Graduation gift etiquette (and the grads, themselves) maintains that not only are cash gifts completely acceptable, they are heavily desired! Under normal circumstances, young adults (in the 17-25 range) are the ones graduating from high school and to them, cash is king. A fifty or one hundred dollar bill placed in a congratulations card will make you the best gift giver ever in their eyes. It has been almost ten years since I graduated from college and I remember everyone who gave me cash as a reward (and even more clearly, I remember those who did not!).
If you are attending a graduation party for someone who has graduated from elementary or junior high school, as it is a party (usually meaning free food and drinks), it is best to bring a small gift (spend around the $20 mark). Anything you think they might like will do. However, if there is no party, you are not under any obligation to purchase a graduation gift.
If your graduate is someone who went back to school later on in life to get their high school diploma or bachelors or masters degree, they also deserve recognition and praise. Getting these documents is difficult; going back to the world of studying and tests takes a very determined person! However, graduation gift etiquette states cash is not the best graduation gift under these circumstances. A more appropriate gift would be something they could use in their business life (such as a fancy, engraved pen or leather organizer) or even a motivational poster to hang in their office.
Photo: 123rf/Andres Rodriguez