Author Topic: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends  (Read 20886 times)

brand new stash

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Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« on: June 12, 2013, 02:32:50 PM »
I have three kids.  Nearly every weekend they are invited to a birthday party. 

I'm interested in the mustachian take on gifts for friend birthday parties.

On black Friday, I stocked up on a bunch of games that were age appropriate for my kid's ages that were deeply discounted at $3 when regularly $20, but I'm using the last of those at a party they are invited to this weekend.  So I'm back to figuring out inexpensive alternatives.

My kids love birthday parties, so I am hesitant to tell them they can't go anymore because of the cost of gifts, but I'm also not comfortable not bringing a gift to a kid's birthday party.   What do all of you do? 

bevathome

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 03:03:48 PM »
I also try to keep a small stash of inexpensive gifts (mainly board games and craft kits) for kids' birthday parties.  I've found gifts at end-of-season sales, consignment sales, garage sales, and Craigslist.  There have even been a few times where my kids were willing to part with a gift they received, but had not opened yet.

That being said, my kids don't go to every party to which they are invited.  In fact, they sometimes do not even want to go -- that may change as they get older.

Mrs MM

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2013, 03:29:29 PM »
We make stuff (my son made a joke book that we copied and gave out and we once made our own madlibs book) or get a book from the used book store or library.  Our library sells used books and it helps the library out too.  We have also given out card games (like Uno and Fluxx for instance).  Our son also usually knows what kind of stuff the kid likes... for example, if a kid likes to draw, we might get a cool pack of drawing pencils.  We usually try to avoid buying things though and focus on making things or giving things we have away.

We're lucky that most people we know are not really into gifts.  Some parties we go to even request no gifts for the kids, in which case we make cards.  There are some pretty cool pop up card designs that you can make.

We also always have NO GIFT parties and explain why.

I am always sort of sickened watching kids open a huge pile of gifts are birthday parties.  They just rush from one to the other and don't really notice the gifts.  Half of them they don't really like.  It's pretty ridiculous.

Dee18

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2013, 03:50:17 PM »
This is a tricky issue.  I used to stock up on good art supplies when they were really on sale, occasionally found unopened games at thrift stores, and bought some great things when traveling.  For girls, check out Asian food stores for tiny tea sets that are sold for picnics, all zipped up in a little case.  And restock around the holidays when classic games are often used as key sale items.  I read some great ideas the other day on a blog--perhaps on Zero Waste Home.  My favorite, for an older elementary kid, was for the gift giver to take the recipient to lunch without a parent.  Wish I had thought of this!  My daughter would have loved it at 10 and there are  several places it would have been feasible near where we live (and very inexpensive) where I could have waited nearby (with a close eye on the entrance.  Along those lines, an afternoon of fishing, hiking, baking, bread making, sewing, ice-skating.... In elementary school my daughter's friends like to come over because I would actually let them do "grown up" things.  I love the idea of giving experiences, rather than stuff.

By  middle school here the parties decreased (thankfully) and once my daughter was in high school I told her she had to use her own money for gifts or make something.

MrsPete

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2013, 04:08:49 PM »
I also used the stock-up-when-you-find-a-sale method when my kids were younger and were invited to lots of birthday parties.

Keep in mind that this is a temporary problem.  In elementary school, birthday parties are a BIG thing, but once your kids hit middle school the invitations will drop off.  By that age birthday parties morph into smaller events that tend to include the birthday child's two best friends going to the movies then having a sleepover. 

netskyblue

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2013, 04:23:00 PM »
Must be a different local culture sort of thing.  When I was a kid, we didn't have "parties" like that, everybody was allowed to have a few friends over, but that was it.  No gifts.  When I was in elementary school, I got to invite 3-4 friends for the day, and one was allowed to spend the night.  In middle school & older, I was allowed to have all 3-4 spend the night.  I guess we were easier on my parents at that age.  :)

The friends weren't expected to give gifts, they were the gift.  Sleepovers were rare, fun things.

kkbmustang

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2013, 05:28:36 PM »
We tend to gravitate towards books, art supplies or games. Now that the kids are getting older, there are fewer parties and they actually know what the birthday child would like (he would like a football, she loves painting). Then we tailor the gift to that. There is a really great independent toy store near us that stocks all kinds of educational toys/games/books/art supplies that are reasonably priced. Plus, they have complimentary gift wrap. That's my go-to place. A friend gave my kids a very thoughtful, tailor made art kit for each for Christmas one year. The girl got card making supplies. The boy got a dinosaur painting kit. They both loved them.

kiwibeach

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2013, 01:26:37 AM »
I've been reading the zerowaste blog for a while, and one of the ideas that she talks about for kids presents is giving the gift of an experience.

