Ideas To Celebrate Stay-At-Home Graduates
So here we are... A whole wave of graduates have once again been denied a collective of traditions to close out their educational experience. It's better than the alternative - don't get me wrong - in the broader picture it's a small price to pay to prevent even more widespread disease and deaths across campuses. Still, we feel for the Class of 2020. Study abroad programs were shut down early. Proms cancelled. Spring breaks halted. Now as we head into what would have been graduation season, those too have fallen into the bucket of, "Sorry, ain't gonna happen." Despite the disappointment, there are still ways that we can celebrate and show LOVE to our college, high school and post-grad graduates. It will take some creativity and out-of-the-box-thinking, but they are worth it, right?
We've seen posts about parents who built graduation stages complete with podiums and programs - all of which have been extremely impressive! For those of us who aren't quite so handy with a tool belt, here are some smaller scale ideas to help honor the class of 2020.
See Below For Some Tips We Found Online to Celebrate
Our 2020 Grads!
Video Chat Parties: Many of us are Zooming these days. Pull together family and friends so everyone can show your grad some virtual love! You can even create custom backgrounds that celebrate your grad! Have a large group? If you upgrade to a paid account, you can coordinate "break rooms" so that you can have a greater conversation flow. Switch rooms every so often to promote mini-conversations that keep it more exciting!
Record a Video Tribute: Always one of my favorite gifts to family... This requires someone who can pull together video clips, but a free app like iMovie or another video making app/software program is a great and user-friendly way to string video comments together. Ask your grad's friends and family members to email you a brief greeting. The gesture is sure to warm their heart!
Scroll It Up: Videos may not be your thing, and if you aren't that tech savvy may create extra anxiety to coordinate. As an alternative, you can request your family and friends simply text you or email you a greeting. Print out their sentiments in mini diploma scrolls, complete with a ribbon tie, and place them in a bowl for your graduate to read out loud!
Photo Collage: You can collect photos and add a slideshow to your video as well. Or you can create a physical photo collage that your grad can hang as a keepsake. Baby photos, childhood, middle school graduations... Give it a graduation theme if you can put your hands on older photos. Or show graduation photos of past generations -- grad, grad's parents, grad's grandparents. See what you can find and get creative with it. Take the opportunity to show your special graduate how they have grown over the years and illustrate how proud you are of their journey!
Hats Off: Over the years many graduates have taken to expressing themselves via the flat top of their graduation cap. Allow your grad to continue the tradition and encourage them to still create a statement, illustration or representation of what this graduation means to them. It will help them to physically process the many emotions that may be swimming around their heads right now, emotions that can be reflected on in the future.
Custom Stole: Make your grad a customized stole to wear around their chests puffed with pride! Many sellers will make them for you on Etsy.com. If you can sew make your own for a smaller fee - maybe use symbolic material similar to a quilt. Or you can always make one out of an existing scarf or paper with paints and markers!
Relive Speeches: The Obama's are giving a speech for all of the Class of 2020 which is a great gesture and we are here for it! A YouTube special, called “Dear Class of 2020,” will take place on June 6, and has turned into a star-studded event featuring appearances by Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Malala Yousafzai, among others. We hope you and your grad will plan to watch this memorable occasion. Additionally, there are tons of graduation speeches online. Find one from your grad's favorite celebrity and surprise them with a viewing, perhaps in conjunction with another at home event or celebration.
Graduation Photo Shoots: Make your grad feel super special and give them a photo shoot fit for the stars! One of the great memories of a graduation is wearing your cap and gown, something many of us dreamed of adorning since our childhood. Have your grad get fully dressed and have fun with taking pictures safely around your home or neighborhood. Use props from the home. Hold photos of parents and grandparents. Go out in the backyard. Perhaps there is a park or nearby area where you can take photo while social distancing. Give them that paparazzi feeling!
Organize a drive-by parade: These heart-warming drive-by's never seem to get old. If you have friends and family that live in the area, pick a certain block of time (30 min - an hour) where your graduate can wear their cap and gown and be greeted by a parade of honks and signage. Plan it on the day of the original graduation ceremony if you can. To make it really festive you can create party favors - maybe decorated goodie bags with baked treats, or roll up candy in paper and a ribbon like a diploma. Perhaps a mini photo frame of the grad. You could place in a basket for your socially distanced guests to retrieve themselves without having to get too close. In either case, with every wave they will feel like royalty and it will create a memory they will never forget!
Feast Like Royalty: Groceries may be tight these days, but if you can try to fix a super special meal filled with all of your grad's favorites. Have the whole family dress in their finest. Even if it's a small, intimate gathering, make place-settings and decorate. Make it as fancy as you can and your graduate will feel the love as the dine like royalty!
Send Invitations or Announcements: Your graduate's school or university likely did not get a chance to print invitations to send out to family and friends. We recommend you print your own invitations or announcements, embellish them at home, and still mail them out to commemorate the occasion. It will help others to feel like they are apart of the milestone and be able to hold on to the personalized invitation as a keepsake. Grandparents especially, as well as aunts and uncles that have been by grad's side from the start, are also feeling this void of not being able to fully celebrate our graduates. Anything you can do to allow them to still feel like they are apart of this memory and chapter of your grad's life will no doubt add some light to everyone's heart at a time when love and light are most needed.
Be Unique with Your Gift: This year especially may we put some extra thought into our gifts. They don't have to break the bank, many of us are juggling finances, but anything that can show you made the effort will go a long way. Inspirational Gifts from Shades of Color's Collections offer options that UPLIFT and INSPIRE grads of all ages with artwork that reflects their beauty and accomplishments! View our online store at www.ShadesGifts.com
What I remember most about my junior high, high school and college graduation is that my family was there for me. Some flew across the country, all showed me their support by simply showing up. It is true that many of us have been robbed of the opportunity to attend a graduation this year, but that doesn't mean that we were denied the opportunity to show up. Get virtual. Get creative. Let's just show them we are proud!
However you honor your graduates this year,
just be sure to do it with L.O.V.E!
- Written by Janine Kai Robinson