High School Graduation Party alternative


DIS Veteran
Aug 8, 2004
Does everyone have high school graduation parties? My son is graduating in June (fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed!) and I am trying to keep ahead of things a little. He doesn't have a lot of friends - not that he's not a good kid. He has a learning disability and teenagers can be mean, so there isn't a large group of kids around him. We also don't have a lot of family. There are a couple of Aunts and Uncles, his Grandma, and a few cousins. Many of the older family friends that usually come to these types of parties have either passed on or are in nursing homes and will not come.

I was trying to think of an alternative way of celebrating his graduation, other than a party. We could just have a party and invite the above mentioned people which might total 20 people, but I'm not sure I want to go through the expense and effort (lazy, I know). Has anyone ever done something other than a party for a high school graduation celebration?


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Jan 21, 2003
I would say a fancy dinner with a friend or two, a nice trip to the beach, cash, any of those would be nice. I have a senior too, and I think we may do the dinner and cash rather than a party.

Good luck!


DIS Veteran
Aug 8, 2006
When I graduated about 10 years ago my parents gave me the option of a party or a nice dinner with 2 good friends and money. I opted for the 2nd. It was more up my alley.

but i think it is worth asking your son what he might want to do.



DIS Veteran
Mar 13, 2005
I have no family aside from my mom, I transferred schools my senior year so I had NO friends.

My mom took me in to Boston (an hour away) for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe followed up by Musical (broadway...touring!)

Maybe dinner and tickets to a sporting event, play, concert or whatever he likes, or make a weekend of it and go to a museum or zoo or something a bit further from home!


<font color=peach>Anything with Malibu in it is gr
Aug 12, 2005
My husband and I are both only children so we don't have alot of family around either. I know my MIL plans on taking each of my kids on a trip of their choice for graduation which is generous.

Other then that my son would be thrilled with a day to Six Flags with a few friends. A trip on his own somewhere, like a cruise or something. I know for sure he wouldn't want a party. Cash would probably be a big hit. He has been to many sporting events so far and graduation time isn't near football season so that is out. A nice top of the line laptop also would be big on his list.


DIS Veteran
Jun 20, 2006
My daughter graduated HS last year and has about 10 really good friends, her graduating class was only 57 students. So we rented a tent, tables, chairs etc.... and had a nice sit down dinner in the back yard. My friend did all the grilling and it was really nice for the kids and parents to get together. Then the next night I did the family party having everything already to go tent, etc..... we had a casual family bbq it worked out great. Yes it was some work and money but I am glad I did it.

cats mom

DIS Veteran
Oct 25, 2000
We do much the same with graduation and with the big 16th birthday bash so many folks feel compelled to throw.

We give our kids the option of a big party with friends, or a trip with mom or dad.

So far we've celebrated two 16th birthdays and one graduation.
We've sprung for 3 trips, but no big parties yet.
Yea! :thumbsup2

I'd suggest asking your DS what he wants.
I would have bet big bucks that DD#2 would take the party for her 16th B-day... as it turned out, she knew exactly where she wanted to go for her trip and had not even considered having a party.
Go figure :rolleyes1
  • jennilouwho

    DIS Veteran
    Mar 12, 2004
    I'm not a party person. My parents took me on a weekend getaway to Chicago (we lived 2 hours from there) instead of a party. It was a lot of fun. I probably would have liked the idea of having a nice dinner with a couple of close friends as well.


    DIS Veteran
    Dec 26, 2002
    Graduation partys are not a must. Go out to dinner and give him a gift card to whatever he is into and call it done. If he is going on to college you could maybe buy him hoodie with the college name on it.


    DIS Veteran
    Jul 2, 2007
    How about a weekend in NYC? Hard Rock Cafe, Central Park, Ellis Island, Empire State Building.... you get my drift.


    DIS Veteran
    Feb 26, 2004
    I chose not to have a party. I felt like it was just asking for gifts from family. I had alot of friends, but the parties in my town didn't invite friends from school, it was only adult family or close friends.

    I think a nice dinner or special evening with him might be well appreciated.
  • LanaJae

    DIS Veteran
    Jun 2, 2007
    I did a brunch open-house on graduation day, which was really inexpensive and everyone loved it - the other kids and parents didn't have to worry about eating prior to the ceremony, I said they could bring their out-of-town guests too.

    I made 3 different types of egg dishes in those pans where you could keep them hot with sterno; had a spiral ham; croissants; and I put out everything for people to make their own fruit and yogurt parfaits. Because it was in the late morning, I didn't have to deal with the alcohol aspect that some have come to expect (mismosas could be added if someone wanted to do that).

    The cue for everyone to leave was when my son put his cap and gown on (and took pics with everyone) - then we had about 2 hours to recover and head to the ceremony with no pressure. Our immediately family had a nice dinner at a restaurant that evening and it was over.

    Three more kids left to graduate and I'll be doing this for all three.


    The thing about growing up with Fred and George is
    Jan 9, 2001
    I keep talking to my HS Senior about this.
    He doesn't want a party, he wants a trip to Los Angeles.

    I don't see how we're going to get out of a relatives and cake thing though, so we'll have to at least do something small.


    DIS Veteran
    Jul 16, 2006
    We didn't have big parties for my 2 stepdaughters. For anyone who came to the graduation-- we invited them back to our home for dessert and coffee. I don't remember what we gave them for presents. I think we gave them stuff they could use in their own apartments because both were saving for that.

    As for parties, our DS 12 will be Bar Mitzvah'd next year and we offered him a big party or a trip. Lucky for me, he chose the Disney cruise!!!!:cool1: Love it! Our DS doesn't have a lot of friends and my family is unfortunately shrinking. I'll always take a trip over a party.


    <font color=teal>Kids will write the darndest thin
    Apr 22, 2005
    I gave my senior son the choice of a trip anywhere he wanted to go or a party and we are headed to Universal for a 5-nighter in February. Like another poster, I don't know how I'm getting out of a small party though~~ probably have grandparents and cousins (10 or so) over for a small cookout immediately following the ceremony and let him loose!!!

    This trip is also in celebration of his 18th birthday. party:

    Shusshhh though! He's getting Blue Man tickets (@ Universal) and a Bubba Gumps certificate for his birthday. Gonna help a little with the $$. This little 5-nighter is costing me more than my trip to Hawaii! We're staying at PBH, taking a limo from the airport, and I'm paying all expenses, food and tickets, etc. for him and his girlfriend.


    DIS Veteran
    Jun 27, 2005
    Everyone has some great ideas! The one I haven't seen yet is what my parents did when I graduated HS. They got together with the parents of 2 of my other good friends and they all pooled invites and made a mid-size party with cake and punch.