Getting the perfect gift for a high school graduate can be a challenge. Here are 10 cool ideas for the high school graduate—from college dorm must-haves to experiential gifts he’ll remember for a lifetime.
1. An instant hit.
Your teen may not have even heard of a Polaroid camera—but he’ll certainly love this new modern version! The PoGo Digital Poloroid Camera is the digital version of the iconic Polaroid, where 2x3 borderless color pictures print instantly from the integrated printer. Your teen will appreciate that it’s small enough to take anywhere, whether on a nature hike or a party. Having the capability to print pictures instantly, anywhere, makes this camera a must-have for the graduate. (Polaroid, $188.44 ) Where to buy
2. Wake-up call.
If your college student is going to get to class on time, he’s going to need a clock radio. Why not get him one he will actually use? The RCA Universal Dock for iPod Clock Radio allows your teen the option to wake up to his own music from his iPod. He will love the high performance sound quality as well as the docking station and charger. With this dynamic alarm clock, your teen can choose to wake to an alarm, radio or his iPod so he’ll have no excuse to oversleep and miss a class! (RCA, $47.65) Where to buy
3. Lap Top Style
Whether they’re headed off to college, to travel the world, or just off to start a career, most grads are always on the go. And being on the go means they need to carry their lap top safely, but also in style. This quality, retro-designed lap-top computer sling bag is made of sturdy, extra thick protective neoprene to handle the wear and tear of a typical teen. Practical and stylish, it’s the perfect gift for the techie with taste. Designed by Alexander Girard, it comes in three different textile designs, each one acceptably cool for the teen looking to impress and be unique. (Alexander Girard, $50.00) Where to buy
4. Flip for this Camcorder
Having the latest video taping device is a definite must have for the graduate who likes high tech gear. The Mino HD from Flip Video is a sleek, small portable video device that is high on quality – and design. Offering a design-it-yourself component, teens can use their own images as a design or choose from a large selection of patterns and ideas. The Mino can create movies with video clips, music and titles, as well as easily upload to Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and other video sharing sites. Easy enough to slip into their purse or pocket, this remarkable camcorder will certainly come in handy for teens to capture special moments in their life. (FlipVideo, $199) Where to buy
5. Oh, the places they’ll go. For the graduate who loves to travel, there’s really no better gift than tickets for an airline. Kids like flexibility and to be on their own schedule, so giving them some airline tickets to use on their own time is a great gift. When you place the tickets inside the book, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss, she gets not only an opportunity to travel anywhere she wants, but an inspiring book about the journey ahead of her as well.
6. It’s in the Bag!
Being unique, looking different, or standing out are classic qualities in many high school aged kids. Why not give a gift that allows the graduate to design it herself? The “Design Your Own Bag” gift card from Timbuk2 is a fantastic gift idea for the creative and unique minded student. She chooses the style of bag, she chooses the fabric. Creating her own stylish bag has never been easier or more fun. And now, she’ll have the right bag for her next big adventure in life. (Timbuk2, $100) Where to buy
7. Stock up and Keep Cool!
The Pottery Barn Teen Supercool Fridge is a classic graduation gift with a twist. These small compact fridges come in candy-colored hues that will brighten up any room. They are also an essential for any dorm room or apartment. This stylish and functional fridge will keep the food flowing. (Pottery Barn Teen, $199) Where to buy
8. Give the Gift of No More Smelly Socks!
Laundry is the great conundrum of life outside of the home. Get them started on the right foot to doing their laundry, the environmentally responsible way. This laundry gift set is the perfect starter set. Simply purchase the oversized, organic cotton laundry bag (so they can go weeks before doing a load!), some soft, durable, organically grown cotton, dye-free towels, a large tub of non-toxic laundry detergent (Method or Seventh Generation make good ones) and a few rolls of quarters. This gift is a guaranteed home-run because it’s practical and environmentally kind. Now they’ll have no excuse to bring dirty laundry home and they’ll be kind to the environment in the process.
9. Cook it Up!
Going off on your own can be daunting for many teens, especially if they’re used to Mom’s cooking. Give them the gift of never having to eat frozen pizza again! A gift certificate to a cooking school is a fantastic and useful gift that allows teens to learn to cook for themselves. And it’s great fun too! Most major cities have culinary schools that offer gift certificates for week long or even day programs. The CIA in Hyde Park, NY, for example, offers a special Parent and Teen Cooking Day designed especially for the teen who is interested in cooking. A cooking school gift certificate will give them a chance to learn a skill they will have forever.
10. Be up for the Challenge!
What better way to start off a new adventure in life than to have a true adventure experience. A gift of an Outward Bound experience will leave a lasting impression on the teen who wants to challenge herself before starting her post-high school life. Outward Bound offers a variety of challenging and exciting courses, from rock climbing, canyoneering, dog sledding, sailing the ocean, or desert backpacking—it has every type of adventure to choose from. She will learn gain useful skills and test her limits, as she opens herself to new experiences. www.outwardbound.org