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High school graduation is bittersweet. Your child’s made it to that exciting next phase of their lives, but that means they’ll be flying the nest in no time. To show them how proud you are (and how much you’ll miss them!), we’ve put together a list of 40 sentimental, practical and fun graduation gifts for high schoolers. Because no matter how old they get, they’ll always need their parents.
Here are the best high school grad gifts from mom and dad.
There’s no doubt your child has made so many memories over the years, especially around graduation. Create a custom photo book for them that they can bring with them in their next chapter. Vista Print’s make-your-own photo books come in a variety of sizes and layouts, and their editor makes the process simple. Custom Photo Book, From $13 at VistaPrint
Having a graduation party for your child? Customize this photo guest book for them ahead of time, so they can have all their favorite people sign it during the celebration. Something so personal will surely help with any homesickness when they’re off to college. Choose from different sizes, fabric colors and foil colors. Photo Guest Book, From $152 at Artifact Uprising
If your child is more of a tech type, take all those lovely photos and upload them to a digital photo frame. It’s the perfect item to sit on a dorm desk. But this popular model can also go on the wall and works horizontally or vertically. An iOS/Android app means that even if mom or dad arent’ as techy, they can still make it work. Nixplay Smart Wifi Digital Photo Frame, $154.99 at Walmart
The memories are just beginning when high school’s over. This cute, compact instant photo printer is perfect for your child to snap photos during their last summer with childhood friends, on that special family vacation and into the next phase of their journey. It has a compact size (just 6.9×1.6″), is super convenient and seamlessly integrates with social media. Plus, Bluetooth capability means their friends can also connect. HP Sprocket 2×3″ Instant Photo Printer, $79.99 at Best Buy
Inside this keepsake book are 12 prompted letters that parents can fill out to offer advice and wishes for the future. The fun part is that each letter gets sealed so they can be read later. Letters to the Graduate, $14.95 at Chronicle Books
Related: 101 Messages To Write in a Graduation Card
We know this is technically a children’s book, but it’s become a popular and cherished graduation gift for all ages. Dr. Seuss‘ trademark fantastical illustrations and lighthearted verse are a childhood throwback, but the message is ageless. Oh, the Places You’ll Go, $8.98 at Amazon
Not only is this book bursting with color and artistically designed, but the down-to-earth words of wisdom from author, artist and educator Lisa Congdon are the perfect pick-me-up when college life or a first job gets tough. You Will Leave a Trail of Stars, $15.95 at Chronicle Books
This parody of the classic children’s book will add levity to some of the big changes that come with heading off to college. It offers humorous advice on everything from how often to change your sheets to avoiding the freshman fifteen. Goodnight Dorm Room: All the Advice I Wish I Got Before Going to College, $10.99 at Amazon
Time is limited for college students, but surely they have 30 seconds a week to write one line about the past seven days. By the time college graduation comes, there’s an entire four-year history to look back on. My Four Years: One Line A Week College, $7.99 at Amazon
Who wants stacks of notebooks lying around anymore? The Rocketbook is made of 36 synthetic pages that are compatible with the special Pilot FriXion pen. Take notes as you normally would, and then use your smartphone and the Rocketbook app to upload them to a digital notebook where there are special search functions. When you’re done, simply use the microfiber cloth to wipe the pages clean. It comes in 13 colors and two different sizes. Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook, $29.99 at Amazon
Related: 50 Best Graduation Gift Ideas
Whether your child uses this journal as a diary, notebook or writing pad, the monogramming and messaging will give them a boost of confidence whenever they need it. Choose from different sizes, copper or brown leather and lined or plain paper. Custom Leather Journal, From $49 at Etsy
Speaking of lack of time in college, this funny magnetic bookmark will remind your child that you’re thinking of them on those nights when they simply can’t stay awake to read one more line. Fell Asleep Here Magnetic Bookmark, $20 at Uncommon Goods
For walking around campus, a real leather backpack is stylish and sophisticated. Gifting one to your child is not only a practical idea, but it’s sentimental, as it’s something they can have for years and years. We love anything leather from Madewell, and this backpack can also be monogrammed. The Lorimer Backpack, $228 at Madewell
