The Birthday Party Circuit

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    The Birthday Party Circuit

    It appears that the beginning of preschool also brings with it the beginning of the birthday party circuit. So far, we've gotten 3 birthday party invitations for classmates in the first three weeks of school. We're happy to bring DS, as he seems to enjoy the fun. My real question is about gifts. We've only been attending kid parties for relatives or close friends' kids, so we are willing to go above what I feel comfortable giving to a new-ish classmate. I would like to spend about $10, and I am also very aware of not wanting to add to another house's "kid clutter". Is it really tacky to put an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card in a card so therecipient can pick out a new book or toy, or pool them for something bigger?

    What do you all do?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    I'm so glad you posted this. I want to know what to do as well. Most of the moms who discuss it on my mother of twins board spend around $15. They do spend more if they only buy one present from both of their twins. (which at least helps keep down kid clutter!)

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Kid birthday parties are honestly something I've always had anxiety about around parenting, I'm not sure why exactly.

    I think $10-15 is a good benchmark, and recommend school and art supplies as good, practical not too cluttery gifts. You can always use more crayons, pencils, doodle pads, water color paint and play doh, that sort of thing. Anyway, when people were looking for suggestions on what DD would enjoy, that's what I told them.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Definitely art stuff - it gets used up, needs constant replacement, and isn't expensive.  Art supplies were my favorite "toy" for a huge part of my childhood and kept me quietly entertained for hours on end.

    I do think a $10 GC is marginally tacky, if I can answer frankly, and if knowing who the gift is from is important to you it might be lost with a GC.  A child won't associate the gift they eventually get with the fact that so and so gave it to him unless the parent of the recipient keeps track and makes a big issue of it at the store (yeah, that'll happen).  And, regarding going in on a GC with others, while not a bad idea, per se, I'd think that one gift of a $100 bucks isn't nearly as exciting as 10 physical gifts worth $10 each when you're under 10.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Books could be a good idea in addition to the art supplies.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    In response to Winter2011Bride's comment:

     

    Books could be a good idea in addition to the art supplies.

     



    I would love to buy books, but the issue is how in the world do I know what the recipient already has. We have TONS of books at home. Again, I am trying not to create work for the recipient's family who may now have to go and exchange a book, etc. I also know that books can be re-gifted. But,then it starts to feel like an exercise in buying just to buy, etc. Hence, my stress.

    I did the art supplies for a couple of daycare parties over the summer, but then started questioning that decision because every goody bag contained a coloring book, crayons, stickers, etc. It ended up being an even exchange of goods, and it just felt weird to me.

    Honestly, I wish there was just a blanket "no gifts" expectation for these parties. I am more than happy to host and provide food, entertainment, etc. without gifts in return. And, in truth, my kids get plenty of STUFF from us and our families. They don't also need gifts from every friend and acquaintance. There. That's my vent of the day.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    I couldn't agree more, kiwi.  I wish we could go even further - no gifts for parties/Christmas/etc.  I'm not anti-gift (giving or receiving) at all - I love totally random gifts (given or received) given just because you see something perfect for someone or whatever!  It's the expectation of gifts that s cks the fun out of it and makes it a huge burden on the giver and, often just as much, the recipient.  

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Is clothing totally out of the question for a 3 or 4-year-old?  I always welcome clothes in larger sizes for my kids!

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from KMMZ1012. Show KMMZ1012's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    We've been to three birthday parties already this summer and have two more (so far) for October.  Thankfully, we're coming to the end (at least until March) because most of the kids in DS's preschool class are either spring or summer birthdays.

     

    I always ask the parents what their kid might like.  It was a huge help to know if there was a particular movie/tv show/book series, etc, the little one was into.  Plus, any gift I pick out that DS wants to play with I know is going to be a winner.

     

    As for a price range - usually it depends on how well I know the parent/kid OR if there's a good sale at Toys R Us or Target to determine how much.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from arugulacm. Show arugulacm's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    DD is 3, and we have been going to a b-day party per weekend lately (22 kids or so in her class, plus our friends' kids result in a lot of parties).  I usually spend less than $10. There is a toy that I like and I bought 5 of them, as well as puzzles when they were on sale, and I gave those as gifts until I ran out.  For her BFF, we spent a little more. 

    For DD's birthday, I'd guess that most gifts were in the less than $15 range.  She received some gift cards - toys r us, build a bear, etc.   Truth is, she received so many gifts that we put some of them in a closest to bring out later, but have wound up regifting a couple.  

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Don't forget that your kid, the guest, may enjoy picking out a gift for the friend.  It's part of our culture and frankly I find the "no gift" or worse, the "bring something to donate" parties are a bummer for the guest.  Hi, here is an invitation and a guilt trip.


