Is it inappropriate to email guests and ask if they would like to participate in a group gift for a birthday? Anonymous

For the most part, yes. I would refrain from sending a mass email regarding a group gift. I think it’s perfectly fine to send that as a suggestion to a small group of friends in your immediate social circle, however, I think some may take offense if it were sent to the masses. It tends to put people on the spot, especially those who prefer to simply bring a birthday card or purchase a small gift on their own.

The suggestion of a group gift may also be misconstrued and sometimes comes across as greedy or entitled. Some may feel that their presence at the party is what’s important and they do not want to feel pressured into contributing anything monetary.

If you are the host(ess) of the party, you want to be as gracious as possible and make everyone feel comfortable and welcome. That is your focus. Taking on the additional responsibility of orchestrating a group gift may detract from the spontaneity, joy and warmth of the party.

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