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10 Thoughtful, Unique & Practical Graduation Gift Ideas

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Can you believe that there are just a few weeks of school left until Summer break? If you’re looking for a wonderful keepsake or a practical high school graduation gift, check out these frugal ideas…

1.) “Open When” Letters:

These letters make a special gift for when your kid is going off to college! You can get these “Letters to Open When” books on Amazon with 12 prompted letters – just fill each letter with encouraging notes, gift cards, special memories, money, well-wishes, advice, or good cheer and seal each envelope with a sticker. The recipient then gets to break the seals whenever they need them the most.


2.) Laundry Survival Graduation Kit:

Laundry Kit Graduation Gift Idea Hip2Save.comConsider putting together a thoughtful laundry survival kit and attaching this cute free printable tag. What a unique and practical gift to present to a high school grad! Get the details here.


3.) Graduation Cap Boxes:

If you’re looking for a fun way to give money, gift cards or even jewelry, these cute and easy Graduation Cap gift boxes would be perfect and easy to make! Get the detailed instructions here.


4.) Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Graduation Keepsake:

Oh the Places You'll Go End of Year Tradition Hip2Save.comIf you have school-aged children, check out this fun end of the school year tradition that makes a wonderful keepsake! All you need is a hardcover copy of the popular Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go” available at Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and at all book stores.


5.) Money Chain or Necklace:

Instead of giving a bouquet of flowers or sticking cash in a greeting card, consider giving a fun money necklace or chain! They’’re easy to make and a creative way to let the graduate know you care.


6.) Amazon Prime Student Membership:

Sending a child off to college? Consider paying for an Amazon Prime Student membership which will allow them to score FREE 2-day shipping on millions of items, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video, free unlimited photo storage, exclusive offers and discounts plus more!

Plus, you can currently sign up for a FREE 6 Month Trial of Amazon Student with a valid .edu email address – you’ll just need to specify your college, year, and major. After your FREE 6 months are over, you will automatically continue receiving Amazon Prime benefits at a cost of only $49 a year (an awesome price!) for up to 4 years with automatic renewal unless you cancel. Awesome!


7.) Graduation Hat Jar:

Are you attending a graduation party? If so, check out this easy and thoughtful way to give little cash “diplomas” in a cute graduation hat mason jar! And the best part – you likely already have most of the items you need for this craft at home. Check out all the instructions here.


8.) College Survival Kit:

With an empty paint can (you can buy these at your home improvement store for ~$5), cardstock paper and practical filler items, you’ll be able to create a fun college survival kit. Find out how here.


9.) “In Case of Emergency” Shadowbox Frame:

If you are looking for a unique graduation gift, this one is so fun and sure to get a few smiles from the graduate. Make a shadowbox frame and fill it with money, chocolate, candy or other items the graduate likes… and they actually won’t have to actually break the glass to get to the goodies! 😉


10.) Wooden Letters Photo Collage:

If you’re having a graduation party and looking to make a fun centerpiece that also serves as a great gift, consider making a Wooden Letters Photo Collage using the graduate’s pictures. If you don’t have photos on hand, you can also have everyone at the party sign their name or write an encouraging note on the letters. These make fun keepsakes and are great to display in a college dorm room!


Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.

Join The Discussion

Comments 19

  1. Heather C

    THANK YOU! March 29, 1999 I had the divine pleasure of having twin boys for my dear friends Pat and Mark. This year the boys are graduating from high school. I remember my mom at getting a Dr. Seuss book “oh the places you will go” for her 50th. I’m getting these for graduation gifts and inscribing one to each child. It is a very personalized and wonderful gift that that lasts a lifetime. These ideas are fantastic. All of them- thank you for the post!

  2. Susie

    My nephew is graduating from college this year. We have decided to give him money, but are unsure how much. What is an appropriate amount?

    • Libby

      Maybe $20.17 😉

    • Tray

      I would say $50 or $100 for a family graduation gift!

    • Lisa

      Susie, you need to give what you feel comfortable with. It’s the thought (and of course the delivery!).

      • Lisa

        Susie, I agree with Lisa too (of course I agree with Lisa). You need to give what YOU are comfortable with. The new graduate has their whole life to earn money for school/retirement, and depending on your age, you cannot “finance” retirement. It is the thought that counts, but I agree with the cash.

  3. denise

    I bought my niece a new bed and bedding she was so happy!

  4. wendymucci

    My older three are college aged so we have had a lot of graduation parties to go to.
    I have a standard gift I get of a good quality umbrella (I teach college so I know how often I use an umbrella walking across campus) with a note that says When the rainy days come use this umbrella and remember you have someone who loves you and is cheering for you.
    I also add this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LY200T7/ref=pd_luc_rh_bxgy_01_03_t_img_lh?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 or this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFXPOJY/ref=pd_luc_rh_sbs_02_02_t_img_lh?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 with boxes of ramen or mac and cheese because every student needs to eat some ramen :).

    • Molly

      What a cute and useful idea! ☔

  5. Brittany

    I’d love to hear some ideas for college grads!

  6. Liz K.

    When my cousin graduated high school, we got a small basket and filled it with school supplies as well as a gift card for the book store on campus. She was going to be living at home and appreciated the gift so much.

  7. Steph

    If you have your teacher write in the book for your child please do NOT give it to them the last day! Maybe a week or 2 early so we have the time to write a personalized thoughtful message. Last year I had 14 families hand me their book on the last day and it was overwhelming.

  8. Nels1589

    I am a 6th grade teacher and many of my former students have invited me to their graduation parties. I am struggling with what to get for each of my students. I always write down a special memory and inspiring words, but it would be nice to give the them a little gift too. Any ideas?

    • Kitkat

      A special memory is worth more than any gift!
      I’m sure a Starbucks gift card (any amount even $5) will be great since most kids like those.

  9. Karri

    Thanks for a great post Mary, we have 5 graduation parties May 13

  10. visitor3

    Insulated cooler that is compactable for travel, camping, missions, road trips, partes dorm storage, hotel stays, etc.

  11. visitor3

    Keychain with a compass.

  12. Beth S.

    This is a great post! I was just googling for graduation gift ideas a few days ago. We are invited to several grad parities for children of friends. It’s hard to know how much to spend. I was thinking maybe around $25 since they are not family and while we are friends of their parents we don’t have much of a relationship with their children. I saw this pink (or blue) tool set on another site and thought it was kind of fun. Plus, it’s easy to return if they don’t want it: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Apollo-General-Tool-Set-in-Pink-39-Piece-DT9706P/204744908 But I do really like the paint can survival kit idea too.

  13. John

    I actually designed and manufactured a product this year for graduating students as a very unique way to record memories and well-wishes from friends as well as act as storage for school memorabilia later– it’s a kraft paper-leather backpack with a water-resistant inner lining and attached markers called the DrawBag: https://thedrawbag.com/shop/signature-drawbag/ Check it out and see if it’s for you!

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