As your child gets to pre-school age they seem to be invited to more and more birthday parties.
By the time they get to school there could be up to three parties on a weekend and ripping open the gifts as we all know are the highlight of the child’s day.
Although it is nice to watch the excitement on the birthday child’s face when they’re sitting amongst mounds of wrapping paper moving on from one gift to another it can sometimes get stressful when you see the costs building up over the year.
My children are three and four and for me the act of buying gifts has almost turned into a job on its own. I have started buying gifts in advance so I keep an eye out for specials all year round and when there are sales I take full advantage.
The great thing is you know what your child’s age group is interested in so you can bulk buy generic gifts and keep them for future use.
You don’t have the hassle of a last minute rush to the shops to add to the trauma of the amount you’re spending.
I usually don’t spend more than $5 – $7 on a birthday gift, however if I were to buy that gift full price it would probably set me back $20. Yes you read right. If you pay attention to all the toy sales you would know that when they are over there is still so much excess stock left over that the store needs to get rid of so they put ridiculously low prices on them.
I am also a big fan of books.
Although you want to give a gift with the highest fun factor I feel it’s important to encourage kids learning and interests about the world around them and I appreciate when my kids get books for their birthday because it gives the kids a chance to sit down with me and really enjoy the quality time together.
There are so many book stores around and every now and then you will get a huge book stall set up in the middle of a shopping centre.
Take full advantage of the low prices and the amount of interactive creativity on offer, so from DIY kits, how to books, arts and craft, short stories, there is something for everyone.
Another great way to save money is to use kid’s drawings as gift wrap, it’s very cute and very personal.
A birthday card can sometimes set you back as much as $5 so make the birthday cards.
I always notice kids take a moment to actually look at a card made by a friend because it’s more interesting.
So get out the scissors, glitter and glue and let your kids get creative.
Sometimes parents turn gift giving into a competition but take it from me it’s not.
Your gift will not make or break a child’s birthday and within about two minutes the child would have forgotten who the gift is from.
Sometimes you might be giving a gift to a child of good friend and in that case it feels good to spend a bit more and actually put effort in finding out what the child is interested in but while kids are pre-school, early school age you may not know the parents very well at all don’t feel obliged to find out the child’s interest.
Now for a part about gift giving people don’t talk about openly… re-gifting.
Make sure you know which gift comes from which child. You’re probably wondering why and yes it is nice to mention the gift in a thank you card but for re-gifting purposes it is important.
I will use an example, my husband and I aren’t too keen on Bratz dolls so when our daughter gets a few for her birthday I keep them aside and give them to someone else’s child’ whose parents I know won’t mind them.
I just make sure I keep note who the gift was originally from so I don’t re-gift to the same child, now that would be embarrassing!
So don’t stress yourself out and lose sleep over someone else’s birthday party, take the lead from your child and go have some fun!
Words Amardy Baucke
Originally published in Coast Kids