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A Guide to Pinoy Birthday Celebrations in Canada

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You are invited to a birthday party – yay! Someone is turning 1 year older and this calls for a celebration! But how much should you spend? Do you still need to buy a gift if you won’t attend? If you are new in Canada, you should read this. But if you have been in Canada for a long time, you just need to share this.

How much should you spend?

The general rule is between $20–$30 and honestly, it makes sense. There are a few factors I like to consider in my gift-purchasing process. How well do I know the celebrant? Are they a family friend or even a family member? If so, I’m likely to spend more. What if not? Based on people who have been in Canada for a long time, these are things to consider:

If the celebration will be in a hotel or any fancy place, you should do a little research. The basic rule is to give a gift worth at least 1 order of food for yourself. Usually, this amounts to $20-$30. So for instance you are going with your wife and kid, you just multiply the price by 3 and that would be $60-$90. For some especially those working with a minimum wage, this might be one day’s work. You can’t blame some of our kababayan if they refused to go, ikaw nga, nakakahiya naman, kunwari busy (Which is totoo, triple jobs e)

However, if the celebration will be in a community center where it is relatively cheaper, $30 for a gift will do even if you are 3 persons going.

Lastly, if the celebration will be in their home. You can either give cash or an item as cheap as $10-$15 or just bring food for potluck.

Do you still need to buy a gift if you won’t attend?

It’s a party, not a wedding, so the answer is no. Unless, of course, you want to. Again, using the example of it being a close friend or family member, you may go the extra mile — but it’s not a requirement.

When do we Celebrate Birthdays?

According to a Canadian friend, they only have big celebrations during milestone birthdays; 30, 40, 50, 60, or 65. However, they also celebrate yearly but of course, not as big as a milestone birthday.

Withing the Filipino Community, milestones are redefined to 1, 7, and 18. For example, I was once invited to a 2nd birthday in a hotel and people started to judge that the it is not common that the 2nd birthday is celebrated like this. However, it might have been the case that the 1st birthday wasn’t celebrated so the 2nd served as the 1st. Well, they should be understood since they are new immigrants.

It is also a saying that if birthdays are celebrated yearly in hotels, it can be considered as a business. According to people within the community, you can even turn in a profit if you celebrate in hotels because most Filipinos give cash gifts. The reason for this is that Filipinos understand that celebrating in hotels is not cheap thus they prefer to give cash to help out. However, that kind of gift is for the parents and not the kid.

Does Your Child Have To Attend?

Of course they do! Just kidding! Actually, it’s okay to say no. Just remember to respond to that RSVP and let them know your child won’t be attending. While responding to the RSVP in the Philippines is not that important, it is in Canada because every $ counts.

This is just a guide for you but it is still up to you on what you want to do. That being said, it’s not a “who got/gave the best gift” contest. Give from the heart because it’s the thought that counts!

Please let us know your thoughts!

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