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Multiple Graduation Parties & Gifts! Affordable Gift ideas?


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Wow, that is a load of graduation invites!! You know too many people! I'd categorize them if I had that many invites. I probably average just one or two graduation/eagle scout/weddings a year, so I can afford to be generous, but I wouldn't if I had 15 in a year! Yoikes!

 

Are these all invites with the same level of closeness? If there are one or two who are close family or dear friends, then those ones would get nice gifts (whatever you like. I usually do cash, lol.) But, if they are more like casual friends/acquaintances/cousin's kids/whatever, then THOSE ones would be much more modest gifts. I don't have any really brilliant ideas. I'd probably just do smaller amounts of cash, like maybe $20, in a card for the casual friends' kids. 

 

If these are related simply through schooling/work (say, if you are a teacher or you know them through co-op), then I don't think any gift is required. Go to the party, congratulate them, enjoy their accomplishment, wish them well, and maybe give them a token gift (say like a picture frame for a baby from the OB who is invited to a Christening) . . . if you can think of a good token graduation gift. (Maybe a book of stamps and a cute set of envelopes pre-addressed to their parents!), then that would work. But, if you can't come up with a good one, then just going, shaking their hand, making well wishes is enough IMHO.

 

I don't really see graduations as big gift giving events, though, so I might be out of line. Wedding and baby showers (or bridal showers) and kids' birthdays are gift-required occasions in my book, but everything else is gift-optional, I think, This may vary by region/community, though.

 

When dh graduated from vet school, we had a huge party with lots of relatives and friends. A handful of close (older than us) friends and dh's parents gave gifts, I think, but 90% of our friends and guests didn't, and it never occurred to me that they should, .

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We've had a few years like that..... the year of, before and after eldest's graduation was like. For closer friends, I usually find a personal sentimental gift (book, frame, something related to their personality) and cash. More casual friends, a more modest gift, like a $15-20 gift card to the movies (or something where I know they won't have to spend their own cash in order to use the gc).

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Ok, so what about your kids' friends.....Do your kids pay for the gift if you aren't close friends with the graduates' parents?

 

Generally speaking, yes, if they are casual friends, I will still pay. But we are also generally attending the grad party, and I don't like showing up empty handed. We had a huge party for eldest, and loved having both casual and close friends in attendance as they were all a part of our lives. So many gave gifts to ds that I cannot imagine doing the same.

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When I was teaching at a high school and had a lot of invites, I bought a small plant for each student. I figured they could have it in their dorm room if they wanted. I printed out messages on paper, rolled them up to look like a diploma scroll, and tied them onto the pots, since purchasing that many cards plus the gifts would have been a big expense for our small income (first couple years teaching, plus DH still in seminary).

 

Erica in OR

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Ok, so what about your kids' friends.....Do your kids pay for the gift if you aren't close friends with the graduates' parents?

Yes, in order to keep the gift giving in a budget we can afford, the kids have to pay for gifts for personal friends if we are not close with the parents. I usually print a best wishes card on our color printer and write a kind message.

 

We are more generous with family or really close personal friends. If the invite is one that is posted on the church bulletin board for everyone, then we rarely atend the openhouse and leave a card on the reception desk at the church. If we didn't do this, we'd go broke!

 

One of the things that I've done over the years is shop the clearance areas of dept. stores such as Target and Kohls. Many times I can pick up something nice for $5.00 and rarely more than $10.00. I have a gift shelf in one of the closets. I may have Spartan and Wolverine t-shirts (always good gifts around here), Detroit Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings pennants and pencil cups which are great items for dorm rooms...boy and girl dorm room items purchased in October when it all goes half to seventy five percent off, the occasional computer bag, etc. I also find that when in a pinch, i-tunes gift cards are popular. I even shop the baby section or items I can keep on hand for showers. It cut our gift giving budget in half and is very handy when times are busy and shopling is hard to schedule.

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Some of those are obviously trolling for money..... unless YOU are friends with your kid's friends, ignore those.  Kids of YOUR friends - a card and cash is usual (only give what you can afford.  We used to do $40 but after hubby lost his job, we do half that).  Neighbors - again, how close are you?  Are they simply blanketing the neighborhood to see what sticks or are these good neighbors and kids you have had over and watched grow-up?

 

A blood relative automatically gets a card and nice gift or cash. 

