Party/Gifts For an 8Th Grade Graduation?

Updated on June 02, 2011
K.S. asks from Albany, CA
22 answers

My daughters graduate from 8th grade the week after next. I had not intended to have a party (for a few reasons). My plan was to attend their graduation with a few close family members and take them out for a nice dinner afterwards to celebrate their accomplishments. They are high honor roll students and have worked hard, and I am fine with recognizing that. I also am buying them a small gift, and I am sure their grandparents will do the same. That's it. That is all I was going to do.

Yesterday, my girls got 3 invitations for graduation parties from classmates. These are not small gatherings, but ridiculously extravagant affairs! One looks like it may cost more than my wedding! After checking around, I realized that most of their classmates are having parties of some sort. Granted, they are scaled down compared to the 3 I just mentioned, but they are still pretty big. I have never heard of such a thing for an 8th Grade graduation! Of course, now my daughters are a tad upset that they are "the only ones not having a party".

Since you are located all over the country, I was hoping you could chime in and tell me what's "normal" in your neck of the woods for 8th grade graduations. Parties? Gifts? Sending out announcements? I certainly won't be having a $20,000 party for my girls, but I could have a family and friends gathering on a small level. I guess I just didn't think it was necessary, but maybe things have changed since I was young. If you have a big party for 8th grade, what the heck do you do for High School and College Graduations?? Help!!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of your wonderful responses! Glad to know that you all agree that a party is unnecessary! I am sticking with my original plan. Personally, I am already feeling that it is a little more than necessary, but we've had a rough few months and need all the celebrations that we can get:).

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answers from Washington DC on

i think it's ridiculous. why does every single milestone in a child's life have to 'celebrated' with expensive parties and gifts and showers of extravagant applause?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

When I graduated from 8th grade, I did not have a party or send out announcements. I don't remember any of my friends having a party or sending out announcements either. I only received gifts from close family. My oldest nephew graduated 8th grade last year and they did not have a party. I don't think they do that aound here.
I did have a big open house party for my HS graduation, as did most. I just had a close family party for my college graduation.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Biloxi on

Yeah, my son's school did not do an 8th grade graduation. It was a pretty typical day for us. He rode the bus home, got on the PS3, I came home after work, asked him how the last day of school was. And we went about our lives. Am I horrible or what !!!!!

I think you could let your daughter go to a couple of parties to celebrate with their friends, and stick to your original plan. Maybe add a cake with "Congrats to the Graduates" on it, maybe add small nice gifts to commemorate the event.

But, I am with the crowd that thinks we are going over the top with 8th grade parties. Yes, this is a milestone for children, as they enter High School the next year, and we should acknowledge that, but, it doesn't have to be celebrated with humongous parties.

My son has 3 more years of High School left - I am sure that I will offer him a party for that milestone. But, I am also sure, that at that point, he will not want to hang out with Mom. More likely, go out with friends like I did oh so many years ago when I graduated. I will open a bottle of wine and toast myself for dragging him through it. LOL

College, I just plan to faint with relief and leave him to own devices.

You do what works for your family. Explain to you girls that you are proud of them, plan your family dinner, take lots of picture, and have a wonderful time.

Good Luck
God Bless

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

My brother has his 8th grade graduation on Tuesday. He hasn't said anything about parties or gifts. We are attending the ceremony, then taking him and a couple friends to the beach. My family is viewing it as a milestone, but not a major one (like high school). Heck, I graduate with my AA in December and the only thing I am asking for is a babysitter and a night out! :) Congrats to your daughters!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

8th grade graduation around here is nothing. It's the end of another school year, and there is no ceremony, no big parties, no gifts to speak of. Maybe a few people go to dinner but there's really nothing otherwise. Sending announcements is really perceived, in many circles, as a request for gifts - so no one does it. I resist the urge to throw parties like the ones you describe - like weddings, big extravaganzas. It's silly. People celebrate high school grad by having rotating parties - the kids organize themselves on Facebook and, in consultation with parents, choose dates/times so there isn't too much overlap among the groups of close friends. We just did a BBQ and snacks. Some people put balloons on the mailbox or hang a sheet out the window with the kid's name & the year, etc.

