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Discussion Forums

The Etiquette Queen Parties

Questions About Gifts
See Other Categories

Ask your questions of the Etiquette Queen now.
You may even see your question and answer posted in the space below.

Karen asked:

Should we bring a gift to a company business party that is in the bosses home?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Not unless everyone is bringing one for an exchange or something like that.

JC Malboeuf asked:

My niece is celebrating her mother's 25th wedding anniversary. What would be a proper gift for my wife and I to buy? She is my wife's sister.

The Etiquette Queen says:

The traditional gift for 25 years is silver. You could go with something like that or maybe something more personal. Do they have something they like to especially do, a place to go? How about getting together with others and giving them a weekend away somewhere.

Deborah asked:

For an engagement party, is it proper to bring a gift for the engaged couple, or the hosts of the party or both ?

The Etiquette Queen says:

You don't bring a gift for either. You just attend and enjoy.

Kerry asked:

When invited to a holiday party at the boss's house, is it appropriate to bring a gift?

The Etiquette Queen says:

If this was anyone else, would you bring a gift? That is the best criteria. If you feel you must bring something, how about a holiday plant.

Gigi asked:

Dear Queen, Can you tell me a little about gift giving for Chanukah? I need help with my new date's family. What's appropriate/inappropriate... is it okay to give a gift any day during Chanukah...? Thanks!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Any day is fine, they are all equal. Depending upon what you would like to spend, you would select something family oriented. Maybe a pretty picture frame. Find some Chanukah gelt (ask your boyfriend), it's chocolate candy wrapped in gold foil in a little bag and given to each member of the party

Elizabeth asked:

I have been invited to a "holiday open house". Is it proper for me to bring a gift? It is not a housewarming party, but I was thrown-off by the "open house" part. Exactly what does that mean?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Open house just means there is no set time but to come anytime during the hours of the party. It has nothing to do with a housewarming and no gift is expected.

Jennifer asked:

I am have a few questions; 1. I am having an engagement party, can I register for gifts, the I will have a housewarming, then a wedding shower, and then a wedding with in the next 2 years. Can I register for all events? How do I tell my guests without sounding greedy.

The Etiquette Queen says:

You just tell them where you are registered and let them decide what and how many gifts to give.

bruce asked:

At a recent party I threw for my 50th b-day, I waited until after the party was over to open gifts. unfortunately, some of the gifts and their cards were separated. how do I handle the thank-you notes to the people for whom I'm either not sure what their gift was, or, not sure if they brought a gift at all?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I always go for honesty. Cross off the ones you know for sure and what they gave. Then just ask. that way you won't get caught in a lie. People will understand. Just use the fact that at fifty you suffer from CRS (Can't remember s___)

Greta asked:

In giving monogrammed crystal to a married couple, how should the initials be arranged? I say WSH - W(ife) S(urname) H(usband).  Friends in the U.K. have it reversed, putting the man's initial first, then the surname, then the wife's initial. Help? /Greta

The Etiquette Queen says:

When in Rome. If the couple is from the USA, go wife, surname, husband. If they are from U.K., reverse it. Or you can ask them how they would like it.

Danny asked:

What gift if any is required of a guest (i.e. not an escort or presenter) to a debutante ball?

The Etiquette Queen says:

No gift is required.

Andreas asked:

How many champagne glasses do I give to a couple (without children) for Christmas?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Depends upon how much you would like to spend. the romantic gift is 2, one for each. Just keep it in even numbers, 2 or 4, or 8.

Irene asked:

My brother's boss is giving he and his new bride-to-be an Engagement Party. Many have asked if we bring gifts?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Look at it this way, if it wasn't someone's boss and just an invitation, you wouldn't bring a gift. If you are invited to the wedding, then a gift is called for.

Liz asked:

My sister-in-law is turning 30 and my mother-in-law wants to have a small celebration on Thanksgiving after dinner. She requested that we "keep it light" and get her a gag gift since there will be some people there that we do not want to feel pressured to buy a gift. What is a good gag gift for a woman turning 30?Where_Heard = Search engine

The Etiquette Queen says:

Go to the drug store and get a bunch of those small sample size products such as Dentu-creme and Prep H and other stuff that means old age. Have a t-shirt made that says "Over the hill, what hill, I don't remember any hill.

Chris asked:

What is appropriate for a bride to register for the second time around? A friend is marrying for the second time in five years and I'm wondering what is customary to give as a gift. She got to keep most of the gifts from the first wedding.

