Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
My son is graduating in three weeks. We’re a middle class family that
lives sustainably and frugally. He is graduating with only $10,000 in
debt, has a choice of job offers, a girlfriend, and has generally been a
dream kid (teen-aged years notwithstanding). He lacks for nothing.
We would like to have a graduation party and invite family, friends of
family, and friends of his. Our relatives are poor but very proud. We
want to invite them but don’t want them to feel obligated to give gifts
even though we gifted their three kids handsomely when they
graduated. Is there a way to invite them without shaming? We don’t
mind, btw, accepting gifts from richer friends, but no one should feel
Dear Family Values:
It’s hard to have a party where some people give gifts and others do
not without the non-givers feeling guilty or shamed in some way. You
could include in the invite a note that says No gifts please, or Cards of
good-will only. At a minimum that will deter boxes and overt or
ostentatious displays of congratulations. Most millenials prefer cash
anyway, so those that wish to include gift cards of cash or credit with
their cards can do so, and the relatives will be none the wiser. If they
choose to do that also, have your son use some of the money to buy
them gifts in the future.
Be proud of your son and his accomplishments. Toast him lavishly and
underscore the importance of the values with which you raised him.
Lucky him. Lucky you.