It’s that time of year when students are graduating from school and preparing to enter the next stage of their life’s journey. Traditionally, formal invitations or announcements of the event are sent to family and friends. Here are a few guidelines that may help you negotiate this rite of passage:
Graduation ceremonies have become more complicated as the sizes of the graduating classes expand. These days it is often not possible to fit everyone a graduate would like to invite in the venue for that walk across the stage. Space may be limited to a certain number of invitees so do your best to be understanding if you don’t make the final cut. The graduate may want to consider a lottery method of ticket distribution and host a reception afterwards so that all can share in the celebration.
No one is required to give a gift, even if they receive a formal invitation to the ceremony or a formal graduation announcement. Gifts should be a thoughtful surprise offered out of friendship and good will, not an expectation. There is also no time limit for giving, although it is best to send or deliver a gift around the graduation date.
Cars are popular, but with the price of gas, let’s get real! Consider items that will help the graduate prepare for their next steps– useful items needed for a college dorm room, cubby at their new job or a toaster as they set up their own apartment (you laugh but everyone needs one!). Lasting items like books or stocks will be appreciated in the years to come. Often heirlooms are handed down within families and worn to the ceremony, like great granddad’s watch or earrings from great aunt Mildred. Or, a card of congratulations is always appropriate, with or without money stuffed inside!
Thank You Notes
The graduate should be responsible for sending thank you notes to those that gifted him or her. It may appear an email will do, but now that the graduate is entering the adult world, it is time to grow up and use that skill learned in the first grade—handwriting! It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but should mention the gift and thank the giver for their thoughtfulness.
Graduation, rite of passage, next step on life’s journey– all deserve a heartfelt Congratulations!