My son is graduating from high school. If you're a parent, I understand what you're going through. If you're a student, I see every day what you're going through. In addition, I've been a senior and understand what it's like to just want to get to the end and have it finished!

Invitations, announcements, tickets to the ceremony, gifts, parties... there is so much to be done!

No matter how long ago I graduated (it was only five minutes ago, right?), one thing never goes out of style: manners.

Here are some tips for graduates, parents, and those who may know someone finishing this part of their educational journey:


  • Getty Images
    Getty Images

    Invitation or Announcement?

    Who do I invite?

    An announcement is not an invitation to attend a graduation ceremony. As a matter of fact, most students are only allotted a certain number of invitations or tickets to the actual ceremony. In south Louisiana, we have large, close families. It may be difficult to decide who gets the tickets because everyone wants to see the big moment. Talk to your family members about the situation. Offer to video it or even show it on Facebook Live! Everyone can get together for a big celebration after the ceremony.

  • Ingram Publishing
    Ingram Publishing

    What Do I Give The Graduate?

    Money or Something Else?

    Every senior looks forward to their graduation gifts. I know I did! When I began getting announcements from my friends' children, I remember wondering what I should send. Money is always top of the wanted list, but how much? suggests $20 for a casual acquaintance, but with the caveat that you should never spend more than you are able. Also, finding something useful for the graduate to use as they move on in life is a great idea, too!

  • Matteo De Stefano/thinkstock
    Matteo De Stefano/thinkstock

    Who Should Graduates Send Announcements To?

    You are finished with high school! I understand you probably want to climb up to the highest point possible and shout it. That's great, but not everyone you've ever encountered needs an announcement. It's not proper to do that either. Be somewhat selective. Try to keep your list to family members and friends that both the graduate and the parents know.

  • Getty Images
    Getty Images

    Do I Have To Send The Graduate A Gift?

    According to, the short answer is no. Not sending a gift if you receive an announcement is not in poor taste. However, if you are invited to a graduation party and attend, you should bring a gift. The same is true if you attend the ceremony. If you know someone who is graduating and don't receive an announcement, you are welcome to send them a gift to congratulate them.

  • These two are so screwed, and they don't even know it yet. (Thinkstock)
    These two are so screwed, and they don't even know it yet. (Thinkstock)

    Thank You Notes

    Parents, go right now, if you haven't already, and buy some thank you notes. As soon as a gift comes in, have your graduate pen a simple note, address the envelope, and put it in the mail. Make sure the student does this in his or her own handwriting. The gift-giver took the time to send something of value to your graduate. He or she should take a few minutes to show appreciation properly. This is a great life lesson! Please make sure they don't miss this step.

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