So, after discussion with my DD11, and being totally stuck for ideas for her bestie, we took a deep breath, and tried this idea out.
Present for her friend and fellow bookworm was a trip to listen to an author they both love, with cake in a nearby café afterwards. The café, not so mustachian, but baby steps!! To get my DD to think this was a good idea, this represents massive progress.
They loved listening to the author, and the brief chat they had with her afterwards, I'm the best Mum in the world!! (well, for a brief time last weekend anyway ;-)
For the actual birthday party, we made a voucher on the computer to give to her friend.

killingxspree

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2013, 05:53:37 AM »
Must be a different local culture sort of thing.  When I was a kid, we didn't have "parties" like that, everybody was allowed to have a few friends over, but that was it.  No gifts.  When I was in elementary school, I got to invite 3-4 friends for the day, and one was allowed to spend the night.  In middle school & older, I was allowed to have all 3-4 spend the night.  I guess we were easier on my parents at that age.  :)

The friends weren't expected to give gifts, they were the gift.  Sleepovers were rare, fun things.

miss those days... =( wish it was like that these days.

BZB

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2013, 12:04:24 PM »
Great thread for me since birthday season is starting at my son's school! My son is only a preschooler but we already have attended several fancy birthday parties. Not a single one has been at someone's home - they are all at bounce house places, gymnastics centers, Chuck E Cheese, etc. We gave books as gifts for most of them, except one kid's parents had actually made a birthday gift registry at Target. That was the first time I have seen that! I didn't see anything in my price range on the registry so I got her a pack of wooden blocks at Target instead, and included the gift receipt. I figured every kid likes to play with blocks, right? And you can usually use more blocks if you already have some. But they had the gift receipt so they could return them if they wanted to.
We also make homemade cards or write a message directly on the giftbag, because preschoolers don't care about the cards anyway.

ace1224

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2013, 12:27:04 PM »
i stock up when things are cheap and cause i'm mean mommy i usually hold back a couple of my son's things from xmas or his birthday and add them to my gift closet.  we live close to both sides of the family so he always gets too much.  he never notices, esp since there is usually only one or two things that he actually wants. 
i keep random stupid gifts from secret santa exchanges there as well and turn them into either bday presents for adults or teacher gifts or wedding gifts.  i'm fancy like that.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2013, 02:14:39 AM »
We give our 7yr old an allowance. He spends on what's important to him. If it's important to him to buy a present for someone, he can do so. I try to explain how the world works the best I can, and let him make the decision.

Zamboni

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2013, 06:02:52 AM »
Quote
I am always sort of sickened watching kids open a huge pile of gifts are birthday parties.  They just rush from one to the other and don't really notice the gifts.  Half of them they don't really like.  It's pretty ridiculous.

This is especially bad with pre-schoolers or early elementary children.  After witnessing this a couple of times, I decided the "open gifts after the party" policy is the way to go.  Focus on playing with friends at the party itself.  After the party, don't even open all of the gifts at once; actually the kids liked picking one or two per day for a couple of days!  That way they can really enjoy each item by using it/wearing it/playing it etc right then instead of putting it in a "pile."  It also makes writing thank you notes easier:  they can just do one or two each day, which becomes a fun craft activity in itself.

Frugalady10

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2013, 10:38:46 AM »
I consider myself lucky, my son is shy and sensitive to loud noise/lights/etc., so places like Chuckee Cheese scare/upset him. We usually decline invitations to birthday parties, I ask if he wants to go, usually the answer is no. One of his friends is having a party at his house, and we are going to that one. For a gift, we are giving an un-opened gift my son received for Christmas, and like another poster, he receives so much stuff from "well meaning" family members, we keep the favorites and put the rest away. He is 7 now so he can make these decisions.

