The children’s birthday party circuit can get downright expensive, especially if you have a couple kids being invited to birthday parties. But you can give great and creative birthday presents without breaking your budget.
Stock a Closet
The top shelf in our linen closet is the gift shelf. I keep it stocked with books, art supplies, toys, and other gifts bought on sale throughout the year. When an invitation to a birthday party arrives, the first place we shop is the gift shelf.
Set a Budget
If you end up at the toy store, your sweet, generous kids are bound to pick out the $50 box of Legos or the $80 Barbie dream home. Tell them up front what your budget is and then steer them to items within that range.
It may sound tacky, but my budget changes depending on how close my child is to the birthday child. For a best friend, we might spend up to $20, while for a classmate with whom my child doesn’t play outside of school, the budget is $10 or less. And yes, you really can get a fun present for $10 or less, such as
- Sidewalk chalk
- Hot wheels cars
- Art supplies
- Magazine subscriptions
- Sand toys
- Water toys (you can get great deals at the end of summer)
- Beauty supplies (hair items, lip gloss, fingernail polish, etc.)
Ask for Ideas
There is nothing wrong with asking a child’s parents for ideas on what their child might like. One year, I learned that one of my son’s friends really like to play office, so we bought office supplies for his birthday. He loved them, and I never would have thought of such an unusual gift without asking his mother.
Go for the Gift Card
You may think gift cards are dull and show a lack of creativity, but kids love getting them as much as adults do. Gift cards are especially great for teens, whose “toys” tend to be more expensive: A teenager who is saving to buy a new computer, MP3 player, or game system will love getting a gift card to an electronic store. It’s even better when a group of friends conspire together to all get cards from the same store, so the birthday child can buy the big-ticket item he or she has been yearning for.
Finally, you might want to give your child a real keepsake. If you have not checked out our selection of personalized gifts at www.more4kids.com you are in for a treat. For less than $20 you can get your child a personalized book or a personalized music CD. Both types of gifts feature your child's name throughout the story, or sung in the song. As well as being fun, they are educational and help build self-esteem.
With a little planning ahead and creative thought, you won’t need to dread the next birthday party invitation that comes in the mail!