The 9 Best Graduation Gifts of 2021

Celebrate their accomplishment

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera at Amazon

"The Mini 11 is an upgrade from its popular predecessor, complete with a selfie mode and a selfie mirror."

Best Budget: Simple Elephant Daily Planner 2021-2022 at Amazon

"Usable as a planner, a place to set goals, or a notebook, it makes a budget-friendly graduation gift for most ages."

Best Stylish: Faux Crocodile MacBook Case at chicgeeks.com

"This durable case is made of PU leather to protect their laptops from daily wear and tear."

Best for Preschoolers: Oh, the Places You’ll Go! at Amazon

"A solid addition to any library, the educational classic is perfect for a toddler who’s ready to move mountains."

Best for Elementary School: Hydro Flask Water Bottle at Amazon

"This Hydroflask bottle keeps water cold all day long and is durable enough to last the whole school year, and beyond."

Best for Middle School: Alex and Ani Class of 2021 Charm Bangle at alexandani.com

"Affordable and minimal, it can fit on any size wrist and is detailed with a cute graduation cap charm."

Best for High School: Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds at Amazon

"Ideal for any teen who enjoys games, music, and movies, it features 9 hours of listening time and an audio sharing feature."

Best for College: Cuyana Classic Leather Tote at cuyana.com

"A bag that can help a college graduate enter the working world, it's the right amount of stylish for the workweek or weekend."

Best Splurge: Apple Watch SE 40mm at Amazon

"The watch keeps track of your workouts, connects music, podcasts, and audiobooks, and even tracks your sleep with the Sleep app."

Best Gift Card: Mixtiles Gift Card at mixtiles.com

"With Mixtiles, your graduate can hang their photos in their dorm or bedroom without nails—a great way to personalize their space."

Graduation is a memorable occasion for students at any age—and it’s fun to celebrate the achievement with friends and family. A graduation gift is a great way to show a loved one you’re proud of their achievement and will support them as they transition into a new phase of their education or life.

For obvious reasons, a great graduation gift will depend on the student’s age. Younger students will appreciate a fun, whimsical gift while college grads might have something in mind they need for their career. You certainly don’t have to splurge if you don’t want to.

Below we outline a few of the best graduation gifts for students in 2021.

Best Overall: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera

Any graduate would love to receive the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11. The best part is that they can start snapping photos right away. The Mini 11 is an upgrade from its popular predecessor, has a selfie mode that allows you to get up close, and includes a selfie mirror.

It’s fun and easy to use, creates instant high-quality prints, and is perfect for all ages.

Best Budget: Simple Elephant Daily Planner 2021-2022

Everyone can be more organized right? A planner is a budget-friendly graduation gift that works for any age except preschoolers. This one is offered in four great colors with a stylish leatherette cover. It can be used as a planner, a place to set goals, and a notebook.

The monthly calendar has an inner pocket, a pen loop, and a ribbon bookmark.  

Best Stylish: Faux Crocodile MacBook Case

chic geek case

Courtesy of Chic Geek

Take their laptop to a new stylish level with this super stylish faux crocodile case. This durable case is made of PU leather to protect their laptops from scratches, bumps, and tumbles. With a two-piece design that easily snaps onto Macbooks, your graduate will be instantly obsessed with the vibrant color and the unique croc texture.

Best for Preschoolers: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

For a preschooler graduation gift, you’ll want something cute and sentimental that won’t be collecting dust in a month’s time. Books are perfect, especially the upbeat rhymes in Dr. Seuss’s Oh The Places You’ll Go.

The story is educational, encouraging, and perfect for a toddler who’s ready to move mountains. We suggest writing a personal note in the front of the book to make it keepsake-worthy.

Best for Elementary School: Hydro Flask Water Bottle

A water bottle may seem simple, but this brand is popular with middle schoolers and built to last, so it’s the perfect gift for a tween on their way out of elementary school. This Hydroflask bottle keeps water cold all day long and comes in many adorable color options.

It has a stylish design and is durable enough to last the whole school year. You could even fill it with a gift card to take this gift to the next level.

Best for Middle School: Alex and Ani Class of 2021 Charm Bangle

Alex and ani

Courtesy of Alex and Ani

Jewelry is a thoughtful graduation gift, and this nickel-free Class of 2021 Alex and Ani bangle charm bracelet feels custom and is the perfect way to celebrate eighth-grade graduation. It’s affordable, minimal, and can fit on any size wrist plus it features a cute graduation cap charm.

Best for High School: Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds

Even though most high schoolers already own a set of headphones, we like the Powerbeats Pro as an upgrade. They’re a dream for any teenager who likes games, music, and movies. These headphones are packed full of features, like adjustable secure-fit ear hooks, and are sweat-resistant.

They have nine hours of listening time and an audio sharing feature that allows you to listen to the same song, podcast, or movie with a friend by pairing each headphone.  

Best for College: Cuyana Classic Leather Tote

Classic Leather Tote

Courtesy of Cuyana

A college graduate will appreciate a gift like this Cuyana Leather Tote bag because they can use it as they enter the working world. The tote has a simple silhouette, high-quality leather, and is just the right amount of stylish and casual for the workweek or the weekend.

We love that Cuyana offers the option to monogram the bag, which would be that added personalized touch.

Best Splurge: Apple Watch SE 40mm

An Apple Watch is certainly a splurge but makes a great graduation gift for an older student moving onto college or beyond. We love the Apple Watch SE because it keeps you connected at all times, is the less expensive model, and has endless features that can help you stay organized and on time.

The watch keeps track of your workouts, connects music, podcasts, and audiobooks, and even tracks your sleep with the Sleep app. If you forget your phone, everything remains within reach as long as you are wearing the watch.  

Best Gift Card: Mixtiles Gift Card

Mixtiles Gift Card

Courtesy of Mixtiles

Mixtiles are the perfect way to take photos from your phone and turn them into printed memories. The photos are printed on a magic frame that sticks directly to the wall without leaving behind damage.

With Mixtiles, your graduate can hang up their photos in their dorm or bedroom without nails—a great way to brighten up a room and a creative gift card gift for when you’re in a pinch.

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Camera (view at Amazon)  is good for all ages and a great way for your student to capture memories at graduation and beyond. For something less expensive, you can never go wrong with an inspirational book with a thoughtful message in the book jacket.

What to Look for in a Graduation Gift 

Price

As with any gift, your budget will play an important factor in deciding what to buy for a recent grad. You might splurge for a bigger occasion like high school graduation, and set a smaller budget for a preschooler.

Customization

Graduation can sometimes be about looking back on good memories. A great graduation gift could be something custom to the year of graduation like a Class of 2021 Bangle Bracelet, or a photo gift that your grad can set up in their dorm room.

Future Use

As the student in your life looks ahead, they might appreciate a gift that suits what they’ll be doing next year, like something for their dorm room or a gift for their first steps into the working world.

Why Trust Verywell Family? 

Deanna McCormack is a freelance writer who specializes in reviewing family and lifestyle products. She’s especially proud of her ability to pick out great gifts and recently purchased a Cuyuna Tote Bag (view at Cuyana) for her sister’s college graduation.

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