Would you judge us as parents if your child got a crap birthday present at a party?

(415 Posts)
M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 10:06:12

Me and DH are skint. Our two boys have a party invitation each for Sunday. Only handed out on Monday this week.
6yr old Is going to a day out with birthday boys parents on the morning with other kids in ds class.
4yr old is going to a local scout hut in the afternoon

We are skint. Would you judge us as parents if we gave a box of Maltesers as presents?

It's all we can afford at the moment. I just don't want the parents thinking were cheap skates :-(

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 10:07:30

Forgot its Aibu. So

Am I being unreasonable to send Maltesers as presents? hmm

elizaregina Fri 18-Jan-13 10:08:07

no not at all its a credit crunch people would do well to keep reminding themselves of this sometimes!

HOwever I have noticed in some pound shops - colouring books and the like - just incase , for i imagine the same price...

cakebar Fri 18-Jan-13 10:08:14

No. I wouldn't.

It might be better to get something in the pound shop though rather than Malteasers, they have quite a few things like annuals, craft kits that any kid would like.

I would think "thank god its not another cheap plastic toy" based on my experiences with parties! I dont think most parents really care about the presents tbh so just give the malteasers and dont worry about it smile

cakebar Fri 18-Jan-13 10:08:57

x posts, great minds grin

Personally I wouldnt. If I could tell parents not to bring presents I would.

However, not all parents are the same.

elizaregina Fri 18-Jan-13 10:09:18

yeah wh smith sale 75% off can pick stuff up for a pound...which I guess is the budget?

iseenodust Fri 18-Jan-13 10:09:47

No. Your DC are invited as friends. Value of present doesn't come into it.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Fri 18-Jan-13 10:09:58

I would eat love it grin

elizaregina Fri 18-Jan-13 10:10:03

indeed! wink

Bramshott Fri 18-Jan-13 10:10:18

My DDs would be DELIGHTED with Maltesers and I wouldn't think twice about it!

stubbornstains Fri 18-Jan-13 10:10:26

No. Because I am skint too. Conversely, any presents that are too expensive would make me cringe, as I know I wouldn't be able to reciprocate.

(YY to the pound shop- you may well be able to get something that looks like it might have cost a fiver somewhere else!)

SundaysGirl Fri 18-Jan-13 10:10:45

No not at all.

I would be pleased your child had come and honestly? 30-odd gifts is kind of obscene anyway with these big parties, on top of what they already get for their birthdays.

NotMostPeople Fri 18-Jan-13 10:11:21

No.

DD had her birthday recently, one of her friends didn't bring a present DD said she'd forgotten it. I know the parents enough to know that money is tight so I suspect that they couldn't afford one. I have no problem with that at all and DD isn't bothered either. Her main priority was that her friends were with her at her birthday party.

Geordieminx Fri 18-Jan-13 10:11:33

No I wouldn't judge either.

fromparistoberlin Fri 18-Jan-13 10:11:38

pound shop crayons and colouring book

bless you, its shite these kids parties cost a damm fortune

RuleBritannia Fri 18-Jan-13 10:11:51

Any gift should be welcomed and the giver thanked. If you must give something, by all means give Maltesers.

If anyone suggests an alternative, just don't give vouchers attached to a particular shop!

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 10:11:59

We don't have a pound shop sad we have a pound stretcher so could have a muse in there.

I know my boys would be overjoyed with Maltesers but they do like there chocolate. so does mummy blush

AThingInYourLife Fri 18-Jan-13 10:12:08

I would so, so much prefer that your son came to the party than didn't because of worries about buying presents.

Also, a box of Maltesers is not a crap present. smile

5inabed Fri 18-Jan-13 10:12:33

Who cares what the parents think? My lot would be delighted with malteasers even my 7 year old. Although they would need to be quick or they might just become mine!

pinkandred Fri 18-Jan-13 10:13:23

YANBU and I would also get your dc to make a homemade card. Doesnt have to be all crafty, just a piece of A4 doubled over and a nice picture on the front and the birthday message in the middle.

Its not about how much you spend on a present, as long as your child has a gift to give to the birthday child (as its all about the giving and receiving in a child's eyes) then it doesnt really matter what it is.

You can get some good bits and bobs in the pound shop though if you dont really want to get maltesers. (having said that my dc would like a box of maltesers).

Arcticwaffle Fri 18-Jan-13 10:13:45

My dc still love sweets and chocolates above all other things, dd2 got given a box of sweets once for her 6th birthday and I'm sure it was her favourite present.

RuleBritannia Fri 18-Jan-13 10:13:55

You could try your local 99p shop. they have a range of packaged confectionery for 99p so there might be something 'foreign' and therefore unfamiliar there.

cloudpuff Fri 18-Jan-13 10:14:31

I wouldn't judge.

I remember my 8th bday party and recieving a load of box maltesers or quality streets, since when did birthday gifts become so expensive?

I didnt expect gifts for my DD when she had her party, she invited her friends because she wanted them there, not beacuse of what they could giver her. In in full truthfulness my DD tends to favour little poundland bits than more expensive gifts anyway.

YANBU

Fakebook Fri 18-Jan-13 10:15:34

No I wouldn't, because my dd absolutely loves maltesers. She has been known to eat boxes full by herself over a few days (bad mother). I would just be happy that you came and joined in the special day.

elizaregina Fri 18-Jan-13 10:15:45

BTW

another really good one is TK Maxx, they often do great books for vert little - you could get a good book for a pound in thier clearance section which always seems to be running...and I personally like books as presents esp with all plastic crap and yes it is obscene isnt it - 30 odd presents! Also everyone loves choclate!

Llareggub Fri 18-Jan-13 10:15:48

I wouldn't judge at all. I few children came to my DS's birthday party without presents and whilst I noticed, my DS didn't. My boys would be thrilled with chocolate of any description!

I'd also add that whilst most people would probably assume that I am very comfortably off I am not, so I don't judge others at all. Times are hard for most people at the moment and I would assume that the majority of people are very aware and don't judge as a result. I hope they enjoy the parties.

Arcticwaffle Fri 18-Jan-13 10:16:42

My dc still love sweets and chocolates above all other things, dd2 got given a box of sweets once for her 6th birthday and I'm sure it was her favourite present.

Lafaminute Fri 18-Jan-13 10:17:26

Aldi have small chalk boards with a box of chalks & a wiper-thingumy for £1 or so at the moment now THAT would entertain my 10 year old and 3 year old for hours!!

BarbarianMum Fri 18-Jan-13 10:18:15

Not at all. And my kids would think that's a BRILLIANT present. smile

lovesmileandlaugh Fri 18-Jan-13 10:18:22

I would have no problem.
Although I had a girl turn up for a party who had to come and say, 'my Mum can't afford a present'. I really felt that the parents could have said it to us, rather than make the child aware of it. But something like a pack of felt tips or a cheap football goes down well with any kid, and also gives your kid something to hand over. Even a handmade card is lovely.
I know it is ungrateful, but we have loads of making stuff that we've been given at parties stacked up in the cupboard for a rainy day, that have been there a long time!
I also have no problem in 'recycling' presents either!

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 10:18:59

I have in times not sent them to parties because of not being able to afford a gift hmm but ds1 has 2 invites from his 2 best friends so he can't not go.

Jins Fri 18-Jan-13 10:19:13

I always preferred disposable presents like sweets and chocolate. We had mountains of plastic crap and DS hated books as gifts because it felt like punishment (dyslexic)

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 10:19:18

Oh and yes I have RSVP'd wink

Maryz Fri 18-Jan-13 10:19:23

And, by the way, home-made cards are much, much more interesting than bought cards.

I used to keep all old birthday cards, and cut them up so that the pictures could be reused and rearranged to make cards for friends. That way it only cost the glue (and a packet of different coloured card when money is less tight). You can also make home-made envelopes by folding A4 paper.

A home-made card shows that thought has gone into it.

One year I remember ds getting a home made card from one friend with a packet of match-attack (?) cards - he was delighted.

dd got a home-made card with a lottery scratch card once, which she was really excited by.

I suspect both sets of parents were struggling.

Flobbadobs Fri 18-Jan-13 10:21:59

I wouldn't judge. Especially as my DC's don't like malteasers but me and DH do
grin
Honestly, don't worry about how much you spend, get thee to the pound shop!
Or do what I did once, get a comic (one with s free gift) and some sweets and wrap them up. Nobody judged me.

CMOTDibbler Fri 18-Jan-13 10:23:12

My ds would be delighted with a box of malteasers, and I'd be grateful for anything he got

handsandknees Fri 18-Jan-13 10:24:18

I would say it's fine. Last birthday DS's best friend gave him all his old Pokemon cards that he didn't want anymore. The mum came to me to apologise and said he insisted that's what DS would like but she wanted to give him some money too, but DS was delighted with the cards alone.

JustAHolyFool Fri 18-Jan-13 10:26:15

God, what do kids get as presents these days? A box of maltesers were standard in my day.

Fakebook Fri 18-Jan-13 10:26:39

I agree with elizaregina, tkmaxx is really good for cheap crafty presents. Also, The Works have really good books for a really cheap price too. I bought 6 books in a pack for £2 last September and we've given them all away as presents for birthday parties over the past few months.

perceptionreality Fri 18-Jan-13 10:27:35

Not at all! You invite people to the party because you want their company, not because you're expecting a present. Most children love maltesers anyway.

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 10:29:02

I feel daft for feeling stupid but the kids who's party's he is off too are of the well off variety lol

Crinkle77 Fri 18-Jan-13 10:29:45

YANBU but it wouldn't hurt to have a quick look in the pound shops or B&M as others have suggested.

insanityscratching Fri 18-Jan-13 10:30:53

I would hate to think that any of my dd's friends didn't come to her party because their parents were worried about a gift. Dd doesn't need or want a gift but does want her friends there. It wouldn't bother us at all if you came without a gift but a box of malteasers would be very much appreciated grin.

Maryz Fri 18-Jan-13 10:31:07

Well, if they are well off they really won't care.

Honestly, they won't. Their children will have lots of "stuff" and won't notice who did or didn't bring a present.

no I would judge at all, in my experience my duaghter just love having a party with her friends and opening the presents once open has little interest and gets back to playing. Something wrapped is all the birthday child needs really.

that should have been "would NOT judge"

I wouldn't care if you gave a present or not. As others are said, a party invite is a request for your/your kids' company not some kind of extortion. It's much, much better to go without a present, or with a very small present, than to avoid the party because you can't bring a fancy gift.

I would think - how lovely you came!!!

I would hate for anyone to turn down a party invite as they felt they couldn't afford a present!!!

I personally wouldn't be happy with malteasers as we have 5 boxes in the fridge. But any small box of chocs etc would be absolutely fine and preferable to more stuff!
Assuming its not me, which its no, malteasers will be fine, howvere another option, 3 or 4 normal sized choc bars tied up with ribbon?

elizaregina Fri 18-Jan-13 10:36:05

wilkinsons as well if it hasnt been mentioned.

cheap paper - pens craft stuff...

The Book People! Get a pack of books and keep it for birthday parties. They retail for £7 or more per book, but you can easily get 10 for £10 sometimes!

DD1 got Maltesers at her birthday party, from people whom I afterwards realised were probably struggling, she loved it!

I'd want a present or to know for definite you hadn't brought one, else I'd be stressing about thank you cards. Nothing better than getting everyone matched up so you can het the letters done!

bedmonster Fri 18-Jan-13 10:37:24

A unanimous yanbu. Of course a box of malteasers is a good present. Lucky children!

Matildaduck Fri 18-Jan-13 10:39:52

We always make our own cards and paper...were not short of money it's nice.

Any gift is welcome, personally felt Tips would be the best gift and you can pick them up in pound shop or pound stretcher.

Consumables are the best, i have enough pastic crap

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 18-Jan-13 10:41:14

DD got chocolate from her friend for her birthday present recently and I thought how very kind to make an effort to send something when I know money is tight for friend's family.

DrSeuss Fri 18-Jan-13 10:42:48

My son loves Maltesers and would be delighted. Other options- the ingredients for cookies, layered in a jar, or a promise of a play date with a special thing to happen eg come to my house to play and mum will teach us to bake fairy cakes/ make salt dough models/ cook a pizza.

5madthings Fri 18-Jan-13 10:43:58

No I wouldn't judge at all and my kids would be more than happy with masltesers, tho they may have to fight me to eat them as they are my favorite!

Kiriwawa Fri 18-Jan-13 10:45:10

I would be delighted - we still have unopened crap from the last birthday and that was nearly a year ago! Whereas a box of Maltesers would be long gone

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 10:46:37

Ahh good.
Ill take your word for it MN lol

ProPerformer Fri 18-Jan-13 10:48:57

I would've thought it lovely that you've bought anything at all.
We're skint too. Last two parties DS went to we took, a matchbox car and to the other a couple of those polystyrene planes and a mini book of stickers. Neither cost over £2 Abd from each party we probably got things of more value in the party bags/game prizes, BUT we spent what we could afford and the gifts seemed appreciated.

I would prefer a box of malteasers to a pound shop colouring book (or equiv) - my DC would be delighted with either. YANBU, OP.

mrscog Fri 18-Jan-13 10:51:31

I haven't read the whole thread but I absolutely wouldn't judge - I wouldn't even mind if you didn't bring a present or card.

