(Closed) How much is appropriate for birthday gifts for adults?

posted 4 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 16
2599 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Worry about your budget and gift accordingly. 


(TBH, I stopped giving my friends wrapped birthday presents a long time ago. We’ll still bring wine or something similar to a birthday dinner and I also send them a card. Other than that, it has to be a “banner birthday”–like you’re turning 40 and there’s also a big party) for me to give a physical gift)

Post # 17
9406 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

I don’t usually give friends birthday gifts.  Buy them a beer, go to a birthday dinner (where we all pay and the birthday person eats free–either on us or on the house), bring a bottle of wine or a six pack to a birthday celebration at their house (often I bake the cake, too)… but no gifts.


Post # 18
224 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

these two friends and my friends sister pooled together for my birthday and gave me $150 cash”

-If they pooled together to give you $150, then they each put in $50! So a $50 gift card each is giving them the same back For their birthdays.

Post # 19
1457 posts
Bumble bee

Gift giving is not about matching the price tag of gifts you receive.  If they are your true friends, it’s the thought that should count and not what you spent.

But going on your specific questions, if 3 of your friends all pooled together and gave you $150 then that means each person contributed about $50.  Then technically if they are picky about the price tag of their gifts, then you getting them a $50 gift card for each person should be more than enough (and NOT $150 per person).  But again, don’t feel pressured to give this amount.  Your friends gifted you the $150 because they wanted to and could.  If you are financially strapped, then give them a gift card of whatever amount you can afford and this should be more than enough — again if they are your true friends.

As adults though, everyone should understand that we all have bills to pay so that’s ridiculous for any one to demand a certain price tag on their gifts.  

Post # 20
120 posts
Blushing bee

For me, the simplest thing to do is to keep a “log” of sorts of what friends got me for my birthday. This way, I can look back and based on what they gave me, I give them something of similar value.

My best friend and I have birthdays only weeks apart, and she always gives me $200. I keep the $200 in a drawer and put it right back in the card I give her. It’s become a running joke between the 2 of us haha. 

But ive found making a list and keeping track of what people get me to be very helpful when considering a gift for them. And if it’s a new friend that I met at work or something, I only give them a gift if they have some sort of celebration for their birthday that they invite me to. Usually it’s a bottle of wine or something. 

Post # 21
2730 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

You have adult friends who actually ask for specific gifts on their birthdays? I’d be reconsidering my friends…

We don’t exchange gifts. We usually do a phone call and send a card or go out for drinks. This past weekend we had a 30th birthday party to go to. We brought a bottle of wine and a card and we all celebrated together. No one brought gifts except for the immediate family members.

Post # 22
5085 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

I don’t give gifts to friends. We might go out and pay for the friend’s dinner or drinks or bring a bottle of wine or liquor if they’re having a party or maybe a funny novelty. I find it strange that your friends actually request a particular gift for their birthday, but I guess if that’s the norm for you…

$50 for a single person is more than generous. But honestly, I’d break the cycle as PPs said and agree to stop with the gift giving.

Post # 23
2148 posts
Buzzing bee

I don’t really give my friends birthday gifts anymore, we all understand we have responsibilities now. I would tell them let’s stop doing gifts and just go for dinner or a drink from now on. Then don’t get them anything or ease into it but just buying them each wine or a $20 Starbucks card so they get the point. 

Post # 25
1377 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
HuysuzAyi33:  For friends we usually buy a nice bottle of wine and a card. For our closest friends we get a little something more from both of us as a couple.

Post # 26
880 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2006

View original reply

I think this depends on your social circle as well as how close you are to whomever is celebrating her birthday. Since your friends gave you $150, I think $100 from you and your husband would be appropriate. 

I don’t normally give my friends birthday gifts unless they are having a party. Sometimes I will take them out for dinner. I always give gifts to my friends’ children if there is a gathering being held or if I am very close to that friend. 

Post # 27
2669 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

We tend not to gift our friends for their birthdays, although I do generally get my best friend something and Fiance will get his best friend something (usually a bottle of alcohol, occasionally movie tickets). When it comes to family, we generally spend about $50 on the gift although we will spend more if it’s a milestone (my FSIL’s 30th is coming up in a couple of weeks, for example, and we’re putting in $100 with my other FSILs to buy her an armchair she wants lol).

I definitely don’t think that you need to match what you’ve been gifted in the past – you should give what you can afford and what you’re comfortable with. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t get the friends anything – there’s just something a little unsavoury about asking for/demanding giftcards. I agree with PPs that maybe it’s time to break the cycle.

Post # 28
187 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

+1 to break the cycle. How old are you all? Not sure about others, but my close friend group stopped exchanging gifts sometime in college.

Post # 29
2111 posts
Buzzing bee

I usually spend around $50 – if it’s from both SO and I we spent between $75-$100

Post # 30
3900 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

View original reply
HuysuzAyi33:  $50 gift card in a bday card. Boom! DONE. If it’s someone who loves booze or sweets I get a little bix of chocolate. Some prfer flowers (cultural) other booze…. but I try to keep it around the $50 range for friends and extended family. 

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