What age do kids stop bringing gifts to a birthday party?

Sarah - posted on 02/12/2015 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My daughter had her 13th birthday party and 3 of her guests did not bring a gift. I'm just wondering if this is the norm for teenage kids.

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Gena - posted on 02/12/2015

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We always bring a gift to a birthday Party. No matter what Age. My son just had his birthday and 2 of the Girls were sisters but they each gave him a bag with two presents. I thanked the mother and told her she really didnt have to give so many gifts. Her reply was you invited two of my children so eatch one was aloud to get two gifts to give to our son. I would find it weird if People would come and not bring a gift with. But it wouldnt bother me. I would just ask myself why they didnt bring anything..even if ist just a single flower cut from the garden.

Trisha - posted on 02/12/2015

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I find this strange. None of my friends (a large group) bring gifts to birthday parties that we host or go to. Birthdays for family, wedding showers and baby showers are basically where that expectation ends for us.

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Sarah - posted on 03/14/2015

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Yes, the invitation did say it was a birthday party. Perhaps it's just the way I was raised, but we don't attend a celebration empty handed. It's not about how big or how expensive a gift is. I completely understand not all families can afford a gift and they have other priorities, but even a hand made card would have been nice....something to just acknowledge that it was her birthday.

Sarah - posted on 02/13/2015

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Was it clear to the guests that it was a birthday celebration? I think it is a little odd that no one brought even a token gift. We gather often with family and I do not bring a hostess gift to those events. Nor when I get together with a group of girlfriends at a restaurant. If the same group of girls gets together at a home, I offer to contribute to the menu, but some of the girls will bring a small gift instead.

Dove - posted on 02/13/2015

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No one is required to bring a gift... so it can happen at any age. It isn't 'typical' to go to a birthday party w/out a gift, but I don't think it's even worth the time to think about. Perhaps the parents of these kids felt the kids were old enough to provide their own gift for their friend... and they didn't do what was needed in order to make that happen... or maybe these families simply could not afford one more present.. or... so many other reasons.

Trisha - posted on 02/13/2015

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LOL. Definitely must be a cultural thing. I think it might have a lot to do with the fact I grew up around family, and have very limited friends growing up.
Birthdays for me were family coming together, having dinner, cake and gift opening. Since they were family, gifts were pretty much a given, but usually it was each person putting in $20 for one large gift/cash for that person to buy themselves something they couldn't afford otherwise.
We have a 'family' that includes about 20 friends and family that get together and are very close. Elaborate birthdays with parting gifts for the guests is just a crazy thought, unless it is for young children.
My 30th birthday is coming up next Saturday and I am just ecstatic at the idea that all our friends will be getting together at a restaurant I like to visit and eat good food. That is a standard for the group I hang out with.

Ledia - posted on 02/12/2015

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That is very interesting. Must be a cultural difference :) I love learning about other cultures!

I live in the Southern US. We bring a gift for the host and/or hostess any time someone hosts us for an event--dinner party, wedding, new baby, birthdays, etc.
That said, we don't throw our own parties where the main purpose is getting a gift--for example, we don't throw our own birthday parties or showers--someone else would throw those kinds of parties for us, and we would be the "guest of honor". If we host a birthday party or shower for someone where guests are expected to bring gifts for the guest of honor, we always give each guest a small gift in return--party favors.

I guess that's why I think it would be odd to go to a birthday party without a gift for the birthday girl. If a guest does not bring a gift for the guest of honor, does that guest still get a parting gift to take home?

Ledia - posted on 02/12/2015

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I feel that if a person is attending a party they should always bring a gift, no matter what kind of party it is. I mean, you wouldn't show up to a dinner party without a gift for the hosts, right??

I do agree that sometimes "non-traditional" gifts are acceptable. For example, it is IMPOSSIBLE to buy for my dad--the guy has everything he wants--so instead I take him to dinner, but it's my treat. My gift is the act of taking him to dinner and spending time with him.
If I were invited to a party for someone, and I didn't have a gift for them, I would at least give them a card with a note inside about the non-traditional gift I had planned. If I couldn't afford any kind of gift, I would skip the party, and just wish the person a happy birthday over the phone or have them over another time for a small celebration.

I agree that birthdays and parties are not about the gifts, but they are about showing the birthday kid or host that they are important to you and honoring their time. A gift is a good way to do it.

Trisha - posted on 02/12/2015

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My stepson has only gone to a couple of birthday parties since I have been about. We have given him the opportunity to make money to buy birthday gifts for people, but we do not straight out give him money to do so.
If he chooses not to, we don't give him money for that.

Sarah - posted on 02/12/2015

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Thank you for your replies. I thought it was a bit strange as well, but only because I personally would not send by child to a birthday party empty handed. My daughter did not seem to mind. She had fun which is all that matters in the end :) I was just curious if this was something to expect more of as she gets older.

Trisha - posted on 02/12/2015

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I don't know if there is a specific age as such, but at some point in life the point is not about receiving gifts. It is about spending time with the people you enjoy being around.
I think that maybe that is the perspective you should push your daughter towards.
There will be a point where going out for dinner to a restaurant with her friends will be a big deal, simply because not a lot of her friends will be able to afford $50 to spend on a meal for themselves to join her, after they pay rent, car insurance etc.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/12/2015

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I don't know. That is kinda weird. Maybe financial struggles? No clue what is happening in those homes or what the parents think are appropriate. Maybe they receive allowances and are told to use their own money for presents?

I don't think there is ever a cap on age for when to bring b day presents.

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