How to Celebrate Your Senior When Everything is Cancelled


OK, Moms and Dad. It is time to get creative. The High School Senior Class of 2020 is graduating without most of the pomp and circumstance, tradition, and parties that would normally celebrate the season. There is still hope that some activities will still happen especially in areas of the country where school does not end until June. Here in Oklahoma things are looking pretty bleak, as we have not reached the “peak of the curve” yet and graduation, prom, and everything senior usually occurs in April and May.

So, let's talk about How to Celebrate Your Senior When Everything is Cancelled. I have scoured the internet and friends' brains for ideas and listed them below.

And these kids deserve some GOOD Presents this year, so check out the Ultimate Graduation Gift Guide.

Read the words of some senior moms as they share their thoughts, concerns, and hope for their seniors in Senior Moms Speak.

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How to Celebrate Your Senior When Everything is Cancelled

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Spring Sports

The first things that were cancelled were the spring sport seasons and in some cases, like basketball, the end of the winter sports season. In Oklahoma the kids played basketball up until the state tournament and then that was cancelled. No championships for these kids. There were a few track meets, and then track was cancelled. And no baseball at all.

Some baseball moms in my area decided to decorate their front doors with their sons' baseball jerseys and hats to commemorate the season that wasn't. Read the words of one of these moms here. This is her front door:

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Graduation Parties

While still not the same as getting to hug your friends, a front yard “Drive By” Graduation Party is possible. Decorate your front yard with balloons, signs, and pictures of the graduate and invite all of your family and friends to “Drive By.” I have seen a number of videos of Drive By parties. My favorite is this one put on by fans of Kim Mulkey, the Baylor Women's Basketball Coach, after she was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame. I tear up every time I watch it.

Your senior may not be celebrating an induction into a hall of fame, but they deserve to feel like it. Big overtures are everything right now. 


Decorate your yard. Some schools are giving the kids signs for their yards. My friend Jennifer K of Frisco, Texas shows off her 2020 senior and their yard sign.

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More Ideas for Celebrating Graduation

One senior mom who shared her thoughts on all the cancellations here plans to ask family and friends to FLOOD her daughter with cards. With everything going virtual, having something tangible like cards to hold onto will be special.

Order in or make a special dinner for your senior on the original night of the graduation.

Be sure to support your local bakery and get a cake, cookies, or other special dessert.

If you host a virtual party, make it fun. Have a costume contest or a wallpaper background contest. Minted has free virtual backgrounds for all occasions – even graduation.

Even if you cannot have the party, go ahead and set a fun table anyway and fulfill some of the things she wanted. Last year my daughter wanted a donut board for her graduation brunch. A friend of ours made her one.

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Proms have been cancelled everywhere. I have seen pictures all over facebook of girls wearing their dresses around the house and their moms taking pictures of them. I did see one post of a family holding their own front porch prom. They have several teenagers in their family, so they all dressed up and took pictures against a homemade backdrop. They had snacks on the porch and put signs in their yard. Not perfect, I know.

One of the special aspects of prom (for the girls) is getting their hair and makeup done by either their friends or by professionals. This is not possible right now. I hope that that as soon as all of the restrictions are lifted, these girls can go get their hair and makeup done and have a special photo session in their beautiful dresses.

Bring a Sense of Humor


The senior class of 2020 will never forget their graduations, proms, parties, sports seasons, and other activities that did not happen. While they may not want to acknowledge it right now, they will tell their grandchildren about this. Their class reunions will be pandemic or prom themed. Anytime they meet someone later in life who was also a graduate of the class of 2020, they will swap stories.

So, go ahead and take some pictures with everyone wearing masks and holding bottles of hand sanitizer. Measure out 6 feet and take pictures “social distancing.” Record the history that they are a part of. I have created photo booth props that are available in the Almost Empty Nest store for just this purpose.

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Enlist Help from Others

Enlist help from those who have been a huge part of  your child's life – coaches, teachers, ministers, and others, to keep your senior encouraged.

I talked to Kelsey, a youth minister at the Park Church of Christ in Tulsa about their plans to encourage and honor the senior class of 2020.

She and the other youth ministers are reaching out to individuals in the senior class by

Writing notes, drive bys, FaceTimes.

We met with all of them on zoom the night we were supposed to leave for retreat. We prayed, asked hard questions, and loved on them. We challenged them to reach out to other hurting people and look out of their own box.

We are highlighting each senior on Instagram story for 3-4 days and anyone can write their favorite memories of their time with that senior in the youth group. That’s been so successful and our seniors are loving it.

Our next phase is to honor the seniors if their senior weekend gets postponed. We want to write letters to each of them from us listing out their qualities and how they’ve impacted the youth group. And also Asking their parents and their peers and underclass to send notes and then compile them in a packet.


Get Excited about the Future


Times are tough right now, but they won't be like this forever. Parties will happen again. Travel will happen again. These kids will get to go to college at some point. So, let's plan for those days.

Plan a College Send Off party late in the summer (prayers going up) instead of the originally planned graduation party.

Plan a trip for later in the summer or over the next Christmas break or spring break. 

Start shopping for the dorm. It can be a nice distraction from what is not happening now to think about what will happen later. You can use this list to help you.



It's true. This stinks for this senior class. It is our job to help it stink less and celebrate all of their accomplishments and send them off to their new futures in style.

Please comment below with what you are doing to celebrate your senior.

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