 

If I had foresight, I'd have stocked up in prior years on summer clearance sales of mugs, frames, etc. "for the graduate" to gift (fill the mugs with candy, etc.)

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One thing I can say is that co-workers at my husband's company would never send invites to each other. It would be considered a breach of the professional relationship. There is also an official rule about not bringing any fundraising items to work so if the school is selling X, it's an automatic firing if you take it with you and try to promote it at work. The only gift giving we've ever seen is OCCASIONALLY a group might have a private baby shower for a co-worker off site. He's worked with this group at GM for 14 years and not once has anyone invited a co-worker to their child's graduation. So, from our perspective this would be odd. However, if you work at a smaller business where the climate is more family-ish and everyone socializes outside of work, then I could see it.

 

At any rate, I would not worry about the co-worker invites and maybe just sign a nice card. I do think that the teens of the family need to contribute to gifts for their friends.

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We have over 15 invites so far!  :ohmy:

 

How do people do this? How do you afford the gifts?

 

Please share your affordable gift ideas? ( Is there such a thing when invited to so many parties?)  :tongue_smilie:

 

Thanks in advance! 

 

Are they invitations or announcements?

 

You aren't obligated to acknowledge announcements. :-) You are obligated to RSVP to invitations (which means that either you are attending or you are not; sometimes people think they only need to RSVP if they're not attending), but you are not obligated to give gifts. Yes, it's thoughtful, but you can't possibly give gifts to all 15 (and counting) grads.

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I have a friend who gets a lot of invites each year.  She goes to BJ's an buys them all towel sets.  Everyone eventually needs towels.

 

Last year, I had 2 graduates in the class I'd been teaching for 5 semesters.  I'd gotten close to these kids.  I gave them both books - something like how to survive in college.  The one who is also a friend of my daughter got a modest check.

 

I saw somewhere that someone gave a check in the amount of their grad year.  So this year everyone would get a check for $20.14.  

 

For 15 kids, that is still a lot though. 

 

 

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One thing I can say is that co-workers at my husband's company would never send invites to each other. It would be considered a breach of the professional relationship. There is also an official rule about not bringing any fundraising items to work so if the school is selling X, it's an automatic firing if you take it with you and try to promote it at work. The only gift giving we've ever seen is OCCASIONALLY a group might have a private baby shower for a co-worker off site. He's worked with this group at GM for 14 years and not once has anyone invited a co-worker to their child's graduation. So, from our perspective this would be odd. However, if you work at a smaller business where the climate is more family-ish and everyone socializes outside of work, then I could see it.

 

At any rate, I would not worry about the co-worker invites and maybe just sign a nice card. I do think that the teens of the family need to contribute to gifts for their friends.

 

I think that's going to vary with office climate. At dh's work, some of his co-workers (and families) socialize outside of work. We sent grad invites to the co-workers/families that do, as they are also our friends. We are likely to vacation this year for the first time with some of dh's co-workers. I wish they weren't allowed to bring fundraising things to work.................. dh almost always buys.

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Some of those are obviously trolling for money..... unless YOU are friends with your kid's friends, ignore those.  Kids of YOUR friends - a card and cash is usual (only give what you can afford.  We used to do $40 but after hubby lost his job, we do half that).  Neighbors - again, how close are you?  Are they simply blanketing the neighborhood to see what sticks or are these good neighbors and kids you have had over and watched grow-up?

 

A blood relative automatically gets a card and nice gift or cash. 

 

If I had foresight, I'd have stocked up in prior years on summer clearance sales of mugs, frames, etc. "for the graduate" to gift (fill the mugs with candy, etc.)

 

 Trolling for money by inviting someone to a party? I would not have come to this conclusion. It makes me kind of sick to think that people would think that.

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 Trolling for money by inviting someone to a party? I would not have come to this conclusion. It makes me kind of sick to think that people would think that.

 

Same here. We invite a lot of people to these type of things. We truly wish for them to all be there. Whether close or casual, they've had an impact on our child's (or our) life.

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Same here. We invite a lot of people to these type of things. We truly wish for them to all be there. Whether close or casual, they've had an impact on our child's (or our) life.

I try to be "the more, the merrier" but after reading that post, I feel ill that people would assume we were trolling for money.

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I would only give a gift if I attended the graduation and/or reception. I would only attend 1-3 graduations/receptions per year and then only if it was a very close friend or a close relative.

