If you're attending a birthday, housewarming, or any other party that calls for gift-giving, but you're not close with the host, your best bet is to keep it simple. Pick up a great gift that anyone would love (bottle of wine, flowers, Scrabble!), and enclose a chic, cute gift card or tag. Augment it by sharing a brief sentiment and signing your name. Take this Set of 8 Screen-Printed Bird Enclosure Cards ($10), for example. The ochre birds and branch design on heavy card stock shows that you care, but doesn't cross any boundaries like a hunky shirtless man card might (you know what I'm talking out). Try, "Happy birthday! Hope it's a blast." No one ever complains about short and sweet.
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