Every time my kids come home with an invitation to a birthday party, my mind goes into panic mode a little. I struggle enough to think of gifts when it’s their birthdays, let alone buying for a kid I know very little about. And then there’s the spend…. how much should you fork out for gifts for school friends?
As a rule, I reckon you should spend what you can comfortably afford, which is different for all of us. If times are tight, I think you can absolutely hunt around and put together an awesome gift that looks much pricier than it actually is. It just takes a little more effort. My happy place is around $30 – $35 and if it’s a kid we know really well or a best friend, I might swing a little closer to $50.
But what to buy for a kid you’ve never even laid eyes on? I’ll often ask my kids what the birthday boy or girl are into and nine times out of ten this is met with a vacant look, shrugged shoulders and “I dunno.” Texting the parent for an idea is often pointless too, because sometimes they’ll come back with an answer like, “They love Lego” and Lego is so expensive that all you’ve got in your hands is a little box with no wow factor.
how much should you fork out for gifts for school friends?
If you’re stumped for ideas like I am 99% of the time, my go-to is making a craft bag or box. These are great ideas because they’re not just more plastic crap for the parents to deal with, they look exciting and they give the child an actual activity to do. I’ll typically buy a few big art canvasses, some paints, brushes, palettes, stencils and whatever else looks exciting at the art shop, pop it all in a big bag or box and voila! You’re done.
Another great idea I’ve done in the past is a cupcake decorating/baking box. Whack in some coloured fondant (aka edible Play Doh), bright cupcake liners, a box of cake mix, some food colouring, apron, rolling pin, cookie cutters, etc, and chuck it all in a white gift box with a big bow. The best thing about this idea is that you can customise it to suit the child’s interest and it can even be used for teenagers and grown-ups. Think pamper packs for teens and cheese and booze for the adults.
If you spend a bit of time in your local discount shop or Kmart, you’d be surprised how far your coin can get you and this is especially helpful in you’re watching your pennies but still want a knockout gift.
Ada Nicodemou and Monty spoke about their dollar limit for kids’ birthday gifts below…
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