Graduation Gift Etiquette Principles

Graduation gift etiquette tips will help you navigate this time of your life when people all around you are graduating and you are not quite sure what to do. Let's get to the details...

The first thing you must understand about graduation is that there is a very big difference between an announcement and an invitation. There is a common misconception that when you receive a graduation announcement, you have to send a gift. 

Graduation Gift EtiquetteYou are not required to send a gift when you receive an announcement. It is completely voluntary as to whether you want to send them a gift, or if you even have the financial means to do so. Keep in mind that giving a gift under any circumstance is optional and should only be done if you have the means to do so. 

Giving a graduation gift is much more common and appropriate when you receive an invitation to a graduation party. But, this is where things start to be different depending on where you live. 

My family lives out West and we do not really have graduation parties. If there is a "graduation party" in our area, it is usually a party that is thrown by the graduate and their friends are the only ones invited. 

However, my brother lives in Omaha, Nebraska and graduations are handled quite differently out there. When his children graduated from high school, they held graduation parties for each children and many people were invited. This is typically the time when family, friends, neighbors would come over, wish the graduate well, and give them a gift. 

So, you need to know the local custom in order to have proper graduation gift etiquette. It will help you make the right decision about what to do or what is typical. 

Graduation Gift EtiquetteHow much should you give? There are two ways to answer this question. First of all, only do what you can afford. Even though graduation is a time of celebration and moving on, you could rack up some debt that will linger for a long time. That is not necessary. The other answer is that it depends on your relationship with the graduate. If is an acquaintance, then $25-50 is normal. If it is a family member or close friend, it is not uncommon to do $50-100. Usually the closer the relationship, the more appropriate it is to increase the gift amount. 

Maybe you are the type of person that does not like to give cash gifts. What can you do to still have great graduation gift etiquette? There are many ideas that are also low cost. 

I hear about one person that gives graduates the book "Oh The Places You Will Go" by Dr. Seuss. She said that the graduates really like the book and think it is neat. 

Maybe you would like to give them a care package with items to prepare them for college. Maybe you would like to give them some item that will have sentimental value to show that you were thinking of them. The gift does not have to be money in order to be a great graduation gift. 

I hope that these tips on graduation gift etiquette will make this event much easier and that you will feel more like celebrating instead of worrying about what to do.

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