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Sometimes children prefer cash gifts instead of toys!
Sometimes children prefer cash gifts instead of toys!
Blogs » Mummy Blogger

The Party Line

Our Mummy blogger on birthday present etiquette for children and little cash bundles as gifts…

We've been attending children's parties for a few years now both as a giver and receiver of gifts. The boys' early parties were a gratuitous display of present acceptance, with multiple black bags being required to transport the mountain of gifts from the soft play hell that doubled as a party venue back to the house. Of course that's when the fun would really start - can anyone house 30 new toys in their home without having a mental breakdown?

I've been sorely tempted to send out party invites with a 'no presents' caveat, possibly including a 'bring flowers for the despairing mother' plea or worst case scenario 'bring wine and sympathy'. Of course I haven't done this, recognising that a refusal to engage in the party bag merry-go-round is sinful enough without denying your child their basic right to mass-produced plastic.

All of which leads me nicely to the question in hand. How much to spend? If you make the mistake of asking your child what they think their friend would like for their birthday you'll be leaving a large toy warehouse replete with a second mortgage and an award for most gullible parent. So you don't ask. You shop, preferably without children in tow, and you wrap and attach the card, all without admitting a) what you've purchased and b) the fact that it was on BOGOF at the supermarket.

My limit used to be £5 before VAT meant that such an amount barely covered the cost of a packet of crisps and a roll of cheap wrapping paper. So these days it's somewhere just beneath £10, unless of course it's a close friend or family member, in which case different rules apply.

What I discovered more recently is the power of the cash wallet. I'd always been loath to give money, feeling that it smacked of making no effort. Then the boy opened a gift that turned out to be a large bar of chocolate with a five-pound note sellotaped to the front. You'd have thought he'd just found the Golden Ticket had you seen his reaction - here was five whole pounds at his disposal! This was magical! There was a lightbulb moment - kids love cash, and coupled with a money wallet it equals instant gift and the best thing of all is that it can be facilitated by a quick trip to the cash machine, rather than a fractious trek to the shopping centre!

Monday, 24th January 2011

Tags:   Children's Parties  /  gift buying  /  Parenting  /  Cash  /  Budget
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