When planning graduations for the class of 2020, schools and administrations likely had plans set up for rain—but not necessarily a global pandemic. Graduation looks a little different this year, but there are still so many actually fun ways you can celebrate without leaving the house. With these virtual graduation ideas for 2020, you’ll find ways to create both a sense of normalcy and maybe even some new favorite memories. While it might be easy to feel discouraged and let-down knowing that most graduation traditions aren’t feasible right now, making an at-home celebration as fun and exciting as possible can help alleviate some of that disappointment. We’re making some sweet AF lemonade out of lemons for this one.
Many classic graduation traditions—photoshoots, party decor, mailed announcements—can still be achieved at home. All you have to do is get a little creative and focus on having a great time. Graduates may not be able to celebrate with their classmates and friends, but technology is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Connecting virtually has never been easier, and odds are the graduate’s loved ones can’t wait to log on and see their smiling face. This unprecedented time has shown just how much we care about our friends and family, and there’s a special place in all of our hearts for students who don’t get to graduate in the classic ways. Open your (virtual) doors to supporters of the graduate, and the love is sure to poor in.
To help you make these at-home celebrations easier, we rounded up several different virtual graduation ideas. Let your creativity and love for the graduate shine, and you’re sure to create some incredible memories. Take photos, eat good food and celebrate the accomplishments of the graduate. One of the best parts of graduating at any level is seeing how proud and excited your friends and family are—and those feelings aren’t limited to any location.
1. Tune Into Youtube’s “Dear Class of 2020” Event
On June 6th, YouTube Originals will air “Dear Class of 2020,” a virtual commencement featuring some seriously big names, from President Obama to Lady Gaga, Malala Yousafzai and—for all you K-Pop fans—BTS. It’s not quite the same as walking across the stage and getting your diploma, but it’ll sure be a whole lot of fun.
2. Tune Into Facebook’s Virtual Graduation
On May 15th at 11:00 a.m. EST, Facebook Watch will stream an event called “#Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020.” How cute is that?! Oprah is the commencement speaker and Miley Cyrus is performing, so it’s safe to say it will low-key be better than your IRL ceremony would’ve been, anyway.
3. Have A Fun Photoshoot
Many 2020 graduates are missing out on doing senior photoshoots in their cap and gown, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create some fun memories at home. Set up a backdrop in your house or use the backyard to create the ultimate graduation photoshoot. Get creative and have fun with it—Let the graduate feel like a star for a little while.
4. Make A Homemade Banner
Show off your craftiest side by creating a DIY graduation banner. It can simply say “Congrats!” or you can gold wild and customize it with the name of the graduate. Of course, if you’re not the arts and crafts type, you can always snag an already-made banner any grad is sure to love. It’s the thought that counts on this one.
5. Hang Up All Your School Photos
Sure, they might be embarrassing, but with fewer eyes around, it’s the perfect time to hang all of the graduate’s school photos. If you’re able to get your hands on copies of yearbook photos, line them all up and see the graduate’s transformation before your eyes. If you’re not able to find “official” photos, though, you can always find cute childhood pictures and hang those up as well—the funnier, the better.
6. Fill The House With Balloons
A fun and easy way to make any space feel celebratory is to fill it up with balloons. If you’re going to be home for a student’s graduation, might as well go big, too. You can use a mix of all types of balloons, but we’re especially partial to the balloons in the shape of the graduation year. It just adds an extra flare of celebration and makes for some very cute photo-ops.
7. Set Up A Food Table With All Your Favorites
Treat the graduate to all their favorite foods by setting up a party table full of treats. Whip up a few recipes from the grad’s childhood that bring the nostalgia and mix them in with their current favorites for a fun throwback. Or, if your original plan was to head to a restaurant for graduation, see if they deliver or do take-out! You can surprise the graduate with their favorite meal from their favorite place.
8. Do A Cap Toss In Your Backyard
Since the graduate can’t necessarily stand with all their peers and toss their caps into the air like a at traditional graduation ceremonies, do it in the backyard! Set up a camera, some graduation-themed music, hand the grad their diploma (or something that works as a stand-in if they haven’t received it in the mail) and then let the cap fly.
9. Send Out Graduation Announcements
So, maybe you can’t send out the typical graduation or party invitations this year. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remind all your friends and family that there’s a graduate in the house. Use a professional photo from earlier in the year, create your own graduate photoshoot or go sans-photo—There’s no wrong way to tell the world you’ve accomplished so much.
10. Have A Zoom Party With Friends And Family
Gather friends and family of the graduate over Zoom or video chat and have everyone give their congratulations to the grad. If you want to really make a splash, you can organize a virtual surprise party for the graduate, bring them into the room and show them just how many people are excited for them to start their next phase of life. You can even turn the festivities into a virtual game night if you want to keep the party going.
11. Collect Words Of Wisdom From Loved Ones
At many graduation parties, there’s a place for guests to write words of wisdom and advice to graduate. Even though people can’t necessarily be there in person, you can still collect thoughtful words from friends and family and combine them into a folder or notebook for the graduate. Pro tip: Keep it a surprise and gift it to the graduate on their would-be graduation day.
12. Plan A Celebration For A Later Date
Feeling stuck at-home is made less frustrating when you know there’s something to look forward to afterwards. Plan a fun celebration with the graduate and their loved ones for a later date. While you can still have an amazing time at home, having a set plan to see friends and family in person can help everyone feel a little more in control of the situation.
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