Your Gift Giving Guide to Attending Kids’ Birthday Parties


kids birthday giftsDoes this happen to you? Your son arrives home from school all excited because he got invited to his friend’s birthday party. He immediately asks if he can go to the party, and you immediately begin asking yourself a series of questions before you tell your son that he can attend his friend’s party. Hopefully the following tips will answer some of your questions about birthday party gift giving etiquette.

How much do you spend?

First and foremost, when I am buying gifts for kid parties, I consider things like how well my child knows the birthday child. Is the child a new friend he just met this year or is it someone he’s known a long time. I will spend more money on gifts for my nephews or the boys my kids have known since they were born than I will for a friend they just met.

Another factor is whether or not both of my boys are invited to the party. My kids are very close in age, so they do have some of the same friends. So when they are both invited to a party, should I send 2 gifts or should I spend twice as much as I normally would? Recently I opted to buy one gift and spend a little more than I normally would. I don’t know if it’s the right etiquette or not, but it’s what I plan to do from now on.

How can I save money on Birthday Gifts?

Start shopping early. I hardly ever pay full price for a gift.   When stores have toys on clearance after Christmas and again in the summer, I scope out the toys for discounts. I create a little stock pile (just like my grocery stockpile) of toys.  I keep my eyes out for things that could make nice gifts at birthday parties my kids my get invited to, birthday gifts for my kids, and of course Christmas for my kids and family members for the following year.

Use gift cards to purchase gifts. I like to save up my gift cards I get at Target and then use them to get gifts for “free.” Target often runs gift card promotions where if you buy a certain amount of one item, you get a gift card free. For example, this last week, when I bought 10 of the drinks that my family likes, I got a $5 gift card back.

DIY gifts. These can sometimes save you money, and the gifts are a little more personalized for the birthday child. Here are a few ideas for DIY gifts:

  • Pillow cases: I made these for my daycare kids for Christmas one year. I watched for the fabric to go on sale, and bought a bunch of fabric in various themes and colors. I think each pillow case cost less than $3. An easy pattern can be found at quiltmaker.
  • Dinosaur tails: This has been a favorite DIY gift at our house. They are really easy to make too.
  • Bake the birthday child’s favorite cookies
  • Gift Certificate for a play date or trip to the park
  • Make several bows: MidwesternMoms has instructions to make boutique style hair bows.
  • Picture frames: If your child likes to be crafty, stock up on wooden picture frames that you can find at craft stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or JoAnn Fabrics and have your child help decorate them. You can add to it by using a picture of your child and the birthday child in it.
  • Scrapbook: You can make simple scrapbook with card stock and stickers, and then buy a disposable camera to put with it.

For more ideas on how much to spend and good gift ideas in your price range check out: “How Much Should I spend on Kids’ Birthday Party Gifts

What If My Child Can’t Attend the Party? Do I Still Need to Send a Gift?

Etiquette says just because your child is invited to a birthday party, doesn’t mean you have to buy a gift. If the party is for your child’s best friend, you may still want to send a gift. It’s really up to you when it comes to gift giving for birthday parties.

Before you send your kid off to his friend’s birthday party, don’t forget these other rules for attending parties:

  • RSVP by the date the parent requests
  • Don’t Be Late- arrive on time and leave at the time the party is over
  • Know ahead of time if you’re expected to stay for the party
  • Remind your child ahead of time of their manners (listening to the parent in charge, saying thank you at the end of the party, etc.)

Disney Family has a few more ideas on birthday party etiquette you may want to check out.

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