The Etiquette Queen says:

If she registers, chose something from her registry. One nice gift is a beautiful picture frame for her wedding picture.

Leland asked:

A few years ago, I attended the bar mitzvah of the son of very good friends of mine, and gave a very generous gift. I have been invited to the bar mitzvah of son #2, but this time, I am bringing a guest. Should I increase the size of my gift?

The Etiquette Queen says:

No, the gift is from you, not your guest. Do the same as before.

Cara asked:

Help! Can you please confirm the one-year rule for wedding gifts - I have always been under the impression that wedding guests have up to one year following a wedding to purchase a gift for the bride and groom - obviously, the sooner the better, but is 2 or 3 months considered terribly rude? (I am buying a gift off of their registry).

The Etiquette Queen says:

It is never too late to give a gift, regardless of the occasion, although usually after one year it is probably too late. But in the future, don't wait so long. Takes up some of the "caring" factor.

Tracy asked:

Who keeps the engagement ring upon separation? The man or woman?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I'm not going to win, no matter what I say here. But I have always been taught that the ring should be returned to the giver.

Megan asked:

I have been invited to a black-tie cocktail buffet at the home of my boss. The party is in honor of the engagement of two co-workers. I have already given them an engagement gift at an earlier engagement party. Should I give them another one? Also, what sort of hostess gift should I give my boss?

The Etiquette Queen says:

One gift is all that's necessary. I don't believe that you need to bring a gift for the hostess. Check with your coworkers to see if they are bringing something and, if so, go in together.

Jennifer asked:

I am throwing a 30th Birthday party for my husband at a swanky wine/cigar bar. We are expecting 50-60 gift opening process. My husband does not want to open presents while everyone stands around watching. Is it okay to handle the birthday gifts like wedding gifts and open them later? Or, any suggestions on how to open gifts without bringing the party to a halt? thanks

The Etiquette Queen says:

Well, you could break it up. Divide the gifts into piles (maybe according to size or color of wrap or shape of box) and open them in groups between the other stuff that is going on. Most people take time and trouble to choose a gift and like to see the face of the recipient when he or she opens it. Have some fun with them or get a friend to be a toastmaster to joke during the process.

Patti asked:

My sister-in-law and I are having a disagreement on what a grab bag is. I say that we pull a name and buy only for that person. She says that you buy one gift for the person you pick and give gifts to others if you want. Please tell me the correct way!! I also said that if you make a homemade gift (i.e.. cookies, bread or cakes) for everyone other than your pick that it is ok. She thinks that is the same as buying something. PLEASE HELP!!!!!

The Etiquette Queen says:

You are right. Otherwise, there is no need for the grab bag. Set a limit on how much to spend.

Kate asked:

My friend (not best friend) moved away to California, got married & had a baby. I sent her a baby gift package with clothes, games, etc. She has now come home to visit her mother w/ her 10 week old baby and is having a baby shower this weekend. I am invited, do I need to buy/bring another gift?? My mom is invited too & she was in on the other gift too.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Nothing big - maybe a cute bib.

cindy sue asked:

Would you please suggest wording that could be used to give guests the option of donating to a charity rather than bringing a gift to a graduation party?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Why not select you favorite one and use their logo in the invitation to the party. Use the concept of graduating to adulthood and the caring and sharing that adults do. People will be amazed and I am sure will contribute.

Billie asked:

What is an inexpensive give for a couple's 60th wedding anniversary?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Both the traditional and modern gift is diamonds.

deb asked:

When should I give non-monetary bar-mitzvah gift? The gift I am planning cannot be carried to the party.

The Etiquette Queen says:

If you can't bring it to the party, no problem. Bring it to the honoree before the party at his home with his parents there.

Audrey asked:

What do parents give their daughter and her fiancÚ for an engagement gift? there will be an engagement party. since there are 2 other children that are not married, this could set a precedent.

The Etiquette Queen says:

My parents gave me my everyday china for one shower present, the flatware for another and a check.

Aki asked:

Do you have a list for anniversary gifts? traditional and modern? I would like to get my husband the perfect 1 year anniversary gift!

The Etiquette Queen says:

For the first year anniversary gift, the traditional one is paper and the modern one is clocks. For more information about anniversary gifts, see

Ms. Monique asked:

What is the proper way to ask for money in an invitation if you are having a housewarming or wedding reception? Would you please include a few examples? Thank you! 

