32 amazing graduation gifts for her
Because graduating during a pandemic is kind of a big deal
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If you know a woman who’s graduating from high school or college this year, her accomplishments are definitely worth celebrating. Not only did she put in the hard work to complete her degree, but she did it during a pandemic, when most schools were forced to switch to remote learning in the middle of the year.
To honor her accomplishments and get her ready for the next stage in her life—whatever that may be—you can wrap up one of these amazing graduation gifts for her. Whether she’s leaving for college or starting her first job, the following gifts are top picks for every situation, and we’ve tested many of them firsthand to ensure they’re best in class—just like your grad!
1. For the grad leaving for college: Nespresso VertuoPlus
If you’re shopping for a high school senior who’s heading off to college next school year, a single-serving coffee maker will be a much-welcomed gift. The Nespresso VertuoPlus is the best pod coffee maker we’ve tested, and it shines thanks to its compact form and delicious drinks. It can make espresso, double espresso, and regular coffee with the brand’s special pods, and the end result is dense, rich, and aromatic coffee that’s sure to wake her up every morning.
2. For the grad who lives far away: Baked by Melissa cupcakes
You might not be able to congratulate the graduate in person if you live far away, but you can show her that you’re thinking of her with cupcakes from Baked by Melissa. Our editors are obsessed with these teeny bite-sized treats, writing that they “tasted like they came straight from a nearby bakery, despite the fact that they were shipped from New York City.” The cupcakes come in a variety of flavors and packaging options, and I can confirm that they make a great gift, as I’ve sent them to friends in the past!
3. For the jewelry lover: Mejuri Jewelry
For graduates who are always sporting a beautiful selection of jewelry, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful piece from Mejuri, another favorite brand among our staff. This company offers fine jewelry at reasonable prices thanks to a direct-to-consumer business model, and their minimalistic pieces are both stylish and durable. So whether you gift her a pair of cute earrings or a dainty ring, you’ll know it’s a piece that she can wear for years to come.
4. For the grad who’s moving: Away Luggage
If your grad is starting the next chapter of her life on the other side of the country (or even the world!), there’s no better gift than a piece of luggage from Away. These stylish pieces of luggage are designed with frequent travelers in mind, featuring 360-degree spinner wheels, a lightweight yet durable shell, and even a built-in battery to charge electronics. The Carry-On is a favorite among our staff, and it comes in a variety of cool colors and can even be personalized with your giftee’s initials.
5. For the makeup lover: Boxycharm
Is your graduate always made up perfectly with flawless winged eyeliner and perfectly blended foundation? If so, we’re betting she’ll love a subscription to Boxycharm—the best beauty subscription box we’ve tested. Boxycharm comes with five full-size products every month, and it often contains high-end cosmetic brands that she’s sure to love.
6. For the stressed-out grad: Airomé Serenity essential oil diffuser
If it seems like your graduate is always wearing her shoulders as earrings, you can help her unwind a bit with the best essential oil diffuser we’ve tested. The Airomé Serenity Diffuser has a cute, compact design that comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, and we were impressed by its ability to spread relaxing scents across a room via its fine mist. You could even pair it with a few bottles of essential oils for her—in particular, lavender is an incredibly soothing scent that can help minimize stress.
7. For the grad with a long commute: Apple AirPods Pro
Anyone who commutes to work knows the importance of a great pair of headphones, and the Apple AirPods Pro are the best wireless earbuds we’ve ever tested. They offer amazing noise cancellation (ideal for blocking out the hubbub of a busy subway), an impressive battery life, and they’re easy to use, even if she doesn’t have an iPhone. Plus, they come with interchangeable silicone ear tips to ensure a comfortable fit.
8. For the plant lover: A plant from The Sill
If your giftee has a green thumb, you can give her a new plant baby with the help of The Sill. This popular plant delivery service is known for its top-quality plants, which arrive carefully packaged at your doorstep. They offer everything from simple philodendron to trendy plants like Monsteras and Pileas, and each one comes in a pretty planter, to boot.
9. For the yoga enthusiast: Lululemon Yoga Mat
For the woman who’s always taking yoga classes and working on her inversions, there’s no better gift than The Reversible Mat from Lululemon, which aced our testing. This mat is truly delightful to use, delivering the perfect level of support and cushioning, and its non-skid surface ensures it will never slip around during class. I actually own this yoga mat myself, and I can confirm that it’s worth every penny and will level up anyone’s practice.
