Always bring a present

I’ve learnt the hard way: unless the birthday invitation has “no presents please” printed on it, always, always bring a gift.  Even if the birthday girl’s sibling says not to bother.  Even if it’s just for casual “it’s my birthday” drinks at a bar for someone you’re not all that close to (in which case, something small will be fine). 

In fact, something small will usually always be fine.  (If something big is called for, chances are this will be clear to you – because it’s for a close relative, or for a big-deal event like a wedding – and so you won’t be dithering about whether or not you ought to bring a present.)

Twice I’ve been to casual birthday get-togethers where I’ve been assured that it wouldn’t be necessary to bring a gift.  And each time, while being greeted by the birthday girl, I’ve seen her eyes momentarily flick down to my empty hands then widen in surprise.  Clearly, no matter what I’d been assured, clearly the birthday person most certainly DID expect gifts! 

So I’ve learnt my lesson.  Always, always, bring a present, however small.

Ideas for small presents: some chocolates or candy; a scented candle (boring, but reliable – make sure you buy a good brand though); a cute notepad; a posy of flowers; a bottle of (good but not great) wine.


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