We have only had family parties in our back yard for his birthday (he has a warm weather birthday) every year he usually picks 2-3 friends to invite. You can make the good old fashioned after school party with a few kids fun.

We also have a rule that when he gets a new toy, he has to give one of his old toys to good will. He also has to put half of the money he gets into his savings account (the other half he can spend any way he pleases). Some people think I am mean because I make him do this, but my parents had a similar rule for me and I feel that it taught me to be a good saver.

If we don't already have a gift for the party, we go to the used toy store or second hand book shop near by. We wrap presents in the comics section from the newspaper, and make a homemade card.

Katie

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2013, 04:25:03 PM »

We also have a rule that when he gets a new toy, he has to give one of his old toys to good will. He also has to put half of the money he gets into his savings account (the other half he can spend any way he pleases). Some people think I am mean because I make him do this, but my parents had a similar rule for me and I feel that it taught me to be a good saver.


You are doing the right thing! I wish my parents had made me save the money I started earning when I was 14. I blew it on Ethiopian food and various other restaurants in DC. Sigh.


Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2013, 05:23:10 PM »
I usually get a bag of wrapped candy (dollar store milk duds, sponge bob gummy crabby patties, etc). Then I slit a hole in somewhere inconspicuous in the package and roll up a $5 bill super tight and place it in the bag. I'll wrap the whole thing with curly ribbon and a homemade card. Voila!  A treat, a surprise, and $5 to hopefully stash. The whole thing coast $6, and didn't need any other packaging. That's the best I've come up with and my kids tell me the gift has been popular.

Beckyemerson

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2013, 10:40:43 PM »
I usually get a bag of wrapped candy (dollar store milk duds, sponge bob gummy crabby patties, etc). Then I slit a hole in somewhere inconspicuous in the package and roll up a $5 bill super tight and place it in the bag. I'll wrap the whole thing with curly ribbon and a homemade card. Voila!  A treat, a surprise, and $5 to hopefully stash. The whole thing coast $6, and didn't need any other packaging. That's the best I've come up with and my kids tell me the gift has been popular.

Great idea. My daughter just had a birthday and her favorite present was a box of suckers. I gave her a nice doll but she has hardly played with it. Should have bought candy and saved the extra.

cdub

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2013, 10:57:26 PM »
I've decided that I'm going to institute a no gift policy on all future birthday parties. It's insane the amount of gifts some kids get at those parties.

I don't need any more junk. Because who has to find a place for all that junk? Me?

mm1970

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2013, 09:54:57 PM »

We also have a rule that when he gets a new toy, he has to give one of his old toys to good will. He also has to put half of the money he gets into his savings account (the other half he can spend any way he pleases). Some people think I am mean because I make him do this, but my parents had a similar rule for me and I feel that it taught me to be a good saver.


You are doing the right thing! I wish my parents had made me save the money I started earning when I was 14. I blew it on Ethiopian food and various other restaurants in DC. Sigh.
One thing I miss about living in DC...the Ethiopian food.

kkbmustang

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2013, 07:11:40 PM »
Just had to buy a bday gift for the Girl's friend this week (turning 9).  We got an art kit because the birthday girl likes to draw and paint. $15 and wrapped in-store gratis at an amazing local independent toy store. The parties are getting fewer and farther between now as the kids get older.

CupcakeStache

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2013, 10:32:32 PM »
Just had to buy a bday gift for the Girl's friend this week (turning 9).  We got an art kit because the birthday girl likes to draw and paint. $15 and wrapped in-store gratis at an amazing local independent toy store. The parties are getting fewer and farther between now as the kids get older.

I can't wait for parties to get farther apart! My son is 4 now, and we are constantly invited to ridiculously excessive and expensive parties. Today we went to a party that I thought would be a more low key affair, as it was actually at the family's house. But.... the family had rented a giant bounce-house that had some kind of pool/water attachment. The kids loved it - I can't imagine the cost! And the parents provided lunch, snacks, cake, a pinata, and small gifts for the kids attending the party. It was madness!!

