19 graduation gift ideas if you’re stumped on what to buy a new grad (2024)

Giving a new high school or college graduate money as a congratulatory gesture will always go over well, but a thoughtful or useful gift is sure to be appreciated, as well.

This isn’t just any special occasion, like a birthday or holiday, it’s a pivotal moment marking the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. So, as you think about potential gift ideas, take the opportunity to offer something with purpose and significance — and a little bit of amusem*nt and pleasure!

Some of the best grad gift ideas are ones that nod to the honoree’s passions and aspirations. Are they going off to college, starting a new job or traveling the world? Choose a gift that complements their future plans, because it shows that you’re paying attention and providing encouragement and support as they navigate what comes next.

Where should you shop?

When you were young, you might have gotten endless gifts from places like Things Remembered or Hallmark, but in 2024, overly generic grad gifts don’t have to be a thing. From personalized jewelry and custom artwork to wanderlusty luggage and home bar essentials (for the 21+ collegiate-capped crowd), upgraded gifts are what will make the just-moved-up alum feel truly special.

Uncommon Goods. Offers a curated selection of gifts that are anything but ordinary, and you can find unique and meaningful items that also support independent artists and artisans.

Artifact Uprising. If you’re looking for personalized photo gifts, you can shop stunning, high-quality photo books, prints and wall art that capture all the grad’s precious memories and get them ready for display (in a dorm room, work cubicle, etc.).

Cratejoy. Subscription boxes tailored to the grad’s unique interests and hobbies are one-of-a-kind and uber creative. You can explore a range of options, too, from beauty and self-care boxes to gourmet food and book subscriptions.

Minted. Pick something that resonates with the graduate’s particular styles and taste, whether that means looking for a customized art print, a set of meaningful note cards, personalized stationery or a reflective journal, even some comfy throws or pillows for their first home away from home.

Backcountry. For adventurous graduates, you can check out a variety of outdoor gear and equipment to get them pumped for their next adventure, be it backpacking, hiking, camping, Tough Mudder-ing or Spartan Racing.

Thrive Market. Lean into the graduates commitment to healthy living, with a gift card or membership to Thrive, which carries a wide range of organic and sustainable products, from pantry staples to beauty and wellness items.

MasterClass. Gift the forever learner a chance to glean wisdom from the best. With a subscription to MasterClass, they can access online courses taught by renowned experts in various fields, from cooking and writing to music and photography.

Here’s a look at 18 of the best gifts for graduates.

Experiences/Fun

Home/Decor

School/Career

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19 graduation gift ideas if you’re stumped on what to buy a new grad (2024)

FAQs

19 graduation gift ideas if you’re stumped on what to buy a new grad? ›

Pick something that resonates with the graduate's particular styles and taste, whether that means looking for a customized art print, a set of meaningful note cards, personalized stationery or a reflective journal, even some comfy throws or pillows for their first home away from home.

How much money is enough for a graduation gift? ›

Ideally, an appropriate monetary gift for graduates should range between $100 and $500,” he says. One reason money is so desirable is that the graduate may be facing daunting student loan debt.

What do most people give for graduation gifts? ›

High School Student(s): The majority of individuals will give cash as a high school graduation present with a range from $20 -$150. Use the following breakdown as a guide for your gift amount.

What is a traditional gift for graduation? ›

Classic Graduation Gifts

You might start by considering more traditional gifts, such as a frame for the diploma or college memorabelia. You won't go wrong with these traditional selections.

Is $100 a good college graduation gift? ›

If the graduate is: A child of parents: $100-500. A child of close relatives (for instance, grandparents): $50-300. A distant relative: $50-100.

Is $20 dollars a good graduation gift? ›

Distant relatives or friends usually send around $15 - $20, while close friends and relatives more commonly send around the $20 - $50 mark. Some families and family friends may choose to spend closer to $100 - $500, depending on their finances and the needs of the graduate.

What is the etiquette for graduation money? ›

Graduate school graduation marks a major professional achievement. The gift-giving guidelines are as follows: $100 - $200: For distant relatives and acquaintances. $200 - $500: For close friends and immediate family.

