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5 Out of the Ordinary Gift Ideas for High School Graduates

Updated on December 8, 2015
Kristine Manley profile image

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.

When I graduated from high school I didn't receive any of these gifts listed below, but that's neither here nor there - I would have liked to receive some of these gifts, believe you me. High school graduation is an expected accomplishment which should be highly celebrated. In today's society our high school graduates are showered with lavish technological toys like iPhones, iPads, upgraded computers, fancy digital cameras, cars, and SUVs along with accessories to match. Those items are wonderful and are top choices in the eyes of the graduate, don't get me wrong, but there are other graduation gifts out there, in my opinion, that carry a little more weight. Let's take a gander at some unexpected gift ideas for high school graduates.

  1. A Passport - Saaaaay what? You heard me. Does your high school graduate have a Passport? This should be on the "necessary" list of documents to have in any household. This most certainly will give any high school graduate an excuse to study abroad or spend a Summer in another country before going off to college. What about if he or she wants to go on a cruise? I worked for a major soft drink company and everyone in our department, except the administrative assistants, had to have a Passport. We frequently traveled outside the country. Your high school graduate might land a job where he or she must travel to other countries.
  2. A Roth IRA - When one of my next door neighbor's daughters graduated from high school she was so excited to tell me that her parents opened her a Roth IRA for graduation. Her parents told me that they wanted their daughter to retire on her own money and not theirs, so they decided to give their daughter a head start. This was a smart and proactive thing to do for their daughter.
  3. Portable Car Navigation System - This makes a great gift because, as you know, most teens love to drive. Portable navigation systems are good because they can be moved from vehicle to vehicle, some have a voice recognition feature and touch screen feature. Some of these portable navigation systems can be used all over the country and all over the world. Most systems power up with the use of a regular cigarette lighter port.
  4. Financial Literacy CD's and DVD's - The reason I'm going with CD's and DVD's rather than with books is because it's easier to "pop & plop" - pop in a DVD then plop on the couch to watch it. There are many financial CD's and DVD's for teens which have savings calculators on them as well as budget creators, financial games, and worksheets. These CD's and DVD's also point to online resources for young people which include ways to earn income and how and where to invest. Check out these online resources below.

5. An Auto Club Membership- this may seem odd, but think about it, your teen gets stranded on the road, they can get assistance anytime, anywhere. My membership in a specific auto club says that if I am in some else's vehicle, I can still get assistance from them. Certain auto clubs offer discounts for rental cars, hotel room costs, battery replacement, vehicle locksmith service, traffic safety programs, and much more. My auto club membership comes with a quarterly travel magazine. Renewal is annual and the cost for most is inexpensive, so get your high school graduate a year's membership and after a year they can begin to renew on their own.

I like giving gifts that are unusual but still very useful, and I hope you like giving those kind of gifts too.


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    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi DeBorrah, thanks. One of my nephews is graduating from high school this year and I'm thinking about the Roth for him - I think he'll like that.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 6 years ago

      Kristine, These are great creative as well as useful gifts for a high school graduate! Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Robin, thanks. I enjoy giving graduates a bit more than the usual gifts. They particularly like the Roth IRA very much.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Great ideas and so much more memorable than the typical card and money! I especially like the Roth IRA option! I'll keep this in mind in a few years when our friends' kids start graduating.