And you're right - the reason you don't do it for 8th grade is you've got to then outdo yourself 4 years later.

College varies - usually people go out to dinner where the college is. Then there's the hassle of moving out of the dorm or apartment, etc. Kids go in all directions after that, and often the high school friends have lost touch 4 years later. Sometimes people here do a family party and invite a few neighbors if they are close, but after 4 years of tuition and the kids needing to get jobs, no one wants to be going to a bunch of parties where the kids are basically swapping gifts. Everyone just saves their money and puts it toward the job search!

I'd tell your kids to relax, it's just 8th grade. And no, they aren't the "only ones"! If you want a little BBQ, go ahead. But tell them you aren't endorsing these big shindigs because it doesn't reflect your values and it's kind of a way of showing off.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

WOW! Thanks for the notice. I'm not looking forward to that when my girls are that age. People are getting out of hand for everything. I remember a few people giving me cards for 8th grade graduation. I had a graduation party when I graduated high school. When I graduated college We went out to eat and I had a few gifts. So much has changed and everyone has to go above and beyond. Personally I would do the dinner thing with family too. If you child goes to a party I guess $20 in a card should show you acknowledged. I hope they don't expect clothes or jewelry but then again, maybe they do. Yikes!

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answers from Minneapolis on

We have graduation parties here after 12th grade... There is no such thing as 8th grade graduation. The first I had heard of that was when my stepkids were going to school in a Chicago suburb. They had house parties after the a ceremony with graduation gowns and the whole nine yards. Thought the whole idea was ridiculous.

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answers from Detroit on

Sounds like that movie "Billy Madison" with Adam Sandler as an adult who never finished school and his wealthy father throws an over-the-top party every time he completes a grade in 2 weeks time.

This has been popping up on here a lot lately and to me it just seems ridiculous to have this "celebration" for anything beyond graduating high school or college. It's not even "graduating" - it's just moving to the next grade! I could see going out to lunch or dinner, or maybe spending the day at a water park or other fun place, but that's it. Why do people feel the need to throw parties and give gifts for something that everyone is expected to do? What are they going to do for graduating high school and college? And how are parents supposed to feel when all their kids' friends' families are doing this? I graduated from veterinary school for crying out loud - 8 years of college, including 4 years of vet school - and still all I got was my parents took me out to a nice dinner!

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answers from St. Louis on

my childhood: yes, we had a big family/friends party at home. This was considered an event for our public school system with a full graduation ceremony at school.

my kids: we live in a small town & do not celebrate 8th grade graduation. There is no ceremony, no passage of rite. We, personally, are buying our son a nice gift & that's it.

friends/family: in our huge circle, there is only 1 family celebrating 8th grade graduation. They attend a parochial school in StL, & it's the 1st time this school has honored the event. They are doing so at the request of the parents.....many of them came from another part of StL when the diocese shut down their own school.....which did celebrate the event.

We also have quite a few families/friends with kids in school districts which have Jr High Schools....running from 7-9th grade. No chance for an 8th grade graduation there!

& as a head's up, here's what we did for H.S. & college: H.S. was a big party at our local park. BBQ, fun & games, lots of photo ops, & a great time. It lasted all day & created lifelong memories for all of us!

College, so far, has been a dinner following the ceremony.....with a surprise party later that month. A very good time!

Since you've already planned a dinner out & your girls want a party, how about letting them gather a group of their friends & take them out amusement park, etc. That way the focus is more on FUN....than on another party!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Don't be afraid to be different. Just because some parents feel they need to have an elaborate party for their children doesn't mean you have to do the same. So your girls are feeling a little disappointed that they are not having a party like the ones their friends are having.... what a perfect opportunity to teach them that being different and doing things your own way is a good thing. You mention that you are planning to take them out to eat, buying a small gift for each of them, and that you expect their grandparents will do the same. I would invite the grandparents to go out to eat with the family, and perhaps allow each girl to invite one special friend. Make it your own small party.

