Gift for a Bar Mitzvah?

<p>Very old friends of ours invited us to their son's Bar Mitzvah, to the temple in the morning then to a luncheon immediately afterward.</p>

<p>They are deliberately making this a low-key affair and not doing a big evening event because his "real" gift is a family trip to Europe rather than the big shindig they threw for his older sister a few years ago.</p>

<p>My husband and I, who are not Jewish and have been to only one other Bar Mitzvah (which was an extravagant evening dinner, open bar, band type of affair), are really stumped.</p>

<p>Suggestions anyone?</p>

<p>Are you considering purchasing a gift, rather than giving a check or a bond? All are fine. How about something like a wrist watch, or a gift certificate to B&N?</p>

<p>You need to find out what is commonly done in your area, and it really varies. Around here, monetary gifts are the norm, and they are also commonly larger than one might think. Do you know somebody else who will be going who is Jewish? They might be able to give you a better idea of what is customary.</p>

<p>Around here everyone gives money in multiples of $18. In our community $36 or $54 are the most common amount for classmates to give.</p>

<p>I really don't know anyone else who is invited that I can ask, and I've heard the increment of $18 suggested, but what I need to know is how much? $100, $200? (which seems a lot for a lunch..) My SIL suggested $200, but that sounds very high to me. She is not Jewish.</p>

<p>Our children went to many Bar Mitvah's and gave $54, but I imagine it's much different for parents?</p>

<p>Are these very old friends also very close friends? If so, $200 may not be that much in context.</p>

<p>They are close friends.</p>

<p>Also, I've helped them plan their trip. Trip planning is an avocation of mine. I've put in about 4 hours and will probably put in a few more and wouldn't dream of accepting any compensation, even though they've offered.</p>

<p>How about a gift that he can use for his trip to Europe (ie: nice piece of carry on luggage)? Spending money for his European vacation with a journal for writing about his trip? Camera?</p>

<p>NEmom - great idea! I'll look for one of those Swiss Army or Sierra carry-ons! I'm going to do that or get them a really cool tour in Rome or Florence.</p>

<p>This helped, thanks!</p>

<p>Oh good, I'm happy that I was able to get you started with some ideas! Welcome to CC!</p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>I REALLY like the idea of the cool tour in Rome if it's in your range.......what a great idea!</p>

<p>Good carry-on for kid...that can be used into College years...is a great gift, especially since you have helped with the trip.</p>

<p>Tour package would be nice...but...is it really for the kid?</p>

<p>I give according to the occasion, the closeness of the relationship (I'd give more to a niece or nephew or very close friend for example) , the ability to afford to be generous with respect to significant life events , and I will admit, somewhat on what is typical in the NY area (where I am from) . I wouldn't, however, give based on how expensive the affair, whether it's a luncheon or a dinner where it's being held or even if the going rate is less in the area than it is in mine. </p>

<p>The time and effort you put into planning the trip is already an incredible gift in and of itself. I am sure that it's already worth more than anything else tangible to your friends. No one is ever under some kind of a misguided obligation to "cover a plate" or for that matter to give what is "typical." But on the other hand, everyone wants a point of reference. A typical gift from a couple in my area (where many kids also give 54) is currently probably a bit higher than mentioned here for those who can afford it - 250 or 300 are common amounts. Some give less and a few (close friends or relatives or a couple attending with kids) may give more. Also keep in mind that many people attending are going to be giving the same exact thing to the S as they did to his older sister a few years ago. </p>

<p>Even with the bad economy, things have definitely inched up here, which makes no sense at all (maybe people overcompensate or are more generous during a recession?). I am not condoning , just reporting! Interestingly, the gap between my area (an east coast suburb of a major city, not NYC ) and NYC seems much closer than it was ten years ago. Probably the effect of blogs and forums like this one. </p>

<p>A majority around here, including myself, do give checks, but my kids got some memorable gifts as well - jewelry, a telescope, a unique carved wood box, personalized religious themed book ends with the date of the bat mitzvah etc. Luggage is the obvious choice here, but I 'd make sure it's from a place where it can be easily returned - I'm guessing he's going to get more than the one. I'm a little conflicted on the tour idea, since it's true it's not just for him, but if the trip is truly inspired by and for the S ( as opposed to the excuse for a family vacation - not the impression I get here), a tour is a great idea. Since you are planning the whole trip , it is all the more appropriate coming from you!</p>

<p>Our $ gifts in the south are no where near what they are in NYC. </p>

<p>There is this fabulous company that makes kaleidoscopes using the invites.</p>

<p>Both my boys have received them and loved them and I have given them as gifts many times.</p>

<p>She will tell you if someone has already ordered one.</p>

<p>Kaleidoscopes</a> for personalized wedding gifts, gifts for bar mitzvah, gifts for bat mitzvahs</p>

<p>In the NY area, the monetary gifts coming from adults is high. 200-400 dollars is common. My family is from L.A. and they give less on the west coast. Kids usually give multiples $18 based on how close there were to the child. One thing to remember is that a Bar Mitzvah is not a birthday party, it is a event marking a step into adulthood. So like a graduation, it is supposed to signify a life change in maturity not just being one year older.</p>

<p>Lakemom, Of course, it's more than obvious that the numbers are coming from the place they are not supposed to come from in the first place - the typical per person catering costs at one of the nicer catering places (though certainly not the most high end in NYC itself)! As I mentioned, the area where I live now seems to be on the lower to middle end of the NYC range. </p>

<p>Theoretically, though, there should be no such thing as a "going rate" - an entirely crass concept by definition.</p>

<p>Just wanted to share that $100 and $200 are not multiples of 18. The significance of 18 is that in hebrew, letters also stand for numbers, and the word for Life adds up to 18. Here's the wikipedia explanation Chai</a> (symbol) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.</p>

<p>So, if you choose $$, it is meaningful to make sure it is a multiple of 18.</p>

<p>My 2c. To honor the significance of the day, the gift need only be an acknowledgment of their son's effort and accomplishment.</p>

<p>It definitely doesn't have to be a multiple of 18, although the meaning will be understood and appreciated if it is. Around here monetary amounts over 100 are usually not in multiples of 18. Occasionally, people give 118, 254 etc.</p>

<p>"One thing to remember is that a Bar Mitzvah is not a birthday party, it is a event marking a step into adulthood. So like a graduation, it is supposed to signify a life change in maturity not just being one year older."</p>

<p>I understand that completely, but at graduation parties the typical gift is a $50 bill unless the giver is a parent or grandparent. I have a feeling that amount would be laughed at at a Bar Mitzvah party.</p>