The Etiquette Queen says:

There is no proper way to ask for money or to ask for anything for that matter. When you invite someone to one of those sort of events, there is an implied understanding that a gift will be given (more so for a wedding than a housewarming). But there is no rule, standard, or anything about it and no proper way to request it.

Jan asked:

If my child receives an invitation to a bar mitzvah he is not planning to attend, and he did not invite this particular child to his bar mitzvah, is it necessary to send a gift? 

The Etiquette Queen says:


Bunny asked:

My parents are having a 50th wedding anniversary.....I was wondering, we would like to have a money tree....we had invitations made up, and at the bottom, they said "no gifts, please", but, is it appropriate to have a money tree at the function and also, would it have been tacky to have put it in the invitation? 

The Etiquette Queen says:

I am not good with this "money tree" thing. I guess you could put one up. I think the idea is tacky.

Deborah asked:

My tenth anniversary is coming up, and I was thinking about getting my husband something traditional. Could you tell me what is suggested as an anniversary gift for the tenth year? Thanks 

The Etiquette Queen says:

The traditional 10th Anniversary gift is something of tin/aluminum and the modern gift is diamond jewelry.

Sara asked:

My boyfriend (we've been going out for almost 2 months) is having a Bar Mitzvah in a few weeks. Usually for Bar Mitzvahs I give between 40 and 100 dollars depending on how close I am with the friend. How much do you think would be acceptable to give to him? Should I ask around and find out how much everyone else is giving and go a little higher?? Please Help! Thanks! 

The Etiquette Queen says:

You are too young to give $100. Go ahead and ask your friends and do what they are doing.

Gene asked:

My wife and I are due to attend a combination baby naming ceremony/Bar Mitzvah soon. Since this is our first such occasion and neither one of us is familiar with these ceremonies what is the appropriate attire for the event if it starts at 9:00AM? Also, what gifts are the norm for these occasions? 

The Etiquette Queen says:

since it is a daytime affair, a sports coat and tie would be fine for you and a daytime dress or suit for your wife. I have never heard of doing both at the same time but for the baby naming, if you have already sent a baby present, nothing is required. If not, give a baby present just as you normally would. For the Bar Mitzvah, kids love checks so go with that. The amount is flexible and totally up to you.

Rosemary asked:

I have been invited to an Open House at a local Florist Shop to celebrate 90 years in business. Does this require a gift? 

The Etiquette Queen says:

Not at all unless you are personal close friends with the owners and then a small, private gift might be nice.

Janet asked:

My husband, Mom, Aunt and myself are going to my Cousins for a lunch. This is the first time my husband and myself have been to their home. Should I bring a gift?

The Etiquette Queen says:

A bottle of whine or a good cheese is all that's necessary.

Melanie asked:

HI, my two friends and I are planning a joint sweet 16 party we are inviting our Sophomore class and other friends. How do we word on the invitations who is to bring a gift for who, so that our friends don't have to buy 3 presents? 

The Etiquette Queen says:

There is no great way to say it on the invite. Most will probably get you all something small. You just need to tell them by word of mouth.

Kim asked:

planning a joint 80th birthday party for grandparents. We would like to send them on a cruise. Is it proper to suggest that if anyone was lacking a gift idea to help fund the trip? We don't want people to feel they MUST bring a gift, but if they'd like to , this is what we'd like them to do. The travel agent we're using sells gift certificates. If it's proper, we're looking for the proper wording for the invitation. Thanking you in advance. 

The Etiquette Queen says:

Put yourself in the position of one of your guests. What would you find offensive and what acceptable. This is the best way to measure what you plan to do. Use a cruise theme on the invite and say straight out that everyone is pitching in about the cruise. Tell the guest that if he/she/they would like to participate that the travel agent can help. But make sure that they feel that it is not mandatory. Stress that!!!!

Christina asked:

Hi Queen,  My good friend is getting married and her engagement party in in a few weeks. I am her brides maid. My friends and I are wondering what would be an appropriate gifts for the engagement? We were told money but I find that impersonal. Thanks for your help.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Find out where she is registered and go together and select something off of her list.

Teri asked:

What would be an appropriate gift for the Godfather to give the baby at a Baptism?

The Etiquette Queen says:

A silver picture frame with the date and the baby's name engraved on it.

Sarah asked:

A client of my mother's has sent me some extraordinarily beautiful (and expensive) baby clothes. I would like to send a very special "thank you." Do you have any advice on how to word such a thank you to someone you don't even know?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Thanking anyone comes from the heart. Let your feelings guide the note, just don't be phony. Whether you know this person or not, say what you feel. And you can do this in 3-4 sentences.