10. For the grad with great hair: Revlon One-Step Hair Tool
If your grad takes pride in her luscious locks, the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer is a must-have addition to her haircare arsenal. This unique tool is shaped like a round brush, and it works to smooth and dry your hair at once, giving you the appearance of a fresh blowout in less time. Our staff (myself included) is totally enamored with the Revlon One-Step, writing things like: “I’m marrying the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer and I don’t care what the town clerk has to say.” It’s truly that good!
11. For the grad who needs some TLC: LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs
High school and college can definitely be stressful, and you can help your graduate indulge in some self-care with this set of bath bombs. The LifeAround2Angels are the best bath bombs we’ve tested, offering soothing (but not overpowering) scents, a moisturizing formula, and a stain-free bath experience. The pack of 12 bath bombs comes with a variety of fun scents and colors, and the set comes in a pretty box that’s ideal for gifting.
12. For the soon-to-be homesick grad: Homesick Candles
If your grad is moving away from home—perhaps for the first time!—chances are they’re going to get a little homesick. Luckily, Homesick Candles offers state and city-themed candles that can serve as a reminder of home, no matter how far away they travel. The cute candles come in glass jars, and they’re made from a natural soy wax blend with premium cotton wicks. I’ve personally sent them as gifts to friends who have moved away, and my giftees were impressed with the quality and homey scents of the candles.
13. For the indecisive grad: Decision Paperweight
If your graduate tends to be indecisive, hemming and hawing over choices forever, this silly paperweight is the perfect gift for them. The aluminum paperweight is split into a variety of sections, and each one is labeled with a phrase like “Yes,” “No,” “Maybe,” “Sit on it,” “Tomorrow,” and more. When she’s having trouble making a decision, your giftee can simply spin the paperweight and see what phrase it lands on, letting the universe make the choice for her.
14. For the sentimental grad: A message in a bottle
This adorable miniature message in a bottle is an ideal gift for anyone who loves sentimental items. The glass bottle is just 2 inches tall, and it contains a handwritten message of your choosing. There’s even a tiny graduation cap or diploma hanging underneath it, as well as glitter in the bottom of the jar. The seller offers a number of packaging options, as well, including a fun cloud-shaped envelope or floating wooden frame.
15. For the 21+ grad: A Winc subscription
If your grad is of legal drinking age, a Winc subscription is sure to be a welcome gift. This wine delivery service is a favorite among our editors, who love having amazing bottles of wine delivered to their doorstep each month. Winc makes it easy to send someone a gift card, and if you’re lucky, your giftee might even share a bottle with you!
16. For the coffee lover: Counter Culture Coffee
Most graduates rely on coffee to get them through late-night study sessions and early-morning classes, and even if those tasks are behind them, chances are they’re going to keep drinking this liquid gold. If you’re shopping for a coffee lover, we’d recommend a gift card to Counter Culture Coffee, which came out on top when we tested the best coffee subscriptions. The service offers an impressive variety of beans that cater to just about every taste, and they always arrive ASAP after roasting, ensuring a fresh and delicious cup of coffee.
17. For the grad with a new apartment: Brooklinen sheets
There’s a lot to buy when moving into an apartment for the first time, and you can help your favorite graduate out by gifting them a set of the best bed sheets we’ve ever tested. The Luxe Core Sheet Set is incredibly soft and welcoming at the end of a long day, and it comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Not only are these sheets luxurious to sleep in, but they’re also impressively durable, ensuring your giftee will be able to use them for years to come.
18. For the grad who loves flowers: Farmgirl Flowers
Nothing says congratulations quite like a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and out of all the flower delivery services I’ve tried, Farmgirl Flowers is by far my favorite. They ship anywhere within the lower 48 states, and their flowers always arrive fresh and just opening, ensuring she’ll be able to enjoy them for longer. Plus, there are a wide range of bouquet options to choose from, including lots of seasonal favorites, as well as mixed arrangements.
19. For the grad moving into a dorm: A Fjallraven Kanken backpack
A good backpack is a must-have when moving into a dorm room, and one of the best school backpacks we tested is the trendy Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack. It’s lightweight and stylish, and it comes in a variety of vibrant colors. The backpack is made from a durable vinyl material that can withstand regular use, and it’s the perfect size to carry small laptops, which many college students use to take notes.
20. For the book worm: Book of the Month
If you’re shopping for an avid reader, they’ll never say no to new books—that’s why Book of the Month is a great gift for any book lover, as it allows them to receive a new novel each month. The subscription service offers five titles to choose from each month, and it often features early releases, fresh perspectives, and debut authors. Plus, all the books are vetted for quality, so you know they’ll be good reads.
