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If Attending the Graduation Ceremony
If you are attending the ceremony or are being invited to the graduation party, it is good etiquette to bring a gift.
Etiquette Guide Graduation Gift Ideas
What kind of gifts should I give?
Parents: Computer, phone, camera, a airplane ticket, maybe a car
Other family and friends: A good quality frame for graduation photos, chocolates, a nice leather briefcase (for future work), a nice pen, wallet, business card holder, passport and travel ticket holder, travel accessories, gift vouchers
Graduation is seen as a rite of passage. Families want to give gifts that act like a momento, something that creates a lasting memory for life.
Other good gifts would be limited edition leather bound books, jewelry, luggage, stock options…anything to signify the significance of adulthood.
It is tradition to give flowers to the graduate if you are attending the ceremony and party. You may wish you send the flowers along with a congratulatory note if you can’t be there.
When Should I Give the Graduation Gift?
Near or on the day of graduation.
If you are attending the ceremony, give it to him/her there, unless it is very bulky, have it delivered.
If you are only attending the party, give it to him/her during the party.
If you can’t be make it but was invited to either the ceremony or party, you can mail it or have it delivered near or on the day of graduation.
Should I Give a Graduation Gift when I receive a graduation announcement?
Announcements are not invitations.
You are not obligated to give a gift but may if you wish to. Alternatively, you can send a note or card to congratulate the graduate and family.
Graduation Gift Etiquette: Writing Thank You Notes
Though Emily Post would not have it, I think email thank you notes are acceptable. Though since it is email, more effort must be put into the “thank you email,” from describing how much he/she appreciates the gift, to how he/she will use it and the thoughtfulness of the gift.
Make sure that the written email sounds warm, personal and not a cookie cutter Thank you note.
If You’ll Like To Give Cash
If you’ll like to give cash as an graduation gift, enclose it with a card with a personal message and an envelope. I would think it would be safer to mail it to the house.
However you would not want to turn up to the ceremony without any gift, so you could turn up with some flowers and a card that says inside “I’ve mailed your REAL gift to your house” or something along those lines.