DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm throwing a combined birthday party for my sons, whose birthdays are three days apart. We are planning to invite family with children both boys' ages, as well as my older son's preschool classmates.
I mentioned to my mom that the invitation would say it was a party for both boys. ("Come to celebrate birthday fun galore! Liam is turning 2, and Logan is turning 4!")
To my surprise, she said the invitations to the preschool classmates should only have my 4-year-old's name on them, lest his friends' parents feel obligated to bring a gift for my 2-year-old as well. I think the invitation should say that the party is for both boys, and the parents can decide if they'd like to bring a gift for one, both or neither. (Gifts are certainly not obligatory.) What says Miss Manners?
GENTLE READER: Your mother is right that something must be done, but not exactly what she thinks. Not telling some parents about your younger son will only result in embarrassment when they arrive with one gift.
Include a note to your 4-year-old's friends' parents, explaining that there will be other children there to celebrate his brother's birthday, as the birthdays are so close in date. This follows Miss Manners' dictate against mentioning presents in the invitation, but warns the parents what is coming. Should anyone ask, you may then clarify that they really are being invited to the party for Logan OR Liam. Parents of 4-year-olds should have had recent practice at adding two plus two.