stART With Words and Cash
How much? I was afraid you'd ask.
Graduation is one of our culture’s most celebrated stARTing gates, and I’m ALL IN! Afterall, “commencement” is just a fancy word for “let’s get stARTed!”
We’re in the thick of it now…that month when the junk mail is intermingled with graduation announcements and party invitations, often honoring people we don’t even recognize.
What’s a socially appropriate, COVID-weary, inflation ravaged person to do? Do you take a gift to the party? Do you send cash and a card? Do you call your neighbor to see if she has a niece named “Wendy,” because maybe you got her mail by mistake?
Gift giving seems to be getting tougher with far-flung friends, mixed families and expanding casual networks. And it gets even more complicated when you truly CARE.
I did some research and it won’t surprise you. Graduates overwhelmingly prefer getting MONEY, and people overwhelmingly like giving it. But that gets complicated. How much cash is appropriate? And isn’t money or gift cards alone too impersonal?
There’s no easy answer. The amount of money that feels right depends upon: 1) the type of graduation, 2) how close the relationship is, and 3) how much the recipient needs the money.
But in general, according to a study by Hallmark:
• 95 percent believe money is an appropriate gift for graduation from high school or college
• $25 is about average for a close friend (or child of a close friend)
• 67 percent believe that $50 or more is appropriate for a close relative
• $20 is the average for a not-so-close friend
• And many would give no gift to a not-so-close friend, but they might send a card.
Once you decide how much cash to give, the perfect gift can be achieved by adding something meaningful – something that shows your heartfelt hopes for the graduate at this important life milestone.
Like Hallmark, I believe that this extra something should be in the form of a sentiment . . . an expression that makes a connection.
That’s why I like books – some particular books, that is – that seem just right for the occasion.
I like the answers I got crowd sourcing on social media last week when I asked “HOW MUCH CASH DO YOU SLIP INSIDE A BOOK?:
• Jeaninne, a mom of a senior in Nebraska says: Friends get $10-20 depending upon how many there are and ￼how well I know them. A best friend’s kid may get $50 if I love them like my own. Nieces: $50, Cousins: $20, Granddaughters: $100
• Angelique, a mom in Texas offers a creative idea that gets us off the hook: $23 to celebrate the class of 2023!
So if you’re like me, you’ll order a book online immediately upon receiving the graduation announcement, or…you’ll wait until the last minute, and head out for that graduation party taking the route that goes by a bookstore and an ATM.
May I suggest some books with proven grad appeal? (Raise your hand if you knew exactly where I was going with all this).
Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give If She Thought You Were Listening has been a graduation best seller for young women for nine years running, and Start More Than You Can Finish is out for its first graduation season! (Since this post is going out on Independent Bookstore Day, I’ve given you the Bookshop links, so your purchase will come from an indy bookstore.)
If you’re a subscriber to stARTistry, shoot me a request, and I’ll happily send you a book plate to personalize your gift.
For more ideas to give WITH cash or INSTEAD of these gift lists from Grown and Flown.
The 50 Best High School Graduation Gifts