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How to survive graduation season

Burl Gilyard, Star Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Graduation season is a time of celebrating accomplishments and extending best wishes for life's next chapter, but it can also be a time of stress when juggling party planning and gift decisions.

In the National Retail Federation's annual graduation gift survey from last year, feedback from more than 8,400 consumers found people expected to spend an average of $116.19 for graduation gifts, with 52% planning to give cash instead of shopping for an item. And for those hosting instead of attending grad festivities, organizing a celebration could involve a lot of money and time.

Even if your own family doesn't have any graduates this year, it's likely you will have at least one graduation party to attend this season for a family member, friend or neighbor. Depending on your family's circumstances, you could have three or four different parties on the same day to juggle.

If you need help figuring out how to survive this busy time of year, here's some expert advice to follow:For those attending

Gifts required?

Graduation parties might be largely informal, but there is still some etiquette to keep in mind, said Lizzie Post, co-president of the Vermont-based Emily Post Institute. Post is a great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, who published the book "Etiquette" in 1922.


Despite any social pressure you might feel about buying a gift, Post said it's not obligatory.

"You don't actually have to get a graduate a gift," Post said. "The obligation shouldn't feel as heavy as a wedding. There is no registry for a graduation party."

The same goes for joint graduation parties where siblings or friends might celebrate together. Post said you don't have to buy a gift for every honoree, especially if you only know certain graduates well.

Money matters


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