The Best Graduation Gifts to Celebrate Huge Milestones at Every Age

From cute and cheeky to heirloom quality, there’s a gift idea on our list for every budget.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Best Graduation Gifts of 2023

Parents / Maria Ridgway

No matter what kind of graduation you’re celebrating—whether it's from preschool or a PhD program or anything in between—the milestone represents a major achievement. You can honor that, as well as all the hope for the future that comes along with it, with a thoughtful gift for a graduate of any age.

When shopping for a graduation gift, consider the age and grade level of the graduate. Ideally, you’ll choose something that feels both personal and memorable—and that also stays within your own budget, of course. To highlight the best graduation gifts, we looked for innovative and intimate gift ideas, popular and highly reviewed at the top of their respective categories. Our top picks include affordable gifts ranging from under $10 to splurge-worthy heirlooms over $200.

Our Favorite Graduation Gifts

Best for Anyone: Onuri Diploma Frame

Onuri Diploma Frame


Graduation often comes with a diploma that they’ll want to save forever as a testament to all that hard work. This document frame will keep a diploma pristine, so they can proudly display it forever. The 8-by-10-inch frame has impressive golden accents and hangs easily either horizontally or vertically. It also has an easel back for a tabletop display option. 

Price at time of publication: $45

Best for Preschool Graduation: Sesame Street Elmo’s Learning Letters Bus

Sesame Street Elmo’s Learning Letters Bus


The best gift for preschool graduation is one that’s both fun for a toddler and also comes with an educational element to help them prepare for (and get excited about) kindergarten. This Elmo-themed, school bus-shaped activity board comes with each of the 26 letters of the alphabet and plays the alphabet song, as well as Elmo phrases for each letter. It’s great for learning ABCs and practicing fine motor skills. The activity board has a carrying handle and works for kids age 2 and up.

Price at time of publication: $25

Best for Kindergarten Graduation: Crayola Inspiration Art Kit

Crayola Inspiration Art Case


This Crayola coloring kit is a great way to inspire little artists, reward them for a job well done at kindergarten, and prepare them to make more masterpieces as they advance in school. The kit comes with 64 crayons, 20 colored pencils, 40 washable markers, and 15 large pieces of paper, all nontoxic. And they all store tidily in their own carrying case with a handle. This gift is ideal for kids age 5 and up.

Price at time of publication: $28

Best for Elementary School Graduation: Wondery 50 States Water Bottle

50 States Bucket List Water Bottle

Uncommon Goods

A water bottle is always a practical gift for hydration and sustainability at any age. This one ups the ante by doubling as an interactive game for the adventurer in the family. Every state is depicted as a laser engraving onto this durable water bottle’s surface, and it comes with 50 cool vinyl stickers kids can use to cover each state they visit. The stickers and bottle are weather and dishwasher safe, and the 32-ounce bottle keeps liquids cool for a full 24 hours.

Price at time of publication: $58

Best for Middle School Graduation: Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 Instant Camera


This instant camera is a nostalgic nod to the earlier days of film cameras and a thrilling novelty for middle-school-aged kids of the digital generation. This camera comes complete with a selfie mirror, plus a mode for close-ups. Plus, it looks just plain cool and comes in five pastel colors to suit their style to the T. Pro tip: Give this gift early enough for the grad to use it to document their big day, whether that’s walking the stage at school or celebrating over cake with family and friends.

Price at time of publication: $80

Best for High School Graduation: Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker

 Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker with Egg Cooker Ring


For many kids, graduating high school means going off to college or living on their own for the first time in their lives. This sandwich maker is a nod to that freedom—and a little life assist at the same time. They can use this handy gadget to customize their own breakfast sandwich with their choice of bread, cheese, eggs, meats, and more. It cleans up easily with all dishwasher-safe parts and a nonstick coating. It comes in six fun colors (including fun coral, mint, or red, to match dorm room decor, perhaps?) and rings in at a budget-friendly price point.

Price at time of publication: $25

Best for College Graduation: Away Bigger Carry-On Suitcase

Away Bigger Carry-on


College graduation is a time to launch out into the “real world” (whatever that means). Set them up with a built-to-last tool to do just that with this larger-size carryon suitcase for their next big and little adventures. This piece has a polycarbonate hard shell that holds up to the rigors of travel. It’s made to hold enough gear for longer trips, while still fitting in the overhead bin of most major airlines. The 360-degree spinner wheels provide a smooth ride. And there’s even a water-resistant laundry bag (whether they plan to take that bag of laundry right back home for washing is their own business).

Price at time of publication: $295

Best Book: Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss


Dr. Seuss’s whimsical assessment of life’s ups and downs is an absolute classic gift for graduation or any transition, at any age. Its colorful illustrations are right for kids as young as preschoolers, but its poignant lessons resonate all throughout life. “Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!”

Price at time of publication: $8

Best Memorable: Personalized Engraved Compass

Personalized Engraved Compass


There’s so much symbolism in a compass: It signifies direction, guidance, wayfaring, and adventure, all pretty appropriate messages on the occasion of a graduation. This one can be fully personalized on the inside, outside, or both, with an engraved message (choose from eight different fonts) that will guarantee it’s bound for treasured heirloom status.

