Gifts are a challenging one. Kids love presents! They love the promise of a large pile. They love the excitement of opening them. And if the gift is a goodie, they enjoy playing with it. Parents….. well if you are anything like me, not so much!
Toys seems to take over the house on a normal day, Christmas and Birthdays just make the problem worse. We somehow have to find a spot for all these new found wonders. And when we try to give a toy away that has been sitting in the bottom of the toy box, our little ones seem to find a new love for it.
Then there is all the waste associated with them, the wrapping, cards and most of the time, the toy itself.
On the flip side as a parent of a child who has been invited to a party, we make a mad last minute dash to the shops to find something, we hope, the little birthday one does not already have. More pressure on our already stressful life.
So how do we move away from the traditional gift giving? Here are a few ideas:
A Fiver Party
Some Aussie mums are embracing the Fiver Party. The idea of a Fiver Party is that the guests are asked to only bring a $5 note as a gift for the birthday little one to put towards a larger item.
This cuts down on the clutter for you and is a cheaper option for the party goers. Now sometimes it is uncomfortable to ask for money so here are a few ideas of wording to help you out if you are thinking of this option.
‘Your presence is the only present that we need, but should you want to give something to the birthday girl, please consider giving $5 that she can put towards something special’
If your little one has an idea of the special gift they are wanting to save up for, include that in the request Archie is having a fiver party! He really wants a (name big ticket gift item) so instead of bringing him a gift, please pop a $5 note in a card to go towards this. He’s very excited! Thank you
My mother always says a child can not have too many books. Why not ask each invitee to bring a book along to add to your library. If you do not want them to spend any money, ask them to consider bringing a preloved book from their own stash.
This is a wonderful option if you are worried about managing your child’s expectations of a pile of gifts, especially if it is newly introduced after years of present piles. They still get the pleasure of opening a large pile of presents but they are useful and easy to find a spot for.
An Experience or Voucher
Toys last a few years but an experience lasts a lifetime. This is a particularly great gift if you are close to the birthday little one and wish to spend some quality time with them.
If you are not so close with the birthday little one, perhaps consider a voucher to the local indoor play centre that the parents can utilise on a rainy day:
Why not consider a membership, the gift that keeps on giving. You can purchase a membership to a toy library (There is a local toy library in Engadine – https://www.ecs.org.au/fun-for-kids) or a yearly pass to the Zoo, Symbio is amazing (https://symbiozoo.com.au/gift-voucher/)
If this is a little pricey, consider getting together with a number of invitees and purchase it as a joint gift.
Plant a Tree or Give a Gift to Charity
This is my favourite gift for a first or second birthday party. The little one is too little to expect a large number of toys and they also find the whole experience of opening them overwhelming.
Planting a tree in their name that they can visit when they are older or contributing to a charity that is close to the parents heart, is a great and meaningful gift.
Happy gift giving!