Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Question About Graduation Ettiquette

OK, guys and gals, today’s post poses a question about etiquette and I’m looking for your opinion. Well, actually a friend of mine is looking for your opinion. My friend came and asked me a question this morning and it was something I had never thought about and really didn’t have the answer. So, we’re coming to the masses or at least the five people who occasionally stop in and read this blog and asking for your opinion.

My friend (who has asked to remain anonymous) has a child who is graduating from high school sometime in the next few days. Recently my friend’s church hosted a reception for the senior class. While the church had 15 seniors this year, only 12 of the seniors participated in the program. As it often goes at these senior receptions, members of the church as well as family members and friends bring gifts to the graduates. My friend felt like since his/her child was a graduate that he/she didn’t need to provide gifts for the other graduates since generally speaking it would be a wash. Let’s face it folks, having a graduating senior can be expensive – there’s all kinds of things from photos to caps and gowns to pay for, not to mention the college tuition fees looming around the corner. So, my friend felt like there was no need to get the other graduates a gift nor was there a need for the other graduates’ parents to give a gift to my friend’s child.

However, my friend’s child received monetary gifts from the parents of four of the other graduates. Now my friend feels like he/she should have been a gift-giver too. So, what is the etiquette for this type of situation? If you are the parent of a graduating senior, do you or did you give gifts to the other graduating kids?

I told my friend to just write some thank you notes and not worry about the situation and I think that’s what is going to be done, but we were still curious to get the opinion of the rest of you out there. What would you do in this situation? What is the proper protocol? Inquiring minds want to know – so leave a comment and tell us what you think!


Erika said...

I don't think it's necessary to reciprocate. A simple thank you note acknowledging the gift should be plenty.
People should NOT give gifts in expectation of receiving one in return. If they do, that's their problem; NOT your friend's :)
That's my two cents worth!

Alison said...

I agree with Erika. I believe these people gave these gifts without the expectation of receiving anything and that a nice, timely thank-you is the right thing to do!

Melissa said...

I don't think it is expected to reciprocate either. However, I feel bad anytime that happens. If I feel compelled to, in turn, give a gift when I hedn't planned to, I will buy something small and may or may not equal the amount of the initial monetary gift.

Mary McLaughlin said...

I, too, agree with Erika. The giving of a gift should be from the heart not out of obligation or guilt. I know when Shane graduated HS, we gave a gift to his best friend but not to every kid he was friends with. But please please be sure to send a thank you note promptly!

Kimberly Washer said...

I always feel like gift giving is out of obligation when it comes to events and situations. I'm sure all of those other parents would have loved to know what this mom was thinking because maybe they were thinking the same thing, but out of guilt or obligation they felt they needed to give a gift to the graduates. I know it's kind of late to have that discussion, but maybe for future reference graduate parents should talk to other graduate parents and come to a decision about whether they will give each other gifts. I'm sure that all of the parents would agree that they could save that money for their own child :). I mean I've never been in the parents shoes, but I have been the graduate and I can tell you right now that the graduate receives so much money, especially from high school, that a couple of people not giving them some and their parent's being able to provide a little bit more will be perfectly fine with them. Saying all of that now brings me to my answer for this situation...I don't think she should have to give a gift, but I do think a thank you note is needed. P.S. I wasn't good at thank you notes either. OOPS!! However, since I got married thank you notes are a big deal to me. Not necessarily receiving them, but definitly getting them out!!