If a backpack isn’t the appropriate gift, a monogrammed leather wallet is a good idea and is another item your child can have forever. Etsy seller Lifetime Leather Co. makes quality, handmade leather products that age beautifully. Personalized Leather Bifold Wallet, From $120.98 at Etsy
If you’re willing to splurge a little, Away luggage has become the go-to brand for sleek pieces that are meant to last. If your child is leaving home, they’re going to need some sturdy travel gear, and this hardside suitcase is a wonderful starter piece. At its standard size, it’s a carry-on, but when expanded it’s a more spacious checked piece of luggage. Other handy features include 360-degree wheels, a removable and washable interior lining, a hidden laundry bag (to keep those dirty clothes separate) and a TSA-approved combination lock. The Carry-On Flex, $325 at Away
Related: 15 Gifts for College Students
Did you know that newly accepted college students and their parents receive a discount on computers at Apple? Therefore, it’s the perfect time to treat your academic to the cream-of-the-crop laptop. 13-inch MacBook Air, $899 at Apple
An adjustable laptop desk might not be the fanciest gift, but it sure will come in handy. It can be used to turn a standard dorm desk into a standing desk or as a laptop tray in bed or on the couch. It’s made of lightweight aluminum and has built-in vents to keep the computer cool. Adjustable Laptop Desk, $79.99 at Sharper Image
Sometimes the best gifts come in the smallest packages. This tiny flash drive is iPhone and iPad compatible, so your son or daughter can easily transfer photos, files, music and more right to their PC or Mac computer. Lightning Flash Drive for iPhones and iPads, $149.99 at Sharper Image
Round out your child’s tech collection with the newest and most advanced Apple Watch. The Series 7 has the largest display yet, which makes it easier to use and read. They can use it as a fitness tracker, to monitor blood oxygen levels, to track sleep, for texting on the go, and for listening to music or podcasts. Practically, it’s crack-, dust- and water-resistant, and it charges in just eight minutes. Apple Watch Series 7, From $399
The standard 4th Gen Echo Dot has nearly 450,000 reviews on Amazon and 4.7 stars. But this version with the clock takes it up another notch. It has all the same amazing features as the regular smart speaker with Alexa—voice control for entertainment and smart home functions, motion-activated settings and hands-free calling to fellow Echo owners—but with the added benefit of an LED clock display and an alarm clock or timer, a must for those early mornings. Echo Dot 4th Gen With Clock And Alexa, $59.99 at Amazon
This selfie light is a useful gift for any aspiring videographers (it’s adjustable and has three brightness settings so you get the most flattering lighting), but it’s also a nice way to stay connected with your child while they’re away since it works equally well for hands-free video chatting. Live Streaming Selfie Light, $25 at Uncommon Goods
We don’t even have to ask whether your high schooler has a smartphone, which is why a wireless charging tray is a gift that’ll remind them of you every single day. This tray from Mark & Graham is made of Italian leather and has space to keep other run-out-the-door items like keys, wallets and jewelry. Courant Wireless Charging Accessory Tray, $175 at Mark & Graham
Teens and Airpods seem to go hand-in-hand together these days, and this keychain will ensure they don’t get lost… and the monogramming adds a personal touch. Keychain With Leather Case For Airpods, $45 at Mark & Graham
If you’re looking for a really high-tech pair of earbuds, this pair from Bose is consistently rated at the top for noise-canceling headphones. What we really like is that you can quickly double-tap them to turn off the noise-cancellation when you need to be able to hear what’s going on around you. They also have quick-tap connectivity with Spotify and up to six hours of battery life. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, $279 at Best Buy
We love these puzzle piece keychains because they can be a group gift for friends (if your child is heartbroken over leaving their besties) or siblings (buy one each time one of your kids graduates and make for a family tradition). Customized Graduation Puzzle Piece Keychain, $9 Each at Etsy
Related: Best Graduation Gifts for Her
It can be hard for parents to express all the wisdom they’d like to impart on graduation day, but this gift box really says it all, using a delicate pearl as the metaphor. The freshwater pearl is handset in sterling silver on an 18-inch chain. Pearls of Wisdom Necklace, $45.75 at Etsy
If your daughter prefers bracelets to necklaces, this 18K gold-plated charm bracelet is such a fitting gift. As the years go on, swap the charm out or add additional ones. Graduation Hat Bracelet, $115 at Rellery
For your son who’s starting his adult life, a pair of cuff links symbolizes this next chapter. The free monogramming that comes with this pair from Mark & Graham makes them extra special. Homme Square Cuff Links, $195 at Mark & Graham
