People may not be able to get together for an in-person graduation ceremony or party, but the cause for celebration is still there! Whether it’s a college, high school, or middle school graduation, or any milestone from Pre-K to law school, any student who has completed a major chapter of their education has worked hard and deserves to be honored. There are plenty of fun, easy ways to celebrate your grad at home: decorating the house, throwing a virtual party where friends and relatives can offer advice, or hosting an all-grads virtual get-together to offer one more bonding experience before moving on to the next step. Here’s how to make a big fuss over a major achievement.

Spread the Good News!

-Make An Announcement! Upload a photo of the honoree and send a graduation announcement to loved ones who want to celebrate together in spirit. Companies like Paperless Post and Minted make it easy to design and send an online notice and can even print and mail paper versions for you; they also make invites for virtual get-togethers.

-Set Out a Sign. Some bright yard signs or a banner draped across the garage door lets everyone who passes your home know there’s a graduate inside—and inspires cheering and honking. You can order customized versions at sites like and have them delivered.

-Throw a Virtual Graduation Party. It can be a get-together for the classmates, their parents, and friends; a parents’ night out for those whose kids are graduating; a family party for your grad; or any combination of friends, family, grads, and teachers.

-Get the Grads “Together.” If you planned on taking the graduate and their friends to dinner post-ceremony, or sending them off to Beach Week after the family festivities, you can still host a gathering—virtually! Set up a call, have pizza, cupcakes, or dinner delivered to each of the invitee’s houses…and then leave the room so they can hang with each other.

Darcy Miller Designs_Graduation

Set the Scene at Home

-Dress Up the Dinner Table. For a celebratory meal at home, roll a napkin into a diploma, scatter some confetti, and print out these mini graduation caps to use as gift cards or decor—you can also string the caps together into a garland, scatter them across the table as confetti, or tape them to toothpicks to use as cake or cupcake toppers. For added nostalgia value, print out photos of the grad’s first and last day of school and place them on the table. And for a centerpiece? Flowers in school colors!

-Fly High. Blow up balloons in school colors and tie them onto the grad’s chair—or order balloons to be delivered to their classmates or grads who live elsewhere. (If there’s not a balloon shop still working near you, 1-800-Balloons delivers to most cities.)

-Feed Their Imagination. Help the graduate picture themselves at school by serving a signature food from their alma mater or the school they’re heading to next year: Philly cheesesteaks for the Penn grad, deep dish pizza for UChicago. Or, keep it sweet and simple with an at-home version of the make-your-own waffles that were served every Saturday in the dorm cafeteria. You can even hang signs around your at-home “campus,” giving the kitchen the name of the dorm or an on-campus restaurant or bar.

-Take the Cake (Stand Wrap) And Run With It! Our cake stand wrap can be wrapped around any serving platter or spread along the table. If you’ve got more to say, print out congrad-ulatory speech bubbles and tape them to toothpicks to use as cake toppers, or scatter them along the table as decor.

-Sport the School Colors. Let the school colors inspire your palette—print out this mortarboard cake wrap as a garland or banner, decorate with balloons or flowers in the school colors, or have everyone dress in the school shades for the day.

Darcy Miller_Graduation_Oreo_Cookie_Cake_Party

-Share Something Sweet. Everyone loves a fun dessert! These chocolate graduation cap cookies look as sweet as they taste. If you have the right pans or cookie cutters, bake cookies or cakes shaped like the graduation year number, or use as a stencil to make the number on a cake in sprinkles, fondant, or fruit—in the school colors! Top with number candles, of course. Or, bake a batch of brownies and use cut-out letters as a template to write “Congrats!” or “You Did It” in powdered sugar.


Set the Scene for a Virtual Party!

-Pick a Theme. For a family party, consider a theme, like Blast from the Past (ask guests to come prepared with their own graduation picture) or Oh, the Places You’ll Go (everyone can recommend a destination they think the graduate should live in or visit one day).

-“Visit” Campus. Turn a photo of the alma mater into your background for the call by customizing your Zoom or Google Hangout background to show the quad, the school steps, the auditorium, football field, or any other beloved spot—or relocate the virtual celebrations to a dream destination like a Hawaiian beach.

-Decide on a Dress Code. Will grads wear caps and gowns? Does everyone dress up a bit or even in school colors? Or do you all show up in sunglasses because the future’s so bright?

-Take Turns Saying a Few Words. Before the call, send everyone a prompt asking them to prepare a favorite memory, piece of advice, or a wish for the future. When everyone dials in, go around the screen sharing your answers—and don’t forget to record the call as a video keepsake.

-Pick a “Commencement Speaker.” Listen to a recording of a funny or inspirational graduation speech, whether it’s JK Rowling, Will Ferrell, or Steve Jobs.

1. Piñata, 2. Cap and Gown, 3. Balloon Garland, 4. Hands-Free Phone Holder, 5. CONGRATULATIONS Yard Sign

Darcy Miller Designs, Graduation

-Have a Virtual Photo Booth. Send everyone a link to these templates for pennants and megaphones so they can hold up a photo prop for a screenshot to commemorate the call—you can print them in color or in black and white to fill in with the school colors yourself.