Anja1Cam Fri 18-Jan-13 10:51:43

YANBU

Personally as a parent I would prefer if it wasn't sweets, but your recipients may have different opinion - but I would not judge you by the monetary 'value' of your gift. A small pack of felt tips etc from the pound shop / supermarket is always welcome (and my kids are 5 and 8)

Its more important to my children that their friends are there and I would hate it if parents were fretting over issues like this and added to the stress that parents already endure in managing family/kids social calendars.

Lots of people are skint and it should not be assumed that everyone has the same present budget when it comes to things like this.

I wouldn't judge.

YANBU.

borednotboring Fri 18-Jan-13 10:52:23

I'd judge if the crap present was just completely unsuitable, like a baby toy for an 8 year old or a set of knives for a toddler. But chocolates is fine, or crafty things from pound shops, there are loads of cheap book shops near us that were doing great children's books for 50p and £1, I love anyone who buys DD a book.

We received lots of homemade cards at DD's party. I'm getting more worried about having to make things to reciprocate them

lastSplash Fri 18-Jan-13 10:53:16

If they are quite well off, even better reason to give them malteasers and not crap poundstretcher tat of equal value or other random stuff - the chocolates will be eaten and appreciated.

Don't miss parties because of cash! The kids and parents would always prefer your DCs company!

fromparistoberlin Fri 18-Jan-13 10:53:59

I would NOt be offended is someone did not bring a gift, esp if theur were skint

my skint friend gave us a fiver and I was so touched

Bobyan Fri 18-Jan-13 10:56:50

You shouldn't care what people think, if that's what you can afford then then good for you for doing what you can.
I'd be mortified if a child missed out on a party because mum and dad were struggling.

Try bookpeople if your looking for gifts in the future, they are very reasonable.

lookingfoxy Fri 18-Jan-13 10:59:25

yanbu, unless they have been living under a rock they must know money issues are affecting a lot of people right now, I wouldn't bat an eyelid.

DD1 would adore a box of Maltesers of her very own, rather than having to pilfer mine. I have never sat down and calculated cost of presents. The only reason we make a note of who brought what is for thank you cards. Otherwise i wouldn't even know if someone didn't bring one.

I've also never written out invitations thinking "invite them, they'll bring a good present" smile

They just want your child to come to the party, that is all.

autumnmum Fri 18-Jan-13 11:01:27

You can never go wrong with food of any description smile My kids would love anybody unconditionally who gave them chocolate. There should be a thread on MN for people to list cheap presents their kids have been given which were loved. I know mine love those moshi monsters charmlings/zip pull things which are £2.99, playmobil and lego mystery packs which are £1.99 and anything with stickers in it. Red House and The Book People often have those Usborne stickers books for around the £2.99 mark.

Idontknowhowtohelpher Fri 18-Jan-13 11:03:59

when dd2 was 7, one of her friends gave her a bunch of daffodils picked from her garden for her birthday present. My daughter was absolutely delighted!

If you want to give a toy type of present, another idea (depending on how old the kids are) is to get one of the little pocket money mystery toy in a bag things: lego minifigures, playmobile figures, the star wars fighter pods, etc, etc (there are about a gazillion types). Most kids love them. They're usually about £2 each in the supermarket, Both my boys love these sort of things (they're 12 and 3).

Or a pack of trading cards would go down well.

HazeltheMcWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 11:05:54

I'd also be happy with Maltesers or similar. And I'd not assume that you were struggling financially; I'd probably chalk you up as a 'sensible' parent, waging a war against plastic crap/commercialisation, as this too is a personal bugbear of mine.

I'd be upset, however, if I heard that you had not wanted to come to my/DC's party as you were struggling and thought we'd judge you for bringing choc present or no present. Or you thought we'd insist on a bought card.

MrsMelons Fri 18-Jan-13 11:07:10

When I was young we used to receive presents like maltesers and be really happy about it TBH. I think there is a lot of pressure with birthday presents now and sometimes my DCs are given a tenner in cash etc which I think is too much for friends that are not really close.

shelley72 Fri 18-Jan-13 11:08:30

i have been worrying a bit about this, DS has been invited to 5 class parties over the next few weeks and i am worried about the cost and what to get that will be appreciated and doesnt cost a tenner! am trying to do parties as cheaply as possible as i dont want to turn down invites (he is in R and so making friends is important) so i would appreciate a 'bargain party gifts' thread too smile

MrsMelons Fri 18-Jan-13 11:09:10

Forgot to say - if you can afford it later in the year you could stock up, I usually buy a job lot of books from the book people (mixture of boys/girls stuff) and they work out about £2 each but would retail individually for £4.99 so I think they are quite a good gift.

insanityscratching Fri 18-Jan-13 11:10:02

If you have a Tesco locally have a look in there Dd1 came home with a Disney Princess set with colouring sheets and pencil crayons yesterday reduced to 30p for dd2 apparently there were also Disney cars sets for the same price.

Shelly: Star Wars fighter pods are your friends (or Lego mini figures). You can get 5 of them for £10, and they will almost certainly go down well with your DS's friends. Their parents will probably be grateful that you got him something small too.

Branleuse Fri 18-Jan-13 11:17:19

I would not judge at all. Not even a little bit.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Fri 18-Jan-13 11:21:41

not at all
and my dds would be thrilled to receive a box of maltesers, as would i for that matter
i hate that round here it appears to be the norm to spend a tenner for kids parties, when i reckon a fiver is more than enough

shelley72 Fri 18-Jan-13 11:22:59

thank you ArbitraryUsername - I will have a look for those!

Not at all U.

In fact, I'd almost rather it - they're definitely something that would get "used" rather than some random plastic thing that doesn't - same with colouring pencils, colouring book, etc. I agree with the posters that masses of things are just obscene.

I've had the same worry, though. When DS first started the local nursery last year, we were skint and hadn't done the "party thing" before. We tended to buy play-doh, hot wheels cars (only a pound from asda!), crayons, pens, etc.

When it came to DS's party, I was amazed by what he got from some people, and felt a little bit uncomfortable, worrying we would have to reassess what we bought people. But (aside from some lego) he has rarely looked at it, and it's the smaller, usable gifts that have given the most joy and lasted for the last 9 months.

I like the idea Arbitrary has put above, too, with the lego mini figures packs - they're definitely likely to go down well. Playmobil also do them now for the same price, and I think Lego have started doing some of the Lego Friends range as "pocket money" packs too.

DoubleMum Fri 18-Jan-13 11:29:21

My DCs would be really happy to have their own box of chocolates.

Glittertwins Fri 18-Jan-13 11:31:19

I wouldn't care, neither would the children. It's the thought that counts and we don't give parties for our children in return for presents.

Startail Fri 18-Jan-13 11:37:41

YANBU
And I'd much prefer nice branded chocolate to cheap don't work crayons.

Maltessers would be very popular here, and I bet I wouldn't get onewink

VenusRising Fri 18-Jan-13 11:43:54

Well it depends doesn't it?

If the party is in a soft play centre, or similar with a pizza at the end etc, each invited child will have cost the parents a tenner, sometimes even twenty quid per child. So I think a little box of chocs is a poor present.

If its just a little party in their home, these can be expensive to run as well, but it's usually less expensive per head, so in that case I'd say, if you want to brazen it out and give a box of malteezers from the pound shop, go ahead, BUT you might be judged harshly!

Of course if you know the parents well, you can say you're having a cash flow crisis, and will get a proper present for their little kid when you're rolling in the lolly.

For me, I go in with other parents and share parties (one party for four kids), and we ask for vouchers, one tenner voucher per invitee. So each kid gets about five book vouchers. Works out financially as well for everyone: parents share the cost of the party, and each child brings one present which are shared with the birthday kids.

Maybe don't go if you can't afford a present and play in the snow instead with your two boys?

It s not the end of the world not to go to a party if you can't afford a present.
Things change, it's not like well all be skint forever? Maybe have some old style family time instead.

ChessieFL Fri 18-Jan-13 11:45:22

I agree, YANBU.

My DD hasn't had a party yet but when she does I intend to say on the invitations that no presents are expected. She gets so much stuff from her grandparents she really doesn't need more.

Molehillmountain Fri 18-Jan-13 11:47:13

Yanbu at all. I would think it was a great present and more to the point any of my children would too. Parties are not a transaction ie giving of gift entitles you to party fun as long as the gift is good enough.

One of DSs most used and appreciated gifts at his last birthday was a Gruffalo liquid soap container, we keep refilling and reusing it!

Sorry VenusRising, that's utterly crap advice and I would be devastated if any of the parents of DD1's friends thought like that.

Actually, scrap the sorry. I'm not sorry at all. Telling someone their child should miss out on a party because they can't afford a present equal to the cost of their place sucks hmm

bunnybing Fri 18-Jan-13 11:50:46

and we ask for vouchers, one tenner voucher per invitee

Moominsarehippos Fri 18-Jan-13 11:51:34

Malteasers would be lovely! I'd check shops with sales on (Boots and sainsburys have big sales on toys and lots of the clothes shops do too). Maybe you have something leftover from Christmas that you could re-gift?

Btw we had a birthday party for DS. His mates are all uber-rich and this one year we were two presents 'short'. They boys went a bit crazy at the party and pulled the tags off before I could stop them, so we were trying to work out who gave what. Definitely two less presents than children! I did find that a bit hmm at the time (not even a card!).

Blimey, I missed that bit. Are you serious? shock

OMG Venus - for real shock?

I would be horrified if invitees to any party felt they had to measure the amount being spent on the party and judge a present/ decide not to come accordingly. I spend what I can afford to spend (both time and money) on a party, because I love seeing my DC and their friends enjoying themselves - not because I expect any sort of "payback" in the form of presents, FGS.

bunnybing Fri 18-Jan-13 11:52:58

Sorry - posted too soon.

Agree with Gwendoline - and I think, Venus, asking for vouchers, one tenner per invitee is very rude!! I would judge that.

Molehillmountain Fri 18-Jan-13 11:53:09

The more I think about it, the better maltesers sound as a gift. If I could ever be brave enough I'd suggest collections at a pound or two per invitee at a whole class do so that the birthday child got a thirty quid gift and no one was over burdened. It has crossed my mind once or twice when I've organised them that a large party is great in its way, but costs people quite a lot to attend once the gift has been given, petrol etc.

Molehillmountain Fri 18-Jan-13 11:55:02

And I think the idea of asking for a set amount of gift money to kind of cover costs completely misses the point of a party.

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 11:55:19

My DS is looking forward to his best friends party. So it's not an option to stay home and play in the snow.

I actually think that I'm not bu after reading your reply Venus. I think that's quite snobby. I don't know one the parents well, we say hi when we pass but that's it. The other party in a few weeks ds is off to I know the parents well.

gimmecakeandcandy Fri 18-Jan-13 11:55:55

No I would not judge you at all. But - I would be a bit hmm at some of my friends who I know are extremely well off if they brought that but not someone who I know is struggling, not at all. I would be more happy with your gift as you have really thought about what you can afford than a friend who earns a shit load but spends a couple of quid.

Labootin Fri 18-Jan-13 11:56:27

Match attax cards are a v good idea
Ditto maltesers

LOVE the daffodils mentioned

homemade cards are fab.. They get put at the front

Am choking slightly at Venus Risings post .. How very very sad ...

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 11:57:06

Also the party on Sunday is at a skate park with scooters at local complex. Transport has been provided as well as food.

Catchingmockingbirds Fri 18-Jan-13 11:59:10

I'm in the same position as you OP. DS has been invited to a party on Sunday and we only got the invitation on Tuesday. DP lost his job in November and has only just started a new one today so we're literally got about £70 to do us until the end of the month. I was going to get something cheap but was worried about what the parents would think as they've obviously spent a bit on the party.

gimmecakeandcandy Fri 18-Jan-13 11:59:20

Go and enjoy x

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:02:09

We have not much over £25 to last till Sunday :-(.

HazeltheMcWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 12:02:46

ARF at Venus' reply. There's always one, isn't there...
Venus, did you apply same logic to your wedding (if you have one? Not judging btw on married vs. not married.)
Judging quite a bit on the grabby behaviour though!

Labootin Fri 18-Jan-13 12:02:52

Dd once got a handwritten and decorated (by the child) recipe card for fairy cakes complete with measured out (in zipped sandwich bags) flour and sugar and six cake cases.

must have cost less than a pound and was a really lovely gift

MrsMelons Fri 18-Jan-13 12:03:13

Wow I am shocked that any parents would request a voucher from the invited children - how rude! Its not a bloody wedding list FFS!

I have also experienced being 2 presents/cards short. I would definitely NOT expect presents at all but a card is a must if people have actually paid for your child to attend their party.

Some chocolate as a present is definitely NU and I would be so upset if someone didn't come because they felt they HAD to buy something. A homemade card would be lovely and much appreciated by my DCs for sure, I am not sure what sort of lessons your DCs are learning Venus.

As fiesty as I can on MN be I have never really critisised peoples parenting choices as believe each to their own but I am actually shocked at your attitude Venus.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 18-Jan-13 12:05:39

Venus, I spent about £20 a head on DD's birthday and consider the box of chocolates a lovely present. I'd have been totally happy if there wasn't a present. I chose to spend the money and don't feel there should be a pay off for doing so, why on earth would I?