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answers from Columbia on

My son just had his 8th grade "celebration". At our school they had a little gathering to show the class video and let the band and choir each do a song or two. Then the kids and parents were dismissed to the commons for a cookie and punch reception. After that the parents left and they had a school dance where the 8th graders got in free. Then, after the dance the 8th grade parents through a group party for the 5th grade kids only. It had games and food and photo booths. I don't know of any kids having their own parties. It was all done as a group here.
I would just ask your girls what they would like. They might be very happy with a nice dinner with mom and grandma. I think you just do whatever works for you guys. Don't feel pressured to keep up or do what everyone else is doing. Around here, most people didn't get what the big deal was anyway!
Congratulations on your very bright and successful girls. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

That's ridiculous, truly. It's not typical here for 8th graders to have a graduation party. There's no graduation ceremony either. Because you're not "graduating." You're simply moving from one grade to another. Just do what you're already doing. It's more than enough.

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answers from New York on

Our school has an awards ceremony for the 20% of kids (although anyone can attend) receiving an award. Afterward is a dance/party for the class members only with teachers and parents chaperoning. My daughters group of friends had a sleepover after the dance. There aren't any parties, other than maybe a backyard bbq.

We always take the girls out to dinner at report card time to celebrate their good grades.

All the high school graduations that I've been invited to are events held at the house, usually a bbq, with cake and gifts. No huge parties that I'm aware of, other than a families going out to dinner at a nice restaurant.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I didn't read all of the reponses, but I just wanted to say that although I don't know exactly what everyone else is doing these days, for me personally when I graduated from 8th grade and high school for that matter, I didn't have a party--enough of my friends were that I just wanted to go to their parties. My parents respected that, so we had a small gathering directly after graduation in which I believe there was cake and an exchange of gifts, then I went to my friends' parties. Maybe you can communicate with some of the parents of your girls and see about combining the party.

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answers from San Francisco on

Hi K.,
I am a bit late responding. I am amazed how parents want to through such a huge party for 8th grade. My son is graduating at the end of June and we are having a dinner with the family at our home. The school is having a dance and a day at Great America. I think that is enough for 8th grade. I read where one person wrote it's just a milestone. I absolutely agree!
Everyone should be comfortable doing what works best for their family and I think your choice is a great one! Congrats!!!!!!!



answers from San Francisco on

My daughter is in a private school, with 36 kids graduating, about half girls. the girls are going out the night before graduating to get there nails done, then will have dinner (pizza) out. One well to do mother with a big home will have a party for a few hours in the evening the next day - nothing fancy; snacks, kids will bring the music, and they'll just hang out.


answers from Dover on

To my knowledge, nothing much is done except maybe like you originally suggested. If all the others are having parties and you want to do the same (less extravagant), have a family cookout w/ a few friends invited. Then do the small gifts you already planned. If you have a pool, make it a pool party.


answers from San Francisco on

That's not the norm here. But the parents club does put on a huge ridiculously expensive dance at the school following the ceremony. They also go to Six Flags on the last day of school.
Of course my kids love it, but even they say, it's way over the top for 8th grade!



answers from San Francisco on

$20,000 party for an eighth grader? never gonna happen in my "neck of the woods." sounds like they have parties to go to anyway, so why would you have one as well? let the rich people show off how much money they have, and your daughters can have fun at the same time. but make it clear to them how inappropriate such an event would be for YOUR family. use it as an opportunity to discuss class inequalities and/or conspicuous consumption. they should enjoy, but not expect it.

good luck mama, and congratulations!



answers from Las Vegas on

in my cousin's case, whom is also graduating from 8th grade, her mom is hosting a family (and a few close friends of the cousin) at a restaurant of her daughter's choice. However, it's not at a 5 star restaurant..but one that has something for everyone and for which our cousin's family really enjoys and frequents.



answers from Sacramento on

I'm late responding but I wanted to thank K. for her post. I've been battling the same subject for the last few weeks. My daughter will "promote" this week. Like K., I was planning on a nice dinner afterwards with the grandparents to celebrate and a new cell phone- her dream gift.

After talking to a couple friends, I felt like a complete loser mom. One had already notified her out of town relatives of the Promotion date for next year when her daughter graduates so they could mark their calendars and "save the date".

Thank you to everyone who posted. It helped me put this Promotion into perspective. When I left middle school for high school, the school did a ceremony with cookies and punch afterwards but no one had any type of party. I assumed it was still the case.

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