The Best 2020 Graduation Gifts For Your Teen’s Friends

Graduation gifts are some of the toughest gifts to pick out, especially when you’re buying for your teen’s friends who have become almost as dear to us as our own kids. We asked our seasoned moms what they love to give their kids’ friends and here are some of their answers. Some of these gifts can be bought in bulk, which makes giving to a large number more affordable.

Note: We are a reader-supported site and receive compensation from purchases made through some of the links in this post. Thank you! 

Graduation Gifts for Your Teen’s Friend Group

Ikea Frakta bags

The big blue bags (available to order on Amazon) are truly the most amazing bags we have ever used for packing and moving. College-bound grads will have loads of stuff to take to school and giving them one of these lightweight and durable bags will be a huge help. This is THE bag that every Grown and Flown parent has gotten for their own kid – their friends (and parents) will love this when they move in.

Ikea blue bag

Fanatics

Shop here for the largest selections of official NCAA merchandise for over 500 colleges and pro teams, too. Check out these college logo face-coverings that come in 3 packs and singles, too.

face masks

First Aid Kit

illed with basics is a must-have for college students. Target has these cute bags that are FREE when you purchase 3 or more first aid items for each bag.

target first aid bag

Financial Literacy

Teens are expected to leave home with a foundation in financial literacy but few of them already have answers to the all the money questions they will face once they are living on their own. See why the one reviewer at the New York Times calls Napkin Finance  “one of the best financial aid primers I have read in years.”

Napkin Finance

Fleece Throw Blankets

Inexpensive Fleece Throw Blankets from Lands End (approx. 4 ft x 6 ft) are available in an array of colors and patterns and can be monogrammed, too. If your budget permits, there are also larger blanket options which can also be personalized. Machine-washable.

fleece throw blanket

Inspirational Socks

Teens need new socks to go off to college and our favorite sock brand is Notes to Self. College students – really, anyone, can start their day with positivity when they reach for a pair of these incredibly comfortable and durable socks from you. NOW: Grown and Flown readers can take 12% off a purchase of $75 or more (and free shipping)when they use GROWNANDFLOWN at checkout.

grad socks

Handheld Steamer

My son loves his Handheld Clothes Steamer that he borrowed from a roommate for graduation; now he wishes he had taken one to school with him as freshmen. Forget packing them off with an iron and ironing board – this is the solution to dealing with wrinkled clothes.

clothes steamerDrawstring Bag

This lightweight and practical Collegiate Drawstring Bag has a mesh backing and a front pocket with zippers. Look at the drop-down menu to see if a bag is available for the colleges where your teen’s friends will be attending; if not, find a bag in the school colors.


NCAA drawstring bag

Here’s a gift idea for the moms of grads, those friends who’ve been with you every step of the way! The Grown and Flown book has tips for what to buy for college, how to move in and…how to say goodbye.

Grown and Flown book

Tervis Tumbler

Choosing one of these tumblers from the Tervis Tumbler Collegiate Collection for each of your teen’s friends is a thoughtful way to celebrate where each is heading off in the fall. They can be personalized, come with a lifetime guarantee, and are affordable.

Graduation gifts for high school kids

Inspiration

Send your teen (and their friends) off with a slender book of love and life lessons with The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Written and illustrated by beloved British artist, Charlie Mackesy, this is a 2019 bestselling (New York Times, Wall Street Journal and more) fable with with gorgeous illustrations throughout.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.

“Kind,” said the boy.

 

The boy, mole, fox and horse

Tools

Everyone can use this practical tool set that contains all they’ll need to set up their dorm rooms and college apartments.

tool set

 

Jewelry

Your daughter and her friends will always remember a special piece of jewelry from Kendra Scott, especially if the stones are personalized with the colors of the college each girl is attending. There are dozens of different stones to pick from to create unique necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

young woman wearing jewlery

Money

Kids appreciate and need money and there are many clever ways to “dress it up.”

  • Fill a mason jar with dollars and add decorative touches in the colors of each college.
  • If you are truly creative, consider making a dollar wreath like the one below.
  • And if you are not particularly crafty, simply write a check made out for $20.21 and place it in a card or a favorite grad book. 

High school graduation gifts

 

Laundry Bag

A laundry bag filled with detergent pods, Shout “color catching” sheets, mesh lingerie bags and/or a stain remover stick is a gift that all students can use and appreciate when they finally break down and do their laundry.

laundry hamper

Do Your Laundry

For the young women on your list, add one of our favorite grad books, Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone, by author/illustrator and mom of two daughters, Becky Blades. You’ll be giving your grad what she wants but doesn’t know she needs: her mother’s loving counsel.

Do your laundry

Naked Roommate

Another great book idea for boy or girl grads is The Naked Roommate. Now in it’s 7th Edition, this book includes everything any young man or woman might encounter as a freshman.

Naked roommate

Water Bottle

A new water bottle is a very practical graduation gift and these Hydro Flasks come in many different colors, sizes, and price points. They are one of the most popular brand on campus and will help keep your teen from needing to buy water in expensive and wasteful plastic bottles.

Hydro Flask

Flip Flops

Everyone needs flip flops for the gross communal dorm bathrooms and these Showaflops come in loads of cute designs, available for both men and women, and are antimicrobial with slip resistant soles.

flip flops

Frame

Making copies of a favorite friend group and placing them in frames is a sentimental, and inexpensive gift. An Acrylic Photo Frame like this one would be a good choice and these are available in packs of multiple frames.

photo frame

Yeti Mug


This YETI Rambler Stainless Steel Tumbler is virtually indestructible and it will keep your teen’s drink cold (or hot) for hours.  They are available in a wide range of sizes, styles and colors. Personalize with college logos, or monogram. 

Yet tumbler

Portable Phone Charger

It’s a disaster and safety risk to run out of battery life on a cell phone, so keep your college kids covered with this small, light, high-speed and top-rated Power Bank by Jackery.

battery bank Jackery

Umbrella

College kids will be so glad they packed along an umbrella the first morning they have to walk to class in a downpour. They can all use a Travel Umbrella that folds to fit in a backpack. This one by Repel gets the highest ratings from the New York Times but they also make many different umbrellas in petty colors, too.

umbrella

Thank You Cards

Our final idea is something that all grads need Thank You Cards  to write to the many people who have helped them reach this milestone.  We have used Minted for our holiday cards and personalized stationery and think their one-of-a-kind designs are gorgeous.  You will find something for your son or daughter, niece or nephew, or any family friend. FREE custom envelops and recipient addressing.

Thank you card

Gift Card Graduation Gifts for Your Teen’s Friends:

Gift Cards:

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21 Absolutely Fabulous High School Grad Gifts for Girls

High School Grad Gifts for Guys. They Will Love These!

It's always a struggle looking for graduation gift ideas, especially for the friends of your teenager. These gift ideas for the graduates that you love are perfect for giving to the best friends of your teen. #graduationgifts #gradgifts #giftideas #graduation #teen #teenagers #teens #gifts

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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