Graduation Graces


This blog post was originally published two years ago, but due to a recent awesome question asked by a friend, I’m sharing it again.

“If I receive a graduation announcement, does  proper etiquette suggest I send a gift?” 

Read on for my answer!

Original Post:

With the happy season of caps and gowns upon us, now is a perfect time for a few simple pomp and circumstance reminders:


Graduation announcements are often ordered en mass through the school and sent to friends and family. Since seating at the actual graduation ceremony is typically limited and reserved for family, these announcements serve as a way to share the exciting news with friends, neighbors and those who have touched a young adult’s life. I know I always smile when I receive an announcement! If you receive one from a neighbor, friend or child you taught in Sunday school years ago, it means you had an impact on their young life.  Thank you! Announcements do not obligate you to send a gift, although you may do so. Etiquette for Everyday would suggest sending at least a congratulatory note.


Ahhhh…the search for the perfect gift to congratulate the high school or college grad on this milestone. Parents and grandparents may choose something more significant and meaningful. A piece of jewelry, a laptop (although check with the college bound student because the university may have specifications), camera or luggage. A popular trend is an “experience” gift: a weekend to NYC, skydiving or tickets to a concert. True with all gift-giving, as you select your gift, think about the interest and personality of the receiver and you can’t go wrong. Other relatives and friends may want to go with a gift card or money. Maybe they will be attending college near a Panera Bread. Do they love Starbucks and will be needing the caffeine? Last year we knew lots of high school graduates and I went the gift card route, with Target being my go-to gift card. Who can’t spend money at Target buying either dorm room decor or daily essentials like laundry detergent and snacks for late night studying?! Even a nice card and a picture frame for their dorm room is a thoughtful gesture.

Hallmark shares words of advice for writing a thoughtful card to the graduate. Link

Especially for you Grads

Graduates – you MUST send a personal and hand-written thank you note, preferably within a week, thanking the gift-giver. Also send a thank you to anyone who did something nice for your graduation (i.e., made a dessert or allowed you to use their canopy for your party).

While you are enjoy this milestone and celebrating, make sure you spend special time to acknowledge the people who helped get you to this point in your life – your parents, relatives and close family friends. So many people love you and wish you well. As guests arrive at your graduation party, make your way over to express your gratitude.

Congratulation to all the graduates and their dedicated and loving family members and friends who have supported them! Enjoy this moment and all the future moments of happiness. Even after you graduate, remember…..

Mind Your Manners,


  1. Kelly, I LOVE your posts! feel free to put me on your email list, I always seem to learn something from you.

    FTG and continued success in keeping us civilized. 🙂

    All the best,


    • Kelly

      Thank you to my new favorite cheerleader! I’m so glad you enjoy my blogs and learn something. I’ll make sure you get them regularly. FTG to you too Amy!

  2. Great advice. We have several graduation situations coming up this season and will be taking your words to heart!

    • Kelly

      We do too Jean! I love the happy grad parties and celebration this time of year. Glad the blog came at a good time.

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