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37 best gifts high school graduates will actually use in 2021

Celebrate their accomplishments with the perfect gift.
Illustration of Two High School students wearing a graduation caps and gowns hug, a weighted blanket, a Homesick Candle, a Keurig and a Fuji Instax Mini 11 in blue
Lorraine Boogich / Getty Images / Fuji / Homesick / Keurig / Amazon

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Graduation day is a momentous occasion for students and families. While the end of senior year is usually capped off with a large commencement ceremony, the class of 2021 will be celebrating in more intimate ways this year.

Even though you may not be able to celebrate with them during a big graduation party this time around, that doesn't mean you can't still congratulate them on their accomplishments by sending a thoughtful gift.

From college essentials to personalized keepsakes, consider sending the graduate in your life one of these high school graduation gift ideas below.

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High school graduation gifts for her

1. Magnolia Bakery Graduation Cupcakes

Any time is a good time for a cupcake, but we bet any high schooler binge-watching "Sex and the City" reruns will appreciate a dozen of Magnolia Bakery's famed sweet treat to celebrate this milestone.

2. Etsy Rose Gold Necklace

Senior year is full of hurdles, but they made it to the finish line! Surprise them with an inspiring piece of jewelry to congratulate them.

3. Mydethun Moon Lamp

If they're glued to their TikTok seeking inspiration for their college dorm, they'll appreciate receiving a glowing moon lamp to spruce up their new space.

4. Baggu Puffy 16" Laptop Sleeve

Available in five modern designs, this cushy laptop carrier will protect their prized electronics when they're on campus.

5. Rilakkuma Sofa Plushie Phone Holder

Their smartphone deserves their own place to rest, so gift them this cuddly plushie that doubles as a phone holder.

6. Homesick Candle

Wherever your grad ends up, this candle will make sure they have a little piece of home with them. Each candle comes with its own unique scent that's meant to remind people of their home state and nostalgic memories.

7. Etsy Monogrammed Laundry Bag

Make laundry a little easier with this personalized laundry bag. Designed for easy trips to the laundry room, this bag can be personalized with different colors, patterns and embroidery options.

8. Keurig K-Cup Coffee Maker

For the coffee lover in your life, surprise them with their very own single-serve Keurig. The brand considers this model to be one of its most compact designs yet, making it perfect to store in small places. The brand also claims that it can make three cups of coffee in under a minute.

9. Ultraideas Memory Foam Slippers

These memory foam slippers were styled to keep your feet comfortable and warm, making it perfect for days spent lounging around your dorm room.

10. Etsy Quarantined Graduation Box

Surprise the graduate in your life with this personalized box that is sure to bring a smile to their face. The box comes with a small tumbler and your choice of additional add-ons.

11. Letters To My Future Self

This nostalgic gift is one your grad can look back on one day. They can leave themselves a personalized message to read years down the road.

12. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Camera

This mini camera is perfect for capturing memories — it instantly prints the picture out for you to share and enjoy!

13. Beagren Laptop Stand

They're going to need a sturdy, ergonomic-friendly laptop stand when they're typing up term papers and theses. Available in pastel pink or classic gray, this aluminum model is adjustable and made with an aluminum alloy that'll prevent their computer from overheating.

14. The Comfy

This TODAY editor-approved gift combines the comfort of a blanket with the style of a hoodie — so your graduate remains comfy no matter where they are!

15. Etsy Graduation Tumbler

Personalize a tumbler for your loved one! Designed to keep drinks either warm or cold, this cup comes in eight vibrant colors and you can even customize the artwork.

16. Collegiate Pouches

Stowing away small essentials — and showing off their new school spirit — has never been easier thanks to these woven pouches.

17. 100 Things To Do Scratch Poster

Instead of checking things off your bucket list, make it more interactive with this scratch-off poster. After you complete each activity, you'll be surprised with a colorful picture behind each square.

18. Master Lock Personal Safe

This portable safe keeps your personal documents and belongings secure no matter where you are. The sleek design can hold your phone, passport and other documents.

19. Himawari Travel Backpack

Created to be both spacious and fashionable, this backpack was made to hold all of your belongings — including your laptop! Whether you're off to class or traveling the world, this backpack should fit your needs no matter where you go.

20. House Day Space Saving Hangers

College dorms are not always the most spacious, so these space-saving hangers will definitely come in handy. The folding design allows you to fit up to five hangers at once.

High school graduation gifts for him

1. Apple HomePod Mini

Even if they have a sweet speaker system in their bedroom, they'll need a quality one for their dorm room. Enter Apple's small but mighty HomePod mini, measuring under four inches tall but providing rich, 360-degree audio that'll sound great wherever they may be.

2. Kai 11" Noodle Bowl with Chopsticks

If they're planning on eating ramen every night for dinner, you might as well give them a sleek vessel (and a proper set of chopsticks!) for them to enjoy it.

3. "F in Exams"

Tests may have been a constant struggle during high school, but at least they can laugh about it now. They'll also get a kick out of this compilation of over 250 hilariously wrong test answers from real-life exams.

4. Angel Food Bakery You Da Bomb Donuts

Tell them how proud you are of them with some pillowy, sugary, yeasty donuts.

5. Things They Don't Teach You Game

Put you and your friends' knowledge to the test with this game full of random facts and trivia about subjects you probably didn't learn in school.

6. Samonline Packing Cubes

These packing cubes would make a great gift for the frequent traveler. The variety of sizes will keep all of their clothing and belongings neatly organized in their suitcase, or they can use them for storage in their dorm.

7. Waowoo Weighted Blanket

Help bring some relaxation to your loved one with a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are known for their soothing benefits and comforting sensation. This option is made with breathable bamboo, which aims to help keep you cool.

8. Mavo Craft Folding Lap Desk

For the days when your graduate wants to stay in bed and do work, this folding lap desk will keep school supplies all in one place and folds away for easy storage.

9. Etsy Engraved Wallet

Now is the perfect time to surprise your graduate with a personalized wallet to keep their belongings in.

10. Etsy Custom Docking Station

A handy place to keep all of their belongings, this dock station features a charging station for phones, and side hangers for watches, keys and more. To make it more personalized, you can choose to have the recipient's name or initials engraved.

11. Haundry Mesh Shower Caddy

If he's moving into a dorm with a shared bathroom, he'll definitely need a durable and waterproof shower caddy to help carry his toiletries.

12. Tocode Large Backpack

This backpack is spacious enough to carry a laptop and more, making it just as great for traveling as it is for going to class. It even includes a USB port to charge your phone no matter where you are.

13. Etsy Custom Fishing Lure

The fishing enthusiast on your list may enjoy a lure that you can customize with a message of your choice. No matter where they end up, they'll be sure to think of you with this special gift.

14. Bare Home Twin XL Sheet Set

Every grad needs a comfortable set of sheets to make their dorm feel a little cozier. The brand designed it with ventilation and breathability in mind for a comfy night's sleep.

15. Etsy Monogrammed Cuff Links

For those interviews and formals that your graduate will eventually attend, provide them with a pair of cuff links customized just for them. You can add their initials for a personalized touch.

16. Newhey Men's Messenger Bag

This handy messenger bag was designed to be spacious enough to hold everything from papers to laptops. It comes in five different colors that each have their own vintage flair.

17. Uncommon Goods MLB Ballpark Traveler's Map

If the grad is a huge baseball fan, they'll love this interactive MLB map. They can add a corresponding MLB Club sticker for each ballpark they've visited.

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