Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tis the season

I had no idea that April would become our “Birthday Month.”

Of course, April has always meant my dad’s birthday.

And then, Jim joined ranks.

And when my sister-in-law Taylor joined the family, her special day got added to the calendar.

Then, when we moved to Nashville, Sun-sil and Jackson got put on the roster.

And then we learned Baby Girl would make her arrival in April, too.

Then the party invites started rolling in from Seth’s “peeps.”  Hayden, Bralen, Aylin, Charlie, Tabitha.  All in one week, no less.

Which is why this is what my dining room looks like:

april misc 004 
And, yes, I totally cheated with the gift-bag-and-tissue-paper route, versus actually boxing and wrapping the presents.

But I’m not a complete slacker!  I embellished Miss AP’s gift:

april misc 005 
See the stickers?  Nice touch, huh? =)

So, here is my question, though, to toss out to the blog world.

What is your birthday budget?

I’ve never really thought about the dollar amount to spend on party gifts for a preschooler.  In fact, Seth hadn’t even attended his first birthday party until two weeks ago.  But suddenly being faced with a half-dozen toddler gifts to buy….well, it gave me pause.  What is that fine line between cheap and appropriate and extravagant?

I’d love to hear what some of you other moms do when birthday party season hits in full force?  How do you make your little one’s friends feel special without breaking the bank?


Sara said...

I'm a cheapo, Mon. I try to keep it around $10-$15...sometimes I push it to $20 if it is a close friend of the family. We do homemade cards which saves a little money, too. And I recycle the gift bags we get. I think we've passed a gift bag back & forth 4 times between us & the Lockharts. LOL See...total cheapo. :\ It gets overwhelming!

Anonymous said...

It's the thought that counts not the amount. Let's face it they are preschoolers, they just like to open up gifts. Your expense comes as they get older. Guess who?

MommaHarms said...

I try to keep a stash of nice but cheap at the time gifts. I watch sales and Amazon. Then I consider play value and normal retail value. For instance, a board game that cost me $2.99 but typically costs $10 is fine. I might throw a small item with it, like a My Little Pony or Matchbox Car. For this age (mine are four and almost two) I also think the size of the gift has more impact than the value in the mind of the child. ONe child received a HUGE truck I got on clearance for less than $7. Made a BIG impact and the child still loves it. We don't do cards and almost always do gift bags to save on money. I take that back - now we make cards since my oldest enjoys doing so. December is our big birthday month, and Christmas added to it makes it a challenge.

Kara Wright said...

We have 12 nieces and nephews to buy for and you're right, it gets expensive! So we set a $5 budget for each one at Christmas time and for birthdays, including card and shipping we try not to spend over $8 per kids. And actually, the gifts have stopped this year... not sure why. I think we just run out of time and forget all the birthdays!

savannahgirl said...

Well we haven't been to any parties for non family kids yet, but John's sister has four kids and all of their birthdays are somewhere inbetween Jan-May. We used to spend more like 20 a child but there's just no way we can swing that on almost a monthly basis in the beginning of the year. So it's 10. I imagine that if Gabe starts getting invited to parties in the next couple years when he's in school more, I would do 5-10 dollars.
P.S. I always wrap in gift bags because if G and P find a wrapped gift in this house, they WILL unwrap it. LOL ;)

Michele said...

For the kids' friends, our limit is $15. I re-use gift bags and get my cards at the Dollar Tree (2 for $1.00 or $0.50 a piece). Usually I can find a more expensive gift on sale or with a coupon, so it seems like I spent more. For cousins, we spend about $20, maybe a bit more if it something I really want to get them, but sometimes, again, I can find something on sale. It does seem like we have received many invites this month, too. It does add up quick. Good luck!

Mrs. Frogster said...

Yes to all of the above. :)
I try to think of what mom/dad would appreciate too, so inexpensive books and crayons etc are usually good. You can get Disney crayons and coloring books at the dollar store - they make a great gift!
For David's birthday party, we just asked each guest to bring a wrapped hot Wheel car for a gift exchange. This made the financial burden on all the parents a lot lighter, and the kids all loved getting to open a present at David's party.
just some thoughts - and wow! that is a lot of April birthdays!

Sara said...

...you know me...I've been thinking about this all day. I have to say that I buy clearance stuff a LOT, too. I just got Xavier's b.day gift at Walmart back in February. A $30 little people wagon thing...for $8.

The Blatchford Family said...

Hmm. I would say gifts for friends' toddlers should be $20 or less, for family kids around $30, and for my own children around $50.

Jessi Knack said...

I spend $20ish. I tend to spend more on best friend's kids (way too much on Hannah!). I love to buy for girls... and usually go over board. I too buy thing on sale/clearance for future parties. I have a huge box of baby goodies for baby showers. I haven't had 20 birthdays in a month yet... so I would for sure lower my $20 limit. I hope you did not spend a lot on Bralen! I would tell you not to bring a gift but you said you have already bought it. If it was expensive... exchange it for a dollar store toy. PLEASE! We really just want Seth to come and play.

Valerie said...

April is an awesome birthday month! Of course, I'm biased because that's when my own baby girl made her entrance 4 weeks early - 10 days before her daddy's birthday.