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We went to our first birthday party. It was our friend's, an American married to a French woman who have been living in Paris around 20 yrs. My wife asked his wife for suggestions as to a gift and the recommendation was a 40 euro skin cream from a posh shop, which she bought. She thought it would be rude to do otherwise. All the other gifts struck me as comparable in value.

They're not rich, we aren't either. We all come from the same socio-economic backgrounds. Birthday parties in the US that we're used to usually have gifts around $10. I like to give a used record album if they have that setup, or a plant, maybe a T-shirt. Most wouldn't care if you didn't bring a gift but maybe an extra 6-pack or a bottle of wine.

Just curious if this is a normal thing, or maybe it's a one-off? Or, maybe we're cheap! I may have to make excuses to say we're out-of-town for the next invite :)
 

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It really depends on the people you're dealing with. In some areas (and in some countries here in Europe), it's the birthday boy or girl who is supposed to spring for their own party or lunch or drinks all around to celebrate their big day. As far as gifts are concerned, I figure you give something that you think the person would like, and that way it's up to you how much you want to spend. But the folks in Paris have their own ways.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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In my experience, the French are pretty generous when it comes to birthday presents, especially when the family celebrating is hosting a party of some kind, BUT why not just give a present the value of which is not obvious? Where I live it's not seen as a competition :)D), however, I guess that depends on the circles in which you move.

OTOH the French aren't big on cards.
 
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