Dads and Grads – What & When Is It?

Posted On: June 3, 2016

Many may say the term “dads and grads” is a marketing gimmick. And, maybe it is, but let’s look at why you may hear this term in relation to special occasions and observances in U.S.

What is Dads & Grads? What does Dads & Grads mean? 

Dads refers to Father’s Day. Grads refers to graduates as school and college graduations tend to happen during this time (mid May to late June).


When is Father’s Day?  

Daddy’s day is the third Sunday of June. Father’s Day always falls on the 3rd Sunday of June, so that while the day is the same, the date changes from year to year. Since it is a Sunday, there is no day off work, no long weekend for Father’s Day celebrations. 


Dads and Grads - What & When Is It?

Dads and Grads – What & When Is It?


What does Grads refer to?

Grads refers to graduates – graduates from high school or college. Now a days, there is a school graduation for almost every grade it seems, while most schools may do graduations for the milestones of kindergarten, elementary school (3rd or 4th grade, depending on the school), middle school (8th or 9th grade, depending on the school), and high school (12th grade). College graduates students after two years, if a community college (Associate’s Degree) or after four years if it is a college or university (Bachelor’s Degree). Of course, if one goes on for even higher studies, a Master’s Degree graduation is a degree taken two years in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree, and a Ph.D. can be anything from a few years to a decade after a Master’s Degree depending on the major, college, and other factors.


Dads and Grads - What & When Is It?

Dads and Grads – What & When Is It?


When do Graduations Happen? 

Graduations happen anywhere from late April to mid to late June depending on the region of the country. Colleges tend to end their academic year before schools, at least in the Northeast. As graduation can happen in such a wide date range, often this time period is referred to as ‘graduation season.’

So, while these two events do kind of fall within the same time period, many believe it is a marketing gimmick to say “dads and grads” because people really do not say this in real life, we only hear it in ads, sales brochures and television adverts.

How Do People Celebrate Dads and Grads? 

Father’s day always seemed to be a subdued occasion in comparison to Mother’s Day (in my opinion), which is unfair to the dads out there! Wives or children may take their father out to eat, to play sports (golf or his favorite sport), or do some activities with dad he likes (fishing or other hobbies).

Graduations are more about partying. High school and college graduations may be given more importance. Not only do schools arrange ceremonies for the different levels of graduations, but parents, family or friends may throw a party for the graduate. In some cases, presents are also bought for graduates. High school graduates may get a car as a graduation gift or things they need for their college dorm or apartment.

Gift Card Rack in a Store in the USA

Gift Card Rack in a Store in the USA

What Kind of Gift Should I Get For a Graduate? 

If you are invited to a graduation and don’t know what to get for the graduate, a gift card of about $30 or $50 to a well known retailer or a grocery store would be well received. Many stores, and even some gas stations, have a gift card rack, as pictured to the right. On this rack, a customer can buy a gift card for any merchant for the predetermined amount. For instance, you can buy a Walmart gift card in a gas station or a grocery store that has this rack. Gift cards for grocery stores, department stores, restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, and even online merchants can be found on these displays. Picking up any sales flyer from any store during this time period can also help you to understand what people are buying for dads and grads during this time frame.

Moms, Dads, & Grads? 

Since Mother’s Day (the second Sunday of May) happens to fall during the graduation season in some areas of the country, ‘moms’ can also be added to Dads & Grads as a catch all.


Do any other holidays or special occasions happen during this ‘season’?

Yes. A list of other observances or occurrences between mid April and the end of June include: 

        • Earth Day: April 22  (not a day off work)
        • May 1: May Day (rare, and no day off) 
        • May 5: Cinco De Mayo (Mexican observance, only a day off in some locations) 
        • Last Monday of May: Memorial Day (the first day off of work for many since New Year’s Day) 
        • June 14: Flag Day (not a day off)


For a list of holidays throughout the year, click here.


Jennifer Kumar, author provides cross-cultural training and expat preparation to offshore and virtual teams. Check out our programs here.

Picture credits:
Graduates: Pixabay
Gift card rack: Jennifer Kumar
Cover photo: Father’s Day – freepik


Find your Program!

Find your ideal program in just a few clicks.
Select Industry > Learning Level > Skill, to see 1-3 suggested programs.