The birthday party hiatus is over. School’s back and that means that every other Saturday, you’re likely to be found at a bounce house, a city park, or an indoor play space standing around in a semi-circle having awkward conversation with other parents while your children run around in grippy socks getting high on pizza and cupcakes. The birthday party circuit gets real this time of year.
I’m digging the trends on kids’ birthdays these days – many invitations are calling for no gifts, and even more kids are donating their birthdays to charities and causes. These millenial offspring are embracing minimalism in droves. Still, chances are some parties will still call for presents, or that inescapable mom tick will take over – can. not. show. up. empty.handed.
So, today I’m sharing my favorite birthday party present hacks. Ain’t nobody got time for a Target run every weekend.
The three tenets of the birthday gift closet are:
- Buy in bulk
- Buy on sale
- Wrap minimally
Let’s unpack this.
Buy in Bulk
Choose several items and buy them in quantities of 4-5. More than this, and you’ll risk seeming like a one trick pony, less and there will be too much decision making involved every time there is a party. Choose items that are popular for kids at or above the ages of your kids. Remember, there is more risk in buying something that is too young for a kid, but I’ve never met a mom who didn’t love pulling out a game 6 months later that their kid is jussssttt ready for.
Buy on Sale
Say it with me: Prime Day. Every year on Prime Day, Black Friday and during other close-out sales, I stock my gift closet. Melissa and Doug and Green Toys are often on sale on Prime Day, as are a lot of board games and popular books. Last Prime Day, I bought 5 Sneaky Snacky Squirrel games, 5 Sum Swamps, 5 Camelbak water bottles, and 5 copies each of Rosie Revere Engineer and Iggy Peck Architect. Each of these toys fell right in my perfect price point, and among the 2- and 3-year old subset, most kids don’t own board games yet, so I knew the gifts would be valued and used (eventually). No one can ever own enough water bottles for kids, and favorite books are always a win.
Wrapping minimally is about reducing decision fatigue, time spent, and maximizing the personalization factor. I own one huge role of craft paper (so many uses). I own multiple giant spools of twine in neutral colors. Every year, I order a new pack of personalized stickers (my favorites are from Tiny Prints, and Erin Condren has adorable ones too). This reduces the need for cards and means I never have to go searching for the right kind of wrapping paper, tissue paper or any other items. I apply this wrapping philosophy to gifts for all occasions. Bottles of wine get a sticker. Tupperwares of food get a sticker. Gifts get a sticker. Stickers are affordable, memorable and minimal.
If you’re looking for a solution to gift giving, you can apply these hacks to your life. Maybe you love giving your kids favorite books away- if so, buy 5 copies of 5 books. Maybe you enjoy making homemade playdough for your kids friends- if so, stock the ingredients and bags so you can easily make them in bulk. Putting in a little bit of time and money up front will keep your birthday party game running smooth for the year.