Getting a graduation gift for your student is a great way to both let them know how proud you are of them for their hard work, and provide something that will set them up for the next phase in their life.
They’ve just spent the last few years studying their butts off to graduate from high school, college or trade school, and now they’re stepping out into the world to spread their wings and see what they can make of themselves.
Obviously, as his parent, you want to make sure he’s got room to grow and develop on his own. You can’t take care of him like you did when he was a kid in elementary school or a teenager in high school.
He’s got to be his own man now and face the world bravely.
But a little gift can go a long way toward helping set him on the right path.
Whether he’s moving to a dorm, his first apartment, or moving in with his college buddies, a practical graduation gift will help set up his new living quarters—all without being a "helicopter parent".
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best graduation gifts for him. Some are functional and practical, others fun and more "want" than "need". But all of them are gifts that will come in handy in his new life.
Want to jump right to the gift ideas?
For 2022, we've outlined a selection of gifts every grad will enjoy. Our Gifts for Grads Guide is one of the many gift guides available at WERD. Tapping into our 12 years of gear & gadget experience, we've hunted down the best finds for every type of guy, giving you the confidence to gift like a pro.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule to follow when giving graduation gifts. You want to spend an amount that shows how proud you are, but he’s not a kid anymore receiving expensive Christmas presents.
Here is a general "rule of thumb" to consider:
If you’re his parent: $100+
If you’re his grandparent: $50+
If you’re his friend, sibling, or coworker: $30-50
It’s a monumental occasion in his life that should be commemorated, but don’t feel like you have to break the bank.
What is the most common graduation gift?
Cash is the most common graduation gift.
A lot of people go with cash for a new graduate because they might not know him well enough to know what kind of gift he’d need.
For parents or grandparents, however, cash has a way of ensuring he’s got enough to cover the bills of his new apartment/house/room.
If cash seems too impersonal or boring, consider something he'll actually find utility with, like a dopp kit or a nice wallet.
Do graduates gift other graduates?
That would be nice, and if you choose to do so, good for you! However, it’s not necessary.
Imagine having to get all of your best high school or college friends a gift—even at a low cost per gift, that still adds up to a very expensive graduation!
If I receive a graduation announcement do I need to send a gift?
Graduation announcements aren’t the same as a graduation invitation.
A graduation invitation is sent to family and close friends, inviting them to attend the official graduation ceremony at school and/or a graduation event hosted by the parents. For this, you will need to bring a gift to the event.
A graduation announcement, on the other hand, is simply sent out to inform friends, family, and coworkers about this grand milestone, but there is no obligation or expectation of receiving a gift in return.
Should I bring a gift to a graduation commencement ceremony?
As explained above, being invited to the graduation commencement ceremony means you fall in the circle of "close family and friends". It’s an intimate event for only the most important people in the student’s life.
Which, of course, means that anyone who is invited should bring a gift—or, if they can’t attend in person, should send a gift to the graduate’s family’s home within a few days of the ceremony.
That’s what is expected of close family and friends.
A selection of gifts ideas for the graduate in 2022
If (like me) you’re the kind of guy who tends to overheat in the summer, you’re going to LOVE this portable, personal air cooler. The evaCHILL is the game-changing device you’ll take everywhere you go, so you can stay frosty no matter how high the temperature rises. Fill the 800 ml water tank to get a solid 9 hours of cooling from this eco-friendly, ultra-portable USB-charged cooler. It’s not exactly silent (at up to 50 dBs), but the noise will be well worth it as you feel that waft of cold air hit your face. Weighing just 750 grams (plus the water weight), you’ll be glad you had this by your side all summer long.
You’ve never experienced a mouse mat quite like this one. The Razer Strider combines a mid-to-firm 3mm base with a slick, smooth-gliding surface that will let you move your mouse around with both maximum speed and precision. It’s a gamer’s best friend, complete with an anti-slip rubber underside that will keep it firmly in place on your desk, and can even be rolled up and stowed in your backpack when gaming on the road. The solid-stitched edges will never come unglued or fray, and the warp- and water-resistant mat can handle years of daily use without ever showing signs of wear. It’s the gaming mouse mat you didn’t know you absolutely needed.
With the manicure set from Gentlemen’s Hardware, your nail grooming regime gets a welcomed upgrade. Neatly packaged in a fabric case, it contains a complete set of stainless steel tools that includes nail clippers, nail scissors, tweezers and a nail file.
The numbers tell you all you need to know about this little badass. The Acebeam Rider RX is a compact & waterproof EDC flashlight that delivers 650 lumens of bright-white light that it can throw into a 300-foot beam. It's got 5 power modes. 2-way clip. Max run-time: up to 7 days. Weight: 82 grams.
The Sonos Roam SL makes the brand’s popular Roam portable speaker a bit simpler by eliminating the mic but its functions with the same sweet, room-filling sound & a sweet price tag to boot. Compatible with all Sonos Qi chargers, it offers 10 hours of continuous playback as well as IP67 waterproofing for beach & poolside soundtracks.
Native Union Snap 3-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charger
With the ability to charge your iPhone 12 & 13, Apple Watch, & AirPods all at once, this 3-in-1 MagSafe-compatible stand keeps your devices organized & accessible while charging. It powers iPhones up to 7.5W & AirPods, AirPods Pro & Apple Watch up to 5W, as well as offering USB-C charging for other devices. Adjustable for portrait or landscape viewing.
