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Simcha gift norms--Baltimore

 
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amother




OP
 

Post  Mon, Jan 13 2020, 11:02 pm
Posting because I'm embarrassed to ask this question IRL....

We are in our early 40s and get lots of invitations to Bar Mitzvahs (Shabbos kiddush) and weddings, though we have not yet made either of those simchos. I'm trying to figure out if my gift-giving is within communal norms or people think I'm a cheapskate. I do not give gifts for Bar Mitzvahs, though I sometimes send over food for Shabbos, depending on my relationship with the Baalei Simcha (am I naive to think the the mother of the Bar Mitzvah boy is happy I come to say Mazel Tov?). Most wedding we stop in during the simchas chosson v'kallah, and I usually do not give gifts. If we are there for the meal I give a gift in the $40-50 range.

Just for context: We can B"H pay our bills but do not live large. When I had babies I did not get many gifts from my contemporaries; they mostly sent something for the shalom zachar/kiddush and/or made a meal for my family (and I do the same for them).

I know different communities (and different age groups) have different norms. Does this sound appropriate for Baltimore or should I be doing something different?

TIA!
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amother




Cyan
 

Post  Mon, Jan 13 2020, 11:17 pm
I think a bar mitzvah gift is expected if you attended an actual party or meal. If you just went to the kiddush and wished the parents mazel tov that is ok. If your son is attending his friend's a gift is definitely expected.
ETA baby gifts & bar mitzvah/ wedding gifts are in different categories. Most people just do a small gift for the first baby anyway.
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amother




Amethyst
 

Post  Mon, Jan 13 2020, 11:51 pm
According to what I've seen at my brothers Bar Mitzvahs in Baltimore, the boys usually get gifts (sefarim or check) from family and close family friends who come to the BoBayom. Otherwise, no one is expecting anything and the schools (TA don't know abt TI) have an organized gift given at the school Bar Mitzvah party.
As for baby gifts, I had my first a short time ago and barely received gifts (grew up and live in Baltimore), anything I did get was unexpected. But, my friends made me meals. My parents friends didn't send anything. To me, a Mazel Tov made me feel happy and acknowledged.
I think IN GENERAL, people are not counting who didn't give gifts, only the ones who did.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 8:35 am
Quote:
According to what I've seen at my brothers Bar Mitzvahs in Baltimore, the boys usually get gifts (sefarim or check) from family and close family friends who come to the BoBayom. Otherwise, no one is expecting anything and the schools (TA don't know abt TI) have an organized gift given at the school Bar Mitzvah party.
As for baby gifts, I had my first a short time ago and barely received gifts (grew up and live in Baltimore), anything I did get was unexpected. But, my friends made me meals. My parents friends didn't send anything. To me, a Mazel Tov made me feel happy and acknowledged.
I think IN GENERAL, people are not counting who didn't give gifts, only the ones who did.


Thanks! What about wedding gifts? Did people who came just for chuppah/simchas chosson v'kallah give you gifts?
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amother




Amethyst
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 12:07 pm
[/quote]
Thanks! What about wedding gifts? Did people who came just for chuppah/simchas chosson v'kallah give you gifts?[/quote]
We received mostly cash/check gifts, and they were a huge range from cost of their meal to a very very generous amount. If they were invited for only chuppah, they usually didn't send. Typically, only close friends and family are invited for the meal and in that case, gifts, if any, was any amount in check form. We received very few, physical gifts. The ones we did receive were pitchers, shabbos glasses, dip bowls, salt shakers...
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 12:40 pm
What if they were invited for the whole thing but only came to the chuppah?
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amother




Amethyst
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 1:20 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
What if they were invited for the whole thing but only came to the chuppah?

I assume they didn't give then, but I don't know because I didn't really count who came vs who gave. I just thanked those who gave. My modo is don't have expectations and yup won't be disappointed. I didn't expect anything and was thrilled with what I received.
If you don't give a gift, it will likely go unnoticed, unless your really close to them or are known to be floating in money. If you do, it will be appreciated. I would like none is asking you why you didn't give them a gift!
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dankbar




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 2:33 pm
I was thinking same, OP came here to ask what the norm is....I thought she will give the amount she gives & ask if it's enough but seems like she mostly isn't gifting at all, so what exactly does she want us to do to validate & justify that no gifts are needed?
Gifts are voluntary. She already decided that she doesn't want to gift ok? But what about everyone else? Does she want that to become the norm so she doesnt feel out?

Trying to understand.
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amother




Cyan
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 3:35 pm
Right, if you are a close friend the norm is to give gifts. If you are a close friend, you won't just come for the chupa, you will be there for the whole affair in any case.
If you aren't that close, chances are you aren't invited to the whole thing anyway.
But, op, gifts are generally expected from close friends whether a bar mitzvah or a wedding.
If you feel you can't, you can't. But this is the norm. And it has nothing to do with whether pple gave you baby gifts. That isn't expected. Sending over food is sufficient in that case.
You asked an honest question about not wanting to be considered cheap. So, tbh, unless you are obviously scraping by and people are aware you have financial constraints, it does look cheap to just send food for bar mitzvah affair you are invited to (not talking about just attending the kiddush). And if giving cash, $40-50 is low, if both you and your husband attended the whole wedding. You would be better off getting a nice looking but inexpensive physical gift.
I am from Baltimore, btw.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 8:38 pm
Quote:
I was thinking same, OP came here to ask what the norm is....I thought she will give the amount she gives & ask if it's enough but seems like she mostly isn't gifting at all, so what exactly does she want us to do to validate & justify that no gifts are needed?
Gifts are voluntary. She already decided that she doesn't want to gift ok? But what about everyone else? Does she want that to become the norm so she doesnt feel out?

Trying to understand.


To clarify my question, I guess it is: Is it the norm to give a Bar Mitzvah gift if only attending a kiddush? (In my circles parents' friends are very rarely invited to a Bo Bayom or Shabbos lunch; if I am I do give a gift.) And is it the norm to give a wedding gift if only attending the chuppah or stopping by to say Mazel Tov?

I know my parents in NY give gifts to pretty much anyone who sends them an invitation to anything. That is very generous but can be a huge expense (we get many invitations) so I wanted to know what the norm is here in Baltimore.
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amother




Cyan
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 8:46 pm
If you are only attending the kiddush for BM it's enough to say mazel tov, if that's all you were invited for.
If you were invited for a meal but for whatever reason only attended the kiddush, most will still send a small gift or money amount (I.e. $18). Because if you were invited to the whole thing chances are you are considered a good friend.

IME (and I'm about your age) people who come only for the chuppah at a wedding will usually give a smaller bridal shower type item. At least, people in this age bracket do.

I'm not telling you that you *need* to, just telling you what the norms are.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 9:19 pm
Thank you. This is helpful info.
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amother




Slategray
 

Post  Tue, Jan 14 2020, 10:33 pm
from baltimore: if going to a kiddush, I do not give a gift, unless I remember that they gave my son a gift and only attended the kiddush so I want to reciprocate Smile if going to the bo bayom we give in the $50 range.
If going to a wedding full meal we give a gift off their registry usually. I haven't been to that many friend's kid's weddings yet, but even those gifts are more than 40-50 and if I were giving cash I would want to give more. if being honest 40-50 seems low, but if I was getting invited left and right it would get pretty expensive. If going for just a chupah I gave a small gift like salad servers.
babies are a different catagory. I only give gifts to my very close close friends, otherwise its somethign for the shalom zachar/kiddush or a meal.
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