I’m sure we’ve all been there. Your child is invited to yet another birthday party, and you don’t know the kid or the family AT ALL.
This happens to us all the time.
Somehow my children have made it to grade 4 and grade 1 and I still barely know any parents of their school friends. (I could go on about this, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.)
It’s inevitable that you will need gift ideas for kids you barely know (or maybe have never met!)
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Do you let your child choose a gift for their friend? How do you know what they’ll like? And what’s the going rate for a birthday gift these days anyway?
Sometimes I get lucky and a parent has included an email address on the invitation (assuming your kids remember to take said invite out of their backpack before the party is the next day) so I can email and ask questions like “What would so-and-so like as a gift?” Of course this often backfires and I get a lovely response like “Oh, they like everything.” Thanks, other parent.
We often take the easy way out.
If it’s a child we don’t know, we give gift cards. I know, it’s so unimaginative, but it works every time. The kid is excited they can choose their own gift at a store, or the parent can put it towards something special. Also it can be regifted with no real remorse. (I may have done that before…)
If it’s a family I know, or if I’m shopping for my own kid or other family member, I try a little harder.
My new favourite gift category is consumables. I know, that sounds like I buy kids food (and I’ve done that too) but there are so many other things that are considered consumables:
- Bath products – my kids LOVE bath bombs!
- Beauty products (lip gloss, nail polish, hair chalk etc.)
- Fun craft/school style supplies – pens and pencils, little notebooks, erasers, craft kits, you get the idea
- Even baking mixes, science project ideas (like crystal growing), seed growing kits, anything that creates something and then you can get rid of it in some way falls into the “consumable” category!
For my own kids I will look into experience gifts.
(I’ve done them for others too, but only after checking with the parents.)
- Fairs or festivals
- Other fun stuff like mini putt, escape rooms, go karts, art classes – you get the idea
You can make up your own “experience” to give as well. Personalized “coupon books” (you remember those, right?) that the kids can redeem for “Get out of doing dishes tonight” or “Bake brownies with mom/dad” would be a really fun gift.
In this time of too much stuff, and not enough time, these kinds of gifts are exactly what I want to get from people myself. And they are a great alternative to the new, popular toy that a kid may get 2 or 3 of at one birthday party. (It’s happened…)
What is your favourite go to gift ideas for kids in your life? (Or kids in your kids life that you don’t really know?) I’m always on the lookout for new and different ideas, so let me know in the comments!