What do you buy someone who just graduated? ›

The best gift for any graduate—whether they're headed to college or graduate school, or entering the working world—is something that will help set them up for success. That could be a practical present (like comforting loungewear that Oprah enjoys or a lightweight overnight bag for their upcoming travel plans).

Is $50 enough for a graduation gift? ›

You can spend whatever feels right, but generally, $30 to $50 is appropriate if you don't have a personal relationship with the graduate.

Are you supposed to buy a graduation gift? ›

Graduation gifts are not to be expected, so any gift given is a generous display of love, support, and recognition of the graduate's accomplishments,” says etiquette trainer Courtney Opalko. “While welcomed, [they] should not be demanded or expected by the host or honoree.”

What is the etiquette for high school graduation gifts? ›

While some parents splurge on a car or computer, many choose less elaborate, but still meaningful, gifts to commemorate the day. Jewelry (often engraved with the date), books, cash or stock certificates, luggage, a camera, or graduation rings are all presents the graduate will appreciate in the years ahead.

How much money should you put in a graduation card? ›

There is a wide range for college graduation gifts, but the typical amount given to college graduates is between $100 and $500. Since these grads will be starting new careers, possibly moving, and paying off student loans, giving more is acceptable.

What do you get given at graduation? ›

Each graduate is called up one by one to walk across the stage when their name is called and shake the hand of the chancellor. You may receive a piece of rolled up paper mimicking your degree certificate. Although you do not get your actual certificate until after the ceremony.

What's an appropriate graduation gift? ›

Cash paired with a smaller gift is always nice, or you can choose a gift card for a local restaurant, coffee shop or college bookstore. If you'd prefer a tangible gift, here are some amazing gift ideas for high school graduates.

What to get someone for high school graduation? ›

Graduate's Next Steps (College, Workforce, Travel):

Workwear can be a great gift if that's where they're headed; a backpack or tech carrying case will be a win for a grad taking a gap year to travel.

What to take to someone's graduation? ›

The following unique graduation gift ideas are sure to let the graduate know just how much you care.
  • Graduation Photo Posters. ...
  • Custom Throw Pillows. ...
  • Personalized Coffee Mugs. ...
  • Personalized Jewelry. ...
  • Custom Journals. ...
  • Photo Blankets. ...
  • Personal Planner. ...
  • Coffee Tumbler.
Feb 27, 2024

Why are graduation gifts important? ›

These graduation gifts are very effective in keeping the special bond between the student and its alma mater. These students are more likely to promote the school to future candidates, donate to school and volunteer to school activities. Therefore these gifts can also be viewed as subtle school advertisem*nt.

Should parents give graduation gifts? ›

They'll appreciate useful gifts from parents that will help them with their professional endeavors. Whether it's tech-savvy work gear, an impressive degree frame for their office, or a professional-looking wardrobe, you're sure to find the best graduation gifts for your graduate.

How much money should a grandparent give a grandchild for graduation? ›

While the amount varies depending on geographical location, cultural norms, financial means and personal relationships, grandparents typically give between $50 and $500 to high school graduates and $100 to $1,000 or more to college graduates.

Is it okay to give a check for graduation gift? ›

Whatever is in your budget is appropriate. If you want to give a check for $50 or $100, great. You can always go for a non-cash gift that will be helpful for the grad — something like a book about finances for young adults, or a frame for her or his diploma.

What message do you put on a graduation card? ›

General message templates
  1. "Congratulations on your graduation! ...
  2. "Here's to celebrating a significant milestone in your journey. ...
  3. "Graduation is just the beginning. ...
  4. "Wishing you joy and success as you pursue your dreams. ...
  5. "May your graduation be the start of many more wonderful achievements in your life.
Apr 24, 2024

How much money should I give a high school graduate? ›

Close relatives like grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and siblings: If you're a close family member of the graduate, expect to give around $50 to $200. Close friend: If a good friend is graduating, a $50 to $100 gift is a good choice. Acquaintance or co-worker: Spend less for someone you don't know quite as well.

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