My little brother has just graduated from high school and I was getting crazy about finding a good gift so it’s a topic of my blog post today.
If someone close to you has recently graduated high school, then you might be looking to find a good present to buy the new graduate. While what you can buy will depend on what you can afford and your relationship to the student, you have many options.
If the student is going to college next year, anything that could be useful in college is a great choice, ranging from dorm accessories to entertainment. If the student is not attending college after graduating high school, anything that he or she could use otherwise would make a great gift.

I would also make sure that the student doesn’t have any of these beforehand… there’s nothing more awkward than giving a gift and finding out the person already has it!
Here are a few general areas to think of when deciding what to get:

  • Money/Gift Certificates. Money is always useful, and so are gift certificates. Many graduates are saving up for something in particular or could use a little bit of money off the bat, making money very essential. However, if you feel that money is too impersonal, gift certificates are a great substitute. If the graduate is attending college, I recommend making sure that the store you’re buying a gift certificate to has a location near the school. Large retail stores are usually a good choice, as well as clothing stores and restaurants (make sure the graduate likes the store/restaurant first!).
  • Electronic gizmos/gadgets. A new cell phone, an MP3 player, a new camera, and so forth. Nowadays, most graduates will have these in one form or another, but a newer (and nicer) one is always welcome.
  • Items for moving out. If the student plans to move out and begin a life in the work force, anything that may help out would be great — furniture, dishware, and so forth. I recommend being sure the student plans to move out though, otherwise these items might be a bit odd. Students living in the dorms next year can use many items, and getting some for graduation will save a lot of hassle later on.
  • Something related to his or her interests. If the graduate plays guitar regularly, perhaps a new guitar (or something connected to guitar). If the student is good with cars, something related to cars.
  • Food. Everybody loves food! As a graduation gift, food should probably be more classy and fine foods — a box of Cheez-Its might be a bit odd.

If you’re in doubt, you could also ask his/her friends and family what they would recommend. Asking both, if possible, is always best — friends will usually have a good idea what the graduate will want, but family will know what he/she needs.
I also recommend walking around a large retail store like Wal-Mart or Target when looking for graduation presents. As you wander down the aisles, you’d be surprised what you might see that will click as a great gift idea.
In the end, graduation gifts don’t need to be drastically different than any other occasion (such as a birthday or Christmas). However, graduation gifts can have the added theme of “moving on in life”, giving you more choices than you normally would have.