Collective Contributions: What is appropriate for a group gift?

Q: What is etiquette on the number of gifts to bring to a child’s birthday party when multiple children of ours are invited?

A: There are two ways to handle this. The first is to have each of your children give his/her own gift; the other is to have one, larger gift from all your children together. Probably the best way to do this is to determine what you ordinarily would spend (or give) on a gift from one child to a friend and basically multiply that value times the number of your children invited to the party to set a price point for what you might spend on a joint gift.


  1. Brockwest

    I’d like to give a different opinion. Adults understand when people jointly pitch in to give a bigger gift. Children and the parent’s of those children frequently don’t. I think you are safer given two $10.00 gifts, then one $20.00 gift. Even if you give the nicer gift, it will only be seen that only one gift was given.

  2. Tam

    No one should be so greedy as to count gifts their guests have given or feel entitled to a certain amount or quantity. Since that is a lot to ask a family, I would be comfortable presenting one gift from my multiple children, or maybe a few smaller gifts from each that go together. An invite to a party, is just that, asking for your presence. Presents should not be an obligation, though they are a pretty firm tradition in our culture. Most importantly, I think you should do what you have room for in your budget. If you have cash to spare, by all means, buy more or larger gifts. If not, don’t let it become a stress, it is the thought that counts, and they will be getting lots of gifts from other friends and family so no need to feel like you have to supply a big show. Like they say, It is the the thought that counts anyway :) as the previous commenter said, kids may not understand that yet. BUT it is something they need to learn, so why not start now?

  3. Alicia

    Better for kids to have each kid give one smaller birthday gift. Better for your kids to know that they are each giving a gift. But if that is not a fiscal option have both or all the kids sign the card.

  4. Lory

    My sister-in-law is having a bday party for her four year old and she has a new live in boyfriend who son is turning 4 so they’re doing a joint party. We’ve never met the child or the dad, do we have to bring a present for the boy?

    • Country Girl

      It would be most thoughtful to get the boy a little something so he won’t feel left out. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, something simple and perhaps a bit generic would be just fine (matchbox car, coloring book, puzzle come to mind).

    • Jody

      Lory — I would definitely bring a gift for the other boy. He’ll know it’s a joint party, and at 4 years old he’s old enough to see that the other child is getting a gift and he isn’t. It doesn’t have to be large or expensive, just something that he’d enjoy.

    • Alicia

      Do you have to? No. Will bringing a present be a kind gesture towards the little kid, your sister in law , and her new significant other? Absolutely. A little something is absolutely the better idea.

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