Back on topic, I second the suggestion of art supplies. That's my go to gift, and it can easily be tailored to a child's age. Markers/crayons/paints/papers/etc, as age appropriate.

kkbmustang

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2013, 07:29:02 PM »
Just had to buy a bday gift for the Girl's friend this week (turning 9).  We got an art kit because the birthday girl likes to draw and paint. $15 and wrapped in-store gratis at an amazing local independent toy store. The parties are getting fewer and farther between now as the kids get older.

I can't wait for parties to get farther apart! My son is 4 now, and we are constantly invited to ridiculously excessive and expensive parties. Today we went to a party that I thought would be a more low key affair, as it was actually at the family's house. But.... the family had rented a giant bounce-house that had some kind of pool/water attachment. The kids loved it - I can't imagine the cost! And the parents provided lunch, snacks, cake, a pinata, and small gifts for the kids attending the party. It was madness!!

Back on topic, I second the suggestion of art supplies. That's my go to gift, and it can easily be tailored to a child's age. Markers/crayons/paints/papers/etc, as age appropriate.

There is relief down the road! When mine were 2 and 4, there was one month where they were invited to 11 birthday parties between them. Eleven.

And that bounce house was likely $500 give or take. (Our Sunday School class got together and split the cost to rent one for all the kids. There were like 11 or 12 families so it wasn't horrible.)

And art supplies can be tailored to age, as you said, and also area of interest. This helps for boys and girls. Activity books are great, too.

EmEmEm

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2013, 11:55:08 PM »
i stock up when things are cheap and cause i'm mean mommy i usually hold back a couple of my son's things from xmas or his birthday and add them to my gift closet.  we live close to both sides of the family so he always gets too much.  he never notices, esp since there is usually only one or two things that he actually wants. 
i keep random stupid gifts from secret santa exchanges there as well and turn them into either bday presents for adults or teacher gifts or wedding gifts.  i'm fancy like that.

OMG.... are you me?? 

My other technique is to limit the number of parties my son attends. Unless it's a friend they talk about all the time, or I'm friends with the mom, then we generally don't go (particularly if it's at chuck e cheese or somewhere like that).  We probably average about one party per month or even less?  If I have to buy something, it's usually a book or a boardgame - not particularly inexpensive, but higher intrinsic value than a crappy plastic toy.

My rule for my kid's parties is that they're allowed to invite the number of friends that they're turning... so this year my son gets to invite 4 friends because he's turning 4.  Every party has been an at-home party with old fashioned party games. For the 5th & 10th we may do something a little more special (but still no chuck e cheese or the like.... *shudder*).  I also refuse to do party favors - instead I burn a CD with all their favorite songs from the previous year. I still have people tell me that their kid requests "my son's CD" every time they go in the car!

LauraKlink

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2013, 07:24:31 PM »
We just survived our first year of the pre-school party gauntlet.  It never crossed my mind that 3-year-olds would invite every classmate to their parties, and that they would all be elaborate affairs at jump houses, museums, restaurants, and with hired balloon artists, face-painters, and musicians!  Oh, and without fail, a 3-year-old birthday boy or girl in tears the whole time.

I decided to do cheap but creative gifts, and one thing that little kids like is getting a bunch of something.  Ikea was discontinuing their finger puppets, and they were marked down to 50 cents, so I would buy 5-10 puppets for each gift.  One boy got 10 snakes, another got 5 monkeys with a "5 little monkeys jumping on the bed" card.  There were also snails and clowns.  I got small cardboard "lunch" boxes at the container store for under $2 and decorated them in sharpie with the child's name and filled them with the puppets.  The moms and kids were so impressed, and probably had no idea it was like a $6 gift.  People are amazed when you do something that takes a little time and is personalized.  You could also fill them with art supplies, candy, dollar store finds, or hair accessories.   

My son had one of the last birthday parties in the class and was the only one not to invite classmates.  We limited his party to 3 neighborhood friends and it was a huge success.  And no one cried!

Looking forward to the 4-year-old parties.  Is this the year for spa trips and skiing in Utah?  Hot air balloon rides and renting out Disney World?  We'll see.... 

CommonCents

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2013, 09:50:20 AM »
Oh, and without fail, a 3-year-old birthday boy or girl in tears the whole time.

