Graduation from any level of education is an event to celebrate and enjoy with family and friends, and it’s more important than ever to honor your graduate. Graduation is more than just one day or party — it’s honoring a graduate’s years of hard work and dedication. However, we’re currently living in unprecedented and unpredictable times due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Although it’s impossible to say what will happen in the next few months, it’s likely that many plans, including graduation ceremonies and celebrations, will have to be postponed or changed.
There are many proactive steps you can take to have a fun (and safe) graduation celebration. Read on for ideas on how to still celebrate such a big milestone.
COVID-19 does not mean you have to immediately cancel your graduation party and any other celebrations associated with this momentous occasion. You can still plan a grad party, give or receive cards and personalized graduation gifts, express your pride to the new grad, or celebrate with your graduating class. However, heed health organizations’ instructions and make the necessary adjustments to your plans.
Small Party Ideas
One way to avoid canceling your party and to continue celebrating your big day is by having a small party with less than 10 individuals in attendance. Create an intimate setting with only your closest family and friends and celebrate your big win in small ways for now.
Make sure to limit close contact and adhere to the recommended distance of six feet from each other. To play it safe, frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds and disinfect surfaces during and after the party.
Virtual Party Ideas
If you want to opt for a safer alternative, consider having the graduation party over video chat. Create a virtual invite for all your friends and family, and host your party on one of the many video sharing platforms for large groups. This is the best way to limit social interaction and protect everyone from any potential exposure to the virus.
People can still interact, exchange congratulations and stories, and enjoy the atmosphere of the party without leaving their homes and risking their health. Plus, you do not have to limit your celebration to only a few friends or family members; you can invite everyone you want to your virtual graduation party.
Date Change Ideas
Although graduation traditionally occurs in May or June, your graduation party does not have to be on the same day as the actual event, especially in unknown times like these. If you have your perfect party planned, and it cannot be decreased in size or transferred online, consider delaying to a later date when it is safe for people to travel, be in public settings, and interact closely with others.
Consider postponing indefinitely and updating your guests as you get more information. Or, aim for the end of the summer before guests have to go back to school or while others are still in town. The most important thing is staying up-to-date with all current developments on the pandemic and making the best decision for your graduation party, whether postponing to a specific date or indefinitely.
Graduation Ideas by Grade Level
Kindergarten Graduation: For your newly graduated kindergartner, throw a virtual party with a few of their best friends from class. Coordinate with their parents ahead of time so each kid has a cute grad hat to wear and fun treats like cupcakes or ice cream to enjoy.
Elementary School Graduation: For the 5th-grade grad, consider a virtual party with all their friends from their grade. Organize fun online games everyone can join from their device so the kids can have a group activity that doesn’t involve them being physically present.
Middle School Graduation: Give your middle school grad a low-key graduation party with a few of their closest friends over video chat.
High School Graduation: Plan the perfect graduation party for your high school grad with all their friends and family by moving it online, or delaying until August or September before they leave for college. Save your graduation supplies and decorations until the later date when it’s safer for more family members and friends to get together.
College Graduation: Throw a virtual party and a postponed party for the college grad. This huge occasion can be celebrated twice, once with all their friends online, and another time with friends and family closer to the end of the summer. Then, the college grad can have a chance to tell everyone about their new job or the grad program they’re starting.
Tips For Being Flexible While Honoring Your Grad
Since it’s still unclear what will happen in the future, it’s hard to say for certain what kind of graduation party options you’ll have by the time graduation rolls around. However, reduce worry and stress by staying flexible with your plans and taking the necessary steps to reschedule or rethink your party and graduation ideas.
Send Graduation Announcement Cards
You can still share your graduate’s success and joy with friends, family, teachers, neighbors, and loved ones with a custom graduation announcement card. Choose from one of Shutterfly’s unique card designs to make a card that fits the grad’s personality. Include their full name, their school name, and a photo of them from the school year.
While Shutterfly graduation announcements typically announce the class year of 2020, the exact date is optional. If the exact date is included in a particular design and plans are uncertain, it can easily be edited out or changed to something less specific such as “Spring 2020.” The milestone is most important and Shutterfly offers flexible ways to honor your grad. If you already sent graduation announcements and need to change the date or details of your event, Shutterfly will reprint any event-based cards you create with us for free, honoring our Date-Change Promise. For help with creating and editing cards, follow our Personalizing Cards guide.
As you stay informed and make adjustments to your graduation plans and grad party, communicate with potential guests to ensure transparency and clarity. Make sure to communicate with your graduation party guests, especially those who live far away, in order to understand their situation and views on current events. Adjust your plans accordingly, but most importantly, keep everyone regularly updated and informed on your decisions.
Save Your Graduation Party Decorations And Supplies
If you’re making the difficult choice to postpone or move the celebrations online, don’t get rid of your graduation party supplies and decorations. If you postpone, your decor and supplies will still be perfectly useful by the time the party occurs, no matter how far in the future it’ll have to be.
Reduce Food/Drink Orders
If you’re moving your graduation online or scaling down, something to consider is reducing your food and drink orders, since now you won’t accommodate as many people as previously expected.
Give or Send Graduation Gifts as Planned
As many things as you’ll need to change about the graduation party, the graduation gifts you give to the graduate are not something you need to worry about in this challenging time.
Your recent grad deserves a reward after years of hard work, despite the party being moved online or postponed, so the gift-giving aspect of graduation does not have to change. Relatives and friends from different areas can send gifts via mail, decreasing potentially dangerous social contact.
Final Thoughts on Honoring Your Grad
While your graduation party may not be able to go on as planned, there are creative alternatives that can be just as much fun for the recent grad, their family, and their friends. Most importantly, stay safe and take the necessary precautions to ensure your family’s health at this time. Keep in mind coronavirus updates as time goes on and as you plan to honor your new graduate.
Additional coronavirus-related resources: