Having children means parties. Their own and other people’s (although so far we’ve avoided having a party for N – I reckon in future we’ll do it in the summer so we stand a better chance of getting decent weather and doing it outside on the farm).
This is when you start to wonder about gift etiquette. It’s hard enough for parents doing party bags, but also gets complicated when it’s your child going to a party.
For a formal party it’s straightforward enough. Take a small gift. Makes sense. All nice and simple (although actually choosing a gift is hard – what sort of thing will the child like, and the parents, what will they need/have lots of already, how much to spend?).
It starts to get more complicated when your child’s been invited out to meet the birthday child for a play…it’s not a formal party, just a we’re going to be there, hope to see you there. You’d think (or I would), no gifts but obviously a card. The last time we had one of these, I took a small token gift just in case, and was relieved we did as the pile of presents was huge and it probably would have been embarrassing if we’d not have done. Now I guess some of the people would usually buy the child a present (if they’re a relative etc), but I was astounded.
I guess as the children get older, the children themselves would be expecting gifts, whereas at N’s age now, he likes presents (the unwrapping in particular), but wouldn’t know any different.
Have to admit that I’ve already made a boo boo today…thought I had to get a gift for someone’s party in a few weeks, but after buying something, I’ve remembered that they’d said no presents or just a donation to an outdoor gift they’re saving for. Oops.
What are your gift giving nightmares?
I agree it’s a nightmare. The other issue is how much do you spend. Some parents spend a fortune on presents for their kids to take to birthday parties, but the amount of birthdays my 5 year old goes to is ridiculous. She averages about 1 party every 1-2 weeks. That’s a lot of presents to buy.
At least the present you got can go to someone else. I think saying no presents is a good idea, although I’m not sure any kid would agree with me.
With the price spent on parties nowadays, I’d be offering presents or party! Thankfully there are lots of places you can get reasonable presents cheaply, although once they get older that must get harder.