Five Graduation Gifts That Aren’t Cash

There’s good reason why cash is the most popular high school graduation gift. Tuition, laptops and the college experience aren’t cheap and kids appreciate having a little financial help from family and friends. Gifts are nice too. They’re more unique and many graduates appreciate a personal touch. With that in mind here are a few ideas for presents that are thoughtful and fun.

The new grads will be doing their own laundry. Hopefully, it won’t be the first time but with this tongue-in-cheek (and accurate if my daughter is any indication) laundry bag it might make them smile while they do it and maybe even change old habits. Include a container of detergent pods and a few rolls of quarters. $20 from HenHouseOriginals.


grad gifts that aren't cash


A subscription box delivered to them at college each month is sure to be a big hit and keep you top-of-mind all year. There are many to choose from including Birchbox (makeup and beauty samples) and Milk Jar Cookies (creative cookies from LA-based Milk Jar Bakery). From $10 a month and up.


creative grad gift ideas


Most new high school graduates won’t hesitate to remind their parents that they’re adults now so give them some reading to match their new status. Good ideas can be found on summer reading lists published by colleges and universities. For example, the University of California, Berkeley’s summer list is themed What Can We Change In A Single Generation and they offer 30 titles to choose from including bestseller Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.



“Live with passion” “Expand your comfort zone” are words of wisdom and support any graduate will appreciate. The fact that they’re printed on these elegant pencils and come with a smart gold sharpener make them a practical gift too. $12 from The Happiness Planner.




A 5 1/2 inch multi-purpose tool is small enough to fit in a small drawer or backpack and is sure to get plenty of use. The Kelvin Urban Multi-Tool Kit comes with practical tools such as an LED flashlight, 6 foot tape measure, level, hammer head, magnet and a screwdriver. Might come in handy decorating and putting the dorm room in order.  Available in blue, pink, silver or black. $24.98 at various retailers.


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