General Etiquette > Family and Children

Birthday Gift Question

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--- Quote ---This sounds like a perfect occasion for the Token Gift.

A Token Gift is like a card in that it requires minimal effort but still shows that you have remembered a special occasion and want to show the honoree that you care. It should be special but not so special that the recipient feels as though you've gone to a lot of trouble. Basically, it's a happy medium: hubby doesn't feel rude, and BIL shouldn't feel put on the spot.

For an adult's birthday party, I would vote for a bottle of wine or a good microbrew/Belgian in a gift bag. The total cost could be under $20 (heck, even less than that). It's enough that your husband wouldn't feel any guilt over showing up empty-handed but not so much that your in-laws would feel guilty about not reciprocating. (It would be fairly normal to show up at a regular dinner party with a bottle of wine or beer, right?)

If your husband and his brother have been giving birthday gifts for a long time, then I'm going to disagree that the other couple has given a "clear message" that they don't want to exchange gifts. It was just one birthday. If BIL says, "You shouldn't have" or "I feel a little old to be opening birthday presents" or something like that, you'll know to stick to a card and his favorite treat next year.
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