No kidding!  I don't have kids, but my 8 year old nephew was in tears at his latest party - and sick the following day, likely from all of the excitement.  Usually they do separate parties for friends and family, but combined them this year.  Sister and brother-in-law rented a waterslide for the day for $250, brought to my parents house an hour away on the lake (apparently their friends were excited to go) and used the 600 foot well to fuel it, and then bought my nephew $250 in presents.  And they served organic food to everyone plus handed out party favors, so all told, it was probably $600-$650.  (And one kid, albeit with two younger siblings in tow, gave him a $120 lego present!  Even my sister thought that was crazy.)   Last year, it was $150 bounce house for the weekend.  The excessive consumerism and spending had my husband horrified and tipping back into the "we can't afford kids" territory again unfortunately.

brand new stash

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2013, 09:55:22 AM »
We just survived our first year of the pre-school party gauntlet.  It never crossed my mind that 3-year-olds would invite every classmate to their parties, and that they would all be elaborate affairs at jump houses, museums, restaurants, and with hired balloon artists, face-painters, and musicians!  Oh, and without fail, a 3-year-old birthday boy or girl in tears the whole time.

I decided to do cheap but creative gifts, and one thing that little kids like is getting a bunch of something.  Ikea was discontinuing their finger puppets, and they were marked down to 50 cents, so I would buy 5-10 puppets for each gift.  One boy got 10 snakes, another got 5 monkeys with a "5 little monkeys jumping on the bed" card.  There were also snails and clowns.  I got small cardboard "lunch" boxes at the container store for under $2 and decorated them in sharpie with the child's name and filled them with the puppets.  The moms and kids were so impressed, and probably had no idea it was like a $6 gift.  People are amazed when you do something that takes a little time and is personalized.  You could also fill them with art supplies, candy, dollar store finds, or hair accessories.   

My son had one of the last birthday parties in the class and was the only one not to invite classmates.  We limited his party to 3 neighborhood friends and it was a huge success.  And no one cried!

Looking forward to the 4-year-old parties.  Is this the year for spa trips and skiing in Utah?  Hot air balloon rides and renting out Disney World?  We'll see....

I agree completely with you on the excess and expense, but between my three kids, I've probably been to 50 parties for kids from 2 through 7 in the last few years, and I've never seen a birthday kid cry at their party. 

Gin

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2013, 10:53:04 AM »
I stock up on gifts for the gift closet.  Amazon last year was a bust but prior years I found lots of gifts right before Christmas that were cheap (Dec. 18-22)  Target clearanced out there toys mid Jan.  Hobby Lobby always has 40% off coupons and I buy craft stuff.  I found the younger grades invites all the classmates but by late elementary my kids were going to close friends parties only. I now miss buying the discounted toys because by middle school they want cash.  They go to fewer parties but I am giving $20-$30 to the birthday kid.

I am a parent that when they were younger it was worth the financial price to have it at a place like Chuck e cheese, indoor jumpy place, gymnastics, etc than have it out my house.  Like previous poster I have been to lots of parties and don't recall kids in tears. 

blake201

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2013, 11:51:25 AM »
We say "no gifts please" for our preschool daughter's birthday parties but we still always get a few (mostly books, though, which she uses a lot).

She has been invited to about six parties in the last month and they were all kids she plays with regularly so we did feel obligated to go.

But I was relieved that a few of those were also "no gifts please" (we made nice homemade cards for the kids) but for the ones that weren't we bought books that were under $10 each... maybe for the next time I will stock up on some good kids books at the thrift store.

(I don't personally want to buy new-but-on-sale stuff on Amazon or Target because we are trying to reduce our family's environmental impact as well and just because something is cheap for me, doesn't mean it was cheap in the impact manufacturing it had on the planet.)

Joshin

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2013, 10:57:19 AM »
My kids pay for gifts for their friends out of their money. We have a pretty involved paycheck (not allowance, they work for this money!) system we implement at five, then it becomes much more complicated and "realistic" around middle school age. They have spending (bills) and saving categories and they must balance their budget each week. Both boys opt to keep about $30 in their "gifts & holidays" envelopes, so they always have cash available to buy gifts for their friends.