    If you know the kid spends time commuting, books on CD to listen in the car are great.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    I know we all have too much stuff, but I do think it's important that children learn how to give and receive gifts properly. Sometimes you buy something you really like and have to give it to your friend because it's his/her birthday.

    Sometimes it's your birthday and you will get gifts you like and some you don't. You must thank everyone nicely. If you don't like something you never tell the giver. You take it to Goodwill or some other place for kids who don't have as many things.

    It's actually an important social skill (that many brides conviently forget!).

    My DD is three and she LOVES clothes. She'd love a cute and cheap outfit or shirt or pajamas from Carters or Target. She LOVES cute socks too.

    I always think of Toy Story when the toys are listening to Andy open his gifts. "It's a lunch box. It's bedsheets" "Its a board game"

    The one thing we all don't like getting are stuffed animals. Neither of my kids want them and they are hard to get rid of.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    In response to misslily's comment:

     

    I know we all have too much stuff, but I do think it's important that children learn how to give and receive gifts properly. Sometimes you buy something you really like and have to give it to your friend because it's his/her birthday.

    Sometimes it's your birthday and you will get gifts you like and some you don't. You must thank everyone nicely. If you don't like something you never tell the giver. You take it to Goodwill or some other place for kids who don't have as many things.

    It's actually an important social skill (that many brides conviently forget!).

    My DD is three and she LOVES clothes. She'd love a cute and cheap outfit or shirt or pajamas from Carters or Target. She LOVES cute socks too.

    I always think of Toy Story when the toys are listening to Andy open his gifts. "It's a lunch box. It's bedsheets" "Its a board game"

    The one thing we all don't like getting are stuffed animals. Neither of my kids want them and they are hard to get rid of.

     



    I hope I didn't come across as a Scrooge or a complete ingrate. I am thankful that my son is included in the social aspect of these parties. My son also gets plenty of practice with giving and receiving gifts with our family and close friends. My issue is that I feel stuck trying to buy something fun, appropriate, and budget-friendly for a child whom our family really doesn't know that well. I get the movement toward including everyone in a class for a party. I really do. It's just this gift-giving part that I struggle with. Obviously.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    In response to purplecow89's comment:

     

    Don't forget that your kid, the guest, may enjoy picking out a gift for the friend.  It's part of our culture and frankly I find the "no gift" or worse, the "bring something to donate" parties are a bummer for the guest.  Hi, here is an invitation and a guilt trip.


    If you know the kid spends time commuting, books on CD to listen in the car are great.

     



    I look forward to the day that my son does enjoy picking out gifts for others, but right now he is barely 3. He doesn't get it, so it does fall on me to pick out gifts at this point.

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Kiwi - I know. The whole thing is stressful. That's why I haven't actually thrown a birthday party for my twins yet. I don't think you are a scrooge at all. And from a practical point I totally agree with "no gifts".

    I say - go spend 10-15 dollars on something you think/hope they will enjoy. If they already have it, or don't want it or whatever - so be it. I actually think most of the stress comes from the fact that so many people are so ungracious about accepting gifts. Brides asking for cash only, relatives asking for a gift receipt so they can return something. When you think about it - it's really rude. No wonder we just want to give GC's or simply put ten bucks in a card!

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Kiwi - I don't think you sound bad at all.  We're all in the same boat!  At our home daycare, the provider throws a lil party for everyone's birthday.  My DD received mostly toys, a book, and PJs.  As grateful as I was, I was kind of worried she'd receive a ton of toys at her family bday too and we do not need the clutter!  But it worked out because she mostly received clothes and books.  I agree with $10-15 - even for kids you know well that could be enough.  I went to a 1st bday party this weekend knowing that my friend's family is HUGE and they would receive tons of presents, so I spent like $12 on a puzzle and a board book.  For daycare I have bought: Toy Story T shirt and soft lunch pale (3 yo), Thomas puzzles (2 yo), and probably some warm PJs for the baby who is turning 1 soon.

    Even though a gift card is pretty boring, I think it works in some situations.  I'd be grateful to receive one for Target or a kids clothing store or something.  I would imagine that a 3 yo mostly doesn't know who gave him what anyway.

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    What I would most like to outlaw are the goodie bags.  I appreciate the kind gesture, but we really don't need the stuff.  Plus, as you so rightly pointed out, it makes you feel weird if the goodie bag is similar in type/expense to the gift you brought!

    If you happen to know if the kid is into "sets" (playmobil, lego, calico critters, whatever), you can get little add ons for those kinds of things in the $10-15 range.