Jim asked:

I need a great gift suggestion for my sixteenth wedding anniversary! 

The Etiquette Queen says:

Look at for some ideas. The traditional 15th Anniversary gift is crystal. You could get 2 beautiful champagne glasses, a bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and crystal candlesticks and tell her that this is 15 (the candlesticks) plus one (the champagne and glasses). I'm sure you can figure what to do from there.

Koel asked:

I have been invited to a Bar Mitzvah. What would be a proper gift. If a check or cash is appropriate, are there any guidelines on amount? Thank You

The Etiquette Queen says:

There is no rule on the amount. At least $25 but it could be more depending upon how close you are to the family.

John asked:

What is the appropriate/traditional gift to give my wife on our 30th wedding anniversary?

The Etiquette Queen says:

There is a traditional gift of pearl and the more modern one of diamonds. You choose.


I have been invited to a luncheon for a friend who will be getting married in October. Do I take a gift to the luncheon?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Ask the hostess. Usually unless it's called a shower, no gift is necessary for the lunch. Just send a wedding present.

carolyn a bannon asked:

what is the appropriate money gift for a wedding either as a single or a couple today? thanks 

The Etiquette Queen says:

Usually you try to figure out the cost of the meal per person as a start. For example, if the couple is paying $42.50 per person, you could figure $50 per person.

Jeff Kissinger asked:

When a host receives a bottle of wine as a gift, should the bottle be opened and enjoyed at the event. Is it rude for the host to set the wine gift aside and make another selection from his own collection?

The Etiquette Queen says:

No it is not rude. Usually the host has planned the wine ahead to go with whatever he or she is serving. The gift should be savored later.

Dana asked:

My 2 friends are hosting a baby shower for me this weekend. What kind of gifts could I give to them for being the hostesses?

The Etiquette Queen says:

It depends on what they would like better. Maybe flowers, perfume, gift certificate for a manicure.

Anne asked:

In regards to opening gifts at my daughters upcoming two year old birthday party; Can we skip it and just put the gifts in the corner? It seems hard to keep the other children occupied and not jealous. If we need to open gifts, do we let the other children help? or is that the time to hand out the goody bags? Please help, Anne

The Etiquette Queen says:

I would imagine that the other kids will have a parent or someone with them. You and your child open the presents (we all like to see our gifts opened by the celebrating person) and let each parent manage their child. Unless you are having a ton of people, do it fast enough to keep everyone busy, including your child.

Lisa asked:

I had a bbq for a company my husband works with. They gave generous gifts to thank me. I recently received an additional humungous floral arrangement. Do I send a thank you note or not these lovely people?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Of course you send a note. Always thank anyone who remembers you. One nice way would be to take a picture of the floral arrangement (if it's still in shape) and use it as the cover of the thank you note.

Eileen Hofbauer asked:

My husband and I are attending a wedding to which we have sent the bride and groom a gift to the bride's home. Should we bring a card to the wedding wishing them well?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Not necessary. Just bring yourselves, your smiles, and your best wishes.

DEBORAH asked:


The Etiquette Queen says:

Don't mention gifts at all. Let the guests do what they please. There is no way to tell people to bring for one and not the other.

DEBORAH asked:


The Etiquette Queen says:

Don't mention gifts at all. Let the guests do what they please. There is no way to tell people to bring for one and not the other.

Mariko asked:

I am attending a bridle shower for an old close friend. What is a suitable gift? I have not seen her in five years.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Find out where she's registered and go and see her list. Pick something in a price range that's comfortable for you and that you like.

Candice Macdonald asked:

My Mom is throwing an engagement party for my fiancÚ and I. Since we are going to be the guests of honor, are we still supposed to bring a hostess gift for my mom. Or should we do something nice like sending flowers as a Thank-you after the party??????

The Etiquette Queen says:

No hostess required. Besides a verbal thank you and a great big kiss, send her something after the party. If not flowers, maybe her favorite perfume.

Cookie asked:

Is it appropriate to include gift suggestions in a housewarming party invitation?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Never. Just let folks bring what they want and hope it's either what you want or comes from somewhere you can exchange it. The only exception to this is if someone asks you outright.

Judibu asked:

When linens for a wedding gift are monogrammed who's initials are in what position?

The Etiquette Queen says:

The last name is the large letter in the middle. You can just have that or you can include the first names of both with the bride's initial on the left and the groom's on the right.

See more Etiquette Queen Questions About Gifts.

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