When they were younger, they would sometimes go overboard and spend their entire budget on a gift, then have to suffer through several weeks of no spending money as they refilled the envelope. Now they are both pretty savvy shoppers, opting to seek out sales, shop used or make gifts. They rarely spend more than $5 on a gift, but none of their friends have ever seemed to mind.

One son has a lot of friends into Pokemon and Anime. He usually buys his buddies a pack of Pokemon cards and a few treats from the Japanese grocery. My other usually hits up the used book store or thrift store and finds a selection of books that meets his friend's interests. Not all books are "reading" books. He's found books that were actually model kits for building mummies or planes, books where each page was a jigsaw puzzle, and unopened Klutz-style books. My younger is more organized, and he shops year-round and keeps a supply of gifts on hand for family and close friends. My oldest shops the day before and depends on his standby gift almost every time.

A side effect of them buying their own gifts is they are genuinely appreciative of every gift their friends give them. They understand the work, cost and thought that goes into gift buying since it's not something mom just picked up at Walmart on the way home from work.

bananastand

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2013, 05:59:48 PM »
Our local dollar store sells tote bags with characters on them--Spider-Man, Dora, Princesses--so we buy one for $1 and then slip a book inside.  My kids are big readers and we tend to get a lot of duplicate books, so I just hang onto them and pass them on as birthday gifts.

My mother-in-law hosts all the grandkids' birthday parties and the main attraction is always something non-material.  For a pirate party, she put plywood on a plastic pool and had the kids "walk the plank".  She's done a scavenger hunt.  We even had a light saber battle at a Star Wars party.  I love it because the kids look forward to the event, instead of the presents.

homemadelatte

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2013, 07:53:32 AM »
I've been reading the zerowaste blog for a while, and one of the ideas that she talks about for kids presents is giving the gift of an experience.

So, after discussion with my DD11, and being totally stuck for ideas for her bestie, we took a deep breath, and tried this idea out.
Present for her friend and fellow bookworm was a trip to listen to an author they both love, with cake in a nearby café afterwards. The café, not so mustachian, but baby steps!! To get my DD to think this was a good idea, this represents massive progress.
They loved listening to the author, and the brief chat they had with her afterwards, I'm the best Mum in the world!! (well, for a brief time last weekend anyway ;-)
For the actual birthday party, we made a voucher on the computer to give to her friend.

I love this idea! And I bet the cake in the cafe made them feel so special and grown up. I don't think it's anti-mustachian at all (but maybe I'm not hardcore enough)....you gave them a wonderful experience and that is a perfect gift!

GreenMoneyStream

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2013, 08:35:14 AM »
There are some great ideas on here. We are invited to 2 parties this month alone. This is an area where I find it difficult to truly "live my values". Our group of friends are definitely not mustachian so I don't feel comfortable giving a used book as a gift to these kids. Especially since they came to my son's party with very nice gifts for him. I struggle with the "gift giving" conundrum a lot.

I liked the idea of buying some games and crafts gifts around Black Friday or when they are heavily discounted and stocking up for the year. We have also "re-gifted" presents that my son had not used.

blake201

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2013, 09:06:26 AM »
I just had a double birthday party and I forced myself to get over my fear of giving a used book. Took the kiddo to our local used bookstore and found two very nice used books that LOOKED new, and had her decorate the wrapping paper (brown paper grocery bags with yarn around them):

http://instagram.com/p/d90lLPE9-U/#

I dare even a non-Mustachian parent to not be charmed! :)

GreenMoneyStream

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2013, 12:46:17 PM »
Those look really great! OK, you have given me some inspiration. You are right, I just need to get over the fear myself.

