Gift Ideas for Grads!

Happy Friday, friends, and cheers to the weekend! We’ve got thunderstorms in the forecast, so my plan is to tackle a few more spaces that need organizing around here. You’d think after being home for two months there wouldn’t be any spots left, but somehow that’s not the case.

Do you feel ‘quarantine pressure’ to get tons of stuff done?! Take advantage of the ‘extra time’ by cleaning out every nook and cranny of your house, reading a stack of books, masking your hair until it shines… the list goes on.  I worry we’ll come out of this (we’ll come out of it, right?!) and I’ll look back and wish I’d savored it more. Done more.

But the truth is, being home isn’t necessarily a relaxing escape. We had some really hard days in those early weeks, and I felt more like I was surviving rather than thriving. And the discord was completely justified… especially for the kids. They were so disappointed and angry to have their freedom, independence and all the joys of the spring semester taken away.

But they persevered and I was so proud (and surprised) by their resilience. Little Miss is wrapping up her final days as a Middle Schooler before graduating on to High School, and our son completed his first year of college. Learning on their own from home was no easy task, and definitely something worth celebrating!

In fact this is something I’m hearing from lots of you, and I’ve had tons of requests for graduation gifts! So I sat down with my two graduates, and we brainstormed the best gift ideas for both guys and girls. They both agreed they’d love to have any of these arrive at their doorstep. Most of them are geared towards Seniors, but others work for a range of ages.


one // 2020 Bracelet // My uber-popular Color Tile Bracelets now come in this adorable ‘2020’ style, perfect for commemorating this unforgettable year! It also comes in a customizable option, so monograms, nicknames, or a special word can be layered in as well! Use code ‘SUGARPLUM30’ to save 30%!

two // Inspirational Cuff Bracelet // I love the sweet message hidden inside this cuff bracelet… Kind Heart, Fierce Mind, Brave Spirit. Something we all need remembering about ourselves sometimes. It would look great stacked with the Color Tile Bracelets!

three // Heart Necklace // So simple, yet so sweet… Little Miss and I both love this delicate necklace. Plus, who couldn’t use a little love around their neck?

four // Photo Clip Lights // This cute and inexpensive set of string lights is such an easy way to jazz up a bare dorm wall, while keeping photos of friends and family close! You can hang up to 50 photos on the clips, which is great when adhering to the strict decor rules at most universities.

five // Makeup Caddy // This cosmetics case has adjustable slots to fit all of your makeup and toiletries, plus slots for brushes and a large palette. The price is right, and the patterns are so pretty!

six //  Yeti Tumbler // I don’t know what it is with teens and water bottles, but they always have one with them… and they’re very particular about it! Yetis are one of the coolest, plus they keep beverages cold for days! They also love customizing them with stickers, so you could throw in a set of these.

seven // Friends T-Shirt // Love a little “Friends” humor thrown into a funny graphic tee! 2020 grads will definitely have a shared bond, that’s for sure!

eight // Monogrammed Towel // Girls in the south will monogram anything not moving! This monogrammed towel wrap is perfect for any girl moving to a dorm and sharing a bathroom!

nine // Laptop Case // Keep her laptop protected, while adding a little style to her tech set-up! This laptop case is super customizable with tons of patterns, colors and monogram styles. Plus, use code TOGETHER to save 20%!

ten // Lap Desk // Dorm room might have a desk, but you’ll usually find students laid out on their beds when it comes to study time! This lap desk is great for sitting propped up in bed, with a slot to hold a phone and three different sizes to accommodate all laptops.

eleven // White Noise Machine // It’s crazy how much noise is created in the dorms! Sharing a sleeping space with another person is definitely a learning curve, so this white noise machine will come in handy when they just need to drown out the distractions. Plus, it’s super compact.

twelve // Digital Photo Frame // She can have all her favorite photos on display, but in one space-saving frame! Load it up with favorites of friends and family to bring a little bit of home to school


one // Ikea Packing Bags // Okay, so this one might get you a raised eyebrow, but these bags are incredible!! They hold a ton and are perfect for hauling stuff back and forth to the dorm. A single bag can hold a mattress pad, comforter, sheet set and pillow! We used another for all his clothes, and the third for all the loose stuff. Don’t underestimate the ease of moving in or out of the dorm in a single trip! These are weightless, but super sturdy, and fold flat when not in use.

two // Leather Journal // This handsome journal can work as a loose agenda or planner, a way to take long-hand notes during class, or yes even as a diary of sorts! It looks great, and you may be surprised at how often your dude will use it!

