DEAR ANT: My nephew is graduating from college in December. We have received neither a party invitation nor a formal announcement. Is a gift required? I think I should mention that we are not very close with this nephew. He rarely speaks to us and can even be rude at times. He has also chosen a lifestyle that we do not approve of. I am certain that he knows we don’t approve of his lifestyle and this is why he rarely acknowledges our presence at family functions. I am quite sure my brother will be surprised and perhaps a little hurt if we don’t send a gift and this may end up causing a family rift. Do I send a gift or not? FEELING LIKE A BAD AUNT
DEAR FLABA: Although gift giving is never required, it is a time-honored tradition. It is considered proper etiquette to give a gift to a graduate when invited to the ceremony or to a graduation party. I suppose since you find yourself having been invited to neither, you are not obliged to send him a gift, right?
POPPYCOCK! You're darn right not sending a gift will cause a family rift. We're talking about your nephew. YOUR NEPHEW. I imagine you held him as a baby, watched him grow, and shared many meaningful times and milestones with him and his parents. Your nephew's college graduation is another one of these important occasions. Please. Do not deprive yourself of the pleasure of being a part of it.
Since your nephew is about to become a college graduate I doubt he has chosen a life of crime. His lifestyle is irrelevant and, frankly, none of your business. I suspect you are feeling like a bad aunt because deep down you know you should send a gift. So...
Just do it. Send your nephew a gift. It doesn't need to be anything grand, especially since you are not close, but include a handwritten note acknowledging his achievement and expressing your support and confidence in him as he begins the next phase of his life.
Gift? Rift? Send a gift to your nephew because it’s the right thing to do. Just do it. ANT
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