Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I need some advice on birthday party etiquette. If my child can’t attend a friend’s birthday, do we owe him a gift anyway? Does it matter if the friend attended my child’s birthday party and gave her a present?
To Gift Or Not to Gift?
Dear To Gift or Not to Gift,
This is a very good question, and it’s a situation I’ve certainly come across in my now-going-on-eight years of children’s birthday parties. (Weird tangent: How come there aren’t any bounce house birthday party spots for adults where you can drink alcohol while hopping up and down on inflatable dinosaurs? Possible names: Bouncy Boozy’s, Jumpin’ Winos, Pump My Stomach.) (And I’m totally trademarking those, so don’t even think about it.)
Now back to your dilemma: My rule of thumb has usually been that if we’ve RSVP’d “yes” to the party and then can’t make it at the last minute due to injury or illness, we still give the birthday gift to the kid. Especially if mommy has already driven to Target, picked out the best thing she can find for under $15, then gone home and wrapped the stupid thing in tres chic Spongebob paper. That’s a lot of effort to go unnoticed.
However, if you RSVP’d “no” from the get-go, then I don’t think a gift is still required even if they’ve previously given one to you. (Unless it’s a close friend and you really want to get them something.) I think most parents understand this, and they’re probably relieved to not have yet another toy in their house to trip over during their midnight potty runs.
I hope that answered your question, my dear. And if it didn’t, just go look me up at Liquor’s Leapy Lounge. I’ll be the one drinking Sambuca in the ball pit.