Sharing is caring!
Today would have been the in-person commencement ceremony for my university alma mater, the University of California, Santa Cruz. In light of COVID19, as with many graduations across the globe, events have been moved to a virtual format. Nonetheless, the efforts and achievements of our grads is no less commendable. While we may not be able to be with our grads around the country this year, it is still important to recognize and commend them for all the hard work that got them to this point.
Not only does recognizing others help us feel good emotionally and keep us socially connected, it enables us to support and encourage the intellectual pursuits of those we care about.
In addition, a lot of these ideas are also suitable for Birthdays, Holidays, Anniversaries, planned Wedding dates, Baby showers, recognizing people In Memoriam with their loved ones, or other special occasions during this time.
Video Chat or Plan a Virtual Party: Any in-person plans you had? Move them to virtual instead of outright cancelling them. Now is the time to connect. Consider using your favorite video service. I like how user friendly Zoom is – we even got my dad comfortably using it this spring!
Send Flowers or a Treat (or something that will help them as they enter the workforce or experience a big life milestone at this unprecedented time): While I was working on this resource list, I got an unexpected knock on the door. When I went to answer I found the most pleasant surprise – a pie from my family’s favorite local pie place delivered via GrubHub from my sister. She lives clear across the country and just wanted to let us know she was thinking about us. This thoughtful gesture made my day, and it will for the person you care about, too. Not only do you get to let them know you’re thinking about them, you get to support a local business and help keep a delivery person employed during this challenging time as well.
Share the Love. Support your Friends’ and Community’s Small Businesses: Make a purchase, even if it’s small. Not only do you get to support that company at this unprecedented time, the gift will add a smile to their face. To take it up a notch, consider using this as a small way to support the current civil rights movement occurring across the country. Forbes recently released a list of Black-owned businesses to support and Etsy is currently featuring Black-owned makers’ shops.
Create a virtual Slideshow, Video, or “kudos board”: This is a great idea for graduates of all ages. Create an online “group card” filled with messages, GIFs, videos and photos. Kudoboard.com is a popular website just for this purpose. If video is more up your grad’s alley, have friends and family submit short videos full of well wishes for your graduate. Free AVI MP4 WMV MPEG Video Joiner is simple to use and will do the trick, even merging together different video file types. If you don’t want to get quite that technical, consider creating a slideshow. Even Microsoft Office’s PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Prezi will do the trick! Whatever platform you use, invite family, friends, teachers and others to write special messages, share fond memories and celebrate your graduate.
Organize a car parade: If you live close enough, on what should have been their graduation day, have friends and family decorate cars and slowly drive by your house honking throughout the day in honor of your graduate. So as not to annoy your neighbors more than necessary, consider putting a sign out or a little flyer on their doors letting them know it is happening, so they know why people keep driving by in this fashion
Collect achievements: Put together a scrapbook of your graduate’s top achievements over the years. This has become especially easy with the prevalence of social media and digital photography. Almost anyone can rustle up the photos desired to take on this very special project. Bonus: your graduate will get to experience the joy of opening up a handmade gift in the mail. With so much of our lives having gone digital, this small joy is sure to bring a smile to their face and create a new memory in and of itself.
It is important to remember that these moments are often occasions centered around coming together and they are having to be adjusted or amended in unique ways as a result of current circumstances. As such, they may be particularly difficult or stressful on your friend or family member. Take a few moments, and the ideas above, to think about the most thoughtful way you can help them celebrate at this time.
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