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?