Author Topic: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?  (Read 4029 times)

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lilblu

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Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« on: February 06, 2013, 02:58:32 AM »
My cousin's wife called me late Tuesday evening to invite me to a surprise birthday party for my aunt the following day (today, Wednesday). For whatever reason, I grew up not giving a gift or card to my aunt on her birthday. As an adult, it never really occurred to me to get her anything, even a card, despite the fact that she has always given me something.

I'm assuming that I should at least give her a card at this party. But am I supposed to give her a gift? I don't have time to pick something up. Thankfully I have a box full of cards. I would have to make a special trip to the store Wednesday afternoon to buy her a gift. So I would only have four hours available before the party to buy her something, cook and eat supper, and get cleaned up and dressed. I'm a little annoyed that my cousin's wife waited so late to invite me. As it is, I don't really want to go (I'm having terrible heartburn), but I feel obligated to go.

So do I need to bring a gift? I wouldn't even know what to get her. Finding her a Christmas present was torturous enough (she's hard to buy for). I have no idea whether anyone else is getting her anything. I should have asked, but was too dumfounded at the late invitation.

Margo

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 03:05:58 AM »
I think it would be a nice thing to do. Why not get some flowers or a good quality box of chocolates or bottle of wine?

I don't think you *have* to get anything, but I would do so, if it were me, and if I possibly could.

MariaE

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 03:45:04 AM »
I think it would be a nice thing to do. Why not get some flowers or a good quality box of chocolates or bottle of wine?

I don't think you *have* to get anything, but I would do so, if it were me, and if I possibly could.

I agree with this.
 
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Perfect Circle

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 04:00:09 AM »
I would definitely get her a gift. It doesn't have to be anything too big, but I would not show empty handed.
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peaches

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 04:16:18 AM »
I would take a gift. Does she like to read? A gift certificate to a book store (bricks and mortar store or online one) would be nice.

I wouldn't go empty-handed. It's always nice to take a gift to a birthday party.

The fact that you have never given her a birthday gift - while she has always given you one - is all the more reason to treat her to a surprise. It's time to return the favor.


lilblu

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 09:56:19 AM »
Thanks for the advice.

I guess my issue was that because of the last minute invite, I don't have much time to think of what to get her and pick something up. Plus I would have to make a special trip to the store. There are no shopping stores in the town I live in, unless you count the gas station.

My aunt is really hard to buy for. She was just commenting the other day about how she didn't have anywhere to put the Christmas presents her nephew gave her. She doesn't need a gift card, trust me on that. It took me about three weeks to figure out what to get her for Christmas because she has no interests and doesn't do anything.

The only things I know she uses/likes is flavored coffee creamer. But she also recently commented that she hasn't been able to taste anything for a month. And I don't think creamer is an appropriate gift, especially since I'm not sure which flavors she likes (she's very picky). So I don't know what to do. Could I tell her that I would've gotten her something, but I didn't know anything about the party until the day before (yesterday), so I didn't have time? Or would that be a bad idea?

Isn't it kind of rude to invite someone to a party the day before? Shouldn't you at least give people two or three days notice? Especially when you know that they have to work?

Yvaine

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 10:00:48 AM »
Thanks for the advice.

I guess my issue was that because of the last minute invite, I don't have much time to think of what to get her and pick something up. Plus I would have to make a special trip to the store. There are no shopping stores in the town I live in, unless you count the gas station.

My aunt is really hard to buy for. She was just commenting the other day about how she didn't have anywhere to put the Christmas presents her nephew gave her. She doesn't need a gift card, trust me on that. It took me about three weeks to figure out what to get her for Christmas because she has no interests and doesn't do anything.

The only things I know she uses/likes is flavored coffee creamer. But she also recently commented that she hasn't been able to taste anything for a month. And I don't think creamer is an appropriate gift, especially since I'm not sure which flavors she likes (she's very picky). So I don't know what to do. Could I tell her that I would've gotten her something, but I didn't know anything about the party until the day before (yesterday), so I didn't have time? Or would that be a bad idea?

Isn't it kind of rude to invite someone to a party the day before? Shouldn't you at least give people two or three days notice? Especially when you know that they have to work?

I think the cousin's wife was probably disorganized to invite you at the last minute, but it's not your aunt's fault, kwim? I'd still pick up some kind of token gift for her. And if you don't bring anything, I'd say just quietly don't bring anything, rather than explaining all about why. But I'd pick something up. Even if it was just flowers or something.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 10:02:22 AM »
Thanks for the advice.

I guess my issue was that because of the last minute invite, I don't have much time to think of what to get her and pick something up. Plus I would have to make a special trip to the store. There are no shopping stores in the town I live in, unless you count the gas station.

My aunt is really hard to buy for. She was just commenting the other day about how she didn't have anywhere to put the Christmas presents her nephew gave her. She doesn't need a gift card, trust me on that. It took me about three weeks to figure out what to get her for Christmas because she has no interests and doesn't do anything.

The only things I know she uses/likes is flavored coffee creamer. But she also recently commented that she hasn't been able to taste anything for a month. And I don't think creamer is an appropriate gift, especially since I'm not sure which flavors she likes (she's very picky). So I don't know what to do. Could I tell her that I would've gotten her something, but I didn't know anything about the party until the day before (yesterday), so I didn't have time? Or would that be a bad idea?

