Great graduation gift ideas – creative ways to say congrats to your grad

So cash may be still be king when it comes to what high school grads want to see when they open their graduation cards, but if you’re interested in a spark of creativity or trying to personalize your gifts here are some fun suggestions.

HELPING THEM STAY CONNECTED – Students are constantly connected electronically, so most anything that will make that make that connection easier and more convenient will be appreciated.

Amazon Prime Membership ($99, Amazon). This could likely be every student’s favorite gift. I think it’s worth it for the free delivery alone, but giving often cash-poor kids access to free movies, music, and discounts like $10 off your first Amazon restaurant order is truly a gift that keeps on giving. To make it extra special, you can order it in a gift box, and include a small gift card with it.

Mophie Juice Pack Reserve – this is an iPhone and iPod charger that students can carry on their key chains. It can be used when they run into a situation where they find themselves with a low-battery and  a must-have app download or photo that can’t wait. $59.95,

A Jackery Portable Charger($29.99, Amazon)  For under 30 bucks, it’s a fabulous gift and every time they run out of juice on their phone or tablet, they will think of you saving the day.

Here’s a list of practical tech gifts of all kinds should inspire great high school graduation gift ideas.

Bedphones – One of the toughest adjustments for most freshmen is adapting to a roommate’s sleeping/working/partying schedule. The Bedphones are earphones that are designed for sleeping with foam covered speakers that lie flat against your ears. There’s even a free app with the product that turns the music off when they fall asleep.

Card iPhone Cases – What else does  a student need besides their phone, their student ID and a credit or debit card? Not much, just a convenient, good-looking place to keep their lives together. They’re everywhere, just google “card iphone cases.”


Removable Wallpaper – What a great way for students to personalize their rooms with a cool variety of fun design choices. Absolutely, positively check with your RA (Resident Assistant) before papering your walls. $50. Check out for checklists and great ideas.

Travel HoodiePillow – Featured on popular ABC reality show Shark Tank, this hooded pillow case is a soft sweatshirt material that covers a pillow insert which deflates. $19.95,


Create your own “Off to college” survival kits – These are a great idea if you are industrious, frugal and have multiple gifts to purchase. Some items you might include:

  • Keeping them clean – put together a laundry basket with the supplies they’ll need to do their own laundry; soap, a roll of quarters, stain remover, fabric softener, etc.
  • Satisfying their snack urges – design your own basket filled with their favorite candies, snacks, and gift cards to their favorite coffee shops and restaurants.
  • Keeping them healthy — purchase a hot pot for cooking their favorite cereal, soups, snacks, hot cocoa, etc. Personalize it even more by adding a hand-compiled recipe book of simple things they can make with limited kitchen resources.
  • Keeping them safe First Aid Kit. You can buy one ready made or put together a kit yourself.  Include bandages, anti-bacterial cleansing wipes, Advil, Neosporin, Benedryl, matches, tape, gauze, scissors.
  • Fixing them up – A tool kit – Get them a basic tool kit that includes a hammer and screwdriver, or find a kit with a little of everything.  There is even a pink one for girls.
  • Homesick Candles – large glass scented candle with a label displaying a student’s home state. $30.00,
  • Quarantined Graduation Gift Box-  Check out for creative Grad Gift Boxes-t. $28.00

Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to:;