Adult Birthday Questions
I've been invited to a 35th birthday party. Should I bring a gift?
Yes. It is traditional to bring a gift when invited to a birthday party-unless the invitation specifically states otherwise. If the invitation says "No gifts, please" you should honor this request.
What's your opinion of gag gifts for a 40th birthday party?
Generally, we don't recommend them. Even though many people laugh about their age, gag gifts may bring up sensitive feelings-why risk it? The only time gag gifts are appropriate is if a party invitation specifies this type of present.
My kids are throwing a 50th birthday party in my honor. Should I open gifts at the celebration?
If it suits the occasion, enjoy opening gifts while the guests are present. However, you are not obliged to open packages if the circumstances aren't conducive-live entertainment, for example, might make gift opening difficult.
Can I throw a party for myself?
You bet! This is your day to celebrate however you'd like. Surrounding yourself with a group of your favorite people is a wonderful way to start your new year.
I have a friend who is very difficult to shop for. How can I find the right gift?
Some people can be tricky to shop for because they appear to have everything. If you know that she loves books, plants, cooking equipment or hiking gear but you aren't sure what she already owns; a gift certificate avoids duplication and lets her choose a gift that's exactly right.
Every year my spouse seems to be disappointed with the birthday gift that I've selected. Help!
We have two suggestions. First, why not plan an activity-based gift that you can both enjoy together: a romantic dinner, a hiking adventure, a weekend at a golfing resort or another destination of choice. Second, while you're away on the adventure, present a special card with a gift certificate. This will let your spouse select a gift that is not only sure to please, but that brings back special memories of your trip.
Children's Birthday Questions
My son will be four this year and my friend and I are throwing a birthday party for a small group of kids. Is it expected that I give party bags to the children who attend?
While party bags are very commonly expected-and you may want to be prepared-the amount of money spent and the type of items enclosed varies from one city or neighborhood to the next. We recommend checking with some local parents who are veterans in the birthday party scene.
Should my daughter open her gifts during her birthday party?
Yes! This is a great way for children to practice the gracious art of receiving a gift. You might want to role-play with your daughter beforehand so that she understands what to say and do. However, if the setting is not conducive to unwrapping gifts, it is not necessary to do so during the party. In any circumstance, we recommend that she send thank you notes after the party to all of her friends.
Is it OK to state a price limit for birthday gifts on my son's invitations?
This is just fine, but it is not required. Because there is an expectation that children will bring a present to another child's birthday party-and there can be many parties during any given year-a price limit with a modest dollar amount is sure to be appreciated. It's also a nice way to teach kids that the cost of a gift is not the essential part of the giving tradition.