A tip. 

If someone says their kid’s birthday party  and request no gifts, don’t bring a gift. 

Two of our friends brought gifts. (three counting Tracy but a) I know she is a bargain hunter b) we are making Declan something and c) I don’t ever feel obligated with her.) one was a $50 card for us to go out to dinner, babysitting included. The other was maybe $40 worth of stuff. Both of their kids have birthdays in the next three weeks. 

Our oven doesn’t work. We are finally getting it fixed after months of no oven (by using birthday money given to our child….) tonight we turned our heat on and it doesn’t work. 

We have no money. I had a plan to get caught up in November and things felt okay. Now the heater went. 

And now I have to buy $90 worth of birthday gifts because people went against our wishes. 


Posted on October 12, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. No you don’t. Do what works for you. Talk to your friends if needed. It’s possible they did this without expecting you to reciprocate. But don’t buy gifts because of obligation.

  2. If they’re not someone you want to talk to about this sort of stuff, can you skip the parties? That’s what I’d do, haha.

  3. Wow, they really went overboard! I keep birthday gifts at $20 or under.
    I wouldn’t match their spending, get something small that’s a guaranteed hit with the kids. I’ve found the 3-4 dollar wind up toys at party city are always a favorite, I haven’t met a kid yet that doesn’t drop every other present and play with that for the rest of the party.

  4. You don’t have to buy $90 worth of gifts. Do what you would have done based on the invitation they send. I’m sorry to hear they disregarded your wishes–that is so rude and frustrating and awkward, but you don’t have to go overboard just because they did. Thank them for their generosity, do what you can to celebrate their kids’ milestones without breaking the bank (or another appliance), and don’t feel guilty!

    • Also, in regards to the stuff, if you don’t need/want it and it won’t be missed in daily life, can you regift any of it going forward? I feel weird doing it, but sometimes that does end up being the most practical use of presents we get from well-meaning and generous people. Obviously not back to the people who gave it to you, but…save yourself some hassle/expense down the line?

  5. Give one friend a $50 gift card for dinner. Give the other $40 worth of stuff Gus would like. Problem solved 😉

    • We do that! Pretty much every gift card we get goes into the “holiday bin,” then I reach in and grab one for the next random sibling of my husband to have a birthday.

  6. You can (almost) never go wrong with books, puffy stickers or arts/crafts items, and baked goods (if you know what they like). We keep gifts to around $20, usually only 1-2 items (low quantity) but awesomeness (high quality). Don’t feel like you need to match them dollar for dollar. Just get (or make) something nice that their kid will like and that won’t drive them crazy.

    Besides, unless they gave you cash, you don’t really know how much they paid for anything. The gift card could’ve been something they were given or something they bought at a discount, and the $40 of stuff could’ve been bought with coupons, other discounts, thrifting, re-gifting, etc. So try not to sweat it. 🙂

  7. : ( I know how uncomfortable that feels, but even modern etiquette guides are against “reciprocal” spending and encourage you to just thank them sincerely. If you do feel like reciprocating, you are under NO price guidelines- cookies with your new oven would be fine. But it is so annoying to feel under obligation, especially when you specifically tried to avoid that obligation in the first place.

  8. I had one person follow the please don’t bring gifts request. Her daughter is 17 days younger than Wallace. I made her an applique dress and shirt and wallace informed me that we gave her a brush and hairties. I know what it’s like having no money and feeling obligated to reciprocate. They won’t even notice if you don’t bring a present and if you do, I bet you can figure something out for under $10.

  9. We have 4 kids…we will NEVER reciprocate a $50, mainly because we can’t and also becuase, seriously! Who the hell spends $50 on a kids gift. And not that it wasn’t probably a kick ass gift, but like, $50! FACK! We’ve gotten into the “buy NEW stuff off of those facebook tag sale sites for super cheap” kick. We’ve bought about $300 worth of holiday gifts for about $100 on FB tag sale groups. You might do well there…also, it’s never lost on people the time and energy it takes to make homemade gifts. In fact, you can even have gus help you make something to give to his pal. And then, who can get mad at that?!?!

    • The one friend who spent maybe $40ish I got some good deals and got him some stuff that looks impressive for $23. I have no idea what to do about the parents who gave us a $50 gift card plus babysitting. Like, I know how freaking much you spend and now feel obligated. But also, I HATE babysitting so don’t want to give them the same thing in return even though I feel I “should” do that.

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