High school graduation 2021 may be different from past years, with graduation ceremonies in question, but we still want to celebrate the accomplishments of the young men in our lives with the perfect gift for him. Whether you are looking for a laptop, or something they can use in a dorm room or an internship, this gift guide has you covered.
Shopping for your son’s best buds? Here are some wonderful ideas for grad gifts for your teen’s friends.
If you have girls on your list, here are some of our favorite grad gifts for the young women in your life.
Note: Grown and Flown is reader-supported and we receive compensation through some of the links in this post.
High school graduation gifts for him
Take that stack, OK…a drawer full of t-shirts from camp, class day, sports teams, and more, and send them off to Project Repat so they can make a unique, highly-personal unique gift for your son. The t-shirt quilt will be uniquely his and a great conversation ice breaker at college. They can be made in various sizes and treasured forever.
Your new grad will love to receive new college gear and Fanatics is the #1 site to shop for officially-licensed logo clothing and accessories from more than 500 colleges and pro-teams, too. T-shirts, hats, hoodies, sneakers and more make THIS site your go-to for collegiate gear.
Some guys get sticker-shock when they see how expensive razors are, especially if they’ve not been the ones buying them in the past. Now, Gillette has a subscription service and this could be a gift that your son will truly appreciate when he is away at college. Razors would then be one thing he wouldn’t have to budget for.
Your son is very likely going to be at a school where it will rain and, very possibly, it will rain quite a bit. He will need a rain jacket to make the long walk across campus for classes.
This jacket comes in dozens of sizes and colors, is highly-rated, durable, affordable, and super popular. We love this very practical high school graduation gift for boys!
There are hundreds of models to choose from in this iconic brand but we think this one, the “Expedition,” is a good pick. It has a ten year battery life, is water-resistant up to 100 meters, and has the Timex-trademarked Indiglo backlit face making it easy to tell time in the dark — without reaching for a phone.
If your new grad is looking for something that will synch with their other tech and monitor their exercise and sleep, consider an Apple Watch with bands in any color they love.
My son loves this steamer that he borrowed from a roommate for graduation and only wishes he had taken one to school with him as freshmen. Dry clothes can sit in the dryer for hours before they are reclaimed from the laundry room and the only hope for looking unrumpled is this steamer.
These headphones are among the most highly-rated for wireless over-the-ear headphones. Dorms and roommates are noisy and can be disruptive to sleep and study. These are one of the best gifts would make a generous and very helpful gift next fall.
A much less expensive option, and one that is also highly regarded by the reviewers, are these wireless headphones by Anker.
Teens also tell us they love their AirPods and these are a great gift to be used for exercise, travel, and carrying around campus in their backpack.
Admiral McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired) has a new book out that’s perfect for a 2021 grad. In The Hero Code, Admiral McRaven conveys what it takes to be a “hero” while living an ordinary life. He tells us about people he has met in the classroom, in hospitals, on the battlefield, all of whom are trying to change the world for the better.
This follows his bestseller, Make Your Bed, based on the commencement address he gave at the University of Austin in 2014 that quickly went viral.
The closest thing to a “college instruction manual” is the bestselling book, Naked Roommate. Author Harlan Cohen has been in the college-advice business since he was a student himself and stays current by visiting college campuses and talking to kids and administrators all over the country.
This is a book your son can keep on the shelf and refer to often about ANY questions he has in college, including a “naked roommate.”
If you loved Julie Lythcott-Haims, How to Raise an Adult, consider her newest book as a useful gift for the next chapter in their life. Lythcott-Haims is the former Dean of Freshman at Stanford University and a college mom herself, and she speak right to young people about how being an adult is a process and not a set of defined milestones they can measure. Using stories, her own wealth of experience and practical strategies, Lythcott-Haims offers young adults a guide to their next stage in life.
We cannot say enough great things about these bags. They are our #1 recommendation for you move-in and move-out, for ALL FOUR YEARS. They are durable and inexpensive, especially compared with luggage. Your son can store bulky bedding or off-season clothes in one of these bags during the school year.
If you want to add to the gift, fill it with new towels and laundry detergent to encourage him to remember to get to the laundry room from time to time!
Your son will love having Alexa as his Virtual Assistant to check scores, the weather, order a pizza or an Uber, help with homework, play his music or sleep-inducing sounds….the possibilities are endless. (Note: Alexa has privacy controls that disconnects the microphone.)
If your son is a coffee drinker and wants to sip on a cup that remains hot FOR HOURS, the Yeti is for him. It is stainless steel with double-wall vacuum insulation which means that cold drinks stay cold for hours, too.
Teens and young adults will love receiving a Yeti mug as a grad gift. Available in the iconic stainless or now, in 20 vibrant hues, look for one that matches your son’s college colors.
Your recent grad will save time and money by making their own cold brew the night before. We love this easy to use pitcher from Takeya and as we know college student are fueled by coffee it will soon be one of their favorite gifts. It is unbreakable and comes in one and two quart sizes and different colors.
For a wallet, passport, meds or other valuables, we like the Sentry Compact Safe since it’s small and has a cable that can be looped around a heavy piece of furniture.
This tool set is an inexpensive and complete tool kit comes with all the accessories that your son can use in his dorm this year and in apartments in his future. This gift can be rolled out to set up any gadgets on move-in day. The is one of the most best graduation gifts for guys and girls!
This is an upgrade to a more adult style of carrying money and cards. It is super-thin, durable, affordable and can easily slide into a jeans pocket. They are available in 16 different color combinations.
If your son is going to school in a cold climate, don’t wait to buy him a good pair of boots as popular sizes and styles can sell out. These are classics. Look for a 20% student discount while you are shopping for boots at Timberland. (some exclusions.)
We are kind of in love with these Bluetooth speakers for their design and colors, and REALLY love the durability — waterproof and dust proof will be important to maintain the life expectancy of these great sources of wireless sound.
Dorm rooms have too many people and too much dirty clothing to ever smell nice. And while most campuses ban the use of candles (can you blame them?) a diffuser can be a great gift for their new place. Homesick now makes them for a few locations, but we love other brands including Nest. A high quality diffuser can last all year, making it a lasting gift for a new graduate.
Water bottles that keep hot beverages hot and cold drinks cold will be a welcome addition to the dorm shopping list for freshmen. Hydro Flask is one of our favorites.
Haven’t found what you want yet? Here’s more: