Birthday parties and the present dilemma

We held Big’s birthday party this afternoon so I thought it was timely to post about birthday parties and present etiquette.

I always find buying presents for children’s parties a bit tricky, don’t you?

The first challenge is finding a present that the birthday kiddo might like and that they haven’t got ten versions of already.

The second is how much to spend. I’m not sure what the average is but I normally end up going for a game or something arts and crafty and spending something between £5 and £10. I’m not sure if that’s about average or whether I’m really stingy!

Perhaps a bit controversially, for the past few years we’ve asked that Big’s friends don’t bring presents to his party. He’s so lucky to have so many toys already and he doesn’t have enough time to play with what he’s got already.

So, for his third birthday we decided we were going to ask people not to get him presents.

When we had a look around the internet for some words to phrase it so we didn’t sound ungrateful we realised that no presents at all was really tricky. The general consensus was that people felt bad about turning up to a party empty handed so the bought a present anyway.

Further scouting around gave us an alternative, which is what we’ve done for the past three years. A book exchange.

In short we’ve asked his friends (well their parents, they are only little after all) to bring a book wrapped up. All the books then go into a box and when each of Big’s friends leave they get to pick a book out the box.

Big’s invites to his friends
One book ready for the box

It’s win win, the children go home with, hopefully, a book they’ve not read before, parents don’t have to spend lots of money on a present for a child they don’t know and because we put a book in the box for Big too, he still has a present from his party.

Does anyone else do anything similar? If love to hear if you do.



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