-Cue Up a Playlist. Send everyone a link to a custom playlist, whether it’s a collection of the tunes that were number one each year of the grad’s life (or just the years they were in school), their favorite songs, or classic graduation songs such as

  • –Forever Young – Alphaville
  • –Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
  • –I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
  • –My Way – Frank Sinatra
  • –In My Life – The Beatles
  • –How Far We’ve Come -Matchbox Twenty
  • –Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield
  • –Started from the Bottom -Drake
  • –We Are Young -Fun
  • –I Will Remember You – Sarah MacLachlan
  • –Don’t You Forget About Me -Simple Minds
  • –See You Again -Wiz Khalifa
  • –I’ll Be There For You -The Rembrandts
  • –I’ve Had the Time Of My Life -Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes
  • –Seasons of Love -Rent
  • –Count on Me -Bruno Mars
  • –Stand by Me -Ben E. King
  • –Run The World (Girls) – Beyoncé
  • –Graduation – Vitamin C

-Plan an “Afterparty.” Grads who want another reason to get together can make plans for a movie night to watch an age-appropriate, graduation-centric film, and chat about it in real time using Netflix Party. For high school graduation and beyond, think about:

  • –Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • –Pretty in Pink
  • –Lady Bird
  • –Grease
  • –Say Anything
  • –10 Things I Hate About You
  • –Dead Poets Society
  • –She’s All That
  • –The Graduate
  • –Pitch Perfect
  • –Love Story
  • –Legally Blonde
  • –St. Elmo’s Fire


Look to the Future

-Share Some Wisdom. Gather everyone’s advice! Ask your virtual guests to download these advice for the grad cards or graduation cap-shaped advice cards ahead of time and fill them in; then they can take turns reading them on the call. Or, if there are too many folks on the call to share them all, take volunteers to read theirs aloud, and have everyone mail you what they wrote so you can make a scrapbook for the grad—or just upload images of the cards into a photo book from a site like Artifact Uprising or Shutterfly.

-Invite a Celebrity! Ask everyone to pick a piece of advice from a famous person to read onscreen, whether it’s Michelle Obama reminding the grad that “It is absolutely still possible to make a difference,” or Nora Ephron advising that, “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” Other inspirational quotes to share include:

  • —“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • —“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”– Eleanor Roosevelt
  • —“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”– Nelson Mandela
  • —“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”—Abraham Lincoln
  • —”If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one” .—Dolly Parton
  • —”Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘”What are you doing for others?” —Martin Luther King Jr
  • —”The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”—Audrey Hepburn
  • —“The Pessimist Sees Difficulty In Every Opportunity. The Optimist Sees Opportunity In Every Difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
  • —”Creativity is intelligence having fun” —Albert Einstein
  • —”People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”—Maya Angelou

-Recommend a Book. Send the graduate an inspirational read—ideally from a local bookstore doing delivery, or a platform like Indiebound, so you can support a small business, making two people’s day! Think about:

-Make Plans. For a printable present, download a coupon and describe what you’d like to do with the grad to celebrate his or her achievements, once we’re able to get out and about. Fill out the IOU with “a trip to the beach,” “a visit to the zoo,” “a dinner out,” “a trip to Europe,” or whatever way you want to say conGRADulations!

-Think Ahead (So They Can Look Back). Print out this template and encourage the grad to write a letter to their future self, seal it, and write on the envelope “Do Not Open Until —-.” Whether the date is a year away, five years, or ten (or do one for all three!), it’s a fun chance for reflection.

ConGRADulate Your Grad

-Top Off a Treat. If you’ve got a grad in your home, look for opportunities to celebrate them throughout the day of their graduation. Our Congrats Grad Cap Decor template can be printed out, taped to a wooden skewer, and used to decorate anything from cake to breakfast waffles, to a stack of sandwiches or giant sub at lunch. Sprinkle the table with our pennant confetti—you can even color the pieces in with your own school colors.

-Pass Them Some Notes. Give your grad a series of surprises–as many as the year they’re graduating. For a Class of ‘20 grad, that would mean 20 envelopes filled with little things like gift cards, lottery tickets, IOUs, photos, advice, words of wisdom, and sweet messages. You can hand the grad the whole stack, hide them throughout the house for them to find, or, if you’re celebrating a grad who doesn’t live with you, mail a series of letters in matching envelopes leading up to the day.

-Drop off a “Care Package.” Fill a bag with the grad’s favorite cookies, seal it with our Cookie Template, and “deliver” it to their bedroom door as a preview of what they can expect from you in college. You can also leave them on the front steps of neighborhood friends who are graduating from the same class.

-Fill in Their “Yearbook.” Our “yearbook” template makes the perfect gift box for sweet treats (use candy in the grad’s school colors for extra school spirit!), a gift card, or a piece of jewelry. Fill it in and set it at the grad’s place at dinner.

1. Personalized Jewelry Case, 2. Fingers Crossed Enamel Pin, 3. Fingers Crossed Silver Necklace, 4. Personalized  Leather Tote, 5. Sleep Mask, 6. Cookbook 7. Personalized Apple AirPods, 8. Initial Locket, 9. Live Plant Delivery