Celebrate Your Graduate

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Got a graduate? During this unprecedented time in world history, he may not get to see caps flying or enjoy a brunch out with all the relatives, but he will sure see all of the effort you put in to praise and honor him.

DRESS UP YOUR FRONT DOOR

Get more mileage out of that cap and gown by hanging it on your front door. Add streamers, balloons, twinkly lights and other décor. Consider your graduate’s specific interests, goals, dreams and favorite activities and search online for printouts, college mascots, pictures of friends and lots more. Enlist siblings to add details. If you have a front lawn, create a festive sign using poster board; write: “Honk For the Class of 2020,” or a message that applies to your own graduate. Decorate the mailbox while you’re at it.

WISH LIST

Be ready-set when someone asks, “What does he want for a graduation present?” If you haven’t already done so, sit down with your grad and compile a thoughtful list of gift suggestions. And, just to get ideas flowing, search “creative graduation gifts” online. For starters, you’ll find a number of gift boxes, such as the “I’m So Proud of You” box of goodies ($39 on Etsy). Perusing the items in these gift boxes may give you ideas for how someone could put together their own-made gift box … tailored to your grad!

I LOVE A PARADE!

Who doesn’t love a parade? Send friends and loved ones an Evite to take part in a drive-by graduation parade!  a date and time for all these folks to drive by your house, honk and wave. Tie balloons outside, throw confetti, and spray some Silly String; blast the grad’s favorite music (and maybe some “Pomp and Circumstance”). Do what it takes to make it a huge to-do. And, before the parade passes by, be sure to have your grad’s cap and gown at the ready!

GREATEST HITS KARAOKE PARTY

Round up your grad’s friends for a greatest hits’ singalong session. Send an Evite, utilize a video chat app (such as Teams, Zoom, FaceTime or Google Meet), and play some popular tunes. Go “vintage” with songs from the grad’s birth year. Invite parents and guardians to sing along, too. It might be a little embarrassing for the grads, but more than likely it’ll be a hoot. Then shift to modern music like Camila Cabello’s 2020 hit “My Oh My,” or “Intentions” by Justin Bieber, or sillier hits like “Baby Shark,” by Pinkfong.

CELEBRATORY DINNER & DESSERT

What celebration is complete without a delicious dinner and a scrumptious cake or other treats? Local restaurants offering both pickup and delivery services these days can assist you. Just to whet your appetite, we suggest The BonBonerie (2030 Madison Road, | bonbonerie.com). The BonBonerie provides delicious desserts, including special-interest cakes you can pre-order. Be sure to make it a dinner that features your grad’s favorite foods and cake, whether it’s coconut, or pineapple upside-down, or rich dark chocolate with peanut butter icing. And you won’t only be celebrating your young person. You will also be helping to support Cincinnati’s small businesses by placing a special order for your grad’s favorite meal and dessert!

FIND THOUSANDS OF IDEAS FOR HOME DECORATING WITH GRADUATION IN MIND ON PINTEREST.COM. JUST SEARCH “GRADUATION DECOR.”

GO VIRTUAL, TOO

ORGANIZE A VIDEO PARTY

Zoom is the app du jour, so arrange a Zoom call in honor of your child. Reach out to all of your contacts (whom you’ll invite beforehand) to ask them to think of something meaningful to say to your senior once you’re all on the Zoom. Do know that not EVERYONE knows how to use Zoom, so be prepared to teach a few stragglers the ropes. They will need to download Zoom before hand and be able to click on the invite link you for the exact time.

INVITE FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO MAKE A VIDEO

Send a text asking everyone to send you a brief celebratory video (give them a deadline!) and then get a friend who knows how to edit all of the videos together. On a designated day, at a time of your choosing, gather your immediate family around (and of course, your grad) and show the video. There will be moments of joy and tears — especially if you’re able to get a few key videos from family far away. You can also create a group video using Tribute, which makes it easy to combine multiple videos into one.

ADOPT A SENIOR

Make sure the grads in your neighborhood feel special. Choose a graduate to shower with appreciation, small gifts and honks.

ORGANIZE A VIRTUAL KUDOBOARD

A Kudoboard lets you create an online group card filled with messages, GIFs, videos and photos. You can also create a shared virtual document using Trello; Google Drive; Slack; Zoho or something else.

ORGANIZE A PHOTO SHOOT

Use your neighborhood Nextdoor App to organize a time when all of the seniors in the neighborhood come together for a socially responsible photo shoot.

Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).

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