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Manners Matter: Graduation Gifts

Dear Mary Pat,

I was invited to my co-worker’s child’s eighth-grade graduation. I think it’s more like a beginning-of-summer party, but I still feel like I should take a gift. The only thing is that I’ve never met her son, and I don’t know what’s expected, if anything. What’s appropriate for an eighth-grade graduation gift when you don’t know the child? I feel obligated to do something, yet I already have four other graduates on my list whom I’ve actually met.

Signed,
Party-Goer Gift
Sister Bay, Wisconsin

Dear Party-Goer Gift,

If you’re close with your co-worker and really want to attend the party, then a card with $20 cash would be a nice touch. Or maybe a gift certificate to the movie theater or drive-in would be appreciated. Don’t feel pressured to go overboard, though; even a card would be adequate. And because your co-worker indicated that it’s more of a start-of-summer party, a simple hostess gift such as a pie, a bottle of wine or a batch of homemade cookies would be perfect.

Good luck,
Mary Pat