It’s an issue that plagues many American’s each year, our entire moral fiber is dependent upon the solution. We all want to do the right thing, but at what price? How much of our pride are we willing to give up to a celebratory graduate who we barely even know?

While it’s a privilege to honor those close to us on such a milestone occasion in their life, it’s hard to feel charitable for a relative stranger. Where should the line be drawn on who is sent an announcement? It’s customary to include immediate family, close friends, perhaps the church, etc. Notice I did not say just anyone you see or communicate with on a regular basis such as the mail carrier, cashier at the grocery or the person you always see walking down the street. You should at least know the individuals name and have had a conversation with consisting of a complete sentence.

Last week we received a graduation announcement from a totally unfamiliar name. The address was from the Cleveland area, so isn’t even someone known only by appearance. To deepen the mystery even further, no picture was included. He didn’t even show up on, ‘People you may know,’ on Facebook, heck the trash man does that.

After researching the family tree and calling the U.S Census Bureau, it was discovered that the man of mystery was the grandson of a third cousin, twice removed or something like that. I’ve never met him, his parents, or grandparents. Yet am supposed to reward him for his accomplishments.

I can’t really blame those who send out as many announcements as they can, as I’ve never received a pay day greater than when I graduated. However, I at least personally knew everyone that I received a gift from or invited.

It all leads to the big question, how do you respond? Do you ignore it or send a monetary gift? If so, how much? It’s hard to put a dollar amount on, ‘I have no idea who you are, but Congratulations. By the way, how did you get my address?’ Sending a gift, shows acceptance of in a sense being used for money while the alternative is turning your back on family. What’s the right action? All I know is, the guest list for my next birthday party just got bigger.