School friends and parents- christmas presents??

(28 Posts)
picturehook Thu 21-Nov-13 08:16:58

Wondering what is the best thing to do about school friends and christmas presents? DC is six and last year (reception) wasn't really an issue as whilst she played with lots of children, hadn't developed close friendships so she just gave out cards. This year, there are 4-5 children- boys and girls- who she has developed stronger friendships with and sees a bit outside I school.

Trouble is, I don't know what is the done thing with Xmas pressies? Do I just leave alone and stick with cards? Or will presents be expected? Should I keep a few gifts in reserve just in case she is given anything? If so I would love some suggestions of easy, inexpensive presents welcomed by most 5-6 year olds...

Just to complicate it further, I am fairly friendly with the parents of these children. But not close enough to ask directly whether they will be doing presents. One of the mums particularly I am worried will not only do presents for DD but possibly also me too. However I can't really afford to reciprocate to several sets of parents (we already set strict limits within the family and, for example, buy for nieces and nephews but not siblings so to be buying gifts for school acquaintances seems wrong...

Arggghh the school playground is a minefield!

popcornpaws Thu 21-Nov-13 08:50:13

No advice as such, but your post brought back memories of when my daughter was at primary school and I was in the exact same position.
I (and the other parents) ended up buying presents for around six years, and it included birthdays then easter, then gifts brought back from holidays…
It was ridiculous, but no one would put an end to it!

bigTillyMint Thu 21-Nov-13 08:50:35

We never did presents for friends - just cards, which is bad enough!

bigTillyMint Thu 21-Nov-13 08:51:01

Yes, don't let it start in the first place!

girlywhirly Thu 21-Nov-13 08:54:28

I would just do cards. The other parents may be glad not to have to buy loads more gifts, especially if they have more than one child needing gifts for all their friends. Unless you are good friends with the parents, and have known them for a long time you shouldn't feel obliged to do gifts. Also childhood friendships can and do change as they develop different hobbies and interests. If my DS was invited to a birthday party, he would take a gift for the birthday child, but they didn't get a Christmas gift.

I'm not sure why you can't raise the subject in a general chat about Christmas, and then ask what people have done in the past and what they are planning now. Pick the most approachable parent you know in the playground to ask.

yegodsandlittlefishes Thu 21-Nov-13 08:54:49

We did cards with the occasional tiny toy/gift to fit inside the envelope, and they took in bags of sweets to give out on their own birthday which was a lovely tradition. (When we moved I was disappointed that this isn't universal.)

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:01:08

I would stick with cards. Birthdays are enough. They will get tons at Christmas anyway. Don't start something which you have to end!!! Birthdays will naturally run their course as parties dwindle, then your dc can decide themselves which friends they want to buy birthday and Christmas presents for.

exexpat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:02:41

We've never done presents for school friends, and DS never did cards either, but DD's class seems to have the habit of nearly everyone doing little cards for each other. Luckily she's been old enough to do them all herself for a few years now, but at 6 your DD may need help with writing them all.

If DD brought home Christmas presents from classmates, my heart would sink as I would feel obliged to reciprocate. Don't do that to other parents!

picturehook Thu 21-Nov-13 09:19:01

Thanks all. I am really keen to avoid if at all possible, just wasn't sure what was the norm. I could certainly bring up a general christmas conversation and perhaps angle it towards the topic of presents just would find it awkward to ask directly. I have a couple of close friends (not school related) who I was able to say to outright that we wouldnt be buying for and please don't buy for us etc but with people I don't know as well it sounds a bit presumptuous.

The parent I am worried about is a lovely woman who is generous to a fault. For instance if she heard someone talking about a favourite chocolate bar she would rock up the next day and present them with one. She is very kind and I think she may buy for a few of us when it's really not necessary.

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:22:23

If you want to show some festive cheer, but not go down the gifts route, then why not plan a little end of term bash. Most soft plays do a reduced rate for groups with a little meal and a party bag.

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:23:31

Obviously everyone would pay for their own child's entry, but it would still be a nice start to the hol and a way to celebrate their friendships and yours.

TheXmasLogIn Thu 21-Nov-13 09:26:00

The last few years DD has put a chocolate coin inside the cards of her friends. Only the good friends she regularly plays with though as she usually writes cards to practically every other child in the school! That was her idea though, DS just ate all his coins himself grin

This year she has made a friendship bracelet for her one best friend. Actually they have both made one for each other together, at our house last week. Its totally child led though, needing to buy an extra set of gifts isn't something I want to encourage.

Idespair Thu 21-Nov-13 09:28:04

You could get some really small items such as a key ring with a character they like in them and keep them in reserve in case you receive presents?

picturehook Thu 21-Nov-13 09:32:24

Thanks- great idea for a christmas get together. Will have a think about that. Chocolate coins in card also a nice idea. If I was to get a few bits in case they would have to be inexpensive so keyrings a possibility.

I didn't even think about this dilemma before...

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:33:28

Box of emergency kids crackers of after get together???
Kids love crackers and live tat.
You can get 6 at tesco for a fiver.

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:33:49

for after get together

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:34:23

love tat

Live tat might be a bit much!!!

Someone on one of the other threads said they tied a small greeting onto a sweetie candy cane and this was given to her class mates. This is what I plan to do instead of cards.

DowntonTrout Thu 21-Nov-13 09:39:25

In all my years with DCs in primary, this has never happened. We have never done christmas gifts for school friends and I wouldn't be getting stressed about whether someone will, or not. They most likely won't.

At DDs last school they did put little chocolate gifts in cards ( santa lolly, freddo frog, candy cane etc) for the others in their class though. ( small class of 12)

magichamster Thu 21-Nov-13 09:43:13

We've never done cards for school friends or parents, although I like the idea of sticking a chocolate coin in cards of special friends.

If you want some emergency presents why not just get a couple of selection boxes (our tescos is doing them 3 for £3 at the moment) and a tin of biscuits. Then if you don't need them you have them for your christmas.

PantsInWash Thu 21-Nov-13 09:46:05

Like DowntonTrout this never came up for our DCs in primary school - our minefield was the presents for teachers, but that's a whole other thread.

For the children, they had a postbox in school where they could put their cards and that was it. As DD has grown older she has done things like bought a chocolate bar fro her pocket money for her best friend(s), or made brownies and taken them into school, but that's only happened in secondary where their friendship circle has shrunk a bit.

If the lovely generous woman wants her children to give the others presents, then that's her decision and try not to feel guilty about not reciprocating. As others have said, if you start this now, you'll never be able to stop

DowntonTrout Thu 21-Nov-13 09:51:14

Absolutely ^ if the generous woman wants to give you something, fair enough. But I think you are over thinking this.

Gifts are not reciprocal. Some people get pleasure from giving and are just thoughtful. Which is lovely but does not mean you are under obligation to give back.

WaitMonkey Thu 21-Nov-13 13:29:32

I agree with everyone else. Christmas is stressful enough, without buying for classmates.

moldingsunbeams Thu 21-Nov-13 13:34:09

Just cards, one of dds friends has started buying for dd and its a nightmare as her presents cost £20 - £30 so I feel I have to do the same for her dc and we cannot afford.

ArtyFartyQueen Thu 21-Nov-13 13:35:36

We normally put a little treat inside the Christmas card (chocolate coin, snowman etc) and/or maybe make some fudge for the family. We don't normally receive anything back but I like to give a little something and its nice to encourage the children to think of others too! Last year though, instead of giving presents, we invited a few of DD's friends back after school broke up and had a little Christmas tea which was lovely and was nice to socialise with the parents too!

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