TGod

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2013, 11:01:52 AM »
Toonie Parties are getting big in our neck of the woods. My oldest just started grade 3 and so far he's had 2 of them. His 6-th birthday had about 15 kids (his whole school!) and it was a gong show. It was actually hard to watch, he was  like a gift conveyor. Rip off paper, briefly look at gift, throw out a compulsory Thank You, next gift, Rip off paper.....you get the picture. And then we had SO MUCH STUFF, mostly useless except for lego and some pretty beach glass that one girl had given in a recycled wooden bowl (she must be a mini-mustachian in the making).
But for the last 2 years we say no gifts, just toonies. 1 toonie for the birthday boy and the other gets donated to the charity of his choice. We've had a couple of occasions where we've had kids bring 20$ in toonies (possibly there first experience with this type of party) which my son loved.
Most of the kids in his previous school also threw toonie parties, so it made it way easier, and to be honest, in most cases the kids love it. They love getting cash, and counting their dollars, over and over again, saving up for something they really want, rather than some plastic, crap toy that get's lost in one of their overflowing toy boxes.
That said, my 5 year old has been invited to his first kindergarten birthday party and my lego stock has run dry.  I stocked up on lego last year when zellers was closing and they had crazy deals, but they've all be used, so i'll have to be making a purchase for this one. After kindergarten though, we generally just give out cash, whether it's a toonie party or not. Most kids have tons of toys, and they have their favorites already and the rest just pile up!

NestingFish

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2013, 10:38:37 PM »
I'm glad to hear that toonie parties are catching on. A few years ago one of my students invited every child in grade one (about 25 kids) to his birthday, and the invite explicitly asked that each child bring two toonies; one for the birthday boy and one for him to donate to charity. I thought this was such a great idea. The best part was that on the Monday after the party, his very-tired-looking mum came in to school to thank me for all the hard work I was doing as her son's teacher. I guess trying to wrangle 25 excited kids at the party gave her a new appreciation for how challenging my job can sometimes be :)

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #36 on: October 14, 2013, 02:36:29 PM »
Took a bit of googling, but I found out what a toonie is. It's a $2 Canadian coin.

And here I was imagining some kind of Tiny Toon plushy toy.

TGod

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #37 on: October 15, 2013, 11:27:04 AM »
Quote
Took a bit of googling, but I found out what a toonie is. It's a $2 Canadian coin.
Haha, I wondered if I should have included a description of a toonie!

elaine amj

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #38 on: October 17, 2013, 09:59:40 PM »
i stock up when things are cheap and cause i'm mean mommy i usually hold back a couple of my son's things from xmas or his birthday and add them to my gift closet.  we live close to both sides of the family so he always gets too much.  he never notices, esp since there is usually only one or two things that he actually wants. 
i keep random stupid gifts from secret santa exchanges there as well and turn them into either bday presents for adults or teacher gifts or wedding gifts.  i'm fancy like that.

ROFL! I thought I was the only cheapskate who re-gifted my kids' presents. My daughter is now 12 and rags me about it all the time. I stopped doing it when they got older....but I still go a bit batty thinking of the waste of opening something you won't even appreciate and having it collect dust simply because you are supposed to.

That said, every once in a while I catch myself going overboard and doing very tacky re-gifting. I only do the used stuff when it looks brand new. I would do it more...if I knew the family would like it. 99% of the people I know....would not like it.

I don't use the gift closet as heavily as before. It was easier when kids were little and liked most things. Now they are older and parties are fewer so gifts have to be more individualized. Part of the joy of giving a gift is giving something appropriate to the receiver. So I encourage my kids to think of something their friend would like. (and use a sharp elbow when DH picks up a super awful, inappropriate gift "because it was a super deal")

oldtoyota

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2013, 11:28:52 AM »
I wish the spouse would be more into buying less expensive presents for kidlet's friends.

I tend to re-gift or stock up when I see inexpensive presents. I felt immediately less guilty about re-gifting when my kidlet pointed out that someone had drawn in the book someone gave her for her birthday. =-) Guess the other parent is frugal too.

We had a no gift party, yet a few folks brought gifts anyway.


brand new stash

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2013, 08:07:31 AM »
In my original post I mentioned that I stocked up on Black Friday with gifts for my kids ages...knowing they will be invited to parties through out the year.  I'm looking at doing that again, and figured I would share with those people who said they liked that idea.  Specifically, I will be going to walmart and stocking up on the board games they have listed for $3.88
http://blackfriday.com/stores/walmart/flyers/black-friday/page-29

giggles

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Re: Birthday gifts for your kid's friends
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2013, 01:17:45 PM »
$1 store and 5 Below are 2 more good options.  I put together a nice basket of nam-brand baby products from the $1 store as a gift, and it looked as nice as the store-bought baskets.  $1 stores also have books that were formerly full-priced.