Isn't it kind of rude to invite someone to a party the day before? Shouldn't you at least give people two or three days notice? Especially when you know that they have to work?

It does seem a bit last minute. COuld you take her out for lunch or dinner for her birthday, at a later date? And either put that in the card, or verbally tell her at the party?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 10:02:49 AM »
In light of the additional information, I think you are fine with just a card.

One last minute gift that is popular in my circle is those scratch off lottery tickets.  If you think that is something your aunt might appreciate/enjoy, you could pick up a couple of those and enclose them in the card.  Or, if you live close by, enclose an IOU that says something like, 'I'll take you out to lunch - let's pick a date that works for both of us!'

I wouldn't mention the last minute invite.
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Yvaine

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 10:05:01 AM »
Thanks for the advice.

I guess my issue was that because of the last minute invite, I don't have much time to think of what to get her and pick something up. Plus I would have to make a special trip to the store. There are no shopping stores in the town I live in, unless you count the gas station.

My aunt is really hard to buy for. She was just commenting the other day about how she didn't have anywhere to put the Christmas presents her nephew gave her. She doesn't need a gift card, trust me on that. It took me about three weeks to figure out what to get her for Christmas because she has no interests and doesn't do anything.

The only things I know she uses/likes is flavored coffee creamer. But she also recently commented that she hasn't been able to taste anything for a month. And I don't think creamer is an appropriate gift, especially since I'm not sure which flavors she likes (she's very picky). So I don't know what to do. Could I tell her that I would've gotten her something, but I didn't know anything about the party until the day before (yesterday), so I didn't have time? Or would that be a bad idea?

Isn't it kind of rude to invite someone to a party the day before? Shouldn't you at least give people two or three days notice? Especially when you know that they have to work?

It does seem a bit last minute. COuld you take her out for lunch or dinner for her birthday, at a later date? And either put that in the card, or verbally tell her at the party?

This is a really good idea.

Lynn2000

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 11:29:04 AM »
You don't have to go if you don't want to--depending on what you told the person who invited you. And even if you already said you'd attend--when you were asked last-minute and put on the spot--you might be able to contact her and apologize and say that when you checked your schedule you realized you were already booked, or that you aren't feeling well and don't want to spread any germs, or something like that. I wouldn't make a habit of going back on RSVPs, but sometimes with casual events you can get away with it. It seems like the suddenness of it is giving you a lot of stress and I'm sure that's not what your aunt or the organizer of the party would want, so maybe it would be better to stay home than to go if you feel ill (heartburn) and tense. Maybe make an effort to get together with your aunt at a later time instead.

If you decide to go--depending on the gas station in your town, you might be able to pick up a decent token gift there. Seriously, if it's like a mini-convenience store, they might have gift cards to chain stores, flowers, boxed chocolates. Or just go with the birthday card, maybe write something nice inside of it. Definitely don't make excuses for not having a gift/different kind of gift, as that will only draw attention to it. I think at adult birthday parties gifts are optional, so it's not like you're doing something wrong by not having one.
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heartmug

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2013, 12:02:04 PM »
Thanks for the advice.

I guess my issue was that because of the last minute invite, I don't have much time to think of what to get her and pick something up. Plus I would have to make a special trip to the store. There are no shopping stores in the town I live in, unless you count the gas station.

My aunt is really hard to buy for. She was just commenting the other day about how she didn't have anywhere to put the Christmas presents her nephew gave her. She doesn't need a gift card, trust me on that. It took me about three weeks to figure out what to get her for Christmas because she has no interests and doesn't do anything.

The only things I know she uses/likes is flavored coffee creamer. But she also recently commented that she hasn't been able to taste anything for a month. And I don't think creamer is an appropriate gift, especially since I'm not sure which flavors she likes (she's very picky). So I don't know what to do. Could I tell her that I would've gotten her something, but I didn't know anything about the party until the day before (yesterday), so I didn't have time? Or would that be a bad idea?

Isn't it kind of rude to invite someone to a party the day before? Shouldn't you at least give people two or three days notice? Especially when you know that they have to work?

It does seem a bit last minute. COuld you take her out for lunch or dinner for her birthday, at a later date? And either put that in the card, or verbally tell her at the party?

This is a really good idea.

I thought so too.  Get a nice card and write in it "Your present is lunch at the restaurant of your choice on the day of your choice" or something to that effect.
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Deetee

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 12:37:12 PM »
I'd go with a card. But I don't do gifts for adults (except on rare exceptions) and I don't expect gifts for any birthday type celebration I have so it works out well.


I would bring flowers or wine as a kinda hostess/birthday gift.

TootsNYC

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2013, 01:48:36 PM »
Go through the Walgreens and get her something from the toy section.

(my vote: one of those "magic slates")

And put in a note that says, "Everybody deserves a toy on their birthday."

Done!

peaches

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Re: Am I supposed to bring a birthday gift?
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 02:59:41 PM »
Since she's a coffee drinker, you could go to a grocery and buy some go-withs. Most all groceries have fancy cookies - shortbread, chocolate dipped cookies, or biscotti - or baked goods such as scones, muffins, etc. Put them in a gift bag and you are done.

Yes, the host did not give you enough notice of the party. But I'd go anyway and I'd try to take something. It sounds like this relative has been good to you over the years. 

I'm wondering if you could find something during your lunch hour, if not after work.