The 38 best gifts for college and high school graduates, from nostalgic decor to tech they'll thank you for later

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Grafomap map of Stockholm and kettle pouring water into the Ember smart mug.

Graduating from college and high school means lots of new responsibilities under a potentially tight budget. Here are useful gifts for a graduate. Grafomap; Amazon

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Both recent college and high school grads are likely feeling all the joy and sadness that habitually comes along with one life chapter ending and another opening up. 

With new jobs and living arrangements comes a host of exciting opportunities and responsibilities to navigate. But it doesn't necessarily come with the ideal budget.

Family members and friends can celebrate their graduate's accomplishments while also selecting gifts that make the next few foundational years a little easier to acclimate to. Below are 38 thoughtful, useful graduation gifts for the Class of 2022.

The 38 best graduation gift ideas in 2022:

School spirit gear

A man in a Texas college t-shirt.

Fanatics

Gift college gear, from Fanatics, from $27.99

Get them excited for their college days or commemorate them with a wearable bit of school spirit. Fanatics is full of clothing, hats, bags, balls, games, and drinkware for NCAA schools. Your grad will be able to spot a fellow alum from miles away.

A gift card for crisp, luxe sheets

Brooklinen bed sheets

Brooklinen

Gift a Brooklinen gift card, from $50

Your graduate may appreciate an upgrade in bedding to match their new chapter or their new space, whether it's their first adult apartment or a dorm.

Brooklinen is a common recommendation for us — you get premium, can't-wait-to-go-to-bed bedding at relatively affordable prices. Read our Brooklinen sheets review here.

A slim Fitbit with plenty of features

Gift for friend Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit

Gift the Fitbit Inspire 2, available at Amazon, $82.74

Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep someone informed about their physical activity — tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones. It's also one of the least expensive Fitbit models.

You can find our ranking of the best Fitbits here.

A planner that helps map out long-term goals

Best Self Co. Journal

Best Self Co.

Gift the Best Self Co. Journal, available at Amazon, $31.99

The Best Self Co. Journal helps people map out their five- or 10-year plans in a tangible, easily managed way. It's a nice way to provide growth and direction after graduation, whether your graduate is on their way to college, a new job, traveling, or anything else.

A great streaming device

Roku Ultra 3 showcase

Roku

Gift the Roku Ultra 3, available at Amazon, $179.99

The Roku Ultra 3 stands out from other streaming device options thanks to its 4K and HDR support, speed, reliability, and large library of streaming services (Netflix, HBO Max , Rakuten Viki, etc.). Plus, if your graduate wants to watch TV on the big screen without disturbing anyone, it comes with headphones for private listening.

Read the full review of the Roku Ultra 2020 here.

A framed photo of their friends or favorite memories

The Little Gift from Framebridge

Framebridge

Give a framed photo, available at Framebridge, from $45

Most of us appreciate some nostalgia. Since your graduate may not feel like investing in a nice frame, frame a photo of their friends or some of their favorite memories from school or home, so they can take them anywhere.

A gift card for the nights when they want an Uber home

Uber

Reuters

Gift an Uber gift card, from $25

Whether they're heading into a new college town, starting a new job, or taking a gap year, there will be nights when it's more convenient or safer for them to Uber home. Make it an easier decision with a gift card for a ride home.

A French press your graduate can rely upon

The Bodum Chambord French Press on a table with espresso mugs and glasses.

Amazon

Gift the Bodum Chambord French Press, available at Amazon, $25.99

If their new job or college major requires lots of early mornings, they'll probably appreciate a good cup of coffee. We love the Bodum Chambord French Press; it's timeless, compact, easy to operate, and entirely unfussy. It's also affordable — so they don't need to be too precious with it.

You can find all our favorite French presses here, though this is our number one pick.

A nice suit

indochino

Indochino

Gift an Indochino Gift Card, from $50

Suits — especially the nicer ones — are a large yet ultimately useful expense for most masculine dressers, even if it's only for special occasions rather than an everyday job. This is one gift your graduate will likely wear for years to come — and something they will likely need before they have the budget to afford it.

A gift card for ordering takeout

The Grubhub logo on an iPhone.

XanderSt/Shutterstock

Gift a GrubHub gift card, from $25

They may not have the energy to cook every night after work or classes. Get them a gift card for the impending evenings in which takeout feels essential.

A travel-friendly speaker for listening to music

Sonos Move on shelf - best Bluetooth speakers

Amazon

Gift the Sonos Move, available at Amazon, $399

We think the Sonos Move is one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy. It has excellent sound quality, a good battery life that can last up to 11 hours on the go, and convenient smart features such as connecting to smart assistants from Amazon and Google. It'll be useful for travel or for listening to music at home.

A cute, compact memento of school

Two dish towels embroidered with Iowa school landmarks and icons.

Uncommon Goods

Gift the College Dish Towel, available at Uncommon Goods, from $14.99

If they've just graduated from college, send them into their next chapter with a memento of their alma mater. We love this dish towel because it still leaves the major decor decisions up to the graduate. Plus, they'll use it frequently.

Timeless advice on how to lead a compassionate life

This Is Water book cover

Amazon

Gift "This Is Water," available at Amazon, $8.69

David Foster Wallace's "This Is Water" is a 2005 commencement speech he gave graduates at Kenyon College. In it, he discusses life's many inconveniences, challenges, and irritations — and how we might adopt a perspective that allows us to lead more compassionate, meaningful lives. 

A gift card to keep them active

ClassPass gift card, assorted exercise equipment, and a smartphone displaying the ClassPass logo laid out on a table.

ClassPass

Gift a ClassPass gift card, from $50

No matter what their work schedule looks like, it's important that your graduate still gets healthy exercise. Lower the barrier to entry and gift them a ClassPass gift card. With it, they can try tons of boutique fitness classes in their area — or, if they need to unwind, meditation sessions or spa days.

A smart reusable notebook

rocketbook notebook

Amazon

Gift the Rocketbook, available at Amazon, $28.97

If your graduate goes through notebook after notebook, this reusable option offers a long-lasting solution. They can use the included pen to take notes, scan each page with an accompanying app to save the pages digitally, and then wipe away the notes to use the same page over and over again.

Mara Leighton

Senior Education and Personal Development Reporter, Insider Reviews

Mara Leighton is the senior education and personal development reporter for Insider Reviews. In the spring of 2020, Mara spearheaded Insider Reviews' new education beat. She's reported on Yale's most popular course on happiness as well as essential workforce recovery programs, free instructional courses for non-ICU workers on operating mechanical ventilators, and a Johns Hopkins' contact tracing course designed to fill thousands of remote jobs. She's interviewed Google executives, presidential policy committee members, best-selling authors, leading researchers and professors, and NBC's Chuck Todd in her education coverage. She's most interested in personal development, skill-building, industry shifts, and increased accessibility for learners of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. Previously, Mara covered e-commerce for Business Insider from 2017-2020. She's written thousands of reviews and explainers, profiled emerging and established D2C companies, blogged through major retail events, and forecasted and analyzed industry trends. She also produced the vertical's weekly newsletter. Say hello at mleighton@businessinsider.com or tweet her @maraleighton. Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we review educational and personal development products.

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