Friday, May 23, 2014
10 Do's and Don'ts for Appreciating a Grad
So, graduation season is here!!! Yay, right? But if you're sitting there thinking, "Darn, I need to buy a grad gift or card." Don't fret! The just graduated is here to help you out!
For your own reference, every grad is different. My tips may not actually help you if your grad is not like me at all. But if they are, well lucky you!
1) Do give the grad something. Maybe you're strapped for cash, but grads like cheap stuff. Give an inexpensive card ($.50 cards from the dollar store rock.) and some stickers inside. Most kids my age still get crazy excited when the dentists offers them a super hero sticker for being good at the appointment. If you wanted you could buy a pack of movie tickets from a club store (Costco, Sam's) and throw one in. I got some and I loved them!
2) Cash is always perfect, no grad will ever turn down money as a gift. Don't be scared to stick 2 bucks in that dollar store card! Or what about a roll of quarters-perfect for vending machines! For those of you rich 'uns, more is always better. ;)
3) Gift cards are AMAZING! Buy the grad a gift card. Most grads love to eat, McDonald's is a perfect choice. But nobody minds pizza either... Or consider what they really love: one of my favorite gift cards? To Ulta, because I'm a make-up junkie! Or Redbox credits...love a movie!
4) Canddddyyy! Buy the grad a "100 Grand" candy bar and call it good. Or stuff a bag or tiny box full of the grad's favorite candy. It will be one of their cooliest gifts.
5) Lastly, put the gift receipt in the bag. If you did, wonderfully, buy the grad an actual gift they may need to return it.
1) Give the grad nothing. Even if you just give some good advice, something is better than nothing. Trust me, we notice and feel sad.
2) Don't give the grad one of those weird things they sell in all the stores for "Grads". They're super weird and nobody really wants them. Stuffed dogs you can autograph? Smiley face balls that have on caps with tassels? Umm, if your four year-old would love it, probably you should skip it!
3) Don't tell the grad that you forgot they were graduating. It's awkward... Just let it be. If you forgot, move on. The grad doesn't want to have that awkward conversation.
4) Talk about how lame graduations are. Grads are tired, stressed, and ready to be done, don't exacerbate their stress by making them feel bad for receiving accolades.
5) Tell the grad how great you were in high school. This is their big day, let them have it. It might be tempting to throw in a "When I was your age story". But they're just creepy... You're not their age. Let that go and just celebrate them. Save the stories for 2 weeks later when the grad is rich, happy, and carefree ;)
Hopefully some of those helped you out! Be sure to give me a shout out to let me know which tips were great :)
Now, go celebrate that grad!
From Clare: Thanks for sharing, Kelly! I'm so proud of you, I know you have worked so hard and this is a big accomplishment. There are a couple things I would add:
1. Write your return address on the envelope. Even if you aren't mailing it, do it anyway. If that seems strange, here is why: it makes "thank-you" notes so easy! The grad (or at least his or her mom) wants to tell you how great your gift was. This makes it easy!
2. Ask the grad's parents for ideas. If you want something more unique than cash or a gift card, ask the student's family or friends about their interests. You may end up giving them something they will cherish! They can tell you their favorite candy or their tee shirt size.
3. Consider a gift of "time". Perhaps you could arrange a movie date, or meet the grad for coffee or ice cream. They can tell you about their plans, or just take a few minutes to relax after all the finals craziness! Even just grabbing half-price drinks at Sonic is a cheap, but thoughtful way to say, "I'm proud of you"!
1. Don't infer that every grad is going away to school! I know that with the ever increasing costs of education, many students are staying home for their first few years (or all of them!). Those grads wouldn't need gifts like laundry bags or towels, because mom already has them covered! Also, remember your manners: a community college education is a valuable asset-everyone doesn't need to go Ivy-League to get a solid foundation!
2. Don't assume your $5 gift won't be as appreciated as the $50 one. Grads (high school or college) are more mature than you probably give them credit for. I was shocked that one of my sister's favorite gifts was a handmade jewelry pouch (she got some nice "swag" as the kids are calling it these days!). She loved the thought that was put into the gift, and the time. It isn't all about price tag.
3. Don't give "generic" gifts- if you were planning to do that, just give them an equivalent amount of cash, no matter how small. I still remember the stack of books I got at my graduation: quote books, "Chicken Soup for the Grad's Soul", boring devotionals. I knew that the giver had grabbed a stack at the closet discount store and handed one out to every grad they knew. It did not make me feel special and those went straight to Goodwill! Same for mugs (travel mugs are an exception!) or ceramic plaques. Would you still use those in your home? If not, it probably isn't an ideal gift.
I was really surprised at some of the things Kelly mentioned when we were discussing this topic, so I am so glad she was willing to share her insights with us! It all boils down to thoughtfulness-really think about what the recipient would love when you are giving a gift and you can't go wrong, no matter the occasion.
"Thrifty Thursday" at Living Well, Spending Less
"Pin It Thursday" at Sweet Bella Roos