    I agree it's so hard when you don't know the kid or their house.  Frankly, when I'm picking something out, I ask myself if it could be regifted or donated to charity.  I'd be happy for the recipient to do that (which is why I, too, hate stuffed animals).

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Medford, amen about the goodie bags! 

    I have to admit that this discussion is reminding me of the good ole days on the now-defunct wedding boards. Gifts, favors, etiquette, etc. Just the context has changed!

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    You're right Kiwi. It's all the same. Gifts, favors, overblown parties, year after year. (sigh)

    That's why when my in-laws asked if we were doing something for my husband's 50th this year, we both looked at them and said, "Birthday parties are for children."

    We're hoping to keep our children's birthday parties small and simple. I suppose we'll get caught up in the "whole class gets invited" thing. What on earth will I do if I separate them in elementary school? Have 45 kids over! YIKES!

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    I always hated goody bags, but I will say DD is still little, so I get her goody bag and stick it in my purse. When we are out and about somewhere (like on the train ride home), I pull some little thing out of the goody bag and it has honestly saved the day at times!

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Kiwi-what about a Highlight's subscription or national geographic kids subscription for a gift idea? It's realitvely cheap, doesn't clutter, and is a little bit of fun every month. DS gets them and he loves getting them.

    I keep the same gift amount, around $15, and for little boys (what I'm used to gifting for) a Cars item is always appreciated, even if it's duplicated. Plus easy to re-gift. Though I find it hard to regift toys from a birthday party-usually in the excitement the toys are torn out of the boxes-even if a duplicate.

    Goodie bags: I hate putting them together and feel compelled to do so. The toys in them are often cheap and fall apart, or the candy is crummy and I'd never let the kids eat it. So for DD's I tried to only put bubbles and a book based on what I know the kid likes.

    Thankfully DS' preschool classmates don't invite everyone from the class to parties. And I do not feel compelled to invite everyone either or go to the parties that we are invited to! The rule my mother had-and I think its a great one, is you can invite one friend for every year of your age. So a 4 year old can invite 4 friends. That mixed in with the parent's friends kids and cousins it's a plenty big party.

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    That's a great idea, KAM!  When we were young, my mother's aunt would get my sister Highlights and me Ranger Rick and we loved them.  (Just looked up Ranger Rick to make sure I didn't make up that magazine lol.)

    Instead of goody bags, I gave out books at DD's bday party.  They were $1 Sesame Street books from the bargain bin at Target.

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from ajuly09. Show ajuly09's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    Oh boy class parties is one thing I can wait for!  When my kindergarteners envite the whole class to their party all 20 of them, I think that they must be crazy.  I like the idea that you invite the number of guests based on your age. 5 years old= 5 guests.     

      At my niece and nephew's birthday this summer my SIL asked for food donations for a local food pantry in liu of gifts.  When people asked about how much to spend she said spend what you would have on the gift.  I thought this was a good learning opportunity for the children too, to know where the food was going.    In years past when she said no gifts please, people always brought them. 

    Speaking of "no gifts please"  I just went to  a 1 yo party for someone who William has only met a few times and the invite said no gifts, so I brought no gift.  I got there and there was a table full of them, then I felt bad of course. 

    At recent 1 yo old parties the goodie bags have been one item, a bubble gun, bubbles, a ball...liked those much better.    

    Lastly (in this random posting of thoughts) getting a few gifts when they are super on sale like a puzzle or a game for $5 when Target has their super sales is a great idea. 

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from am1028. Show am1028's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    That's the problem with the whole "no gift" concept.  You're always going to have someone who feels compelled to bring a gift and then those who didn't feel bad.  We got a ton of stuff for DD's birthday and we kept some to bring out later, used some right away, regifted some (to friends who were not in her class) and donated some.  Honestly, she enjoyed opening the gifts more than anything else.  Of course, the child hasn't actually opened the gifts at any of the class parties we've been to yet.  They take them home and then send a thank you note (extremely promptly in almost all cases).

    How about make a plate as a gift suggestion?  Fun and useful and won't clutter:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=make+a+plate+kit&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4237320219&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2143340631380508250&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&ref=pd_sl_92kvp30mqi_e

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: The Birthday Party Circuit

    I'm not for the "no gifts" thing (any more than I was in weddings, lol). I actually meant that I wish gifts had never gotten wrapped up, no pun intended, with occassions.  Getting together and celebrating whatever with friends and family would be just as fun without gifts (like the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving) if none of had ever known gifts to be associated wi th birthdays.  There's no changing things, but that's what I meant, anyway.  I love giving, ok, and receiving gifts, and if they weren't associated with occassions we'd have a lot more surprises in life, I think.  Oh, well, I'm sure this just sounds like the ramblings of a crazy woman!

     
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