and editor at Utah Valley Magazine. Now, she works as a full-time freelance writer and blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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