The pressure of presents …
School’s back and the party invites are coming in! Does anyone else feel a mix of delight tinged with a tiny bit of disappointment when retrieving an envelope from your child’s schoolbag, or is it just me?
Of course I’m delighted that my son has friends who want to invite him along, but are kids parties honestly anyone’s favourite way to spend the weekend?
I quite enjoy them once I’m there but when the invitation first arrives, my initial question is always …is it a drop off or a stay party? Not so much of an issue when they’re older but definitely a topic of interest for parents when they’re that bit younger!
Next question (sometimes not until I remember in a panic a few days before the party) is … what gift to buy?
The issue of birthday presents can be a thorny one, particularly if you don’t know the birthday child or their family particularly well.
How much do you spend?
What sort of thing is appropriate? What will the birthday child really like (that won’t drive the parents nuts!)
So far, for me, being creative and trying to steer clear of the dreaded plastic toys has worked.
I’ve found that books always go down well. Also onesies, which may not seem very appealing to an adult, always seem to tick the box for kids, along with any form of arts & craft materials or kits always seem to have gone down well with parents and kids alike.
That said, the best present my little boy got for his birthday last year was a shark head torch. It was from Decathlon and he absolutely loved it! It seemed a very random present, but one that definitely captured his imagination.
I often ask parents what their little one is into and the response to the question is often, ‘please don’t get him/her any more toys!’ Not quite the straightforward response I’d been hoping for, but at least it gives me a guide. One recent party invitation stated what the child liked which I personally found really helpful – I completely get that some people would view this as a step too far, but as a time-poor mum of two I found it an invaluable piece of info!
I often find that when my little boy has playdates the whole gender-neutral issue comes into play. It was a recent topic of conversation between myself and one of my friends who I’ve known for years: the toys that kids go for and play with when they are at someone else’s house. Said friend was commenting that her daughter (who’s the same age as my son) always seems to head straight for what would be deemed ‘boys toys’. Transformers are her toy of choice. Armed with this valuable piece of info, that’s exactly what we gave her for her 5th birthday. Yes, it was a piece of plastic but it was actually what she wanted…and she didn’t get any duplicates!
Of course when it comes to kids presents, knowing what they’re ‘into’ definitely helps, but in the absence of any guidelines or indications you can’t go wrong with a book!
What are the best presents your little one has received from his/her friends? If you’ve any advice or creative ideas, feel free to share!
If you or your little one’s friends likes dancing then why not consider a Step It Up Dance gift voucher that can be used to buy them a 2-week trial (£17) or block of our classes? Or, if you’ve been invited to a Step It Up Dance party, a piece of our merchandise will never go amiss. It’s something different … and a change from the plastic ;)