5 Ways to Plan Lei Gifting for Graduation Season
With graduation season imminent, many high school 2nd semester seniors are on a homestretch. If you are a parent, you may have noticed your keiki - honors student or not - ditching the ethos of "work before play". Senioritis is right now in full swing, but it can be an experience that can be shared with parents (and perhaps even grandparents) as well. Haven't we all felt the gloom of school life coming to an end? To realize that the camaraderie that you felt with friends and classmates during classes, sports games, activity clubs and graduation prep would soon be a collection of memories?
As students are mulling through the 'college decision', weighing financial aid options between schools they have been accepted to, to study on the mainland thousands of miles away or remain at home in Hawaii, enter the workforce or even to take time off to travel, they too must keep on with their academics, sports and extra-curriculars. It is critical to support your kids and relate to them during this time as they themselves navigate these complex choices. Yes, they have grown up right in front of your own eyes and now face the challenge of making an adult decision.
Celebrating this rite of passage is a tradition, as many Hawaii people can attest to. After graduation ceremonies, it is common for families and students to hang around in the graduation halls (mostly Blaisdell, in this case), sometimes for up to a couple of hours. On the mainland, this is not so common. Savor this time you have with your keiki. Take photos. Laugh together.
And give them lei! Here are 5 ways to plan lei-gifting this graduation season:
1. Call Ahead
While some of our more specific standard-stock items such as Hilo Maile, Pikake, Tuberose and Ohai Ali'i (to name a few) are limited in supply as we ramp up to May-June, we recommend calling at least 4 weeks ahead to explore your options.
Consider picking up lei, especially if they are made with sturdy flowers, a day or 2 prior to the graduation ceremony. Traffic in downtown Honolulu where we, along with most of the lei stands are based can be brutal during rush hour times.
2. Do Your Own Research
Keep in mind school colors for the lei to match with the graduate's gown and cap attire. Otherwise, if the graduate has a favorite color / flower, definitely match it.
Think of close friends and the great teachers that the graduate will want to express gratitude toward. No graduate made it through all of high school by themselves. When time permits, the parents should also treat themselves.
3. Be Flexible to Substitutions and Floral Options
This one can be tough. For both you and us at Cindy's. We wish we had an unlimited supply of flowers and time that we could have to make the lei you have in mind for your keiki. We understand how this is a once-in-a-lifetime event. However, we urge that you be flexible to what flowers we have on hand.
If you let us know that you absolutely want something fragrant or a specific color pattern, we will do our best to accommodate you.
4. Store Well
In the case you pick up your lei early as mentioned in #1, we do recommend refrigerating them as soon as possible up until the graduation date/time. We typically sell lei in a plastic bag or a carton. The plastic bags, akin to the produce bags at the grocery stores, are best for storage as they provide better insulation than cartons in keeping the cold air in your refrigerator or cooler from shocking the flowers. Dry ice upon direct contact with flowers can harm them.
For those receiving lei via shipment from us, we urge that you get the package in your hands as soon as possible, open the package that we ship them in and put them into refrigeration in grocery produce bags up until the graduation date/time.
If receiving at a hotel, we recommend notifying the front desk / concierge that they will be receiving a package to your ATTN and to put the lei into refrigeration. This is key if you are visiting or living in a temperate state during the summer months.
5. Lei-ing the Graduate
Adorn the graduate with specialty and custom lei such as Maile first. It can then be followed by lei that are of the 'Rope style' (e.g. Triple to Double lei, even Kika or Cigar). Then the Kui style Single Strand lei or else they may get crushed underneath the weight of the heavier ones.
The graduate may not want to wear too many lei. They will want to mingle with family and then classmates as well as friends afterward. Wading through a sea of people peripherally blinded by flowers can be a little intense.