I just got invited to a Quinceanera. I've been googling but can't find anything about gift giving. Should I take a gift and if so what is appropriate? I don't know the young girl very well, just the mom and Grandmom. Sounds like a fun party.
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Oh my gosh, you will have so much fun! There will likely be a band, at least a dj, The food will be awesome and there will be 100 people on the dance floor, from grandmas to little kids. Common gifts are jewelry and makeup, clothing, etc, from close friends and family. Cash is always acceptable, though not always given by most attendees. Our employees joke about us giving cash for everything, where in Mexican culture it isn't as done.
We have been padrenos for events like this, sponsoring the cake or something, so we give cash for that, then a present. I have been the only non-Hispanic at more parties than I can count, and have found that you are generally treated as an honored guest.
Wal-Mart will have appropriate cards and since you don't know the girl well, a $20 would be fine. If you are very close to her mom and grandma, you can give more. Treat it like you would the Sweet 16 of the daughter of a similar acquaintance
I don't know how much you know about Mexican culture, but the parents don't pay fo rthe whole shebang like in american culture. Padrenos or god parents sponsor various things like the dress, the cake, the band, the cups and drinks, the food, the decorations. So every year you might spend a couple hundred at a confirmation, baptism, wedding, etc but when your daughter gets married, you ask all your close friends to be padrenos and they return the favor
I apologize if you knew all this already, but I think it is a fascinating cultural difference and makes so much sense