Equipped with 3 fast charging ports & 2 outlets, this 65W USB-C GaN III charger can power up 6 devices simultaneously. In addition to powering your Macbook & most other laptops, it’ll do the same for iPhone, iPad, Samsung smartphones, bluetooth earphones, e-readers, portable speakers, and everything else in your life powered by a USB cord.
The Tozo W1 Wireless Charger is smooth and sleek and just 5mm thick. For reference, that’s two nickels and a penny stacked together. So yeah, impressively thin for its 10 Watt output, which is plenty to charge the latest Apple & Samsung devices. A mirror-like finish and single LED indicator light complete the streamlined design. It charges via USB-C but no cord & adapter is included. Which must be at least part of why it’s such a great price. Available in a variety of colors.
Made of rugged ripstop with an Aquaguard zipper & sized perfectly for travel, Pioneer Carry’s Global Pouch is a catch-all travel companion that can hold anything from tech to toothbrush and features 5 internal pockets for all those little things.
Blending natural and technical materials in a clean, modern design, the D03 Dapper bi-fold wallet is one you’ll want in your back pocket. Machined aluminum and top-grain leather combine in a classic bill fold configuration that holds up to 14 cards and cash. Choose silver, black or brown.
The Smart Clock Essential from Lenovo is a bedside alarm clock with Alexa Built-in. Set timers, alarms, reminders and add anything you need to your Amazon shopping cart by just saying it out loud. It can be your simple smart speaker and even functions as a night light. It’s available in 2 colors and 85% of the plastic used in the clock is made from recycled material.
Deployed with a simple twist for on & off, the 60-lumen Pimi keychain flashlight is a smart little EDC light. Measuring just 1.3 inches, it fits perfectly on your keys, delivering handy, reliable light in a cool copper case. It’s powered by a single 10180 cell battery and is IP68 rated for dust and water resistance.
With its beach-friendly waterproof design and pocketable size, Sony’s SRS-XB13 speaker makes a cool companion for hot summer days. With an IP67 rating for dust- and water-proofing plus a UV-coated finish, it’s built for all-weather outdoor action. Shorter than a common 12-ounce can, it is also very packable; with a webbing strap loop for lashing it to your pack or carrying around your wrist. Battery life: 16 hours. Available in a range of colors.
In a range that includes more than 20 different speakers, the latest addition to Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound lineup is the portable Beosound Explore, a waterproof, dust-proof, travel-friendly speaker boasting 27 hours of continuous playback. Its small size, sturdy aluminum-body construction, and an integrated carabiner clip make it a great option for on-the-go audio. Just remember, most other hikers don’t want to hear your Travis Scott playlist.
Converting your laptop-on-the-table workstation to a more sensible & posture-friendly standup desk should be easy. Cora’s Standing Desk Conversion makes it so. It’s a lightweight but sturdy little stand that’s also portable. From a flat & smooth 1.3” riser, it opens up on aluminum scissor legs to a fully extended 15.7” high—and any level in between. Simply squeeze the side levers to lift or lower. It measures 31.3” x 22” x 1.3” and supports up to 22.5 pounds.
The Seg30 daypack from the travel-focused Matador brand is a versatile 30-liter daypack designed for easy organization. With access to every compartment from the outside, the pack’s segmented design allows you to separate items & adapts for comfort as you add & subtract cargo from the 4 compartments. Constructed of tough 420 Denier nylon.
VSSL’s First Aid Mini kit keeps your first aid essentials on-hand & efficiently organized in a lightweight aluminum tube. With sealed screw caps on either end, stackable tins inside are grouped like Clean, Cut and Cover for wound care & Outdoor Essentials featuring pain meds, burn cream and blister pads. At 6.75” long and a weight of 9.9 ounces, the 100% watertight tube is fast-light friendly.
Winner of a 2019 RedDot Design award, the Eve Energy Strip is a connected 3-socket power strip that lets you individually control 3 outlets via Siri voice control or the Eve app. It also allows you to set schedules for lighting or other home devices and appliances as well as offering advanced data security and surge protection features.
Using leather recycled from time-worn vintage baseball gloves, Fielders Choice Goods craft one-of-a-kind wallets in a variety of styles. Each wallet is handmade & features designs that highlight the unique material and its markings—from original logos and printing to the creases & character of its former life. FCG embosses their wallets with a small gold leaf logo & also offers monogramming.
When you’re cruising across international borders and zipping through time zones, it’s best & safest to keep your essentials all in one place, easily accessible, & on your person. And the P02 Pioneer Travel Wallet is purpose-built for precisely this type of jetsetting. It’s made of water-resistant & scratch-resistant D-Text fabric, has secure zippered pockets for passport, travel docs, tickets, cards, cash, & more. It features a pen slot & an adjustable strap for optional shoulder-carry.
At home or on the road, you can plug it all into the Anker PowerPort Cube. It’s got 3 AC outlets and 3 USB ports to charge up & power everything on your desk from a single compact hub. It gives you High-Speed Charging optimized for USB devices, it’s smaller than 2 ½ cubic inches for portability, and it offers overload protection.
Made of premium full-grain leather and lined with scratch-resistant Alcantara, Killspencer’s Classic Sleeves provide stylish protection for your Macbook and iPad, and are perfectly sized for the entire range of Apple products. Made in America.
Having trouble finding something you think your graduate will like?