Post-high school life is bound to get stressful. For those tense moments, a massage seat cushion is a luxurious way to decompress. It has rolling and kneading massage actions, optional heat and vibration, and upper, lower or full back modes. Plus, it’s totally compact and transportable. Shiatsu Massage Seat Cushion, $169.99 at Sharper Image
The only item Pluto makes is pillows, which include its highly regarded PUFF body pillow. Unlike many body pillows, this one weighs in at 12 pounds, meaning it’s reassuringly dense but still light enough to transport (and it’s guaranteed to never go flat). It’s great for cuddling and/or aligning posture while you sleep, and it stays nice and cool. This is a practical gift for any graduate who will soon be sleeping away from home for the first time. PUFF Body Pillow, $95 at Pluto
Related: 50 Funny Jokes for Teens
Similarly, moving out of one’s parents’ house requires a first nice pair of sheets. Brooklinen is considered one of the best brands out there, and while they’re a step up, they’re not ridiculously pricey. The best-selling Luxe sheets are made of a “rich, buttery-smooth weave,” and you can save by purchasing the Hardcore Sheet Bundle that comes with a full sheet set, one duvet cover and two extra pillowcases. Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, $363 at Brooklinen
Choose your child’s name or a special message to have monogrammed on this weighted blanket. Not only will it be a reminder of their parents, but weighted blankets are known to reduce anxiety and help with trouble sleeping. Personalized Weighted Blanket, $139.99 at Personalization Mall
Whether your graduate is starting their first job or heading off to college, chances are they’re going to be craving caffeine. A Nespresso machine is probably something they wouldn’t treat themselves to, so it’s a really nice gift idea. This best-selling model makes five- and eight-ounce coffee, as well as a single and double espresso. And it comes with a complimentary welcome set of capsules, so they can figure out their favorite flavors. Nespresso Vertuo Plus Coffee and Espresso Maker, $159 at Walmart
MasterClass is a streaming service that allows you to watch or listen to hundreds of classes on subjects from cooking to acting to sports. But what’s really cool is that many of the classes are taught by real-life celebs, like Gordan Ramsay, Alicia Keys, and Gloria Steinem. Give this gift of creativity with an annual membership that’s very affordable. MasterClass Membership, From $15/Month
What college student couldn’t use a monthly snack box? But instead of the typical potato chips and chocolate chip cookies, Universal Yums is a subscription service that includes snacks from around the world, so the monthly delivery is not only delicious but a conversation starter (quite literally, as boxes come with trivia books and recipes). Each box features snacks from a different country, like Italian bruschetta rites and Spanish sour pineapple gummies. Snack Subscription Box, From $15/Box at Universal Yums
Related: 55 Gifts for Teen Boys
Let your high schooler pop some (non-alcoholic!) bubbly to celebrate graduation with this super fun gift set from Knack. It also comes with “champagne” gummy bears and milk chocolate sparkle pops from Sugarfina, a congratulations candle and “hip hip hooray” matches, and a glitter confetti push-pop. Congrats! Gift Set, $77 at Knack
Have a graduate who’s an outdoor adventurer? The subscription boxes from Nomadik will keep them exploring and encourage new outings with seasonal themes. Examples of the products are portable hammocks, flashlights, constellation cards and bug lights. Based on your preference, there are monthly and quarter options. Outdoor Subscription Box, From $29.99/Month at Nomadik
Birchbox was one of the original subscription box companies, so they’ve definitely got it down. Choose a three-, six- or 12-month beauty subscription for the graduate who loves skincare, haircare and makeup. They’ll be surprised each month with the brands they love, as well as niche products they would probably never get to try otherwise. Beauty Subscription Box, From $45 at Birchbox
Here’s a silly, graduation-appropriate game that the whole family can play together. It comes with 400 trivia cards full of random facts and useless information. For example, do you know the maximum number of holes a bowling ball is allowed to have? Things They Don’t Teach You in School Game, $20 at Uncommon Goods
The money tree is said to bring good luck, which makes it the perfect graduation gift. And even if your child doesn’t have a green thumb, they’re relatively easy to care for. This tree from The Sill comes with its own pot, so the plant is ready to be transported to a dorm room or new apartment (where it’ll be a welcome reminder of their parents’ well wishes). Money Tree, $66 at The Sill
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