There are some things you know because you’ve been taught, some things you know through experience, and some things you just sort of figure out through observation and equal portions of common sense and courtesy.
Lately I’ve felt convicted about my attitude towards my fellow human beings. Where I used to try and see the good in people, now I seem to only notice an abundance of rude and self-centered behavior. I mostly blame this phenomenon on my spending an inordinate amount of time in grocery store parking lots, but that’s a whole other post and I digress…
As graduation season comes to a close, it occurs to me that there is an unspoken etiquette one must follow when sending and receiving graduation correspondence–at least that’s been my experience. And because I’ve decided it’s better to shine a light than curse the darkness, I wanted to share with you, dear reader, my wealth of information about graduation season, and perhaps prevent a potentially embarrassing faux pas in the future.
I know. You’re welcome.
The graduation announcement
Over the past several weeks, I have received several graduation announcements from distant nieces and nephews, children of women in my Bunko group and the young lady at the end of the block I used to buy Girl Scout cookies from. Since many of the graduation ceremonies are being held on the same day, I can’t possibly attend them all. How can I graciously decline these invitations and how do I determine which ceremony I actually do attend?
Perplexed in Poughkeepsie
Relax. A graduation announcement is not an invitation to the actual ceremony, it is merely an invitation to send the graduate a gift, preferably in the form of a check or money order. In the event that you receive an actual invitation, be advised that the graduate or the parent of the graduate considers to a special friend or relation, therefore the gift should be at least thirty dollars. If you were actually expected to attend, you would have already received a phone call confirming your attendance.
The graduation party
If you receive an invitation to a graduation party, congratulations. You are in the inner circle of close family and friends. You probably already know whether your presence is expected. It’s been my experience that if the graduate is young enough to be your son or daughter, you may politely excuse yourself after hors d’oeuvres and/or dinner has been served so that the young folks can crank the music and get their freak on.
Decoding the thank you card
Thank you so much for the gift! It really means a lot to me. I had a very special day.
The above was an actual thank you card I recently received. Unless you bought the graduate a new car or paid for their first year of college tuition, a generic thank you card is perfectly acceptable. In this age of electronic communication, it’s nice to get a hand written thank you note from anyone, let alone an 18 year old whose main source of written communication is texting on their phone. And while I know the same note may have been written to several people, knowing the kid (and his mother), I also know that his appreciation was sincere.
So there you have it. I hope I’ve helped in some small way to demystify the secret language of graduation correspondence.
Any recent graduates in your life?
Any sage advice to pass on that I may have missed?« « Previous Post: Why I hate writing, Part 13: katdish, dream crusher | Next Post: Being special » »