As in any other country, Americans like to celebrate special events like birthdays, retirements, confirmations, or graduations. Celebrations take place at people’s homes, in restaurants, and sometimes in substantial catering halls that specialize in such events.
In some situations, gifts are expected. In other cases, particularly if you do not know the person well, an appropriate greeting card will be sufficient. Throughout the United States, “card and gift stores” sell cards for all occasions. These stores also sell small, inexpensive gifts that may well be appropriate, just to be on the safe side, if a large gift isn’t expected.
If you know the person honored, a celebration may be the ideal occasion in which so say a few words, formally, or propose a toast. If you are not a native English speaker, keep the speech short. You can be sure that even if you make errors in the language, everyone attending will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
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