Price at time of publication: $35

Best STEM Gift: AmScope Beginner Microscope

Kids Beginner Microscope Stem Kit


Encourage a kid’s love of science with their very own compound microscope for beginners. More than just an ordinary toy, this is a real tool with magnification up to 1200x and a monocular viewing head with LED and mirror illumination, plus a built-in color filter wheel. It also comes with a 52-piece accessory kit and hard-sided plastic case for protection, storage, and easy carrying. This microscope is recommended for ages 8 and up.

Price at time of publication: $36

Best Under $25: iScream Neon Effect Frame

iScream Neon Effect Frame


This gift for grade schoolers up to teens encourages them to express themselves with their own thoughts, drawings, and inspirational messages. The frame comes with three bright pens that allow the message to glow when illuminated. And this fun gift rings in at a budget-friendly price point, too.

Price at time of publication: $25

Best Under $50: Vibe Beam Wireless Earbuds

Vibe Beam Wireless Earbuds


Wireless earbuds are not only a practical gift for people at various ages and stages in life, but they’re fun too, and this pair makes an impressive tech gift under $50. These have a comfy, ergonomic fit with a closed design that helps exclude external sounds. And if your loved one is leaving the nest upon graduation, this is a gift that facilitates their staying in touch: It supports hands-free calls with VoiceAware technology that helps the user balance how much of their own voice they hear while talking to others.

Price at time of publication: $50

Best Under $100: Kindle

Amazon Kindle


With a price point under $100, Kindle is a powerful tech tool that makes a great gift for readers of all ages. Light and compact with a sharp, glare-free display, this e-reader works in day or night. And it will help the grad in your life become deeply absorbed in what they’re reading, without the distractions that come with smartphones or other tablets.

Price at time of publication: $100

Best Jewelry: Custom Gold Initial Necklace

Maya Brenner Custom Gold Initial Necklace

Maya Brenner

Fine jewelry is among the most memorable gifts you can give. It’s something bound to be cherished for a lifetime and even passed down. Available in rose, white, or yellow gold, this 14-karat necklace is highly personal, too. You can customize it with any meaningful initials. It’s chic, sleek, lightweight, and goes with absolutely everything, so it will be an everyday go-to.

Price at time of publication: $325

Best Personalized: Petite Class Ring

Women's 14kt gold plated Celebrium Petite Class Ring


If your high school or college grad has both school loyalty and a sentimental streak, give the gift of a personalized class ring, bearing their own name, their school’s name, and their year of graduation. Choose a colorful simulated stone to go in the center of this 14-karat-gold-plated ring for a rich, bespoke look.

Price at time of publication: $88

Best Wearable: Fossil Flynn Chronograph Leather Watch

Flynn Chronograph Brown Leather Watch


A watch is a highly traditional graduation gift. And while it’s less of a functional necessity these days, now that everyone has a time-keeping smartphone with them at all times, a timepiece still makes an elegant graduation gift. This sophisticated chronograph watch has a brown leather band and can be engraved for a personalized gift. 

Price at time of publication: $96

Best Game: Graduation Mad Libs

Graduation Mad Libs: World's Greatest Word Game


If you’re in the market for a cheeky graduation gift for less than the cost of a drug store greeting card, scoop up this book of graduation-theme Mad Libs. It comes with 21 fill-in-the-blank stories about final exams, the last day of school, graduation parties, and more. This game is recommended for age 8 and up (and even helps grade schoolers master parts of speech in a fun way!).

Price at time of publication: $5

Factors to Consider 

Your Child’s Age and Grade 

The age and grade (or other achievement) of the graduate is among the most important factors to consider when shopping for a graduation gift. In the most basic sense, an ABCs learning tool is right for a preschool graduation, whereas a dorm-prep gift  works for a high schooler, and a more sophisticated gift of luggage or fine jewelry is just right for a college grad.

Price Range

When shopping for a graduation gift, determine a budget that is comfortable for you. Then consider the closeness of the relationship and the age of the recipient: A gift under $25 is more than enough for a kindergarten grad or a child not as close to the family. Whereas a more robust spend of $100 or more may be appropriate for a daughter or son celebrating a high school or college graduation or beyond.

Make It Personal

While cash and gift cards are popular graduation gifts, they lack one element that really distinguishes a gift: something that’s personal, intimate, and from the heart. Personal gift ideas include engraved or customized mementos (such as the compass and initial necklace on our list), photo-based gifts, or even thoughtfully written cards.

Make It Memorable  

In a stack of gifts, will yours stand out in a generation’s time, or even by the end of the graduation party? A gift like fine jewelry, luggage, or a highly functional tech tool has an enduring quality that will keep it top of mind for your grateful recipient as the years go by.

Your Questions, Answered 

How much should you spend on a graduation gift? 

How much you spend on a graduation gift is completely up to you and your comfortable budget. Our list includes iconic picks under $10 (like the classic Dr. Seuss book Oh, The Places You’ll Go!) as well as splurge-worthy personalized jewelry picks they can pass down to the next generation on their graduation. Depending on the closeness of your relationship with a graduate, $25 to $100 is often a good rule of thumb.

What’s the most common graduation gift? 

Cash is a common graduation gift—and always appreciated. (Cash or checks can be deposited directly into college savings for younger kids.) Gift cards are also popular and easy to find. Other common graduation gifts include books, tech tools, jewelry, watches, luggage, small appliances, and more.

Who We Are

Alesandra Dubin is a mom to twins, whom she’s proudly watched graduate preschool already. (Next up: elementary school!) She’s also a veteran lifestyle writer and product reviewer who has been writing about parenting topics since she helmed’s pregnancy blog when she was expecting in 2014.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles