Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Twins/Multiples and the Birthday Gift Dilemna

Okay, so today one of our Twitter friends @, who has twins, asked her followers if she had to bring two gifts to a party that her twins were invited to.  The birthday child is not a twin and my gut response was, "No way...that kid gets one gift from your twins. Don't overspend"...I mean come on, do twin parents really have to shell out two gifts every time they go to a party for another child.  That practice of double-gifting at every birthday celebration would add up financially fast.  But then I got thinking about the reverse case scenario. ie. The twins are having a birthday party so do the guests bring one gift for the twins to share or two gifts, one for each twin?   
So now this made me rethink my first answer since, as a twin, I can say for sure that I would have much rather got my own gift, even if it was less expensive, then to have to share one gift between my sister and I.  Then I got thinking also about Party Etiquette and I wondered "What would Dear Abby say on this matter".  I Googled the question and found an article by Dear Abby on just this subject from 1985.  I was surprised to find that she thought twins should each bring their own gift to a party for the birthday child and she also felt that when the table was turned and the twins had a birthday party, that the guests should bring each twin a gift or certainly bring one gift that was a little more expensive for them to share.  

So I put the question out there into the Social Media World to see what other people had done, would do or thought should happen in these situations.  
Some of the responses I got where helpful and some just made the whole thing become a "bigger can of worms"...

From My Facebook Status which read
Catherine Colby Costantino
Twins are invited to your child's party...do you expect them each to bring your child a gift or one gift from both of them?

Here were the responses I received (keep in mind that most of these people are not parents of twins/multiples but of singletons)...
  •  a. One gift from both.
  •  b. One gift (same as any other siblings invitees)  
  •  c. I agree, one gift from both (just like if all my kids were invited to a party) - so what Kerri said!!
  •  d. Yes one from the two of them =) I think about that sometimes and my girls aren't even twins.
  •  e. Yup, one from both is totally fine
  •  f. One gift...
  •  g. How good are the party favors?  but 
  • def one gift
  • h. gosh i hope the answer is one gift because that's what we do
  • i. It would get so expensive to have to buy 2 gift for every party! I say one from both is fine.
  • j. Personally I expect multiple gifts from EVERYONE ;) Just kidding....one gift per family!
  • k. I would expect 1 gift from the both of them.
  • L. I think I would expect one gift from them.
  • m. one gift! that's what we do with siblings....(my kids, i mean)
  • n. One gift from the family, no matter if you have one child, twins, or five kids invited.

  • o. they better both bring gifts ;) kidding!! one is enough with two signatures on the same card!
  • p. When your child goes to twins birthday party are they expected to bring one or two gifts? My opinion is if you have to bring two.....then you should get two!!

From My twitter- 
My Tweet: "Your Twins/Multiples r invited 2 a bday prty 4 friend..do U bring 1 gift or 2?"

Here were the responses I received (Keep in mind that most of these people are twitter friends who have twins or multiples themselves.)

a. Wow.. we've not had that come up yet (boys too little). Hadn't thought of it
b. We buy 2 gifts, because at our party the guests usually bring 2 for us.   and we have given 1 big gift too. Our giving has changed as my girls have gotten older ;-)
c. I buy one gift and bake a 2nd "gift". Seems to be a hit each time. :)
d. 2 kids = 2 gifts.
e. I take TWO gifts. The same rule would apply if someone came to their party. They should both receive a gift.
f. one gift from one set of twins is fine. As they get older, they may want to gift individually.
g.  I think it would depend on my twins age at the time. Never thought ab this!
h. We bought 3 things that equaled 35 dollars total. Each kid picked something
i. We spend twice the amount. Went to a party yesterday with all 3 small ones.
j. Great ques! 1 gift fr each twin is fair bc bday host provides for 2 guests. Plus for twins party, guests kindly give 2 gifts.
k. 1 that's a bit pricier.
l.  Id take 2 presents.
m.  I bring one gift - a bigger one.
n.  I would go with what you would expect. I personally would get a game or something of the like they could share.
o. Great ?....I've only been invited to family bday parties so far. 
p. i would maybe spend a little more and do 1 gift from both
q. did they send 1 invite or 2? If they lumped the invite together, I say 1 gift.
r. one gift from both
s. 1 gift!! (Should it be 2?)

From my husband's helpful status on Facebook
Eric Costantino: From my wife- Whats your opinion?...
Twins are invited to your kid's party...do you expect them each to bring your child a gift or one gift from both of them?

Here were the responses he received (keep in mind that most of these people are not parents of twins/multiples but of singletons)...

a. When your child goes to twin's birthday party are they expected to bring one or two gifts? My opinion is if you have to bring two.....then you should get two!!
b. Eric, it's simple, if thy bring one gift, only feed and entertain one child.
c. One gift! And if that means i don't get invited to any children's parties EVEN BETTER!!!! ;) U wouldn't bring three gifts to a party from ur kids would u? That would be crazy..... Just my opinion!
d. I thought the point was to get together and have fun. Counting gifts is a little too materialistic for my taste. So the economically challenged family who has two kids has to shell out for 2 gifts so their kids can have a .25 hot dog and a piece of cake? Come on.
e. i do not think twins (or any siblings) should have to each bring a gift to a party. i have 3 girls and they bring one combined gift to any party we go to. and if we were going to twins' birthdays, they'd get each child a gift. one gift per child, either way!  i mean, i don't give a twinkie as a gift.. it's something nice... like a hug.
f. if siblings or twins come to any of my kids' birthday parties, they've never brought more than one gift. which i think is a good thing. OUT WITH THE TOYS, I SAY. OUT WITH THEM.
g. One gift per family.

So here are some question-scenarios I was still thinking about after these responses from my friends -

1. Twins who go to a party for a Singleton child should only bring one gift, but Should they then only expect one gift if the table gets turned?

2. Twins bring two gifts to the singleton and then the Singleton should only bring one gift to the twins party?

3. Or the twins get two gifts from the singleton because they gave two gifts?

4. And if both kids get separate invites, does that change how the present decision plays out since that parent is clearly planning the party with two guests in mind and therefore the two guests should consider themselves separate and bring two gifts?

5. And what about cost. Should a person who gets twins a single gift pay more for that shared gift to compensate for the fact that they are only getting one gift for two people, although doesn't that defeat the purpose in a way since you are still spending twice as much so why not just buy the two kids two gifts?

6. Or can handmade gifts be put into the scenario so that the twins can make multiple gifts for gifting inexpensively or can receive multiple gifts that are less expensive but thoughtfully created.

7. And what about the quality or longevity of the relationship between the birthday party goers and havers.  Should that weigh into the decision making regardiing how much to spend or what to buy/make for the birthday child?

Well I can say that the majority of people who responded to my questions in the cyber-world who have singletons DID NOT expect two gifts from twins. While it seems that parents of twins feel like they should bring 2 gifts to a single child's birthday party when both of their twins are invited since they often get 2 gifts for their own children at their twin birthday parties.  I think most non-twin parents get the whole cost factor which is great and something twin/multiple parents could and should consider when purchasing gifts.  And I guess when it comes down to it, shouldn't that be the main consideration behind what present you buy for anyone. I mean do we all really need to put ourselves in debt for a kid's birthday party. Do the kids even really care if they get one or two presents from a certain family and if they do get bothered by it, should we not be worried that this matters so much to our child ? The cost should come down to what do we have to spend. And heck if a family of singletons wants to get twins two gifts, they could make inexpensive gifts for the twins (a nice picture frame you decorate with sports images or sea glass or nice bookmarks for them to use when they read or are being read to...), and then just buy one gift that they actually spend money on.

SHEESH!!!!  Who knows what the best solution is. I say go with your financial situation first and consider what you have to spend on the birthday gift/s. Then be creative and have fun with the process.

My daughter once made a frame for a friend that had some sports images on it and some painted words that she created all referring to her friends favorite basketball team. It was homemade and not terribly expensive and her friend could not have been happier. In fact, the thank you note my daughter received stated that is was the nicest and most thoughtful gift she had ever got from a friend.

Good luck with deciding on this Etiquette issue. Doesn't seem like there is any tried and true answer but in the end, do what is best for your family while also adding some thoughtfulness into the plan. In the end, I think everyone will see the meaningfulness of the present/s and the party will go on without a hitch!


  1. that might be the most thorough blog post i've ever read! wow- nice job. i don't have twins, but i do have 3 young children, and i know that we bring one collaborative gift to a party. but i do usually get more than one actual "item" in that gift. i set a budget in my mind and then fill the budget. like for a girl who loves princesses, we'd buy a dress-up gown, dress-up shoes and a dress-up crown. although it's technically 3 items, it's packaged as ONE gift from the three of them. we don't separate anything out. as they get older, they might WANT to get separate gifts for the birthday child... but at this point, this is how we do it. also, on the flipside, if we were going to a twins' party, we would do this same exact thing for EACH twin and would never expect them each to bring their own gifts in return to one of their parties. i don't think it should be about the gifts.. it should really be about the friends getting together.... i know there are etiquette rules about these sorts of things, but i think it's a family decision b/c financially, it's hard when you have a jillion parties to go to every year. and i hate to say no to a party!

  2. I think I'd bring one. My kids (all four) were invited to a birthday party recently and we brought one big gift made up of a couple things all in a gift bag for the birthday girl.

    As for gifts for twins, I think two small things even if it's just a coloring book or matchbox car for each or something they could do together like perhaps a board game is appropriate.

  3. I have three children and we always give a family gift. I don't think that people with twins is any different than a situation where there is more than one child in the family. Siblings are siblings whether they're twins or not. If I attend a twin's birthday, I take each child a gift (one for each child from my entire brood). I would take each child a gift if their birthdays were 6 months apart so why on earth would I only take one gift to two children? When twins, or a family of 5, or a family with only one child comes to our children's birthday parties, I only expect one gift, not one from each sibling whether they're twins or not.

  4. We always buy separate gifts( smaller value) for a birthday. For holiday gifts, I sometimes group them together. I see both sides though!

  5. Great post! Can't believe you included my comment on there. I was kidding!!! =) I would buy for both kids if we were going to a party of twins, and if I had twins I think I would just buy one really nice gift for the person (since I knew I was getting two spots at the party).

  6. Even though we've been to plenty of birthday parties with my twins, I realized I didn't have a standard MO. After reading this, I think I agree that one gift for family per birthday child is generally protocol, whether twins or now. Yes, that means the twins would each get their own gift on their birthday, but just as they would give separate presents to their sibling friends born at different times of year.

    Does that make sense to anyone other than me? But on the other hand, my boys sometimes like to each pick out something for their friend - that's where the situation changes with twins, because they also share friends more than non-twins.

  7. Thanks for the thorough post! As a parent of two singletons (?), I don't have any expectations on gifts. I invite friends, for my kids, who I know will make for a fun and stress free party. By the time the party's over I almost always forget there are gifts to be opened =) I think it's important when gift giving to walk kids through the process to teach them what it's really about. So maybe something middle of the road - buy one, make one? I know my girls feel extra special when they get something made especially for them. So a purchase isn't always necessary. Love this!

  8. I go in on gifts with friends, family members, and sometimes people I don't even know well,depending on the size of the gift. Depends on the situation sometimes too. I don't see anything wrong with one gift from twins, or any family members for that matter. But then again, this is coming from a guy who thinks this would be an interesting party: http://daddybydefault.com/bad-birthday-party-ideas-2-dirty-diaper-pinata-2/

  9. I have twins and a big family to boot. When the girls get invited to a party they will bring one gift. Like an earlier commenter pointed out, if siblings have birthdays spaced out a couple of months there would still be multiple gifts bought. Thanks for hashing this all out for me, Once the girls get older I'll have to have a policy! LOL!

  10. What a very interesting subject. I never thought about it. I think it should be simple. If should give as many gifts as there are kids. If its a singleton's bday then one gift, it its a triplet bday then three gifts.

    Great post.

  11. Well, I suppose that the gender of twins needs to come into play... I have B/G twins. I don't think I will host joint parties once they're in school, nor would I expect both to be invited to the same party. So, considering that I would not want to force my son to share the latest American Girl fashion with his sister. I would anticipate that a well-intended gift giver would provide a gift for each child. Now, don't think that I am a gender-specific stereotyping mom, I was only using that as an example! LOL!!
    Since I have B/G twins and they will most likely be going to individual parties, I will be, by default, providing a gift from each child. Though, if we go to a party as a family, one nicer gift is given, no question about it.

  12. Interesting Q! Definitely got people talking (I think no gifts, btw--we usually do no gift, or bring a dollar for a local charity parties)
    Thanks for visiting Of Such is the Kingdom. I'm now a new follower.

  13. What a question! I'm not a twin nor do I have twins, but when my kids are invited to the same party we normally only bring one gift. Not to say that's the right answer though :/
    thanks for visiting my page today, and BTW I already follow your blog, I think it's great! :)

  14. By giving gift we expressed our way of love to our dear and near ones.It is the symbol of our affection because mostly we will give what our loved ones like.