21. For the grad who loves trinkets: Personalized Round Keepsake Box
If your giftee has lots of jewelry or other little trinkets that she keeps in her room, this keepsake box is a sentimental and functional present. The round ceramic box can be personalized with your recipient’s name and an accompanying graphic, and in the bottom of the dish, it reads, “Promise me you’ll always remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” It’s a sweet sentiment for any woman who’s starting the next chapter of her life!
22. For the candle collector: Capri Blue Colossal Mercury Glass Candle
This oversized candle will surely be the star of any candle lover’s collection. The top-rated “colossal” candle is 9 inches in diameter and 6 inches tall, and it has a whopping 250-hour burn time. The candle features five wicks and a pretty glass vessel, and it has a delightful fresh scent with hints of tropical fruits, sugared oranges, lemons, limes, and “exotic mountain greens.”
23. For the grad who has everything: An Amazon gift card
At a loss for what to get for a gift? When in doubt, most graduates will appreciate an Amazon gift card—after all, they’re surely going to need supplies for the next chapter of their life, whether they’re moving into a new home or heading off to college. You can get these gift cards in any amount over $25, and it even comes in a cute graduation hat gift box.
24. For the ambitious grad: Shattered Glass Ceiling Necklace
You can remind your favorite graduate that the sky's the limit with this meaningful piece of jewelry. The Shattered Glass Ceiling necklace serves as a reminder that women can achieve anything they set their minds to, and it’s sure to be a welcome gift for any graduate heading out into the workforce. The pendant is made from sterling silver with a piece of cracked glass inside, and it comes on a 24-inch matching silver chain.
25. For the board game enthusiast: Catan board game
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with the board game Catan, and while I might be biased, I think it would be a great gift for anyone who loves board games. In particular, the 25th Anniversary Edition of the game is an amazing present, as it includes both the base game and the 5-6 person expansion pack. It comes with resource card sorting trays and card sleeves—neither of which you get with the normal version—as well as special iridescent anniversary wood pieces and dice.
26. For the culinary adventurer: Levo II oil infuser
If you’re shopping for a woman who loves whipping up inventive recipes in the kitchen, the Levo II oil infuser will take her creations to the next level. This gadget makes it easy to create custom infusions that you can use while cooking and baking, and the second generation model comes in a variety of pretty colors and can be controlled right from your smartphone.
27. For the tech lover: Apple iPad Air
Who wouldn’t want to get an Apple iPad Air as a gift? The 2020 version of this iPad took home our award for the best tablet thanks to its modern design and unmatched performance, and it’s sure to come in handy for a graduate who’s heading off to college, job hunting, or starting her career. It has an impressive battery life that will last through long commutes or lectures, and the A14 Bionic processor completes tasks quickly and efficiently.
28. For the grad who can’t cook: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
If your graduate struggles to boil pasta, they’ll definitely benefit from reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. This cookbook contains much more than recipes—it breaks down the essential elements of cooking, explaining the hows and whys of what makes a meal delicious. The book contains lots of illustrations and infographics, as well as more than 100 essential recipes to help novice chefs get their bearings in the kitchen.
29. For the grad who games: Nintendo Switch
Anyone who loves playing video games will appreciate a Nintendo Switch, one of the hottest gaming consoles of the pandemic. The Switch can be used as a handheld console or hooked up to your TV, and it’s compatible with a wide variety of awesome games, including Animal Crossings: New Horizons and Legends of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Plus, when used as a handheld, it delivers up to 9 hours of battery life—perfect for taking on the go.
30. For the grad who bought a house: Cuisinart 12-Piece Cookware Set
If your graduate is planning to buy a new home, you can help set them up for success in the kitchen with one of the best cookware sets we’ve tested. The Cuisinart 12-Piece Cookware Set comes with saucepans, skillets, a saute pan, stockpot, lids, and more. The triple-ply stainless steel construction conducts heat incredibly well while still remaining lightweight and easy to clean.
31. For the grad who will do big things: Graduation makeup bag
You can encourage your favorite graduate to chase their dreams with this cute graduation makeup bag. It’s made from canvas and measures 9.5-by-7 inches, and you can even have it customized with your recipient’s name. Under the text, there’s a pretty floral detail, along with the phrase, “And off she went to change the world.” If that’s not perfect for a recent grad, we don’t know what is!
32. For the grad who loves Starbucks: Grad Cold Cup Tumbler
This customized tumbler would make an amazing graduation present for the woman who always has a cup of Starbucks coffee in her hand. The cute design features the classic Starbucks logo wrapped in a sticker that reads “Class of 2021,” and there’s a matching graduation cap on the lady’s head. You can choose from a wide variety of sticker colors, including many sparkly options, as well as several cup colors. (Alternatively, you can just opt for the sticker and apply it to a Starbucks cup that you buy on your own!)
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.