I'm still quite gutted that the girl's Mum asked me if it was alright to pick her up from where they lived after I wrote on the invite I happily would as I think it means she's found some people weren't alright about it.

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 18-Jan-13 12:07:18

My DS got a box of maltesers when it was his birthday party, he was delighted with them and I didn't think anything of it - I know the parent concerned has very little money. Personally I would go to the pound shop for cheap felt tips and a colouring book but that's just me. .

Gumby Fri 18-Jan-13 12:07:19

If you pm me your address I'll send you something to give

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:07:58

I'm just hoping the snow isn't too bad on Sunday as ill be fretting over him getting home safely as they are going on the motorway

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:09:04

Gumby thank you but it's ok.
The party is on Sunday I'm going to nip out after school and get presents sorted :-)

JuliaScurr Fri 18-Jan-13 12:09:45

pound shop
smile

theodorakisses Fri 18-Jan-13 12:10:20

No way, I find the show offy presents a bit sad to be honest. My friend was in the same situation and apologised and asked if they could still come. That made me sad. They get too many presents anyway, next year I am going to say "just bring yourselves"

Catsdontcare Fri 18-Jan-13 12:10:28

Ds1 got a bag of pick and mix from a friend for his party I've never seen him so happy!

He also gets very excited by pound coins taped to Xmas and birthday cards.

I wouldn't give it a second thought.

TheVermiciousKnid Fri 18-Jan-13 12:11:06

Venus, what a depressing post. sad

YANBU, M0naLisa. I hope your children enjoy the parties. smile

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Fri 18-Jan-13 12:11:51

What about some old style it's the thought that counts.

drjohnsonscat Fri 18-Jan-13 12:12:36

I think it would be a good present and I would def not judge. I think everyone spends too much on presents for friends. One family who came to DD's party asked what she would like and I said maybe a Rainbow Fairies book, thinking it was easy and not toooo much money. They bought her a set of seven. I was mortified in case they thought I meant please buy the whole set but also a bit horrified at the cost for them - I know they are not well off.

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:13:12

Actually I have upstairs in the cupboard 2 presents that are unwrapped but unopened from Christmas 2011.

Would I be even more unreasonable to give those blush

firawla Fri 18-Jan-13 12:13:12

wouldnt judge that, my kids would be happy with malteasers! most kids like chocolate so its not really a "crap" present is it. its not inappropriate or anythign

Flobbadobs Fri 18-Jan-13 12:13:54

Venus can't be serious. Surely no one expects a present equal in value to the cost of each child's pace at the party? How depressing..

ChiefOwl Fri 18-Jan-13 12:15:33

I am shock at Venus. I have parties for my children so they can celebrate with their friends. Whether the party is £1 a head or £100 a head that's my choice and does not dictate how expensive the present should be... And as for asking for vouchers, I woud be far more judges about that !

My dc would be happy with a box of malteasers smile and we always do homemade cards. I would hate for any child not to be able to come to a party as they felt that had to bring a present, a card is fine x

Flobbadobs Fri 18-Jan-13 12:16:19

Just seen your last post, if they're suitable then wrap them up! [mile]

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:16:46

Thanks TheVermiciousKind I am sure they will :-)

Flobbadobs Fri 18-Jan-13 12:17:09

smile ffs,
Typing fail...

Catsdontcare Fri 18-Jan-13 12:17:11

OMG just read venus's post. Please disregard it OP. I will say no more as personal insults against posters get you deleted!

Catsdontcare Fri 18-Jan-13 12:18:09

Oh god yes recycle unopened gifts, I have a box full of those that I keep by for parties

Mosman Fri 18-Jan-13 12:18:17

Maybe don't go if you can't afford a present and play in the snow instead with your two boys?

I would die if I thought somebody didn't come to one of our parties due to not being able to buy a present.

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:18:43

I know they are the foil scraper things :-/

Thinking Maltesers may be better lol

tiggytape Fri 18-Jan-13 12:19:33

YANBU - the only time I have ever commented on the value of a present DCs have received is when it is the other way - ridiculously expensive and made me worry that other parents expect far more than I normally give.
DS got given £20 in a card by one classmate and DD got given a toy that cost £35+ (I secretly hoped the parents had won it in a raffle or it was a regifted item - I'd hate people spending that sort of money or for that kind of gift to become the norm).

I think a box of maltesers would be very well received and is perfectly fine as a gift. The idea of a gift is definitely not to compensate the host for the cost of the party. It is a gesture and most parents would be horrified that some children were declining because they were too poor to afford a grand present

I really want Maltesers now and I didn't panic buy them angry

Catsdontcare Fri 18-Jan-13 12:21:34

What are foil scrapers? Can you give them with the maltesers if you want to feel it's a bigger gift?

Hobbitation Fri 18-Jan-13 12:21:57

YANBU.

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:23:48

Thanks you've made me feel better about it :-)
I didn't want to do what I've done in the past and said they can't go to x party. :-(

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:24:52

It's a foil picture under black padding (of sort) and you scrape the black off along the lines on the picture to show the picture underneath.

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:25:54
Catsdontcare Fri 18-Jan-13 12:26:32

Sounds like a standard party gift to me smile

asking for vouchers is very grabby

I used to have foil scrapers - good for slightly older children, 7, 8ish
Though I was VERY obsessive over them, maybe I was a bit too old grin

droves Fri 18-Jan-13 12:29:14

My twins have been invited to 2 parties , both at fancy kids activity centres .
One child ( boy ) was given gift ( Lego ) that cost £35 from the twins . He didn't say thank you .

The other party another wee boy was given a box of sweeties , a card and a colouring book ...he absolutely loved it and is great friends with them.

I suppose it depends on how well mannered the birthday child's family are . People forget a party is supposed to be fun entertainment for the children , getting to spend their birthday with their friends . It's not a way for greedy parents to get more gifts for their kids .

I once heard someone at school say she had spent £ 200 on a party at the local play place , but it was ok because she didn't invite children who's parents didn't work , so her dc would get double that in presents . hmm vile woman.

Tricycletops Fri 18-Jan-13 12:30:16

For me, I go in with other parents and share parties (one party for four kids), and we ask for vouchers, one tenner voucher per invitee. So each kid gets about five book vouchers. Works out financially as well for everyone: parents share the cost of the party, and each child brings one present which are shared with the birthday kids.

shock People do this sort of thing? You ask for birthday presents?

swisscottage Fri 18-Jan-13 12:31:08

I had to reread venusrising post twice...don't take anything she said onboard at all. When my DDs have parties, I never judge the presents. There is always a mixture of more expensive and less expensive and my DDs love both, my DDs are just happy everybody came to the party smile Give the foil things with some sweets, perfect smile

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 12:38:35

Yes think I will do :-)

PolkadotCircus Fri 18-Jan-13 12:39:30

God no,my dc would be thrilled with a box of Maltesers they could have all to themselves.We had a box of something once and it was the dtwins best present ever!

Your dc are invited because the birthday child want them there not because of what they'll bring.If said parents get the hump they're not worth worrying about tbf.

Astley Fri 18-Jan-13 12:43:17

I have turned down many invites for DS because I couldn't affford a present. I just remember my childhood and being so humiliated at being sent to a party without a gift that I can't do it to him now.

On theither hand, he had a party at the weekend and I know a number of children didn't turn up, I strongly suspect becuase they couldn't afford a gift, and that makes me really sad. My DS missed out on his friends company and they missed a party.

Whyamihere Fri 18-Jan-13 12:44:44

Wow, when I do a party for dd I do it because I know she'll enjoy spending time with her friends, I don't think about the presents she may get, the party is about giving not taking. Dd once got a £1 pack of bunches and she was over joyed at them.

Plus we often do homemade cards and presents, not because we can't afford to buy anything but because homemade is thoughtful. What a sad existence if you have to judge people on what they buy you.

Whyamihere Fri 18-Jan-13 12:46:58

Sorry forgot to say dd would be happy with either maltesers or the scraper foil (in all honesty she'd probably prefer the maltesers, she loves sweets)

halcyondays Fri 18-Jan-13 12:49:08

No, it's fine. it's not a crap present. My dds got Maltesers for a birthday present and they were very pleased with them.

DoTheStrand Fri 18-Jan-13 12:49:35

Venus's post has got to be a joke right? No way could anyone be that mean, preferring a child not to attend if they don't provide a big enough present.

OP I would love it if DS got maltesers and I'd probably try to eat most of them myself. It wouldn't bother me in the slightest if you saved the money and didn't bring anything though. (no not even a card! Not sure why that is seen as essential tbh). 

Slightly aghast at the posters saying they weren't happy at well off guests not giving presents - it's said a million times on MN, you never know how well off someone really is. And even if they are rich so what? Aren't you inviting them to have a good time with your DCs?  At least it means you won't feel obliged to provide a big present when you go to their parties.

lastSplash Fri 18-Jan-13 12:50:12

VenusRising YABVVVVU. I would judge you very harshly as a parent if I actually knew you and you really do this (am skeptical that anyone would behave this appallingly for real).

M0na

Maltesers or recycling the gifts you already have is absolutely fine. Unlike one poster, most people don't invite people to parties get something. I can't believe anyone would think asking for vouchers is ok.

My neighbours gave our sons some mini packs of chocolate buttons for Xmas this year and the boys were delighted because it was their chocolate that they didn't have to share with me each other.

tiggytape Fri 18-Jan-13 12:51:37

DD's favourite party present ever was some animal shaped elastic bands!

"regifting" of presents also absolutely fine - assuming it's something that the birthday child is likely to like, of course (if not, stick with the malteasers!). In my present stash cupboard are a selection of stuff bought in sales and books /other things which my DC have been given which were duplicates - when DD gets a party invitation we go and choose whatever she thinks the friend in question would like from the cupboard.

HeadFairy Fri 18-Jan-13 12:55:28

Blimey, Venus lives in a very different world to the one I inhabit... I don't see birthday parties as some kind of quid pro quo. I'd be happy that the dcs friends were there and they were having fun. Presents are just an extra thing to be grateful for.

Chocs of any sort would be very happily accepted by either of my dcs and me. Much more preferable to the mountains of plastic that breaks and fills up our house.

fuzzpig Fri 18-Jan-13 13:00:33

Haven't read whole thread yet but I worry about this too.

I would never judge anyone for a present but as I am a poor person in a relatively wealthy area I do wonder if other parents think we are just tight!

I try and go for special offers eg in January sales I got some craft kits for about 80% off.

insanityscratching Fri 18-Jan-13 13:06:52

Dd once got a string of beads that her friend had made and declared it the best present ever. She still has it in a jewellery box because it reminds her of A 6 years later and 5 years since she last saw her. She got lots of presents that year some quite expensive but none of them were treasured like A's beads.

MustafaCake Fri 18-Jan-13 13:09:40

venus you are joking, right?

You ask for VOUCHERS for your kids party shock?
I am speechless at such grabby behaviour, what sort of message are you giving your kids? That you can only be involved if you have cash? Not a good think to teach them IMHO.

each invited child will have cost the parents a tenner, sometimes even twenty quid per child. So I think a little box of chocs is a poor present
It's a fucking party not a business where you look for a return on your investment!

Thankfully I don't know of any parents who shares your view. Where I live (area of massive wealth and social deprevation) kids often don't bring presents and that is just fine with everyone. The parents are just glad the kids can come along and enjoy the party.

Tailtwister Fri 18-Jan-13 13:13:07

Absolutely not! I would much rather you came and didn't bring anything at all than not. In fact, I think maltesers would be a great present. I know both our boys would be delighted!

Please don't stress about this. Anyone with half a brain knows money is tighter for nearly everyone nowadays and you would have to be a class 1 prat to think badly of someone (especially a child) who didn't spend a fortune.

mixedpeel Fri 18-Jan-13 13:19:59

A box of Maltesers is a fab present.

It's in a box! It's all for them! They rattle and roll enticingly! They are special because they don't have them everyday!

Excuse so many exclamation marks, but I think there can't be many DCs who wouldn't absolutely love a box of Maltesers as a present.

(streets ahead of cheap pens and a colouring book in my opinion)

DoodlesNoodles Fri 18-Jan-13 13:21:51

YANBU. Not at all. I would not judge or think you were being mean. If I spent lots of money on a party then that is my choice not the invitees so I would not expect a similar amount to be spent on presents. I know all my DCs would be very happy with malteasers and they are in their late teens.

Venus has got quite a bollocking but I can see where she is coming from with the joint parties and the £10 vouchers. I think in those circumstances it is not grabby to suggest a present. I imagine they are big parties and it would be very confusing for the guests to work out what they should buy. It would be awful for them if tey thought they had to buy seperate presents for all the birthday boys and girls. I bet the invitees are delighted to just bring a voucher.

We don't know the wording of the invitations but I bet they don't say the party goers are have to bring a ten pound voucher. I bet the invitations say something polite along the lines of; If you wish to bring a present you may wish to consider bringing a voucher (maximum £10 spend) which will be shared between the birthday boys and girls. (or something like that)

Maybe I have got the wrong end of the stick its been known

cairnterrier Fri 18-Jan-13 13:24:02

DS would love a box of Maltesers! Perfect present as far as he's concerned.

