I have four kids. And you know what comes with four kids? Lots of birthday party invitations.
I’m delighted when my kids are invited to celebrate with their friends, but as a parent it can get a wee bit exhausting. I have to get them to the party, figure out if I stay or not, and negotiate the inevitable sugar crash that comes afterward. But what I find most draining is choosing birthday gifts for kids I probably don’t know in person.
Can I count on my eight-year-old to know what this child might want for their birthday and what they won’t already be getting from relatives? Can I find something in my price range? And mostly WILL I REMEMBER TO GET A GIFT BEFORE WE ARE ON OUR WAY TO THE PARTY? (History says no on that last one.)
My tired brain has attached to the Lazy Genius concept of deciding once if possible. And I think that presents for birthday parties is the perfect place to implement this.
Before COVID, I got a $15 Fandango gift card and some movie theater candy from the dollar store for every birthday party. It works for all ages. Almost everyone likes to go to the movies. I can order a gift card sent to myself via email, print it out, and throw it in a bag with the candy. This option has been less good with movie theaters shut down, but now that things are opening back up I think it works! You could also do Redbox codes (a great budget idea).
If you want to do more of a toy or entertainment-type gift, here’s a tip from my friend and fellow Chattanooga Moms blog writer Melissa Laseter: Buy everyone the same gift for a year. Find something that works with a wide range of ages if your kids are more spread out. Melissa makes notes what she gifts certain families, so they don’t end up with three of the same gift during a year. But in general, this can be magic!
Here are some ideas for gifts with mass appeal:
Paint by Sticker Books (my 10-year-old son especially loves this Masterpieces one)
A board game, like Kids Against Humanity for ages 8+, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel for ages 3-6, Abandon All Artichokes for 8+, Exploding Kittens for 7+, or Koala Capers for 3-6
Reversible Octopus: these come in a variety of colors and according to my 12-year-old are popular even with the preteen crowd
Fidget toys, like these bubble popper things everyone loves.
For the younger crowd, these Water Wow books are wonderful and definitely get a lot of use in my house
I’m also a huge fan of art supplies, like a sketchbook and colored pencils or a single KiwiCrate kit.
And if you go to a lot of baby or toddler birthdays? SNACKS. Applesauce pouches, baby puffs, and Goldfish would never get turned away when I had little ones. They probably don’t need another plastic rolling thing, but you can always use more snacks.