General Question

xTheDreamer's avatar

Should I bring something for the birthday girl?

Asked by xTheDreamer (894points) May 23rd, 2012

My friend invited me to his friend’s birthday party and I don’t know the birthday girl at all. So should I bring something out of courtesy? Like a bottle of fine liquor or so haha.

Or if you have any suggestions then let me know.

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29 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Certainly out of courtesy, bring something small . If she is a tea drinker. some quality leaf tea and a small china tea pot of tea infuser; a pretty much wrapped in a nice dish towel; several bottles of organic grape juice or one bottle of wine, if you know she is a wine drinker. I would not bring liquor, and I don’t know what you mean by “haha.”

mangeons's avatar

Ask your friend for suggestions of small things that his friend might like, asking someone who knows her is better than just guessing at what she might like.

woodcutter's avatar

Just something nice but not expensive. Safe things like crayons. Not unsafe things like a pack of firecrackers.

6rant6's avatar

A few logs for the fireplace is always welcome. A quart of milk (2%). A mix tape featuring ABBA covers. I heard someone gave a girl an ear once and that went over really well.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It will be fine whether you take a gift or not. It would be a nice touch though. Your friend can clue you in on something that she might like. If that doesn’t work, then just go for something that should be relatively safe. A picture frame or a plant comes to mind.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, bring something. Something small. A music download card, a bottle of wine.

JLeslie's avatar

I also think it is ok to gift or not. Up to you.

Sunny2's avatar

A token gift is appropriate. Something cute or amusing. Nothing expensive.

josie's avatar

Never ever go to any party empty handed. One of many of my late Mom’s axioms for a happy and successful life.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie Your mom seemed to have a lot of those old school etiquette rules. Eat was is served to you, don’t show up empty handed, etc. I don’t mean it as a criticism, just an observation.

josie's avatar

@JLeslie My (late) mom was anxious, and even occasionally horrified about the influence my (late) gung ho father had on me. Although she was crazy about him, he was a totally fearless, almost invincible, and very hard core dude. On the other hand, my mom always completely underestimated the tempering influence she had on me. Funny how that shit works out.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d pass on the alcohol. Ask the friend or do flowers. I’ve never had bad luck with flowers. An arrangement or a plant.

zenvelo's avatar

I’d go with @Adirondackwannabe , a small houseplant or a $10 bouquet from Trader Joe’s. And a card so you get the credit.

laurenkem's avatar

A really nice high-end bottle of olive oil wrapped very prettily- I would lurve getting that for a gift!

JLeslie's avatar

How old is the birthday girl and friend, and you for that matter? Are we talking 16 year olds or 35 year olds?

jca's avatar

I am another one who feels you should never show up empty handed. I don’t think it’s “old school” I think it’s just courtesy.

If it’s a birthday party, in my opinion you should definitely bring a little something even if you don’t know the birthday girl. You don’t say how old she is – is she a kid or an adult? If a kid, a small toy (under $10) or book, or some hair stuff might be fun. If an adult, could be a gift card for Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, or some tea like @gailcalled recommended with a nice cup.

JLeslie's avatar

Those of you who feel you should show up with a gift, what if you are a date for a wedding? Then do you expect to have to buy a gift of some sort? Does it have to do with where the party is held? How formal it is?

righty's avatar

Of course! It’s her birthday and you are her guest. A small and inexpensive present would be a great gesture and will really set a kind impression. You never know…You might end up becoming very good friends. And you’ll be glad that you did.

xTheDreamer's avatar

@JLeslie I have no idea how old she is, since she’s the friend of my friend. But he told me they were in the same class so I’m guessing 20–23 or so. And I am 21 and my friend is 22.

xTheDreamer's avatar

@gailcalled the ‘haha’ was just a joke thing.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: If you are a date for a wedding, then a gift is given from each couple, and it’s usually a substantial gift. In this case, the birthday party, a small gift from the OP is not a lot to come up with.

If they want to give a gift from the two of them, and the card should indicate it. I didn’t have the impression from the OP’s question that they’re a couple. I had the impression it’s like “I’m going to this party. Do you want to stop by? The host won’t mind. Come!”

Just my opinion. i would never show up at someone’s house empty handed.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a nice thing to do, show up with a little something, I just don’t think it is necessary as the date or friend coming along. It is the responsibility of the person who knows the birthday girl in my opinion to come with a gift “from the couple.” not that in this case the OP needs to chip in (I don’t think that at all) or get “credit” either for the gift on a card. But, in my mind the OP is kind of covered etiquette wise, because she is accompanying someone who is giving a gift, they aren’t arriving empty handed.

gailcalled's avatar

Having read everything, I personally would vote for @laurenkem‘s bottle of imported Italian olive oil, wrapped in a new pretty dish towel; that’s what I would like to get (under any circumstance).

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: I understand your point. I would just rather “err” on the side of ingratiating myself to the host and birthday girl, rather than possibly offending them by walking in empty handed.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca See that is where I get a little put off, is when someone might actually be offended. I mentioned this to @josie on the other Q about eating whatever is served to you at a dinner party. No one should be offended. If I invite you over, I am happy to have you in my home period. I have no expectation that you have to do something for me. Again, it is a nice gesture, and some would argue proper etiquette, but what I worry is those who are so concerned about the etiquette actually judge those who don’t follow these supposed rules.

I like the rules of etiquette, because I think it makes everyone more comfortable to know what is expectated and have similar expectations, so I am not in anyway saying I want to dump the social niceties, I am only saying peope should not be offended. Plus, my friends and a family are from various countries, and their rules are different sometimes. My BIL once got all bent out of shape because someone he did not know came to a party and they never introduced themselves to him (the party was at my BIL’s mother’s house, so my MIL’s house, and my BIL was living there at the time temporarily). For all we know that person was offended she was never greeted by my BIL and welcomed to the party. I don’t think anyone should have been bent out of shape, and I think if my BIL felt it odd he was not introduced to her, he should have introduced himself and get rid of the wierdness he was feeling.

Etiquette rules should make us all more comfortable, not less, and the first rule of etiquette in my book is exactly that, making others comfortable in one’s presence.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: Believe me, I totally understand. I just think that a small gift (under $20, maybe even under $10) is not a big deal to bring, even if you’re not concerned about offending, even if the people don’t expect it, just why not do it?

It’s not written in stone – if I were really broke and the person I was with insisted, or they said “I’ll just put your name on the card with mine” or whatever, just why not spend a little and give a little something? I see it as such a trivial thing, yet something simple like that is so nice.

One time my cousin came to my mom’s house for Christmas, and he brought a friend of his who was from out of the country. The friend never met us before, probably would never see us again, and he brought a little chocolate Eiffel Tower or something like that, wrapped up like a Christmas present for my little sister, who was a kid at the time. It was fun, it was appreciated, and it was appropriate. He didn’t have to, but he did and it’s remembered. He was appreciated for his company, he was welcomed by my mom, but the gift is nice and again, why not err on the side of ingratiating yourself.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca We agree. My answer just above was more for everyone than just for you, it’s just we were having the conversation.

jca's avatar

@xTheDreamer: Please post a update as to what you choose to bring or if you choose not to bring anything.

The Update Lady

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