Hope you have a wonderful birthday party x

I would promise not to judge you, OP providing you didn't judge me for half-inching some of said maltesers because I love them!

VenusRising - I am aghast at such an unpleasant, greedy attitude. I never, ever saw a party as an investment on which I expected to see a return (which seems to be your attitude) - the point of a party, as far as I was concerned, was for the children to have fun together. I never cared if the boys got presents or not. And I am glad to say that I never met anyone with an attitude like yours.

wisemanscamel Fri 18-Jan-13 13:25:58

Maltesers = great present, skint or not.

yellowsheep Fri 18-Jan-13 13:26:28

The twins got some obscenely expensive presents for their birthday most parents at the nursery have little spare money much like us I said no presents but they love the Tesco value colouring books ( pennies) one mum even came up to me at the party apologising for the craps present....... My children wanted to play with their friends on their birthday not have him bags full of plastic tat I felt horrible sad

Astley Fri 18-Jan-13 13:26:51

Ok I think it's agreed that noone would mind at all with a box of choc..... But how many of you would actually send your DC to a party with no present, of something very small?

I have this overiding feeling that DS would be humilated as I was and would later resent me for it. I can still remember the burning shame of turning up empty handed as the birthday child ripped open the other presents and knowing I'd not bought one.

Children are actually pretty astute about these things. DS told me yesterday a girl in his class had 'dinners' but I wasn't to tell anyone as she'd be embarrassed sad By dinners he means FSM and he turned 5 last week.

Doodles - I do see the point of vouchers to share for joint parties so that people don't end up buying separately for each birthday child, but the rest of Venus' post quickly eradicated any sympathy I might otherwise have had.

pigletmania Fri 18-Jan-13 13:27:50

I got a bx of malteesers when I was 6 fr my birthday from a friend, and I was in 7th heaven. Or go to the pound shop they have books, craft kits etc

PartTimeModel Fri 18-Jan-13 13:30:07

no no no - would not judge any gift or lack of!

OddBoots Fri 18-Jan-13 13:31:53

I would absolutely love you for sending a gift I didn't need to find space for. smile

wisemanscamel Fri 18-Jan-13 13:35:14

Astley, what you do is ask your child to put the gifts on a table, then after the party when everyone's gone home, have a lovely time opening the presents and writing the thank you letters for school over the next few days.

Job done.

sydlexic Fri 18-Jan-13 13:35:47

Venus or Uranus?

lionheart Fri 18-Jan-13 13:36:18

Not at all. I would be rather pleased not to have another thing in the house and might well feast on the chocs myself.

Blu Fri 18-Jan-13 13:36:40

I wish birthday party presents would generally retreat to a far more modest level. Or cease. And party bags. NO-ONE round here would judge anyone at all for a modest present or no present, and everyone I know would be very upset if anyone skint felt under presssure to buy a present, but it is hard to get the message across, especially amid some very generous gifts.

A skint family in our network are very practical, and have given things like a home-made badge which is just right for the recipient and very cool, or a very basic T Shirt (possibly from the second hand shop) decorated and personalised, or a jam jar personalised as a camping T light holder.Ot a CD of specially chosen tracks in a personalised CD cover, or a doll's dress hand knitted from scrap, or a bobble hat, ditto. All briliant gifts. But that takes time and committment that most people don't have.

NewYearNewNagoo Fri 18-Jan-13 13:41:47

I know that the rule of thumb is that at weddings you give a gift that is supposed to represent the cost of hosting you, isn't it? So is that where Venus gets it from?

I am hmming a bit at the thought of her trying to suss out how much the parents have laid out on a party before she chooses the gift. grin Does she ask to see the buffet? grin

I wouldn't sit and add up how much I thought the presents had cost in order to assess the parents hmm I myself usually try to pick up little toys when they are on offer and keep a few in the cupboard so I'm not spending more than £3-4, but someone like Venus would think it was a bit more.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 18-Jan-13 13:43:14

no I wouldn't

you can get sticker books in the pound shop

ds got far too many presents at his party next year may ask for no presents just not necessary to have so many toys most not played with

ajourneyofgiraffes Fri 18-Jan-13 13:44:21

I am sure there are very very few parents that give their children a birthday party just so that they can receive gifts. My son's party is coming up soon and I, and he, just want his friends to be together having fun. I spend what I choose to on my son's party because I want him and his friends to have a good time. To be honest, the more kids that come, present or not, the more I feel can justify the expense. I would much rather someone turn up empty handed than not at all.

BigSpork Fri 18-Jan-13 13:46:00

My kids would love it - though those £1 tubs of fruity chewy sweets would go down even better ;) we tend to grab those at Home Bargains or B&M.

DS1's favourite toy for years was a poundshop transformer knockoff that he was given for his 6th birthday from his friend. Still talks of that toy so fondly.

BaresarkBunny Fri 18-Jan-13 13:46:14

There would be no judgeyness here. In fact da got something similar from a friend for his bday and he said it was his favourite present grin

Astley Fri 18-Jan-13 13:54:17

wisemanscamel but your child still has to walk into a party empty handed when everyone else is holding a gift!

tiggytape Fri 18-Jan-13 13:57:33

Astley - a lot of children walk in just holding an envelope. Mostly that is because it is a card with money / voucher inside but it could equally be just a card. Any gift - no matter how small is totally acceptable for a kid's party. Parents just want the birthday child to have fun. People don't have children's parties for the presents.

No way would I judge you - I know that a lot of mums have a 'present cupboard' that they can just grab something from for a party, something cheap and cheerful.

Once my LO starts to go to parties, he'll be giving Maltesers smile

FreudiansSlipper Fri 18-Jan-13 14:01:44

but who is going to judge a child walking in empty handed not the children they do not care they want to play games and as shown on here most parents would not give it a second thought those that do are not worth worrying about

HazeltheMcWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 14:05:31

Nagoo I've never heard that wedding rule of thumb. And I really don't think it's something that exists within my set of friends. If it does, it has totally passed me by! Wedding gifts came from the time when a couple were leaving their parents' homes to set up together - so they'd be starting from scratch together. I reckon that any attempt to say that it needs to represent the cost of the wedding per head would be down to the gift retailers...

Inaflap Fri 18-Jan-13 14:09:09

I do think that its a bit daft that your child gets invited to a party but somehow this costs you money because of some social showing off for a present. It wasn't so bad when they were little (DS1 seldom got invited any way due to his special needs. Quote from one mother 'Does 'e do parties? Well I suppose he can come but you have to stay with him'. Not sure what she thought my polite, well mannered child was going to do) because you can buy and save things up cheaply. When they get older though, the easy thing is to give money. I always used to give £5 until I realised that the going rate seemed to be £10. For twins that's £20. I'm fortunate that at the mo I can afford this but I still feel a bit ho hummish about competitive present giving. It gets like this at the end of term at school with presents to the teacher. In my school, harvest gets ridiculously showy with some kids unable to carry stuff and completely daft things like champagne bought in (it goes to the Salvation army)

I think maltesers would be fine or what about a plant pot, some seeds and a small bag of compost (i think you can get little ones). Children love little presents so maybe some small things, individually wrapped up in a box?

Venus beggars belief. There was a mum at school who sent out invites to something Very Expensive to all the children in that year group but put on there 'only the first 25 to respond can come'. For adults, the first 7 adults to respond were also being treated to some showy display of vaunting wealth. Unbelievable.

Maryz Fri 18-Jan-13 14:11:46

My kids used to go to parties occasionally without presents.

Not because I was broke (mostly), but because I had forgotten, or couldn't find the presents.

I remember ds2 walking in to a party once, marching up to the birthday boy and announcing in a loud voice "I haven't got a present for you because my mum is just sooooo disorganised" blush.

I was probably judged by a lot of people, but what the hell, ds is still friends with that boy almost ten years later.

HazeltheMcWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 14:16:21

Astley - I think the consensus seems to be that the party child would not care or notice, that 99% of the party child's parents would not care at all, but the invitee would perhaps feel very conspicuous about not bringing a present (if they were unable to), which is a horrid shame.

This is not meant to sound boasty AT ALL, but I had quite a privileged upbringing - ponies and barding school etc. Not that I can afford same for mine, but hey ho. Anyhow, I was great pals with a boy from the village, who was really not at all well off. Not that it mattered to us. It was my 6th birthday, and he came to my party, and bought me The Best Present Ever. It was his bouncy ball, which was much bouncier than my bouncy ball. And he gave it to me! I was made up. And I've always remembered. I knew that he lad less money than me, but did not care. I knew that he did not buy the ball for me but did not care.

Years later, at pal's wedding, I told that story to the people at the table, when we were saying how we knew the Bride and Groom. I may have cried buckets a bit: it was honestly a great present as this was a prized possession to give me, and he's been a lifelong friend. And I was quite well refreshed. Then he said that he was so hard up that he could not afford any other present, that he had to come to party in his school uniform (I did not notice/recall that), and that he did not normally go to parties as he just could not afford it. At that point, almost everyone else cried, incl. all his tough squaddie mates. Honestly, the nice kids, the ones you'd want as friends - they wont mind.

catgirl1976 Fri 18-Jan-13 14:16:52

No not at all

But I would eat the Malteasers grin

In my defence DS is 1 so wouldn't know about it.......

I agree some 99p colouring pencils or a 99p book from Poundstretcher might be better, but I certainly wouldn't judge you. I wouldn't even judge you if you arrived with no present.

saythatagain Fri 18-Jan-13 14:17:33

It wouldn't cross my mind to judge. I couldn't care less; I mean that in a very literal sense. What's important is all the kids enjoying themselves.
In fact, at our dd's fifth party I specifically requested no presents as it was a whole class job type of party. <slathering at the thought of Maltesers>.

HazeltheMcWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 14:17:52

Barding School????? I was not learning how to become Shakespeare. I did go to boarding school, although it's becoming clear I may not have listened much when they taught spelling... blush

thesnootyfox Fri 18-Jan-13 14:19:17

I would not judge you at all.

I'm always embarrassed because we tend to spend around £5 for classmates whereas some of the gifts Ds has received have been really expensive. I don't know how people do it.

What giraffes said. Paying more for presents depending in the venue of the host's party is shallow, to say the least.
How old is the boy? Our toy shop does whoopee cushions and other small bits for a pound. These have been much more appreciated by my DSs than some of the expensive stuff they've got. They would also love Maltesers or one of those big tubes of fruit pastilles or similar, they don't get sweets usually so would be a treat. A party is about the child having a nice time with their friends, I too would be upset if your children didn't come because you couldn't afford a present.

fallon8 Fri 18-Jan-13 14:25:18

Most of the mums will be relieved that at last,someone has made a stand,,,my boys used to like things like pens with several different colours,stickers,playing cards..look in the charity shop...non one will care

silverfrog Fri 18-Jan-13 14:27:54

I would be absolutely envy if dd2 got Malteasers as a present. Seriously. Fab present.

dd2 would be happy too, but wary of her chocolate thieving mum grin

Apart from the envy, I owuld also be happy that I would not have to find a home for yet another bit of plastic (they are all very gratefully received, but dd2 will not ever let me get rid of any, even the tattiest of tat has to stay forever-and-ever, as she remembers who gave her each one, and when. Consumable presents therefore go down very well here!)

LittleFrieda Fri 18-Jan-13 14:28:01

I would judge a box of maltesers. grin But certainly not because of its value. Buy a packet of flower seeds, the same value but so much nicer.

NicknameTaken Fri 18-Jan-13 14:30:53

I wouldn't judge and I think most people wouldn't, not in the middle of a recession.

At my dd's party, I couldn't honestly tell you who gave what. If you're a bit bashful, don't put the name on the parcel, and don't give it straight to the child - often there's a pile of parcels, and you can just stick it on the pile and they're all mixed up together.

LittleFrieda Fri 18-Jan-13 14:33:36

Except it's probably a boy's present, in which case flower seeds probably won't cut the mustard. A small magnifying glass, perhaps? together with a jam jar (you could get your son to colour in a label with the boy's name and give a print out of common garden insects from the internet.

KindleMum Fri 18-Jan-13 14:35:11

Personally I buy the packs of books from the Book People and spilt them up so I can give a book or two per party. There's often free delivery codes for them so if you get to a point where you can spend £10 or £20 to lay in a stock then there's well worth doing. DCs are different ages so I have multi packs of Roald Dahl, Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs, Dr Seuss, Horrid Henry, Maisie etc. I also use it for gifts to family overseas - helps when the postage is dear! Red House and the catalogues schools sometimes give out are much dearer than Book People.

I would be thrilled to get a consumable gift like Maltesers for either child! I would rather chocolate to most haribo type sweets as I dislike the additives and colourings and my youngest still chokes on things like that. I hate having a load of new stuff after a party that is often junk or something that the youngest is likely to try to eat and choke on - like most party bag toys! Parting DS from gifts, no matter how rubbish, is a nightmare. I also really hate party bags. So many small toys in them now, all junk and mostly unsuitable for young children and dangerous to toddlers. I'd be more than happy with just the slice of cake!

Oh, and I've always regifted unsuitable/duplicate/wrong size gifts(includes most stuff from the MIL!). Nothing wrong with it as long as it's not junk. We have tons of books so the kids often get given a book they already have. I thank the giver politely and whisk it away (DS would happily have 3 books the same!) to a cupboard and use as a future present.

