Announcement, announcement!

Memorial Day is behind us. White shoes are out of storage, and the celebratory time flanked by this holiday and the next one is upon us. Judging from the fast-rising stack of mail before us, it must be graduation season.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a few observations.

Observation #1:  Perhaps my son is right when he says that I am the strictest parent on the planet because, based on every graduation announcement that has come into our house over the last 10 years, my son is the only high school graduate to have addressed his own announcements. My husband and I insisted on it. While we chose not to send announcements when he graduated from college, I am always struck by how many parents address their children’s college graduation announcements, 100 percent, as best I can tell.

Observation #2:  Some people choose to ignore the graduation announcements they receive altogether, though about half send announcements when their children reach graduation age. Personally, receiving these requires a great deal of maturity and restraint on my part. But I send a gift nonetheless. Restraint is equally needed when one receives an announcement for a child one has met only once, or not at all.

Observation #3:  The generosity of those who do send best regards is overwhelming.

Observation #4:  Most graduates send thoughtful thank you notes. Others either send none at all or simply sign a form letter written and typed by their parents.

Observation #5:  A well written thank you note is worth keeping. We can almost predict a graduate’s potential success based on his or her thank you note.

When I receive a thank you note of any kind, I read it once or twice, enjoy it and then throw it away. We received one last year—for a high school graduation gift we sent—that was too good to discard. I kept it in a stack of papers I go through from time to time, just so I can re-read it. It provides heart-warming proof that young people can write thoughtfully and well. Because I like to share good writing on this blog, I’ll share it here:

“Thank you for your card and money for my graduation.  It’s a big step in my life, and I’m glad you took the time to write me a note of congratulation. I’m going to try my hardest to be the best computer engineer at Virginia Tech I can, and am thankful to know my family is close behind me, hopeful for my success. Thank you!”

Parents, I respectfully suggest that you share this with your kids. And for Pete’s sake, consider having them address their own graduation announcements. At a minimum, take a cut of the proceeds for your efforts.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Family and Friends, Holidays, Rants and Raves

8 responses to “Announcement, announcement!

  1. Jo

    Take cover, Miss Manners!
    But could we qualify your wise words to say that in lieu of a gift, a card, with a personal message added, is quite fine for those graduates you scarcely know?

    • Jo, yes, by all means. A card with personal wishes is terrific is much appreciated. Something else that’s appreciated: when Joe graduated from high school and was preparing to go off to college, a family member was great about touching in periodically, calling Joe to ask how he was doing and offering support during the transition. It meant a lot to Joe and to us.

  2. Sara

    When Lizzie graduated high school in ’06 (a very good year) we got invitations from her closest friends each addressed in their own hand. She sent out her own. Maybe it’s a girl thing? She’s always done her notes without reminder, the boys took prodding. Not surprisingly, with the boys, no announcements got sent. Sam’s are currently sitting on the kitchen counter where I imagine they’ll stay until I take one out for his scrapbook and toss the rest.
    I know Sam will write at least one thank you, he received a simple card from the head of the Custodial Department at St. Albans School. He was quite humbled and realized that she sent them to everyone in the class (70 boys) and his response was ‘I’m guessing I should write a thank you note for this?’
    knowing it was a rhetorical question. There is hope.

  3. What a wonderful thank you note that young person wrote! Do youngsters like that really exist?

    • I’m happy to report they do. We have some wonderful young people in our lives. Just today I received (in the mail!) a lovely (and funny) birthday thank you note from my 12-year-old nephew.

  4. Stephanie

    We are on the same wave length today! I just had my BIL’s ex-wife send me a Facebook message (she has never been on my friend list) requesting our address so that she may send us my nephew’s high school graduation card. I googled the etiquette for such things because I was a little taken aback that my nephew was not the one sending them out. (your blog was first to pop up in my search) My mother made me send my announcements and write thank you notes. (I am completely grateful that she raised me so well) My nieces (different parent) have all done their own thus far and written lovely thanks yous. I feel like responding with my address makes me a party to what I consider bad manners. I’m in Blacksburg, you? Also, I love your blog banner. Maybe it is purely for artistic reasons but I want to let you know that there is a Scrabble Club in the area now. Check out New River Valley Scrabble Society on

    • Thanks for commenting, Stephanie. No, I’m not in Blacksburg but if I were I’d join your Scrabble club. I’m not very good, though. I hope you’ll keep reading.

  5. Polly

    As a teacher we generally get out of the ‘announcement’ aspect, however we make up for it by being invited to every graduation party. I just don’t go. I can’t afford even a small gift for each of 100 students annually, and we have to be fair.

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