20 High School Graduation Gifts For 2016 That Will Actually Come In Handy
High school graduation is a Big Deal — it's the end of one chapter and the beginning of a whole new, exciting one. It's only fitting to celebrate the person going through it with some meaningful high school graduation gifts. The only problem? It can be hard to figure out what to buy a graduating high school senior who needs so much stuff that it's actually a little overwhelming. But whether you're buying something for a friend, a sibling, or another family member, I've put together some ideas for high school graduation gifts that are sentimental without being over the top, and are also (mostly) useful.
These gift ideas will work for students who are looking forward to packing up and moving into dorm rooms, seniors who are going to commute to school, and even those who are taking some time away from grades and teachers. These are ideal for those friends and family members you like as more than just an acquaintance, but at the same time, you don't know them well enough to drop a lot of money or get something super sappy. They're cute, functional, and sweet. Because, hey, why buy some boring "congratulations" balloons when you could give them something they're going to love and get a lot of use out of? Check out these 20 high school graduation gifts that will make any high school senior happy — and ready to take on college:
1. A Sweet Piece Of Jewelry
This dainty key necklace isn't only nice to look at and wear, it also says a sweet message on the front. Give it to your favorite high school grad who's a little nervous about their future to remind them of everything they have to look forward to. Bonus points if you attach a DJ Khaled reference to the card.
2. A Planner
Agenda, $28, ban.do
Finishing high school and starting college means a lot of things, and one thing is that this person is going to be really busy all the time — which means they need a planner. Anyone would appreciate one of these beyond adorable planners. They're practical, they're cute, they have lots of writing room, they come with stickers, and they're easy to carry around. Plus, the 2017 versions start in August 2016 and go until December 2017, which is perfect. Get one before they sell out — they go fast!
3. Something For Homesickness
BaubleBar State Charm Necklace, $33.60, Nordstrom
Buying a gift for a high school grad who's going to a college out of state or far from home? Get them this pretty charm necklace in the shape of their hometown state. It's a chic way for them to think of where they came from when they're feeling homesick.
4. The Perfect Tote Bag
Wake Up Tote, $30, Dormify
Tote bags are essential for college days — and if this high school grad isn't going to college, they're still pretty necessary. This one reminds whoever is carrying it and anyone else that every day is a new chance to be awesome.
5. An Inspiring Journal
Goal Digger Journal, $18, Urban Outfitters
This is a cute gift for a friend if you guys don't want to spend a lot of money on each other. It also makes the perfect small item if you need just one more little thing to add to your present.
6. Noise Cancelling Headphones
You know what every incoming college freshman needs before moving into a dorm? A pair of good earbuds that will cancel out all other noise, from parties to roomies crying to roomies hooking up. This is the best gift you could give.
7. A Weekender Bag
Escape Weekender, $60, RuMe
College is fun, but sometimes you just wanna take a weekend trip home. This bag makes traveling a breeze for when your grad wants to make a quick and easy escape for a few days.
8. An Eye Mask
Black Flower Eye Mask, $22, Catbird
If your friend is getting ready to move into a dorm, they'll need an eye mask — trust. This one is so pretty to look at, and blocks her from seeing whatever might be happening around her, letting her sleep peacefully. Ah.
9. A Portable Charger
Triple C Beauty Bar Mirrored Charger, $30, Anthropologie
Portable chargers should be a staple for everyone, but for some reason, they still aren't. This one charges your phone, looks pretty, and has a little mirror on the side. What more could you need, especially as a busy student?
10. A Fun Trinket Dish
Ananas Trinket Dish & Clips, $18, Anthropologie
Have a friend who loves all things tropical and summery? Get them this little pineapple trinket dish. It's perfect for holding small items, like rings, earrings, or pins, and it makes for some really great decor. This one comes with gold clips, which are actually quite useful for a student.
11. A Cute Pillow
There is no real purpose to this taco pillow except happiness and comfort. Who wouldn't feel an instant rush of joy looking at a squishy taco, you know? It's a great cure for homesickness or just general stress.
12. Fun Decor
Hashtag Marquee Light, $40, Lulus
Because who doesn't want a giant glowing hashtag in their dorm room? In all seriousness, marquee lights make great decor, and a big hashtag is fun to play around with. Get this for your internet-loving friend.
13. Laundry Bags
Easy Sort Laundry Bags, $49, PB Teen
College students living in dorms need laundry bags to actually clean their clothes, so why not make them cute? These sorted bags make laundry a lot easier, especially for newbies.
14. Eye Masks
College means long nights, early mornings, and lots of stress. Give someone the gift of looking awake, even without makeup. Eye masks are perfect for the days your friend needs a little boost — and some relaxation.
15. A Google Chromecast
I recommend these little guys to everyone looking for a present for someone, because they're awesome — especially a college student who's getting ready to move into a dorm room. The Chromecast easily connects to any television and streams movies and TV shows from your phone, tablet, or computer. Chromecast is easy to carry around to different dorm rooms and sets up in seconds.
16. An Inspiring Print
Everyone, even the brightest of students, needs some motivation sometimes. Get the graduate in your life this inspirational print. Yeah, it's a little corny, but it's a reassuring message to read when it's 2 a.m. and they're struggling to write that paper they forgot was due the next morning.
17. A Fun Mug To Take Everywhere
ban.do Blah Thermal Mug, $14, Forever 21
All humans need coffee to function (at least, that's what I think), especially incoming college students... or recent graduates who are trying to get a job. Get them this mug that describes how they really feel.
18. A Bag For Books
PINK Zip-Top Tote, $29.95, Victoria's Secret
A sturdier tote bag is needed for busier days. This one is perfect for long days with lots to do — it can carry more books, it has a zip-top that makes it a bit safer, and the simple black shade goes with everything.
19. A Bedside Organizer
This thing is awesome for anyone, but especially for a college student with almost no room for anything. The pocket easily fits on the side of the bed, and can hold the essentials — cell phone, book, tablet, etc. It makes being lazy in bed so much easier.
20. A Cute Notebook
Killing It Journal, $12, Urban Outfitters
This little journal will remind that special graduate you know how much they're slaying at life. It will make them smile every time they pull it out of their bag.