Greensleeves Fri 18-Jan-13 14:37:20

Why wouldn't seeds be suitable for a boy's present? confused Do only girls enjoy growing things now? Nobody told my sons about this!

I would certainly not judge you for your present. I wouldn't judge someone who brought nothing either. I would assume you were either unable to spend money or had a million other things to do. I loathe this attitude that a present is some sort of entrance pass to a party. A homemade card would be lovely and would be made much of in our house.

TheFallenNinja Fri 18-Jan-13 14:39:02

Nope, I think I would be impressed that you choose not to rack up debt to buy gifts that, lets face it, don't normally see the light of day after they have been opened.

Good for you

Mother2many Fri 18-Jan-13 14:40:13

I wouldn't judge either. Get the kids to make the card if you can...it shows it wasn't just a grab a quick/cheap thing with no thought behind it...

NicknameTaken Fri 18-Jan-13 14:40:29

Hazel, that's a lovely story.

willyoulistentome Fri 18-Jan-13 14:40:31

Would not bother me at all. I would assume parents were on a tight budget , like so many people at the moment, and be glad they made the effort.

NicknameTaken Fri 18-Jan-13 14:40:57

Too nervous to regift - certain I'd end up giving the present back to the giver.

Glittertwins Fri 18-Jan-13 14:41:07

Because of the twin thing, half our party invites will be from DTD and the other half from DTS so that people don't feel they have to buy double.

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 18-Jan-13 14:41:16

My dc (and !) would be delighted to receive a box of Maltesers.

Bonsoir Fri 18-Jan-13 14:42:28

A box of Maltesers is a lovely present! So much better than most of the horrible plastic tat that children receive at parties!

I would also be happy with a home made card, I'd just be glad your child could come. I don't do the parties with the expectation that DCs get lots of presents. In fact DS is wanting just a couple of friends around for a sleepover for his birthday (soon to be 9). As money is tight in our house too, this suits me fine and he gets what he wants.

DoodlesNoodles Fri 18-Jan-13 14:47:41

My DC's (now young adults/teens) occasionally used to receive really expensive presents from friends. I used to find that awkward as I thought I should probably remember and give a similar present when it was their DC.

I would prefer malteasers over a colouring book etc. Some DC's are not into colouring books at all whereas nearly everyone likes malteasers.

notallytuts Fri 18-Jan-13 14:48:32

The ONLY present I can remember being given by a friend at a birthday party, was a huge bar of (sainsburys own brand) chocolate. I doubt I remembered the rest after a week.

This bar of chocolate has stuck in my mind for years!

Journey Fri 18-Jan-13 15:31:24

I think it depends on the image you project, where you live, what clothes you wear etc. If I knew you probably didn't have much money then the maltesers would be fine. In many ways I would prefer you came emptied handed. I had a boy coming to my ds's party emptied handed but it was fine because I knew money was tight and was just pleased he came.

If, however, you come from a "better" house in the town and wear the latest clothes and had talked about how many Christmas presents you'd bought the dcs then I would be a bit surprised by the present.

Personally I would buy a book for a £1 rather than the maltesers because it would look like some thought had gone into the present.

dixiechick1975 Fri 18-Jan-13 15:43:10

Lots of supermarkets have annuals reduced to £1 or £2 at the moment - got dd one yesterday - said £7.99 on the back.

Maltesers sounds good though and easy to wrap.

Do people have present drawers? I have a drawer with presents under the bed and a stock of cards/wrap. Tend to buy stuff in sales or home bargains or book people etc.

Dd chooses a gift for the birthday child from the drawer. Saves rushing out last minute for a present.

Things like lipgloss, nail varnish, jigsaws, books, stickers, board games.

DS1 used to go to a school with a very deprived catchment. We'd invite the whole class to his birthday parties and only 2 or 3 would come, almost certainly because they were embarrassed about not having enough money to buy a present. It made me really sad, and DS1 was always disappointed because lots of his friends didn't come. It would have been much better if the kids had come anyway. It wasn't about presents at all; it was all about celebrating his birthday with his friends. DS doesn't care about presents, and neither do I.

I can totally understand why someone would be too embarrassed to take a child to a party without a present, and would choose not to go at all. But there should be no need to be ashamed about money being tight. It really isn't a personal failing, and (judging by the responses on this thread) almost all other parents invite children to parties simply because they want them to come. There's only one poster that seems to think it's all about the presents.

Greensleeves Fri 18-Jan-13 15:53:20

god Journey do you really think about families' socio-economic status and then decide whether or not their gift is good enough? blimey

I hate the expression "empty-handed" as well. Don't understand people who think like this.

Iamsparklyknickers Fri 18-Jan-13 15:59:02

I still remember getting my 'first proper' box of chocs, I was proper chuffed!

I usually default to colouring books, pencils and a sharpener or a sheet of stickers and a nice notepad if I'm skint. Never had a child cry yet wink

perceptionreality Fri 18-Jan-13 16:09:00

Yeah 'empty handed' implies you expect a present. I think it's bad manners to expect a present.

Osmiornica Fri 18-Jan-13 16:09:07

I wouldn't give a toss at all if you didn't bring a present and if my children had the cheek to mention it (I seriously doubt they would notice) then they'd have a telling off. I remember my niece having one of those huge birthday parties and the presents afterwards were quite frankly a bit obscene. It was just too much. Don't most children just want the party (ie junk food) and friends to play with not the presents.

I don't have parties for my children to get presents - if anything the opposite as they already have enough toys and stuff they just don't need anymore.

VenusRising Fri 18-Jan-13 16:15:33

Oh, I seem to attracted a lot of angry posts, and personal attacks because I suggested that the OP would be judged.

For sure I know that these things shouldn't matter, but lets face it, they do actually.

I'm not saying I keep score at my DCs parties, but there are some who do, and depending if the OP can brazen it out and arrive at a party which cost the birthday boys parents time thought and money with a cheap box of chocs, well and good.

Maybe I do circulate in different groups of people than most here, but there's no need to deride me for it. If we all thougt the same things, it would be very boring wouldn't it?

Personally, I wouldn't dream of showing up for a party or wedding or whatever with a cheap present, as I feel it's disrespectful to those who invested time thought and money in the party.

You cut your cloth to pay your tailor, and if you can't afford a present, you don't go to the party. But that's just how I feel.
I worked for everything I have, and don't feel entitled to go just empty handed, or with a cheap present, because I'm asked.

We are all Tolerant here aren't we?
I wonder what Xenia would say!

DoodlesNoodles Fri 18-Jan-13 16:18:29

Mmmm , I am not sure that helped your cause venus confused

wordfactory Fri 18-Jan-13 16:18:50

Well we love Maltezers in Casa Wordfactory.

DoodlesNoodles Fri 18-Jan-13 16:18:52

Case not cause

MrsMelons Fri 18-Jan-13 16:22:24

Venus the trouble is your advice wasn't really relevant to the OP as it is clear that she doesn't circulate in your 'circles' given the fact she is saying she can't afford to buy a gift. It came across as if you were purposely trying to make her feel bad about her situation - its not like she was saying she spent all her money on crack so couldn't buy a present.

I feel that you are quite selfish if you would prefer one of your DCs friends to not come to their party purely because they could not afford a present, thats so unkind.

Surely no one expects people to be tolerant on AIBU!

Venus
Your logic is predicated on the idea that the people organising the party expect presents. Any party I organise is so my children can have fun with their friends, the most valuable thing they can bring is themselves. I am comfortably off, why should people be made to feel unwelcome because I have money to spare at the moment and they don't. Some of our family friends don't have much money and I would never expect them to bring anything. I regard the plate of home made cakes or biscuits they sometimes bring as a wonderful gift because they have put in time and effort which is worth a lot more than simply monetary value.

Journey Fri 18-Jan-13 16:22:56

Greensleeve - Empty handed; presentless; without a gift; didn't bring anything; nothing to give to birthday party's dc do they not all mean the same thing? Aren't we being a bit precious?

It's a case of being sensitive to other people's circumstances as opposed to "deciding whether their gift is good enough". I know families who are struggling and as such I wouldn't want them spending money on my dcs that they couldn't afford. I also wouldn't want them turning down a party invite because they couldn't afford a gift.

You could argue that being ignorant of people's "socio-economic status" could make you insensitive and boastful.

Greensleeves Fri 18-Jan-13 16:23:19

I am very glad I don't live in your little world Venus hmm

Greensleeves Fri 18-Jan-13 16:26:18

How is it boastful not to give a monkeys whether people bring a present or not? confused

I think expecting a present is tacky and vulgar tbh. I invite people because I want their company. I'm bringing up my children to do the same. If they said "oh X bought me maltesers but they don't have much money so that's OK" I would be ashamed of them (and take the maltesers away)

Is it normal to be grasping then? How depressing.

DewDr0p Fri 18-Jan-13 16:27:02

I've had children decline party invitations where I've had an inkling that ability to buy a present was the issue (eg there is a lovely family with 9 children at our school and they pretty much never go to parties) I would have loved to have found a way to tell them we don't give a stuff about a present but didn't dare in case I'd judged the situation wrongly!

I've also been in a position where I've not really had the cash to buy a present (Despite living in a nice house! Hard times can fall on anyone these days, you know.) So no judging here.

perceptionreality Fri 18-Jan-13 16:27:28

'Personally, I wouldn't dream of showing up for a party or wedding or whatever with a cheap present, as I feel it's disrespectful to those who invested time thought and money in the party.'

So, when you invite people to a party you expect to be paid back the money you've spent in presents?? That is not a nice attitude. I imagine you therefore only have well off friends so that they can afford the entrance to your parties?? After all you aren't inviting them primarily for their company are you?

OP the answer to this is simple - a decent person won't care about a present and if they do they aren't worth stressing about.

Meglet Fri 18-Jan-13 16:27:36

I wouldn't judge.

I'd also scoff some of the maltesers.

VenusRising Fri 18-Jan-13 16:28:25

Well I do seem to be on another planet!

Vive la difference!

Oblomov Fri 18-Jan-13 16:30:13

I too would prefer the maltesers to the pound shop colouring book.

Greensleeves Fri 18-Jan-13 16:30:20

Journey you said that if somebody well-off brought maltesers you would be unimpressed, or words to that effect

that is a revolting attitude

maybe Toys R Us should start doing "wedding lists" for children's parties. Clearly there would be a market for them hmm

DS got made several presents that he really liked. One was a homemade sketch book with his name and pictures of things he liked on the front, a pack of pencils and a pencil case.

My kids would love a box of maltesers to themselves.

Also what about looking in a pound shop for a mug a kid might like and a box of hot chocolate and some biccies. My kids would love that.

I've also given a 'bath kit' of a towel with their initial appliqued on (do you sew?) and some bubble bath that were received most enthusiastically.

Oh another gift that DS ::really:: liked at that age was a homemade gift certificate for a trip to the local icecream shop with friend. He knew he got icecream and a trip with his friend.

Bobyan Fri 18-Jan-13 16:31:45

Venus given you were recently complaining about not being able to afford to save for a deposit on a property, I hardly think you are in any position to comment on how much / little people can afford on birthday presents.
I hope my dcs grow up in "circles" much more pleasant than the ones you move in.
And by the way I've never spent less than £10 on a present, but I appreciate what I have and don't look down my nose at others.

perceptionreality Fri 18-Jan-13 16:33:11

Some people have iirc, Greensleeves - there have been threads about it.

If people are grasping enough to expect presents I don't know why they don't just sell tickets to the party wink

Think about it - why should a poor child never be allowed to go to a party? When they probably have enough reminders that they have less than others.

Greensleeves Fri 18-Jan-13 16:33:44

spoony those are lovely presents!

I know someone who gave a wooden box he had made with a collection of perfect "skimming stones" they had collected

the recipient was delighted!

dischordant Fri 18-Jan-13 16:39:16

Eurgh..Yuck, what a rotten attitude, Venus. It's stinks to high Heaven!

AllOverIt Fri 18-Jan-13 16:44:17

The Book People had 7 'Where's Wally' books for £10 before Christmas. I bought it and have divided it up to give one each at birthday parties.

DS would have been thriller with Maltsters

LynetteScavo Fri 18-Jan-13 16:47:07

Of course I wouldn't judge! My DC would be thrilled to get a packet of maltesers!

I don't expect any presents when my DC's have parties...which is why I'm the mum struggling with 15 gifts and no means of carrying them at bowling. blush

DS1 once invited a boy from his class to his party...I'd never met the mother, but she greeted me with a huge hug, and gave no wrapped gift, but a very elaborate religious card. I shall always remember her and her son fondly. smile

dischordant Fri 18-Jan-13 16:51:30

It's terribly sad to expect good pressies at parties, it really is...

What is this World coming to? Sad, sad, sad....

Greensleeves, my kids would love that too!

Thingiebob Fri 18-Jan-13 16:52:55

I would be thrilled and so would my DD. Of course I wouldn't judge. I think it is a perfectly acceptable present whether skint or not.

I would judge mum's with the same attitude as Venusrising. I think it is an unpleasant attitude and sadly will be passed onto her children.

shewhowines Fri 18-Jan-13 16:59:07

Now I feel bad.

