Appropriate Gift Card Amount

Updated on October 18, 2010
K.J. asks from Lake Zurich, IL
13 answers

Not sure if this has been asked, but what do you guys think the appropriate amount for a 12 year old birthday gift nowadays? I was giving between $20 - $25, but that was probably close to 10 years ago. Is it different? I don’t want to seem cheap. Also a girlfriend’s birthday lunch. (Typically, we pay for the birthday girl, but its always nice to have a little extra. Coffee, pedi gift card?). Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

Based on the response, I ended up purchasing a $15 gift card from Starbucks. Had an awesome lunch! Girlfriend could've cared less about material gifts. Just being in good company and having a little break from the kids was more than enough. As far as the birthday party for kids is concerned, now I have a general idea on the gift amount. Thank you so much to everyone for the very helpful advice:-)

Featured Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

I have a pile of neices and nephews. We do gifts around $15 for each of them. There are too many kids in my family to go all the way to $20 or 25. Nobody complains :)


1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Antonio on

20-25 seems very generous to me. I only spend that much on my neice, who's 8. I can't afford to spend $20 for all my friend's kiddos.

A girlfriends bday -- I would LOVE if someone bought my lunch, but yes, a nice little gift would be great too. Pedicure would be great, as I don't buy that for myself ever.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

For a friend I aim for between 10-15 We spend about 25 on nieces and nephews.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Unless you are well off, I don't think anyone expects more than 20 dollars. I think as long as you are giving what you can, no one should question or second guess. If you guys are chipping in and paying for your friends lunch then a little gift card, like say 5 or 10 dollars from Starbucks or some other "treat" place would be appreciated. Manicure would also be good, pedis around me are 30 bucks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The women in my neighborhood celebrate the really big/special birthdays together. For a big birthday, we do a fancy pedicure gift card. For a smaller one, maybe Starbucks. The fun part is getting together for lunch (or brunch!) -- we are all so busy w/ our kids that we don't really see eachother that much any more.



answers from Chicago on

I think the amounts you mentioned for a 12y.o. are perfectly fine.

As for your girlfriend, the little extra is just icing on the cake. I think a small amount on a card is great, like the coffee or pedicure. The only thing I'd suggest against is purchasing a card of smaller value and expecting her to chip in the rest. There is nothing more annoying than someone giving a gift card of $40 for a massage if the massage is $80. Sometimes the recipient can't afford that extra and wouldn't have chosen to spend their money that way.

Another fun thing that I got recently is a Groupon gift card. I loved it because I got a great deal (and got to pick it out myself) and the person giving doesn't have to spend that much either. $20 can get you a great gift!



answers from Chicago on

I asked my friends this recently though my son is in preschool so maybe thats a little different, but they said $10 is fine. I thought $20 would be better but they said $10 is good. Maybe its because they are only in preschool and not really good friends at that age.
For a girlfriend i would do $20-25.



answers from Chicago on

20-25 would be a great amount. I would do less if the child is not a close friend - 25 if they are good friends.

A girlfriends birthday - if everyone splits her lunch, then a small gift would be nice. Maybe you could all contribute a few bucks and get a gift card to her favorite place(s) - preferably something she can use for herself rather than a restaurant etc.



answers from Chicago on

I think $25 is good.



answers from Chicago on

I guess it depends on how close a friend the birthday gift is for. I still think $15 or $20 is totally fine. my son is 15 and unless the kid is going to a birthday party for his best friend ever, that is the amount I give.



answers from Chicago on

The $ amount you are suggesting is more than appropriate!!!!!!


answers from Philadelphia on

For the kids, I usually go with $25... for the friend, lunch and a massage gift certificate would be nice... even if you can't afford the whole amount, give some towards it, or ask the others to chip in.. a massage is always something we don't do for ourselves, but should! If she doesn't have to pay, there is no excuse for not going and relaxing by herself in a nice candle lit room with a great massage. (she will thank you for it 10 times, well, I know I would!)



answers from Kansas City on

wow and my kids friends think 10.00 is a lot which is what we usually give as gifts. Most of the time I have noticed as we have bday parties with 10-20 kids that my kids will get 5.00-10.00 in a card or a toy $8-10.00 range. Even the teenagers don't get more than 10-15.00 in their cards. We also go to a big church and get invited to parties often so everyone couldn't afford giving gifts more than 10.00.
As far as the teenager parties half of them show up without a gift at all which surprises me as I have taught my kids you don't go to a party without taking a card or gift but they don't think anything of it and my kids are just happy to have them here to celebrate their birthday and don't worry about whether they bring gifts or not, they are all good friends and that is what matters to them.
Your starbucks card and visit was a perfect gift.

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