Another gift etiquette question: gift or no gift? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-04-2004, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are planning on going to a birthday party this Sunday for our neighbor's first birthday.

My neighbors are deaf--the entire family--and although we spend a lot of time together and I can sign basic stuff, we don't communicate about in-depth stuff that much because we don't speak (sign) the same language. We spend at least two evenings a week hanging out with each other, though, so I definitely consider them friends.

They gave me a hand-printed invite on an index card to the party, and I only now just realized that on the bottom is written "gift: 18 mo.s clothes or above or toys."

My neighbors are really struggling financially, and I have babysat their delightful and adorable son many times, all for free. I've also given them a lot of clothes that my dd outgrew or that I've re-gifted from other friends with sons, lent them money, given them food, etc. whenever they ask.

I'd be happy to give them a gift, but the truth is I am pretty seriously financially challenged as well. Half of my daughter's clothes (and some of mine) were just stolen out of my car, and I am in no position to buy them a gift, no matter how small.

What do you think I should do? Show up with a smile and enjoy myself, without a gift?

Could I wrap up a hand-me-down with no tags on it? (I think this might be tacky...I literally have left bags and bags of clothes at their doorstep already, and I don't want it to seem like this is another cast-off.)

Should I suck it up and use my credit card to buy a really inexpensive item?

My gut tells me that they will be happy for the company even if there is no gift, but I'm feeling a little creepy about it regardless. I know that they are spending a lot of time and energy, and probably money on this party.

Thanks for reading this far. I guess my question is: Would you be offended if someone came to your party and didn't bring a gift?
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:12 AM
 
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I think you should wrap up a nice hand me down; they probably won't notice the difference. I can totally relate since we're living on one income and I'm a sahm; that's what I would do. I wouldn't be mad if someone showed up without a gift for my daughter's party; I would be more upset if they didn't show up at all.
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:49 AM
 
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I'd either bring a hand-me-down, wrapped up nice or/and make a nice card. then go and have a good time.
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:10 AM
 
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I think just go. If you have something nice to wrap, do... even if it's not new. Or shop the goodwill and see if ya score a serious find. I expect they just wanted to make sure they didn't get an avalanche of "size12 month" that might fit for another week, or might already be too small.
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:32 AM
 
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These are all good ideas above!

Another one might be a card with a coupon/voucher for a night of babysitting on their next wedding anniversary, or something like that.

If you end up feeling like you really want to get a new toy, try going to a shop like Target or Marshall's (overstocked items), and I'll bet you can find a decent toy for just a few bucks. I got a large Fisher Price school bus with three figures at Target for $3.19 the other day that would be perfect for your kid. In fact, hey - why don't I send it to you? I bought two of them for future gifts because they were such a good deal. There is time to send it to you via regular mail so that you'll have it by Friday or Saturday. Really! It's brand new in a box, and I would be happy to do it.

I'm sorry that you had your clothes stolen out of your car. How lousy is that?

Let me know if I can send you one of those buses - I just need your address.

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Old 08-04-2004, 09:20 AM
 
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Could you take pictures and make a little scrapbook of the event? Or maybe make some special cookies?

I feel your financial pain. Sounds like being a good friend and helping them out other times is the best gift that you could give.
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Old 08-04-2004, 09:23 AM
 
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OMGosh, sloanv, that's so sweet of you!
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Another one might be a card with a coupon/voucher for a night of babysitting on their next wedding anniversary, or something like that.
This is an excellent suggestion.
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Old 08-04-2004, 01:46 PM
 
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I think the above ideas are all good ones!

It's unusual to write directions as to gifts on the invite, but I'm wondering if in this case it's because they're deaf. You know, often before a child's birthday you get calls from friends and family asking what the child needs/wants, what size they wear, etc. This way, they were able to just put it on the invite instead of dealing with the communication barrier...
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Old 08-04-2004, 01:53 PM
 
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Mocha,

Make sure you tell us what you need (to replace the stolen items--sizes, etc). I'm sure there are lots of people with hand-me-overs available for you and dd too.
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Old 08-04-2004, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. You guys are so awesome. Such great ideas!

sloavn, that is so sweet of you.

I think, considering the great ideas that I got, that I'm going to offer a night of babysitting. I love the scrapbook idea. I have a digital camera, but haven't had ink in my printer for a couple months. When I get the ink, I may be able to print out a little album for them.

Mammastar, I think you may be right about their writing that on the invite. It was hard to tell if they wrote them out and then put names on the top, or if they specifically wrote that one for me. They asked me to invite 2 other friends of mine, one who is fluent in ASL, and I know they aren't expecting those people to bring gifts.

Wemberly, you are A-1 awesome. I think I'm going to scour the thrift stores first. I was most concerned because dd starts daycare in a month, and I need to store a week's worth of clothing there for extras, but those don't have to be any special clothes. I bet I can find some stuff for pretty cheap.
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