I've always been a great sales/bargain hunter and have given gifts that have cost me £5 or £10 depending on the "going rate" for presents at the time. These often looked far more expensive than they actually were, but I felt guilty if i didn't spend what everybody else did. Now I'm thinking that everybody saw me as "that parent" who tried to outdo everyone - which absolutely wasn't the case. sad and I probably inadvertently put more pressure on other parents.

I wish now I had saved the money from my bargains - which I actually could have done with at the time.

Greensleeves Fri 18-Jan-13 17:03:39

shewhowines I am convinced most parents are normal people who just don't think like that at all. Usually people just think "oh lovely thank you" and not a lot else. I have never taken an interest in what other parents can or cannot afford, or looked at presents and thought about how mine measures up.

It's just a few loons who do this. Most people are normal.

VenusRising Fri 18-Jan-13 17:08:15

To those having a go, why don't you read my posts again, you seem to think that I would judge you if you turned up to a party with a box of malteasers, whereas I said that I wouldn't but that some would. Rather than getting up on the mumsnet high horse and galloping away with yourselves, why don't you go back and read my posts!

In case you haven't time for all that reading.... Let me summarise for you:
My opinion is: Personally I wouldn't let the DCs go to a party if I couldn't afford a decent present, because I think it's disrespectful. And it's not the end of the world to live within your means and take to rough with the smooth - if you can't afford it, don't do it... I move in circles where you would be judged for bringing a cheap present - sad but true, but there you are.

So there you go, I live on a different planet, with different social mores to most on this thread!
Maybe the fact that my mum isn't from the UK gives me a different perspective?

My advice to the OP, if she's happy enough to bring her DS to a party with a box of chocs, then she should... Personally I wouldn't.

If you think it's to do with having money versus not then rest assured it is not. It's maybe to do with whether yuo associate money with worth.

And maybe the people you mix with throw parties for "the show" rather than because they actually want to spend time with the people they have invited. If that's the company you choose to keep then good luck to you.

Molehillmountain Fri 18-Jan-13 17:20:14

Venus - you just don't get it, do you? I wouldn't consider someone arriving with a gift of a box of maltesers at one of my children's parties to be doing anything they would need to be "brazening out". They would have been invited because the birthday child wanted them there, not because we were doing some "present and party cost must equal out transaction". We make our decision to hold a particular kind of party at a certain cost, and people decide whether their dc can and want to go. I do hope that some parties we've held at very low financial cost per child weren't considered unworthy of the gifts the guests brought. And let's hope your guests felt that they'd had value for money at yours. One of dd's friends has a picnic in the park and it was judged by the guests, including my dd to be the "best party ever". Luckily children don't tend to think like you, nor most adults.

Molehillmountain Fri 18-Jan-13 17:22:25

Oh and respectful behaviour at a party has nothing to with gifts. It has to do with being polite and appreciative perhaps, maybe an RSVP and a thank you at the end

OP I'm sure the parents would feel worse for the birthday child if people didn't show up so YWNBU to let them go.

Nothing wrong with the maltesers but I think I'd get a book or something from pound stretcher and a bag of jellies to go with it (just an example).

Then you would be giving a 'real' present too IYSWIM.

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 17:23:25

I'm happy for my DC to go to a party I'm not happy to see them crying because mummy's too proud to send them to their best friends birthday party without a present.

I got the Maltesers for both parties and a lovely Mumsnetter messaged me and is making some bead jewellery for the boys birthdays. So will get DC to tell their friend they will get another present but its on its way :-) thank you :-)

I went to parties many a times as a kid without a present and felt utter shit about it. I don't want my boys feeling the same.

They will make a homemade card too.

If I was in a better position then their friends would have got a better present but were not :-(

Can't believe this got to 10 pages [shocked]

Procrastinating Fri 18-Jan-13 17:25:13

YANBU, maltesers are fine. My dc would love that.

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 17:25:32

Someone asked how old the boys are.

Ds1 friend is 6
Ds2 friend is 5

The area we come from is a mixture of rich and poor. Most families round here are well off. We unfortunately are not :-(

MrsMushroom Fri 18-Jan-13 17:25:46

My DD once got a box of maltesers from a new girl at her school....we invited her to DDs party with nearly no notice and the Mum had obviously been in a similar situation OP...no time to go to shops or no cash...anyway that was 4 years ago when DD was 4 and she STILL remembers that box of Maltesers as she'd never had a whole box to herself before!

LynetteScavo Fri 18-Jan-13 17:25:56

I, and my DC would be very sad if someone didn't come to their party because they couldn't afford/had forgotten to buy a present. Parties are not about the presents or the party bags. They are about having a good time with your friends.

CrapBag Fri 18-Jan-13 17:29:12

My DS (5 this month) would think a box of maltesers was brillant.

Greensleeves Fri 18-Jan-13 17:29:19

someone gave my ds2 a box of maltesers for christmas, I've just remembered! by the time he opened them they were crushed and melted from being sat on/crushed against his person to stop his brother getting at them, but he ate the lot and was very happy grin

dischordant Fri 18-Jan-13 17:29:59

Yeah, I've read your posts Venus...

What's the word? Oh yeah...Priceless

LynetteScavo Fri 18-Jan-13 17:31:30

And dare I say it, it's the professional parents with the nice houses and cars who tend to give the less expensive gifts, while parents who live in smaller houses, and go without a car are the ones who give more extravagant gifts. I have been truly shock at the generosity of some of the gifts DC received from families who I wouldn't have thought to be particularly affluent.

Maybe people just choose to spend their money on different things.

How lovely

That's perfect Mona. I hope they have a great day!

izzyishappilybusy Fri 18-Jan-13 17:33:32

I wouldn't judge and I am getting to point where price of present is putting me off accepting invitations.

Lynette
I agree.

If I had a friend who felt her children couldn't come to my DC's party because she didn't have enough money, I'd want to cry.

M0na just because the families in the area are well off doesn't mean that they would expect more. I earn the sort of salary even Xenia (as Venus mentioned her) would approve of and I know my children would be delighted with a box of Maltesers (and the right to ration my intake wink)

Viviennemary Fri 18-Jan-13 17:35:48

I might although you shouldn't. If you lived in a mansion and drove a 4 x 4 then I'd think you were mean. But if I knew somebody was hard up then I wouldn't mind.

sparklingsky Fri 18-Jan-13 17:39:38

I wouldnt think twice about it. My dcs would love a box to themselves.

zzzzz Fri 18-Jan-13 17:42:42

God I wold have LOVED a box of maltesers as a kid. grin

It's a lovely present.

We are among the most hard up in our school and do our best. Its a bit embarrassing sometimes but I don't think it should be.

Darmont Fri 18-Jan-13 17:44:23

How about a selection of different pick and mix type sweets and put them in a special box that your children could decorate / personalise and wrap up with a bow to make it look nice. My parents in laws did this and my kids liked it more than all the other presents!

Primrose123 Fri 18-Jan-13 17:46:02

I wouldn't judge you at all.

My DC have had presents in the past that were obviously from the pound shop, but I was just glad that the kids came to the party. I would happily say to the parents not to bother about a present, but there's no easy way to do that.

I feel quite embarrassed if someone gives them a very expensive present, because we just buy little gifts, often a very small toy or bracelet, and a small box of chocolates.

izzyishappilybusy Fri 18-Jan-13 17:47:58

Thebposter who feels a bit embarrassed at generosity - I stockpile presents from TKMaxx when they are massively sticky labelled. I have given some lovely presents but never spent more than £10 between 2 dcs.

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 17:48:34

Thanks. :-) makes me feel abit better :-)

SparkyDudess Fri 18-Jan-13 17:51:14

Ds would have been thrilled to get a box of maltesers! One of his favourite ever party gifts was a mini box of celebrations - he just thought it was amazing to have a whole box of chocs just for him (and they were about 80p at the time). This was years ago, and he STILL remembers it.

Really glad you've decided to ignore the thankfully small number of posters who expect presents to offset the cost of the party, and the birthday boy/girl will be delighted.

greenpostit Fri 18-Jan-13 17:52:06

Both my 4yo and 6yo would love a box of maltesers. Much better than any "item" you could get for the same price. I would be perfectly happy with it. I might judge that you were a tight wad if you arrived with a designer handbag and designers sunglasses in a new car, but otherwise I'd be perfectly happy!

A family member got me a small tin of v cheap biscuits for Christmas which would have been fine if he hadn't said that "Christmas was expensive" when he has a huge disposable income and took a £7k holiday and gets about in £100 shirts! He gave another family member something regifted, which would have been ok had it not been very obvious. I think that's what grates on people really - people who say they are skint unless it comes to spending vast amounts of money on luxuries for themselves, which they then do freely. To be actually skint is fine.

SparkyDudess Fri 18-Jan-13 17:53:42

Primrose has reminded me - ds got a Nescafé jar filled with sweets once, and again was delighted. We live in a quite 'nice' area, but party gifts were always tokens, so the birthday child had the fun of unwrapping, rather than e pensive stuff or plastic tat.

VinoEsmeralda Fri 18-Jan-13 18:00:26

Just asked my 7 and 9 yr old DC. Their faces lit upsmile at the thought of a box of maltesers to themselves.

We have had friends come to our parties with a homemade card and a v embarrassed mum saying she couldnt afford a present at the moment but it would follow later. I thanked her and said we much rather have friends joining the party then have plastic crap ( of which they have enough).

Its about the party not the presents!

I personally think as long as the child is happy.... ( adults can be pathetic about this - i spent £15 so I expect something back worth £15......)

noviceoftheday Fri 18-Jan-13 18:06:43

M0na, please don't worry, maltesers are yummy if the children don't like it then the parents will probably eat them. (Personally, I would probably hide them from the dcs so I could have them all to myself! grin). Alternatively, the Pound Shop do some nice little books, so PoundStretcher might do the same?

Venus, I am just organising dc1s birthday party. I am doing a theme and putting together goody bags that I think the children wil enjoy. I am not looking to recover the costs through the presents. shock. I can't answer for Xenia, I can certainly answer from the perspective of someone whose annual household income puts us in the top 0.1% of UK households....it wouldn't occur to me to judge, as i know that 99.9% of other households are not as financially fortunate as we are, particularly in these times. More importantly, if my dcs weregiven any present and they were snooty or judgy about it as you sound, I would be beyond mortified that I was raising them to be so ill mannered. Hope that helps.

pointythings Fri 18-Jan-13 18:17:38

My DDs have been given Malteser-type chocolates by their friends and they have loved them. It isn't about the present at all.

Bobyan Fri 18-Jan-13 18:25:58

Agrees with Novice

charitymum Fri 18-Jan-13 18:27:23

No I'd judge people who judged you!

AlwaysHoldingOnToStarbug Fri 18-Jan-13 18:37:51

I have canvassed my boys opinions and all 5 said with no hesitation that they would love a box of malteasers! Especially if they didn't have to share them!

I would never judge anyone on what they bought, the kids are there to have fun with my kids.

We don't have much money and I've bought books on special offer or really cheap Lego sets.

The last party DS5 went to they asked for money(only when asked by parents what the child wanted, they didn't demand it on the invite!) - I wasn't too sure about it but I guess it saves on them getting stuff they already have/don't want and it takes the stress out for me having to decide what to buy!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 18-Jan-13 18:46:48

Mine would love makteasers!

By the By, many of us on this thread, me included, have said we'd love it if our DCs could have parties without getting such a lot of stuff - if so many of us feel this way, how can we change the world? grin

herladyship Fri 18-Jan-13 18:48:11

Maltesers as a present = fine smile

DD's favourite Christmas present was from a school friend. It was a picture of them together with a homemade cardboard surround. Her friend had written lovely things about DD all around the picture, I nearly cried!

BoffinMum Fri 18-Jan-13 18:52:49

I think Maltesers would be fine, but you can even do it cheaper than that with forward planning. Do stock up at the pound shop as children love the stuff in there. Debenhams have potential presents for around £3 in their Blue Cross Sale (free delivery) and The Book People often have books for £1-£2, and if you order a few, and go onto chat, they sometimes give you a free delivery code even if you are not quite at the threshold. They have sets of books for about £10 that you can split to make 10 presents as well. Regifting is also fine if your own children get duplicate presents. If you buy packs of blank cards, kids can design their own for their friends - that often goes down well.

What use is paying for food and a venue and a party outfit if no one shows up for fear of being judged by the present!! Bloody miserable party that would be!!!

I have, on occasion, asked parents if there is something their DC wants as a combined present from party guests - one child, 3rd boy in the family, so they had a load of every obvious toy going, turned out to want a football goal more than anything ever. A few emails later, lots of relieved parents had stopped worrying about what to get him, and he got to gloat to his big brothers about what his friends had bought him grin

sparkle12mar08 Fri 18-Jan-13 19:02:51

Book People currently have a 10 pack of the Steve Cole 'Astrosaurs' books for just £7.99, which would be perfect to split into 1's and 2's for boys 6-8 years age band.

I also scour my local charity shops every couple of weeks and have often picked up new and mint cindition books for 30p, 50p, 70p etc. I once got two dvd/book combo's for 50p each - cover prices £8.99! I've also bought the Roald Dahl, Horrid Henry, Beast Quest etc packs from the book retailers - usually work out at less than £2 a book. I hate spending more than £5 and try for £2 if I possibly can.