three // Apple AirPods // AirPods are always going to make their way onto my gift guides… they are just such a no brainer! The kids listen to music constantly, and these provide great sound, with no wires. My son actually slept in his to tune out the dorm noises.

four // Dopp Kit // This sleek and waterproof toiletry bag holds all of Mr. College Guy’s bath and shower necessities, it’s perfect for shared bathrooms.

five // Backpack // Talk about bells and whistles… this backpack has it all! There is a pocket for your laptop, keys, pens and other small items, plus a space to charge devices via USB and a TSA-approved lock on the larger zipper pocket. I’m not sure how the price can be this good?!

six // Corksicle // Again with the water bottle! Mr. College received this as a gift when he graduated, and I remember thinking, ‘That’s different.’ But he literally always carries it with him, so clearly that mom knew her stuff! (He also loves this one for just water, and clips it to his backpack.)

seven // Friends T-Shirt // Same as the cute graphic tee above, but in a more masculine cut!

eight // Wireless Charging Pad // This handy little device cuts down on all the cords with a single spot for all devices. You don’t even have the remove the iPhone case, which is a big plus!

nine // Bluetooth Speaker // Not only is this speaker waterproof and portable, the charge lasts for up to 20 hours and you can also take phone calls on it! It’s compact, but packs a powerful sound. This will be a dorm hall pleaser for sure.

ten // Snack Subscription // Guys are always hungry… and we found out just how much the first month of school with Mr. College Guy’s meal plan! He was blowing through his points on overpriced snacks, leaving him depleted for actual meals! So I started sending him regular snack packs… not only did it keep him supplied with handy snacks in his room, but the care package was a welcome treat.

eleven // Dorm Doc First Aid Kit // Your 18-year-old may think this kit is too much, but they will be thanking you as soon as they need a bandaid and a dose of ibuprofen! It packs up nicely to fit under the bed or in a drawer, plus it has instructions that are user-friendly and color coded to ensure safe administering.

twelve // LED Lights // Dorm rooms are a bland blank space, and it’s tricky to make them feel warm and homey… especially with guys who won’t let mom really decorate, ha! These lights add an instant ‘mood’ (his words) and were a huge hit. Both my kids have a set in their rooms at home, too. It’s a no-fail gift!


Okay, so these are all fun gifts, but when I asked Mr. College what three things he really liked receiving for graduation… ‘Money, gift cards, and money.’ They have so many expenses and learning to manage their finances is a huge part of being away at school.

So obviously money and gift cards are a welcome gift, but I love to include a little gift to make it more fun. Here’s a few fun small gifts ideas that are fun paired with cash and gift cards (Amazon is their top choice!).

one // Candy // No matter how old they get, your kids will always love some candy as a gift! This bento box is packaged really nicely and includes a trio of tasty treats!

two // Shower Cap // I’ve sung the praises of this terry-cloth lined shower cap for years… I fully maintain that every girl needs one!

three // Luggage Tags // Luggage tags make great labels, too! This set is stylish, and there are tons of colors to choose from!

four // Inspirational Book // This encouraging little book is based on a US Navy Seal’s graduation speech, and the messages are such powerful life lessons!

five // Keychain Bracelet // College kids need their keys and IDs on them at all times, so this handy keychain wallet is the perfect gift! The wallet and ring are detachable, plus it comes in several colors

six // Agenda // I don’t know how else to do it… keeping a planner with all assignments, tests, and events seems like the best and only way to stay organized! My son was never an agenda guy, but ordered one by the second week of class!

seven // Keychain // I love this little reminder of mom’s advice and love! I said these exact things to him when he left…with the addition of ‘go to class.’ Ha!

eight // Quirky Notepad // This notepad is a fun daily tracker for to-do’s, assignments, even your water intake! This doesn’t need to be reserved for just grads!

nine // Gift Card // I can’t think of one person who wouldn’t want an Amazon gift card, right?!


I hope this has been helpful in finding the perfect gift for all the grads in your life. Because more than ever, this class of 2020 needs to be celebrated!! Do you have other ideas to add to the list? What things do you love to give, or did your graduates appreciate most? Happy weekend, lovebugs!



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Leave a Comment


  1. Kim wrote:

    Thank you for the grad ideas Cassie!
    I have one unrelated question…how did you hook up the cute outdoor string lights on the patio? Do you just plug them in everytime, or did you buy a timer or something?

    Posted 5.15.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      We had our contractor install a plug at the roofline when we had the pergola built, and it’s connected to a light switch inside! You could also run an extension cord to use a lower plug.

