Birthday Party Pet Peeves: What Gives?

Malia pictureI always do a little inward groan whenever JBelle comes home from school with or receives a birthday party invitation in the mail. Unless the invitation is from a true “bff” or a someone she’s known practically from birth, I silently hope there’s some way to get out of it. Birthday parties pose two problems for me: the gift and the RSVP.

I loathe buying presents for these children that I know nothing about. It’s not that I’m miserly or mean, it’s that I usually have no idea what to get them! JBelle is not always very helpful in this situation, especially since she often is more interested in what she wants! Awhile back I stumbled upon what I thought was the perfect answer to my gift giving woes. The crafting set. There’s an entire aisle at Target with these boxes of beading, crocheting, stamping, modeling, crafting, creating, mess-making, space-consuming, fight-producing wonders! And all are reasonably priced between $9.99 and $14.99! So, “we” (read: me) starting buying these sorts of sets for all our birthday gift giving needs.

Then back at Christmas I started getting requests from family members about what to give JBelle for Christmas. She didn’t have any of those craft sets yet, so I added them to the list. We got three – 2 bead sets and a crochet set. And even though I cursed the beading sets with their itty-bitty beads and fraying strings, and even though JBelle lost interest in the crocheting kit after five minutes, I still kept the craft kit on my birthday gift radar. Until now. For JBelle’s most recent birthday, she received…three more crafting sets!! Two bead sets and a stamping set. I’m never buying one of those crafting sets for another child. I don’t hate their parents that much! So it’s back to square one on “what to give random classmates” for their birthday.

Any suggestions?

(Up next: The RSVP!)

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5 Comments

Filed under by Malia, parenting

5 responses to “Birthday Party Pet Peeves: What Gives?

  1. The last birthday gift was for our neighbor’s 6-year-old and my daughter picked out a cute Barbie purse at TJ Maxx. But it seems like you can’t go wrong with any kind of art or crafts kit. The Crayola Wonder stuff is great for smaller kids. What about fun bubble bath/soaps? That’s something that won’t just sit around and collect dust!

  2. brillig

    I like Jamie’s bubble bath idea! I mean, you can get Barbie or princess or all sorts of things! My little boys drool over the Thomas the Tank bubble bath every time we go down the “baby” aisle at target!

    And yeah, as the mom to a girl who has received many craft sets, I support you in your ban of them. Whenever she opens something with beads, I just know that they’re going to be all over the house in four seconds flat, no matter how hard we try to keep them in one place…

  3. michelle

    My daughter has given several of the purses with the sequins to her girlfriends, those have been a big hit. I usually just give her a spending limit at Target and then make sure I get a gift reciept. If they don’t like it they can take it back!

  4. The above comments have some great ideas. Since my kids are grown–this has all changed since their party days. I’ve attended a couple of my nephew’s parties (he’s 10 now)–and he usually gets money and gift cards. Do you see that much there?

    I was not a huge fan of bday parties either. I always wished I could changed the tradition and do something more reasonable!

  5. I usually let the kids help out with the gifts, but after discovering I didn’t care much for receiving the craft sets, I stopped giving them as much too. lol For older kids they are great, but not for anyone under, say, third grade.

    For boys – action figures (star wars or spiderman or gi joes) or any kind of cars always are a big hit. You can’t go wrong.

    For girls – it depends on how prissy we think the girl is – if she is prissy then dress up kits or Barbie/Polly Pocket/My Little Pony type stuff. If she isn’t, then the Lisa Frank stationary sets – actually that can go for any girl. 🙂

    I know this post was from a few days ago, but I’m just getting caught up. 🙂

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