Parents, we're here today to talk about graduation parties. Not yours. Theirs.
The distinction is crucial. That's Lesson #1. It might feel like your big
moment. But it's not. It's theirs.
(I know, I know. It's been 52 report cards and 26 teacher conferences, 360
soccer games and 255 basketball games, 60 sleepovers, 240 piano lessons, three
years of religious instruction, $2,700 in school lunches -- and two minivans. It
may feel like you've done the work -- and paid for it. But you haven't. You've
been the observer. There's a difference.)
Lesson #2. Plan the menu with the graduate in mind. If you want to satisfy the
hunger of students, look to their taste buds for reference.
Choose foods that delight them. Nothing new, nothing odd, nothing that will make
them stand out too much in a crowded field of graduation parties (never mind the
tattoos, piercings and colored hair -- graduates want to fit in with their
crowd, not yours).
Lesson #3. Think little bites. Less is more. The phrase "hungry teenager" is
almost redundant, except at graduation parties when the graduates flit from one
happy gathering to another, to another, and maybe even another, all in a single
afternoon. Graduation parties will be fast and furious, as your graduate visits
as many as possible in the last gasp of high-school friendship.
Your youthful guests aren't going to eat a whole lot. They'll nibble here and
nibble there before heading out to nibble elsewhere. You will not need as much
food as you would normally serve at a buffet. But it's fun to offer a wide
variety of foods. This is a party, after all.
Lesson #6. Make-your-own food keeps the guests busy. Not a bad idea for a party
where Aunt Sally will be chatting with your daughter's friends.
Lesson #6. Skip the cake. It's tradition, I know. Instead, make mini-versions of
your graduate's favorite desserts: cookies, bars, mini-cheesecakes. Better yet,
make a variety of them, a buffet's worth of desserts. Not surprisingly, these
small treats will be devoured, even by teens who aren't all that hungry.
Lesson #7. Stick around for the party. Yes, it's their celebration, but you need
to supervise. You may even have some fun on the occasion, though your fun is not
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