As for receiving gifts, I couldn't give a monkeys what people bring, I really couldn't - I just want their company for the dc. Books or colouring/crafty type stuff would be my favourite gifts as I hate plastic tat, but the dc love it - so if it has to be plastic please do make it pound shop stuff - at least then I won't feel guilty about chucking it when they lose interest after a month or so.

fourfingerkitkat Fri 18-Jan-13 19:04:09

Venus - completely off topic and feel free to tell me to mind my own (but you did mention it) where does your Mum come from ? Just wondering why your opinion differs so greatly from 99% of folk on this thread. Tell me to stop being so bloody nosey, I wont' be offended grin

My DS is invited to his best "nursery" friend's party in a fortnight and I've already been worrying about the present....What shite times we live in. DS has also been asking why he's not having a party (will be 5 in Feb) but we honestly can't afford it. We'll be having a nice wee family day out somewhere, probably with his Gran and Grandad. When we do start having parties for the kids I'll be stating on the invites to bring boxes of Maltesers only - no other presents !

christmashope Fri 18-Jan-13 19:04:49

Mona I haven't read all of the thread but I do keep a cupboard full of small gifts/presents that I have picked up in the sales or some duplicate toys that I have been given, if you message me your address I would be more than happy to send a couple of gifts on to you.
For the record I love maltesers and am 99% sure that most kids do too!

Our local toyshop sells Top trump cards for 50p. Maybe you could have a look in the pocket money section of local toyshops?

I would not judge the present, no, whether Maltesers or top trumps, or whatever..

fourfingerkitkat Fri 18-Jan-13 19:10:41

christmashope...your post just made me all warm and fuzzy inside...(smile)...Must check the calendar to make sure I'm not late...been getting very emotional lately !

fourfingerkitkat Fri 18-Jan-13 19:11:11

smile even..

christmashope Fri 18-Jan-13 19:12:34

Awe kitkat thanks but not an empty offer, I could get to the post office tomorrow and send 1st class. Xx

TrinityRhino Fri 18-Jan-13 19:12:57

Maltesers are not a crap present

I would not give a single thought about it if your child gave that to mine at a party

my child wants to have you there, the present is an bonus smile

maxmillie Fri 18-Jan-13 19:13:03

Crap - yes (eg inappropriate, obvuously regifted, last minute, little thought out in

Cheap - no

Some of my ds favourite birthday presents have been the plastic spuderman, batman the figures you can get in tesco for about £4, would that so it?

biff23 Fri 18-Jan-13 19:19:14

Definitely not and anyone who does is a git. Birthday party invites are given out so the child can share their special day with their friends, having loads of fun. It's not about getting expensive presents. In fact my son received £20 from a school friend and it made me feel really awkward and uncomfortable, was a ridiculous amount in my opinion, I would have preferred the sweets tbh.

Oh and I just asked the kids what they would think if they received a box of maltesers from a friend at their party - they thought it was 'awesome' smile .

MaryPoppinsBag Fri 18-Jan-13 19:20:53

No, I threw a party for DS 7 and one of his friends was dropped off by grandad and he said he'd forgotten the card.

I was not a bit bothered as I think things are tight for the family. DS was none the wiser and his friend had a lovely time.

I'd prefer their presence rather than presents!

MaryPoppinsBag Fri 18-Jan-13 19:22:02

Gosh £20 is a lot!
Luckily the budget for our school is £5!

NcNcNcNc Fri 18-Jan-13 19:34:06

round here people tend to buy gifts that cost around £10. I always shop in the sales/tk maxx/3 for 2 etc and spend £10 but the gift 'value' (RRP) is probably around £20/£30.

I thought I was doing a nice thing as giving the child 'more' for their alloted money iyswim, but maybe I've just been putting pressure on other parents who don't realise I've bought them in a sale [worried]

fallon8 Fri 18-Jan-13 19:36:08

Venus,love,,you are "new money". If you want to be part of us "old money" or "any money",one thing you must learn,,you don't judge people by what they are in the material sense,,you take people for what them.if you had sent my kids a request for " vouchers". I would have deliberately done the opposite

fallon8 Fri 18-Jan-13 19:38:27

Mary poppins.....and that had to include the wrapping and card!!!

KindleMum Fri 18-Jan-13 19:54:00

I just posted on the wrong birthday thread as I got confused between the 3! The Venus idea that your child has to justify its place is offensive to me but it's occured to me that I do teach the kids that if they have a birthday party then they have to invite the kids whose parties they've been to.

DS sometimes get invites from kids he doesn't like but usually wants to go to the party anyway. I always remind him that he will have to invite them when it's his turn. Makes him think a bit. Am I out of touch or is that generally the norm?

catgirl1976 Fri 18-Jan-13 19:54:49

Maybe I do circulate in different groups of people than most here

I rather think you do. I tend to avoid people who have vulgar grasping, avaristic attitudes to money.

I find those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing extremely distasteful

M0naLisa Fri 18-Jan-13 19:58:00

Christmasshope thank you that's kind. But I've had a few offers from mners thank you though :-) that's really kind!

shewhowines Fri 18-Jan-13 19:58:01

NcNc - that's exactly what I said a few pages ago. Genuinely didn't realise I might be causing a problem.

To be honest, I don't tend to think about cost at all when deciding on presents for the DCs' friends (or, as is usually the case, helping them to choose presents). Generally, the thought process is about buying something reasonably small that the child who will receive the present will like. Generally the spend is in the region of £10, but it may be a bit less or more. Money isn't really much of an issue for us though (not that we're swimming in it, Scrooge McDuck style or anything, alas grin).

When receiving presents, on the other hand, I absolutely could not care what they cost, or whether there is even a present at all. It's really not the point. I wouldn't even necessarily think that the family must be struggling if the present was small (or absent). It may be that they just aren't in to the whole consumerism thing, or that they didn't have time, or they forgot to get one and the party was on a Sunday morning so they couldn't dash out and panic buy something, or all manner of other things. It really doesn't matter, does it.

The important thing when you are hosting a party is that everyone has a good time. It would be incredibly rude to make a guest feel bad because you didn't think they'd spent enough on your DC's present.

Which reminds me, DS1 is going to a birthday party tomorrow. Being the disorganised mother that I am, I haven't sorted a present or card yet. It'll be a last minute dash on the way to the party (as usual).

KindleMum Fri 18-Jan-13 19:59:23

catgirl - price of everything and value of nothing was exactly the phrase in my head too!

catgirl1976 Fri 18-Jan-13 20:01:16

Great minds kindle! smile

I think sadly the need to use it is becoming more and more common sad

PurpleStorm Fri 18-Jan-13 20:34:23

I think that a box of maltesers would be fine as a present - after all, in most cases, a child is invited to a party because the birthday child wants them to be there, so he can have fun with his friends. Not because the birthday child's parents want an enormous pile of expensive presents.

stormforce10 Fri 18-Jan-13 20:56:37

YANBU dd would love a box of chocolates or sweets of any sort.

Venus I suspect I move in similar circles to you (private schools, high incomes etc.) but thankfully the people I know would never judge on the basis of what people give as birthday presents. They are far more concerned that their children and their friends enjoy the parties however expensive they may have been to put on and have happy memories to take away with them. DD invites quite a few friends she knows from activities outside school and a lot of their families are on quite low incomes - she and we would be really upset if we thougt they weren't coming to her party because they couldnt afford a grand present (dd's favourite present was a sticker book from the pound shop)

ThePinkOcelot Fri 18-Jan-13 20:58:32

I would be over the moon if my dds were given Maltesers as a present! Love them! x

theodorakisses Sat 19-Jan-13 12:12:59

In the world of MN though, I can just see a thread about "someone bringing sugar to my child's party" and lots of people jumping in to compete how little sugar, salt, anything nice ever their child has ever been exposed to. I bet they would post on MN and then eat the Maltesers themselves.

TheSecondComing Sat 19-Jan-13 12:30:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IAmLouisWalsh Sat 19-Jan-13 12:38:03

We had a party in the summer for DS. Not a birthday and didn't expect presents. Three kids brought nothing, one brought Lego, one brought Moshis and another two brought sweets. DS was equally delighted with all of the presents.

IAmLouisWalsh Sat 19-Jan-13 12:42:22

I always do homemade cards, too - they are personal and fun, and parents often say how nice they are. A bit of card, some stickers and crayons - costs next to nothing but both kids love making them and choosing what stickers to use for their pals.

MushroomSoup Sat 19-Jan-13 12:44:48

Great presents received by my DCs that have been loved but didn't cost the earth:
Small cardboard box with needles, threads, buttons and a few odd socks
Small coffee jar filled with sweets
Pretty mug or breakfast bowl with a cookie/fairy cake
Maltesers!! Any box of chocs
A bunch of flowers
Hair ribbons
Bottle of bubble bath (shop brand) decorated with a ribbon and a frilly bow (DD actually squealed with the grown-up-ness of it all!)
Photo of them and friend in a bought or homemade frame

Thumbwitch Sat 19-Jan-13 12:51:36

I hope not! DS1 gets to choose the presents for his friends and they tend to be on the cheap side - a plastic animal or 2, bubbles, that kind of thing.

I was utterly horrified when he had his own party though, and people were spending WAAAY too much (IMO) on presents! Up to AU$30 (£20) in some cases - I was somewhat mortified. blush I can't afford to spend that much on every birthday present we take to parties, especially for under 5s. I have a self-imposed maximum of AU$10 (about £6.50) for this age group.

The only present I wasn't happy for DS1 to receive for his 5th birthday was a nerf gun labelled age 8+. Just wrong. And from a parent of a 2yo, who apparently already has one. shock

noviceoftheday Sat 19-Jan-13 13:02:49

I burst out laughing when I read the second half of TheSecondComing's post. grin

My dcs always make their cards and enjoy doing it.

DamnBamboo Sat 19-Jan-13 13:46:49

OP, YANBU.
Venus don't even know what to say to your post.

I have three boys and at every party we've ever had for them, at least one child has not brought a present. Kids never noticed, I presume parent in financial difficulty, but don't care either way.

I throw a party for my children to facilitate them celebrating and having fun with their friends, not to get gifts.

But I'm a bit hmm at previous poster who says the more expensive gifts 'don't much use, are over the top' etc..

It is no better insulting someone for bringing an expensive gift than it is for not bringing anything at all.

Also, to those who say they might say on invitations 'just bring yourselves' it's really crap that you would deprive your child of the presents that they would get! Kids enjoy opening their presents, why would anybody do this.

Virgil Sat 19-Jan-13 13:59:45

DS1 (7) won a raffle recently. Top prize was tickets to a cricket international. He had to go up to the table to choose his prize and came back with the box of maltesers. DH was not impressed but DS1 was absolutely delighted with his choice.

Maltesers are always more than acceptable here !!

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 19-Jan-13 14:22:04

Venus, I have no problem with people living within their means. Indeed I am a big advocate of it.

However living within one's means doesn't mean not going to parties it means bringing a present that you can afford, for example a box of Maltesers or a whoopee cushion. I am sad for children who grow up learning that the cost of the pressie they bring is more important than the joy they bring by just being there for their friend.

diddl Sat 19-Jan-13 14:29:15

It´s hard isn´t if the children are going on an activity?

I think we feel that we need to give a present that covers the cost.

But it is the parents decision to do these things!

forgetmenots Sat 19-Jan-13 16:01:32

virgil your son sounds lovely, would have paid money to see his day's face, though.

Actually glad surprised to see the lack of judging on this, it's something I've heard colleagues talking about and been shocked that people would judge parents based on party presents. Nice to see the overwhelming majority being lovely and kind of people to offer presents to OP. (I'm in a lovely baby mood today... Can't you tell? smile )

forgetmenots Sat 19-Jan-13 16:02:26

Should have read 'his dad's face' smile

lljkk Sat 19-Jan-13 16:14:07

I feel Venus has been bullied, her perspective isn't unusual or outrageous. Sometimes it's very hard to express a minority view on MN sad. It does no favours to OP, OP isn't getting a real picture at all of how party hosts are likely to react.

I have often heard people IRL saying their DC can't go to parties because they can't stomach sending their child with no gift or a very low value one. There is a risk, albeit a small one.

For myself, I rarely have a clue who gave what at DC party. I am surprised when folk are able to keep close track. I hate how much stuff DC get at parties anyway, to the point that it makes me dread giving a party, so less is more in my mind.

elizaregina Sat 19-Jan-13 16:18:27

oh my goodness

i am ahgast shock - at someone - actually suggesting the op doesnt go to the party....because of hte present!

For my DD's 1st proper party age 3 - with entertainer - etc etc I actually asked for no presents as I couldnt imagine even with a small party of ten where on earth I would put all these gifts.

I am truely agog that someone doesnt think someone should go without an expensive gift.

I think most parents here would be devestated if the family who were struggling didnt send thier child to come and enjoy a nice party!

Such a horrid thing to do to a child. I cant imagine how I would have felt if I wasnt allowed to go to party becayse we couldnt afford a present!

What a stigma to put on a child! What sort of lessons does that send out?

I am so shocked.

We are having a party for DD1 next sat and I am now wishing I had written on the invites not to bring a present.

