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Graduation without Pinterest, please

  • Article by: JILL BURCUM
  • Star Tribune
  • June 8, 2012 - 8:59 PM

I'm a fan of Facebook, tolerate Twitter, but a pox on the Pinterest social-media site.

I like clever decorating ideas as much as the next person, but Pinterest's recent arrival on the scene, with its plethora of crafty do-it-yourself projects, has escalated the expectations for graduation open houses. Not even Martha Stewart could keep up with some of the over-the-top celebrations I've either attended or seen pictures of on Facebook recently.

And yes, all these parties had one thing in common: the decorations, the themes, the too-cute-to-eat cookies were inspired by Pinterest. It's created a parental party arms race where the weapons are pink tulle, cloth-covered scrapbooks of precious moments, and school-days artifacts displayed in homemade frames decorated with glitter or handmade wreaths with the school colors of the college to come.

Most of us go to at least one graduation open house this time of year, and clearly the bar has risen. Long gone are the days when mom made ham sandwiches, Rice Krispie treats and maybe, if you were lucky, those little cream cheese mint rosettes. I remember watching my dad get ready for my 1980s-era open house and thinking: "Wow, we're really going all out! He bought Blatz beer instead of the usual generic stuff in the black-and-white cans."

Now graduation parties are typically catered. But Pinterest has taken things to the next level -- just in time for a graduation this spring at our house.

Friends of mine in Iowa got a head start on grad party season because kids are done with school sooner down there. I knew I was in over my head as soon as they posted pictures.

At one party, they'd painted wooden flower boxes white, planted grass inside weeks ago, then stuffed the boxes with pink pennants with the girl's name on it. Those were just the centerpieces. Tiered trays, hand-built for the occasion, cutely displayed all the food. Yards of pink tulle draped everything. Even the barbed-wire fence on the pasture near their farmhouse was decked out.

The graduation open house we hosted recently for our daughter didn't hit those decorating heights -- journalists tend not be crafty. But the food was good, and my daughter enjoyed the time with her family and friends. Pink tulle bows would have been nice, but the photos I snapped should reassure other uncrafty parents. They show smiling kids, cousins and grandparents.

Our party was Pinterest-free, but it created happy memories.

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Jill Burcum is a Star Tribune editorial writer.

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