For those of us who are parents or have important kids in our lives, we always want what’s best for them.
When it comes to gift-giving, we of course want to give them what will make them happy.
But there’s still proper etiquette to follow regarding when and how we give presents, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor throwrafamproblems didn’t get the memo when they decided to give their child a major gift at someone else’s birthday party.
After being criticized for it, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they messed up.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for giving my baby girl a big birthday gift?”
The OP wanted to give their daughter a big gift.
“My daughter, Stephie, just turned 9 on Saturday. She’s been asking for a Switch for a while now, and I think she’s gotten old enough and mature enough that I can trust her with a big present like that.”
“So the plan was always to give Stephie the Switch at her birthday party, which was the same day. However, that ended up falling through. We ended up not being able to pick up the Switch until Sunday morning.”
The OP came up with an alternate plan for the gifting.
“See, Stephie was invited to her classmate, Jolene’s, party on Sunday.”
“So I figured that since we were still in the party spirit, I would just give Stephie the Switch after cake at Jolene’s party.”
“Nothing more than that. Just the unwrapping and then the spotlight would be right back on Jolene.”
“Besides, the girls are friends, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. They’re 9, they’re old enough to understand this was an extenuating circumstance.”
The OP was surprised when the plan backfired.
“Or so I thought. Everything went as I had planned and I thought it went well, but after the party was over, I got a call from Jolene’s mom, essentially asking me what the h**l I was thinking.”
“She said that I was ‘undermining’ her because she couldn’t afford something like a Switch for Jolene.”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have not raised Stephie to even really care about things like how much a present costs.”
“Also, Jolene didn’t even care because she had numerous new things to play with, and Stephie shared her Switch with her, so it seems to me like everyone made out well.”
“Jolene’s mom also called me petty and a show-off.”
“(She and I do not like one another and I won’t sugarcoat it, but I put that aside for the kids because our issues aren’t their fault, which Jolene’s mom is definitively not doing.)”
The OP and their husband discussed it later.
“My husband says he gets where I was coming from but maybe should have at least waited until after Jolene’s presents were opened, so she could have hers first.”
“That’s fair but I’m not sure if that quite makes me an AH to Jolene.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some could not fathom the OP’s entitlement.
“She just ‘borrowed’ the festive atmosphere! WTF (what the f**k) was she thinking! So self-absorbed and entitled that she doesn’t even see what an a**hole she is.” – ttashko
“The fact that she admits she doesn’t like the girl’s mom is very telling. She did this on purpose to show off to her without caring how it would make a child feel.”
“She had more than enough time to give her daughter her gift before the birthday or after, but she chose not to. I can’t imagine someone literally gift-wrapping a present for their kid to bring to another kid’s party and at not one moment realizing what a selfish idea it was.” – noblestromana
“When I started reading this I felt like some little kid skipping down the street all ‘la la la la la…’ like what are we doing here on AITA?”
“And then I got to, ‘So I figured that since we were still in the party spirit, I would just give Stephie the Switch after cake at Jolene’s party. Nothing more than that. Just the unwrapping and then the spotlight would be right back on Jolene,’ and I STG (swear to god) my stomach exited stage left.”
“WTF (what the f**k) is this paragraph, it’s written so nonchalantly and the title is so misleading, that it made this experience a million times worse. Like OP, next time you let your kid steal the spotlight at a friend’s birthday party, at least have the decency to warn us.” – Elegant-Espeon
Others agreed and said there were far better ways to handle the gifting.
“YTA. Why would you do this at another girl’s birthday party? Why couldn’t you do this at home with just your daughter?”
“I can’t imagine bringing a gift to someone else’s party and making it about you and your daughter.” – Monkeyruler164
“Why not give her daughter the gift before or after the party?”
“The gift in itself is not important. It is the ‘hey everybody! My kid just had her party and we are at another kids party, but here’s one gift for my kid.'”
“I would be livid if someone did this at my child’s birthday. It is not about attention, it is about respect.” – AnimalAccomplished33
“YTA- Who in the right mind thinks it’s ok to give ANY other child a present during someone else’s birthday party, especially a pricey gift like a Switch regardless of how you ‘raised your daughter’ to think?”
“There was no reason it had to happen at the party, could have happened before or after, and you wouldn’t look like a d**k. Knowing this woman doesn’t like you, I truly feel like you WERE trying to undermine her. YTA.” – xWitchyxMoth3rx
Some mentioned how horrible they felt for Jolene.
“Why does it even matter whatever daughter thinks (about the price of a gift)? I’m more concerned with how this affects Jolene.” – PhoenixNova713
“Oh, come on, what 9-year-old doesn’t love it when the biggest present at their birthday party is a gift for someone else? You guys are so sensitive.”
“/s (ends sarcastic comment), obviously, because holy s**t.” – littlegreenapples
“I’m also really tired of reading posts on Reddit where people expect kids to understand and appropriately manage their emotions regarding everything from playground banter to big societal issues.”
“Jolene just turned 9, why is she expected to not be sad or jealous that someone else got a flashier gift than her at her own party, regardless of how well she understands her family’s financial hardships?”
“It sounds like she handled it really well, but OP shouldn’t be expecting and relying on her to do so.”
“And why are the 9-year-olds expected to understand that this was an extenuating circumstance? I’m 25 and I don’t understand why this is an extenuating circumstance that couldn’t wait until you went home.” – higaroth
“You hijacked another kid’s birthday party!”
“The most exciting, extravagant gift opened at Jolene’s party wasn’t even for Jolene and was, just to make it worse, something her family couldn’t afford to give her.”
“Not only did you upstage and undermine Jolene’s parents and dim Jolene’s gifts, by comparison, but you may also have damaged Stephie’s friendships by making her look like a spoilt brat.”
“This is the child’s version of hijacking a friend’s wedding reception to celebrate your engagement while showing off a ring considerably beyond the means of the bridal couple.”
“AH isn’t actually strong enough a word for your thoughtless, rude, and entitled decision” – rapt2right
“YTA. So your daughter got her very own birthday party, and then got to hijack her friend’s? Jolene deserved to have her special day and it must have really sucked for her to watch your daughter open a gift that outshone hers at her very own party.”
“Why couldn’t she have opened her gift at home? If it is that important for you to brag publicly about your purchases take a video of her opening it to show to family and friends. Making another child’s birthday all about your daughter was beyond rude.” – PinchOfSilver
The OP didn’t understand how they had done something wrong, but the subReddit thought they had another thing coming. To take the focus off of a child on their birthday is incredibly unkind, but to present another child with a gift that the birthday kid likely can’t have? That’s just cruel.