High School Graduation Gift Guide: Score an A+ With Jewelry, College Basics, Travel Needs & More

Grab these graduation gifts for high schoolers before school's out for the summer. Trust us, they're better than just an envelope of cash.

By Sophy Ziss Jun 15, 2023 3:32 PMTags
High School Grad Gifts

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School's out for the summer! School's out...forever? Well, it can certainly feel that way for the class of 2023, newly minted high school graduates that were born when I think I was in 9th grade.

But this isn't about me. It's about you, and them, and celebrating their many accomplishments. What to get for the cool Gen Z with hand motions you don't totally understand, hair choices that don't make sense, and fashion you personally would have avoided back in the day?

I have a few ideas.

Maybe your fave is doing the whole travel-across-the-world thing. Maybe they've got a job or internship with a start date all lined up. Maybe they're already going College Mode. Whatever their dreams, goals, and plans are, there's a little treat to suit them. 

Break out the old-school-but-cool-again Polaroid cameras and sparkling cider, because these are the best gifts for 2023 high school graduates. Cheers!

College Graduation Gift Guide: 17 Must-Have Presents for Every Kind of Post-Grad Plan

Kahmune Tote Bag

Crafted from 100% Italian leather, this minimalist tote is functional and versatile. A new grad will be able to take it on job interviews, college interviews, and way more exciting events, too.

Got Bag Passport Cover

For those with post-grad travel plans: A sleek, understated passport cover that communicates "I'm excited for you, but please be responsible!"

Jill & Ally Love You, Mean It - Rose Quartz Crystal Manifestation Candle

Real rose quartz crystals — associated with love and abundance — are embedded in this manifestation candle. As your fave new diploma-haver burns it, they'll enjoy the good vibes, plus be able to use the crystals long after the wax has melted.

Bearaby Cotton Napper

Big life changes can prove challenging. This breathable weighted blanket, designed to help reduce anxiety and promote calm (per Bearaby), is an ideal gift for someone with exciting plans on the horizon.

Corkcicle Cold Cup

"The Corkcicle Cold Cup features our signature triple insulation, a ceramic-coated straw, and a sleek cup holder-friendly design," writes the brand, adding that "it's ideal way to sip in style no matter where thirst strikes." Think summer poolside moments, fitness classes, or early-morning coffee runs in college this fall.

Christmas Central 10 Count Clear LED Twinkle Star Icicle Lights, 10.25 ft White Wire

Twinkly lights are a mainstay of college dorms. Gift someone these and watch them light up (get it?) with gratitude and joy. BTW, the name says Christmas, but they aren't specifically holiday-themed.

invisaWear Flower Keychain

This keychain serves the triple purpose of being useful, on-trend, and able to alert select friends and family in case of an emergency when set up with its paired app. It's an item that while someone will ideally never need to use, it'll make both of you feel better to know that it can always be on hand.

Sacheu Beauty Heavy Metal Kit

Give the gift of self-care with this Sacheu Beauty kit. It includes all of their stainless steel faves (think facial rollers and gua sha tools), as well as a coordinating stand to store and display them on.

Microsuede Bedrest Reading Pillow

Super-soft and ready for anything, this rose-hued pillow is great for offering back support literally (and emotional support figuratively) for the person whom you suspect will do most of their reading/studying/TikTok scrolling from bed.

Katie Dean Jewelry Crystal Chain Bracelet

Balancing traditional, understated style with total fabulousness, this twinkling bracelet will likely earn you a new gift-giving high score.

Candier Congrats Candle

Festive and celebratory, this Candier candle quite literally says it all.

Miko Essential Oil Air Purifier

Miko's essential oil air purifier combines the brand's signature three-stage filtration process with the aromatherapeutic properties of an essential oil diffuser. So you can trick someone into improving the health of their surroundings, basically, while still enjoying themselves.

Yellowpop Big Big Heart - LED Neon Sign

I can't guarantee that a college dorm will allow this in it, but it's too cute (and meaningful!) not to suggest as a gift for an accomplished someone that you love.

Joey Baby Mathilde Necklace

Joey Baby's mod twist on a classic grad gift — a strand of wear-everywhere pearls — will be appreciated for years to come. In a cool way.

Paravel Fold-Up Bag

This "roomy, feather-light duffle that folds down and zips completely flat for storage or travel," says Paravel, is "the perfect extra bag." The brand's suggested uses include an everyday gym bag, slid over the handles of wheeled luggage as a personal item, or packed within another bag for an additional one whenever your fave new high school grad may need it.

While you're shopping, don't miss these absolutely essential Katy Perry shoes for summer.

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