What is an Appropriate Bar/Bat Mitzvah Gift for Twins?
B'nai Mitzvah Gifts
In the Jewish religion, turning thirteen marks an important life cycle event. A boy becomes a Bar Mitzvah (son of the commandments) and a girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah (daughter of the commandments). Reading from the Torah and chanting Haftorah, in addition to creating a mitzvah project, writing a D’var Torah and learning the blessings takes the better part of a year. There is a lot of work and intense study that takes place before the big day!
Photo from freedigitalimages.net/ Boians Cho Joo Young
If you are invited to celebrate this special day with friends, it is easy to choose a gift for the child’s simcha. Money, jewelry or a special ritual object are all appropriate presents to give.
But there is a tricky area in Bar Mitzvah gift giving. What do you give a set of twins who are celebrating their special day together?
For twin girls celebrating, it is called a B’not Mitzvah. When it is two boys or a boy and a girl, it is called a B’nai MItzvah. For the parents, it is one party for both children, but for guests, it means two gifts and twice the expense.
Gift Giving Protocol for Twins-A Primer
For parents of twins like myself, teaching others about twinship has been part of my role as their mother. My children are “twindividuals”, two separate people who happen to have been born a minute apart. They have never been allowed to be referred to as “the twins”, only by their individual names.
When birthdays and holidays rolled around, my children had to be treated as two different people. Giving twins one gift to share is bad form, unless it is an expensive video gaming system. If my children were a year apart and born on the same day or the same month, no one would think twice about having them share a gift-it would not happen. But with twins, people think they can do this and not have any issues.
Twins are two people, therefore you give each child his or her own gift.
Shabbat Candlesticks Are a Beautiful B'not Mitzvah Gift
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B'nai Mitzvah Gifts-Solving a Sticky Situation
What should your child give as a gift?
What do you do about the other child? Do you give a gift or not?
While there is no definitive answer, there are different solutions to the problem that you can utilize. Which one you choose depends on your individual situation and what you are comfortable giving.
The first thing to do is give both children the same gift and call it a day. Is giving the same check or gift card really going to make a difference in your financial future? Is it worth obsessing over and over in your mind for thirty-six dollars or a gift of similar value? How many twin B’nai Mitzvahs will your child be attending?
You can give a bigger gift to the boy or girl your child is close friends with and give a lesser gift to the other child. The lesser gift can be a thing, like a piece of jewelry, so the price difference goes unnoticed.
If money is an issue, you can give a gift to each child that you purchased on sale and no one will know what you paid. For example, you can give twin girls a beautiful necklace, but make sure each one is different. Otherwise, it looks like you put little thought into the gift and you have a "one size fits all" mentality.
Last, you can just give a gift to the child’s friend and not to the other child. While this is a bit uncouth, most parents of twins will understand and the kids will as well. Just think about how you would feel in this situation before you decide on this option. Is it worth looking bad and making someone feel badly for a few dollars?
A Handsome Gift for a Young Man
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B'nai Mitzvah Gifts-Another Sticky Situation
What do adults give?
While no one can dictate the amount you give, the one thing you cannot do is give one gift to be divided in half. If your budget only permits a $100 gift, then you need to write two $50 checks. Separate checks and separate cards need to be given, as each child has been working and preparing intensely for this important occasion.
It is Jewish tradition to give gifts in multiples of 18 (chai-it means life). Guests giving a monetary gift may want to go in that direction.
How much money to give is always an interesting discussion. The amount given depends largely on what area of the country you live in and who is invited. Families give more than couples, so the amount you spend will also depend on that. On the East and West Coast, gifts given are higher than those in other parts of the United States.
But what if you cannot afford to give double what you normally would?
Savings bonds are a wonderful option. The dollar amount of the gift is higher, even though the initial cost is lower. My older daughter received some bonds for her Bat Mitzvah and I can tell you that now that they are close to maturing, having that extra money to pay for college expenses has been a blessing.
You can buy special gifts that will have meaning, such as kiddish cup or a set of Shabbat candlesticks. When my older daughter became a Bat Mitzvah, a friend of mine who is not financially well off at all bought her a gorgeous Shabbat set that she will use forever. It cost significantly less than the monetary gift her family could have afforded to give, but it is something my daughter will always have and use.
How much to give twins for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah gift has many different factors. You have to decide what you are comfortable giving.
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