No, we didn't do a homeschool graduation for my kids, so we don't send invitations out for high school graduation.  When they accomplish something like a degree or job training certification, we will have mom, dad and siblings attend the graduation ceremony and have close friends and relatives attend the simple dinner and cake reception at our house.

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On this topic--we need gift ideas for ds! The relatives are starting to ask. What he really needs is some help with a new laptop but I don't think we can come out and say that... :laugh:

 

I only do gifts (cash) for those grads (and Eagles) who actually send me an announcement. My standard for Eagles is $25 and for grads is $20. For blood relatives it's $50. For FB notifications it's $0. :laugh:

 

I think you could say he needs money for a computer. Dd would not have left for college with a computer if it wasn't for her graduation money.

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Lol, I have approximately seventy FIRST cousins. All fifteen really could be fairly close to the OP, and if her child is around this age, it is definitely possible these are teens she knows well.

 

Checks are easiest if it's doable. A heartfelt, handwritten card is ALWAYS appropriate with a special memory and we'll wished. Truly, while gifts are great, my daughter is graduating this year and we could care less about gifts or money. We really just want everyone to celebrate a monumental achievement with us! ;)

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  • 1 month later...

It  is difficult for me to define what is affordable for you, but one of the things my mother has done is to give coins.  They come in all denominations, and are maybe not the most useful things in the world but they are beautiful, and can be traded in for cash in any amount you purchase them in.  You can "stack-rank" them.  :0)

 

When I was going into my sophomore year of college, I got a zillion wedding invitations.  There were so many that it was cheaper for me to move out of town,.  So I did.  :0)   Isn't that pathetic? 

 

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Prioritize the invitations. 

 

1. distinguish announcements from invitations. If it's a niece, or a very close friend's child send a gift if you would like and can afford to. For all other announcements send a card if you wish to acknowledge it. I probably wouldn't buy a lot of cards (and therefore not acknowledge the announcements). 

 

2. Sort invitations into aquaintances, friends, close friends, family. I assume these are party invitations. No way would I ever attend 15 ceremonies. 

 

3. Based on who is most important in your life choose the parties you attend. I would do a gift card for friends, something more for close friends/family.

 

4. I do not buy presents for friends of my dc. My dc usually go to these parties without me. ds will choose to show up empty handed. dd will carefully choose a book to give as a gift. If I attended, (big if), I'd give a card with $10-$20 in cash, depending on how poor I'm feeling at the moment. 

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My daughters have, between then, been invited to seven graduation parties this year.  (I have been invited to zero!)  One of those emphatically stated "no gifts," and we are honoring that.  For the remaining six, they vary in closeness, but we ended up copying an idea from something my daughter received for her birthday a couple of years ago:  a Camelback water bottle with a vinyl three-letter monogram on it.  She uses it all the time, and the monogram has held up shockingly well.  For the grads, we ordered big Tervis (?) tumblers (with lids) and vinyl monograms from one of about 900 vendors who sell them on Etsy.  You can customize the monogram style and color.  The tumblers were in the $15-20 range, but plenty of vendors sell similar but less expensive items.  You also can order just the monogram for $5 or so and stick it on something else.  We are giving them in those chiffon'ish wine gift bags and adding ribbon at the top so they're almost instantly wrapped.  For the graduates for whom we want to spend more, we will fill the tumbler with paper filler (that shredded stuff used in gift baskets) and add an Amazon gift card. 

 

I have not felt that any of these invitations were trolling for gifts, maybe because the invitations are all to the parties and not to the ceremony (graduates around here receive very few tickets for the graduation ceremony).  The kids are excited about graduating and want to have a party to celebrate.  We are happy for them and enjoyed picking out gifts, though I am positive that no one would be put out if my girls showed up for the parties empty-handed.

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Trolling for money by inviting someone to a party? I would not have come to this conclusion. It makes me kind of sick to think that people would think that.

Really? We got a high school graduation invitation in the mail yesterday. It was from DH's cousin's son. We've never met him. We didn't even know he existed and had to call FIL to find out who this even was. I've been with DH for 18 years and in that time we've never seen his cousin. He hasn't seen his cousin (one of twenty in that side) since they were small children. I'm hard-pressed to think of another reason we'd be mailed this invitation.

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