First of all, I'm not a parent myself, so I hope I'm not running afoul of any rules or anything. Hopefully I can tap into some of the experience here of those who are.

I've not been to any kid birthday parties since I've been one, lol. But my friends were nice enough to invite my to their daughter's 1st birthday party, and I'm good friends with both parents, so I'd be glad to go. The invitation doesn't specify anything about gifts one way, or the other. In this case, is it proper to arrive with a gift, or no?

EDIT 10/27/15: I hope this is allowed, as I didn't want to be ungrateful, or comment on one, but not the other, but thank you all for your helpful responses! I had some ideas of what to get, knowing the couple of course, but I will ask them first (another thing I wasn't sure if it was appropriate or not).

  • Have you asked your friends? Before running to a to store to get a random (and probably expensive) gift that a one yo likely won't remember getting and that may be just another doodad to for mom pick up during the day, ask if the birthday kid actually needs something. And yes, this may also be a cute sweater or a set of sheets for the bed... We may come up with ingenious ideas but have no idea about the family in question.
    – Stephie
    Oct 25, 2015 at 9:27

3 Answers 3


Proper etiquette depends on a lot of factors - from country to this family's specific expectations. So it's really not easy to answer this part.

However, it is safe to just ask your friend. You can explain that you have never been to a first birthday and you are unsure whether gifts are "done" at such an occasion, or can just ask what gift you should bring. If no gift is expected your friend will probably tell you. And if one is expected, she can tell you what the child needs. This will eliminate the situation where you gift something the child already has, or that isn't age-appropriate, or that the parents don't want the child to have.


For my son's first birthday party, we invited quite a few friends, including some without children. We asked them not to bring gifts as our son already got plenty of things from us, our family and close friends.

Several people gave us a gift instead which wasn't necessary but we found it a nice gesture. You could do that. Something like a nice bottle of wine, if they drink, chocolates or similar. We also received some gift vouchers which was good as we could choose something for us or our son that we know we needed. The child will be too young to appreciate what gift they got and from who or even the fact that they are supposed to get gifts. So you risk getting something they don't need or like for little benefit. Getting a token gift for the parents shows you've made an effort and if it's edible or drinkable, it won't take up space in the house for too long.


For a one year old I think rattlers will be good .other than this any kind of toy that makes sound or musical dolls will be good.

  • 5
    Sorry, but a one yo. is walking or about to start - a rattle won't be much fun any more. And - speaking from experience - if you want to keep your friends, think twice before gifting a toy that makes a sound. Do you want to hear this sound for hours on end? Because this is what your friends may be facing...
    – Stephie
    Oct 25, 2015 at 9:19
  • 2
    Heh. When my niece was five I got her what I thought was a very cool toy (flashing colors and music, etc). She absolutely adored it. Apparently insisted on taking it to bed with her. Her parents threatened to get my first child (when I had one) a drum set if I ever brought another noisy toy to a birthday party. Children are going to occasionally be noisy and annoying, that just comes with the package. And yes, I do have my own now. When it gets to be too much, I just ask them to play with their noisy toys in their own rooms. With the door shut. Oct 26, 2015 at 23:37

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