30 Mar
Do You Have to Give a Present if You’re Not Present?

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.


Wendi, TMH

7 Responses to “Do You Have to Give a Present if You’re Not Present?”


Comment by Michelle.

We actually have a Bounce House place that serves alcohol in my city! Can you believe it?!?!

Wendi Reply:

No, I can’t believe it, Michelle. What’s your address!?!?


Comment by Charity.

I think you’re on to something. I totally want to have my birthday party at Jumpin’ Winos.


Comment by Rockthemuffintop.

Um, Wendi, sorry—I’ve already perfected the boozy bounce at the backyard parties. We may need to go woman-o a woman-o in Dayton. I will admit I have home court advantage, having already consumed enough booze in that town to declare most people legally dead. Just so you know. As far as the gifts go, I only give them if we miss if it’s a good friend.


Comment by Sophie.

Wendi, I don’t know about you, but last time I was on a bounce thingy was 2 days ago. I had no alcohol in me, and yet after 30 seconds of just sitting in the corner of it, hoping no baboon will jump on my son’s head, I was already seasick. How do you plan to combine this with alcohol, please? I’m curious. Also, stil nauseated.


Comment by Anon for fear of being recognized!.

Great advice and pretty much dead on to what I practice.

Going to a kids party and being offered booze? I live in the wrong area I think. I also seem to have missed out on the play date ‘drinks’. I was born too early apparently. Heck even all of the recent showers I have gone to have been dry!

Or my kids need to stop hanging out with children of the bible thumping/completely dry parents they have. Or their parents need to chill the hell out 🙂


Comment by kmdguerra.

I think it should be Leapy Liquor Lounge personally ;o)

If I had my druthers, my daughter wouldn’t have gotten any toys for her birthday. Seriously, we asked for clothes and books because I’m a tightwad and don’t feel like spending my wine money on those things. KIDDING! Sorta…

Great advice Wendi!

Consider Checking Out...