We Asked An Expert

Do You Spend Double On Twin Birthday Gifts, Or... What’s The Etiquette Here?

How to ease the sting on your wallet while celebrating twin siblings equally.

Spending every weekend at another kid's birthday party is not only exhausting… it's expensive. From buying a gift to all the accouterments that go along with it, funding your child's social life doesn't always come cheap.

And if your kid is friends with a set of twins, that's a budgeting double-whammy that no one can blame you for totally dreading. So, real talk, can you get away with halving the amount you'd typically spend per kid to ease the sting on your wallet? And if your kid is close friends with one twin, do you have to spend the same amount on both guests of honor?

An etiquette expert is here to help you navigate this sticky situation.

Budget’s Gonna Budget

First and foremost, it's worth remembering one crucial point, says etiquette trainer Courtney Opalko.

"Budgets are always a personal matter, and you should stay within your own designated budget for gifts. When it comes to purchasing gifts for twins, the key thing is that the gifts are equal, or at least very similar, in perceived value. That may mean that each twin receives a $30 gift if that is what your budget allows, or it may mean that each child receives a $15 to $20 gift. As always with gifts, the thought and effort matter more than the dollar amount spent."

The takeaway: You don't have to spend much money at all for your child to give each twin a gift they'll truly cherish. "If you're looking for alternative gift ideas instead of toys or clothes, consider a handmade card or gift, an invitation to a special playdate, outdoor activities like bubbles and chalk, or a fun coloring book and new crayons or markers," she says. It truly is the thought that counts, so don't stress over this one!

The Value of Intent

Even if your child doesn't know one of the twins very well, celebrating both equally on their big day is essential, especially at a joint soirée. "If the party is a joint event, it's important to recognize both children," says Opalko. "Twins may share a birthday, but they are still individuals with their own interests, dreams, and goals. Twins often share many things, so it's important to recognize each twin individually, especially on their birthday."

Just as you'd like your child to be valued and celebrated as an individual, twins and multiple siblings deserve the same. And yes, this does include separate greeting cards, just FYI.

Opalko recommends making every effort to take each twin's interests into account when buying gifts, if possible. "In this case, the gifts should be of equal perceived value so that one child does not feel superior while the other is upset, feeling jealous or hurt," she adds. You might consider sending a message to their parents to ask for guidance if you're not sure.

The Gift of a Good Guest

And for a quick general party refresher — especially if your child isn't equally close with both siblings — Opalko suggests "making the birthday twins feel special by being good friends and fantastic guests." This includes "reminding your kid to use their best manners, play nicely, and participate in the party activities with a positive attitude."

Opalko's other top party manners tips are:

  • Greet the hosting adults with a smile and thank them for including you in the party.
  • Greet each birthday twin with a big smile and "Happy Birthday!"
  • Be kind and friendly to all of the guests.
  • Play nicely and be respectful.
  • Participate in the party activities with a positive attitude.
  • Say "thank you" again when it's time to leave.

Ultimately, as corny as it sounds, your kid's presence is the real present. As Opalko confirms, "Happy memories and good friendships will long outlast any toy."