      Posted 5.15.20 Reply
  2. Sandy wrote:

    Brilliant post/ideas! Looks like I’ll be here for a while.
    Feeling it for all the extra work moms, dads, and teachers are doing.
    Trying hard not to feel moments of anger over all of this. Persevere!
    A family in town rented a big RV and took off for the west, love this! Empty vistas!
    Thanks, SP!

    Posted 5.15.20 Reply
  3. JC wrote:

    I have two graduates this year, an 8th grade and a high school. My own high schooler is college bound and we’re very excited. My profession provides insight into the fact that many high school graduates ARE NOT. This is particularly true in a very COVID world, and financial circumstances have changed for so many already challenged students.

    I do feel as though this gift guide is very “college heavy” and not in keeping with the reality for so many young people. Surely there are ideas for young people who are growing up, graduating and moving on but not necessarily college bound? Many are work force bound, military bound and many are now simply confused and disappointed.

    Posted 5.15.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Thanks so much for your comment and feedback, JC! I know everyone’s circumstance is different, that’s why I included gift ideas for a range of ages and for those who’ll be living in dorms or at home! xo. C

      Posted 5.15.20 Reply
      • Julee wrote:

        And like you said Cassie, they all want money and that applies to all graduates no matter what their future may hold!

        Posted 5.15.20 Reply
        • Cassie wrote:

          Yes, definitely!!! It’s fun to add a little something to money, but that is what they want! xo, C

          Posted 5.15.20 Reply
  4. Stephanie wrote:

    As a college instructor I highly recommend the book “How to Win at College” for any student. It gives tips and tricks from college students to help high school grad prepare for and navigate their first year.

    Posted 5.15.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I love it! Thanks so much for the suggestion!

      Posted 5.15.20 Reply
  5. Jessie wrote:

    Thank you for your ideas for grad gifts! I have a university grad and a high school grad this year (although my university grad is going back for masters). My middle guy finished year two so next year we won’t have any kids at home 🙁

    I absolutely hate cleaning but had all kinds of ambitions at the beginning of the pandemic – so not there now and my hubby and I are anxious to get back to work. I organized most things but I miss actually living. Stuck at home, no where to go is not something I will get used to. It’s hard not to feel angry but I hate to live in anger so our family tries to make the best of it. I thank God everyday that I love the people I live with.

    Quick question totally unrelated: have you ever tried tanning drops – you put them in your moisturizer and it does what it’s supposed to do. I’ve seen a lot of them lately and wondered if you ever tried them…

    Posted 5.15.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Hi Jessie! I absolutely understand your frustrations about being stuck at home, and I too feel blessed that at least the people under my roof are my most favorite people to be with.

      I recently did a whole self-tanning blog post, and I cover tanning drops! Here is the link:

      xo, Cassie

      Posted 5.15.20 Reply
  6. Rhonda wrote:

    Your gift ideas are absolutely awesome. You can pick out my gifts anytime. Thanks for the great suggestions!

    Posted 5.15.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Thank you so much, Rhonda! My little Sugarplum shoppers definitely helped! xo, C

      Posted 5.15.20 Reply
  7. Kelly Otwell wrote:

    Such great ideas! I have a high school grad this year and I’ve ordered several things off of your list for her and a couple for me! ;)) Thanks for taking the time to do this! It is SO helpful!

    Posted 5.15.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      So glad you love our lists, Kelly! I appreciate it! xo, Cassie

      Posted 5.15.20 Reply
  8. I feel like I should be doing more since we are all at home. But I feel like the days are already filled with things that keep us busy and by night we are just ready to relax. Thanks for the grad ideas…these would be good for early Christmas shopping too!!

    Posted 5.16.20 Reply
  9. Sharolyn wrote:

    Love all of your ideas! I’m a nurse, so one of my go to gifts for seniors going off to college is a mini pharmacy box….first aid items, medicines (Tylenol, cold medicine, Pepto, Benadryl, etc), chap stick, ice pack, etc. The parents always love it and the kids appreciate it once they need to use it.

    Posted 5.17.20 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Yes! That’s what I love about the Dorm Doc kit…all the medicine cabinet essentials!! xo. C

      Posted 5.17.20 Reply
  10. Sandra wrote:

    Great gift ideas. Both our boys have graduated and we bought them each a Herschel travel/duffle bag (lots of great colours). It was great for their trips home and easy to use instead of luggage. Highly recommend and well made.

    Posted 5.17.20 Reply