I would hate to think some of the kids couldnt go due to money. We have very little money and are really stretching ourselves to put the party on. Our families are helping out too. But the whole point is for children to come and have fun. Not to get presents.

elizaregina Sat 19-Jan-13 16:30:02

I am sad for children who grow up learning that the cost of the pressie they bring is more important than the joy they bring by just being there for their friend.

exactly

I have to say, the day my child comments in how much a gift did or didn't cost would be the day I vow never ever to throw a party again!! Id be ashamed that I'd raised such a spoilt brat!

And as for picking at families who r well off and still buying cheap presents? Well do u think they came to be well off but spending ridiculous amounts of money on kids they have never even met and know full well they probably won't still be friends next year given that primary age children switch friends more often than socks?

30 in a class at least 10 parties a year maybe more even at £10 a present that's still £100 a year on strangers children!

A kid can't have a party without friends being there and their parents aren't here to house our children with toys!

Go, have your dc enjoy the party smile

mumzy Sat 19-Jan-13 16:33:11

My dcs would want their friends to come to their party which is the main point. I/They wouldn't care what the present was and a box of maltesers sounds fab.

charlottehere Sat 19-Jan-13 16:39:11

YANBU. Anybody that judges you is being unfair and erm, judgy. I have had children at DDs parties who havent given a present at all and thats ok with us.

elizaregina Sat 19-Jan-13 17:09:21

yes can you imagine sorry mini eliza

no party for you we had to cancel because your friends parents coulndt bring you good enough gifts...

soz darling.

angel1976 Sat 19-Jan-13 20:49:35

We are having a build a bear party for DS1's birthday next month. I am driving myself insane as I am separately getting bear t-shirts to personalise for his little friends but I LOVE the idea of their faces when they see the t-shirts I have gotten for the bears personalised with their names. I couldn't give a monkey's about what presents DS1 will get, I prefer to get none (have tried before to word in invite not to bring presents but feel a bit mean as a mum to do that to my child IMO!). The joy they will get out of the party will be priceless. smile Let your sons go and enjoy the parties!

TheYamiOfYawn Sat 19-Jan-13 21:43:18

A friend gave my daughter a packet of coloured dot stickers one year. They were cheap but brilliant. She had loads more fun with them than with the craft kits/book from a Book People multipack that everyone else gave.

happynewmind Sat 19-Jan-13 21:49:08

Yanbu, we had a bit of a situation because of presents, dd didnt go to six in a row because we couldn't afford the present and she's never been invited to anyones party since.

I wish i had just sent chocolates now.

discrete Sat 19-Jan-13 21:53:24

The absolute best ever birthday present that my ds got was a photo of him which had been pasted onto a collage, cartoon style, of an explorer in the jungle.

Cost exactly nothing in cash terms, but was thoughtful and lovely, showed that the people involved had made an effort and made him happier than any other gift he got.

happy that's just awful sad I would be so upset that someone declined an invite over a stupid present! sad

FannyBazaar Sat 19-Jan-13 21:56:21

My 7 yo DS ('Did you know that Father Christmas gave me a giant toblerone') would be delighted. It wasn't a giant toblerone, a large one from the pound shop, but it's the thing he tells everyone about.

I would be delighted as very soon the worry of where to put this present will have vanished.

Also, if I decided to confiscate them and give them away because he's stuffed with chocolate, I need never worry about you asking if he still has the malteasers and still plays with them!

hrrumph Sat 19-Jan-13 21:58:28

No not at all. The dc will probably be delighted with the present. And usually I'm just grateful guests have turned up. I'd much rather a guest came without a present than didn't turn up or cancelled last minute because they were embarrassed about not giving a present.

hrrumph Sat 19-Jan-13 22:02:56

Sorry happy - your post only popped up after I'd written that. tbh I'd have probably done the same as you.

These things are very soon forgotten. My dd is 7 now and I have absolutely no say in who comes to the party.

Bez00 Sat 19-Jan-13 22:03:09

YANBU. It is so soon after Christmas, most kids toyboxes are overflowing. Personally, I would not relish the maltesers, but that is because I would inhale those gorgeous little morsels all by myself!

fuckwittery Sat 19-Jan-13 22:11:21

I have to say, all my asian relatives place massive importance on presents and designer ones at that it drives me insane. I think there are definitely some cultures where it might be seen as shameful not to bring a proper present to a social event and I wonder if Venus is influenced by this, her first post made me think she sounded just like one of my aunties!

But op you can see the majority view on here and it is not the social norm in England to expect a big present.
I was mortified when a neighbour of mine who was definitely broke (also from a different culture) put 10 quid in my dd1's birthday card. And didn't visit our new baby for 2 weeks, eventually coming with a 30 quid present from mother are apologising that they couldn't come before as they didn't have money for the present shock. I made sure to pass on our pram and tons of the dds clothes to them when they had a baby!

fuckwittery Sat 19-Jan-13 22:12:03

From mothercare not mother although I'm not sure why I needed to say where the 30 present was from!

zignzag Sat 19-Jan-13 22:18:08

I think you could make more of an effort....

A football

A colouring book

A pack of toy animals

Some playdoh

A nice book

Obviously a gift should not be about the money spent but it should be about the thought put into it....

I believe there is a lack of thought in this case, no effort.

whatagreatname Sat 19-Jan-13 22:38:53

My ds was given a box of maltesers by a friend for his 11th birthday and was delighted.

scottishmummy Sat 19-Jan-13 22:40:56

go to poundstretchers,bargaintastic
get bits and bobs like bubbles,pencils,toy cars
can you make some biscuits,or chocolate rice krispie cakes

FriggFRIGGisPoorlySick Sat 19-Jan-13 22:59:58

My DD would love to be given a box of 'grown up' chocolates like maltesers....I think it is a far better present than a cheap colouring book or a football,simply because it is a bit different.

I work in a toy shop,some parents spend £30 on birthday party presents,some spend £2,some put a lot of thought into them,and some just grab the nearest toy.
Personally,I love it when the parents allow the DC to decide what to give their friends,and that's what we do with DD,she chooses her friends presents (within a budget!) after all,they are her friends!

So,if perhaps you were nervous about being judged for your (awesome wink ) present,you could say that the DC choose it...

threesocksmorgan Sat 19-Jan-13 23:04:55

no one needs to not go to a party because they are skint.
but tbh I would not have wanted ever of my kids to get maltesas.
but a £1 buy from the £1 shop would have been great.

scottishmummy Sat 19-Jan-13 23:11:30

sadly some conspicuously out there types do judge,and throw extravagant parties
you find your own level.I got sucked in once.really surprised myself,but I did the children entertainer,hired hall,extravagant decor, party bag stuffed with expensive tat. felt really stupid,cost a fortune.
and in all honesty it was wag parental doing what others do pressure, no one fault except mine. I succumbed to thinking was the expected to do thing

upshot is, i did the big party showy party once only
it really doesn't matter
and to those whom it does matter, well they're tits

slad Sat 19-Jan-13 23:18:02

I wouldn't judge for sure.

Pound shop might be just the place you need.

foreverondiet Sat 19-Jan-13 23:48:42

My kids would much prefer a box of maltesers than some plastic bit of tat that breaks straightaway, or if doesn't break is something else to store.

TBH I think it would be fine not to bring a present at all. I'd just think the parents didn't have time due to late invite.

M0naLisa Sun 20-Jan-13 01:03:12

Pound shop not doable because my nearest one is 20 miles away. When I say skint I mean on the bones of our arse. I have approx £1 till Monday.
We have food gas leccy nappies wipes baby milk and cows milk.
Then these invitations threw me as I didn't have the cash.

I asked ds1(6) if he got a box of Maltesers for his birthday from his friend what would he say? And he said 'a full box to myself?' So I said 'yes' and he had a big smile and said 'aaacccceeeee'

So I think I could use the ds chose the preset wink

As for buying a football the kid whos party ds1 is going to will have many of footballs as he and ds and a group of others are in the football group at school and also do football on a weekend so it would be a wasteful present

Thumbwitch Sun 20-Jan-13 02:46:02

foreverondiet - actually that's a very good point. DS1 did get a cheap RC car for his birthday, probably cost around $10 (not that I care about the cost) - but what was sad was that it only worked for about 5 minutes and then broke. I've tried to fix it, but just made it worse (and normally I'm quite good with these things!) and it doesn't work at all now. He keeps asking me if I've mended it yet and tbh I'd rather he'd had a box of Maltesers than a disappointment like this.

Morloth Sun 20-Jan-13 06:56:09

Would suit me.

NO. MORE. KINDERCRAP.

I would be pretty upset if someone didn't come to a party because they couldn't afford a present.

I view the party as a gift to my child, not some sort of bizarre fundraising event.

zignzag Sun 20-Jan-13 07:15:30

Why chocolates though.? From reading most of thread people are saying,,,, no prob, bring chocs but,have you considered x or y as an alternative. It's not about money value to me, it's about the thought.... I do not think chocs are any effort at all. They are just a "pass yourself" gift. I hate gifts like like, don't bother give if your not willing to put effort in IMO.

If you have 2 presents left over from Christmas 2011 why not give them? Or are you hoping to keep them to make your fortune at the antiques rd show? hmm

I think you need to start picking up reduced items during the year, tescos Etc, to avoid such a situation arising again.

Morloth Sun 20-Jan-13 07:18:29

I can honestly say, I don't give even the beginnings of a fuck how much 'effort' is put into a gift for my DCs by a friend coming to their party.

More importantly, neither do they.

zignzag Sun 20-Jan-13 07:52:43

Well I like to put effort into presents, that's me. So hence it's nice when others do likewise.
There are different types of people, those who give a shit in life and those who don't .... I give a shit.
I do not judge what people give my children but I would remember a thoughtful gift no matter what the monetary value.
It appears people here feel anything will do... Which is fine but it's a cop out really, isn't it? A cop out for making jack shit effort.

KaraStarbuckThrace Sun 20-Jan-13 08:14:41

I would be delighted with a box of maltesers. Mainly because DS doesn't like them and I do :D

Molehillmountain Sun 20-Jan-13 08:35:59

You know, I think there's a level of financial hardship that a lot of people don't get. Just by a few things one of my friends says make me realise that the pound shop isn't an option because its a bus ride away. Likewise, I know plenty of children who wouldn't be going to the party unless offered a lift not just because of the present but because they had no way of getting there. Just not possible out of their budget to spend four pounds on bus fares. The maltesers, as has been said so many times on this thread, are a great gift with plenty of thought about what a child would actually like. Some of the things that have been said about it not being thoughtful have really missed several points and most especially about what broke actually means. Payday loans for party gifts? No thanks.

Dancergirl Sun 20-Jan-13 08:43:00

Haven't read the whole thread but OP you MUST send your child to the party, present or no present (and Maltesers sound lovely btw). I would hate to think a child didn't come to my dc's party if they didn't have a present to give.

If you have a spare piece of paper in the house, your ds could draw/write a card.

Really, don't worry. As most people on here have said, they are v v unlikely to judge you.

Nincompoopery Sun 20-Jan-13 08:49:50

As Dancergirl said. I would hate for a child not to attend a party purely because they didn't have a gift to give. I would hope that no parent would judge you, it would be pretty despicable if they did.
My daughter recently had a third birthday party and received a lot of gifts. If she had 1 less we and she would not have noticed. A lot of parents brought toys of varying value, for us a box of maltesers would actually have been very nice.
The double upside to receiving chocolate would be that if my daughter didn't eat them that I would very happily demolish them.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 20-Jan-13 08:54:50

I am in no financial hardship, zig, and I put very little thought into presents because (a) I don't have time and (b) I usually don't know the child. So they either get generic-toy-that-catches-my-eye or I ask DS what the child likes and he says, "err, Transformers, I think. No, Moshi Monsters maybe." - I really think he doesn't know either.

I don't see chocolates for kids as any less thoughtful than a toy or book and I'm sure the child was delighted with them.

If u but cheap u get cheap! Nothing worse than cheap brittle plastic tat it breaks straight away and leaves child upset. And no way would I have time money and storage space to go buying every bulk book/toy offer I see just in case we have a party invite.

Edible present would be far better option if your on a budget! Chocolates don't break, the silver paint doesn't wash off and most kids love chocolate!

Its more thoughtful to buy sweets that the kids garuntees to like than to grab the first piece of plastic crap u find that's in your budget.

LavenderBombshell Sun 20-Jan-13 09:06:16

Molehill

If there were an applauding emoticon , I would do it .

(((\O/))) (how's that )

I think the OP has put a lot of thought into this . She's cavassed a whole load of opinions on the interweb & more importantly asked her own DCs . There have been some absolutely fantastic ideas on this thread IMHO , but I take your point . If driving / parking or bus costs more than the present then that is bonkers (all depends on circumstances of course ) .

My DCs are much older now, but , frankly , what I remember is , they enjoyed ripping the paper off , because they felt special getting a present , and then they forgot and just wanted to play with their mates and eat cake (which they had the special job of blowing out candles therefrom ) . After the party they looked at the presents but I can honestly say I never heard mine at that age comparing present value vs friends. Really not .

I'm probably old-fashioned . Will check with them and report back.

zignzag Sun 20-Jan-13 09:15:28

I would never buy crap that breaks, but that does not mean you cannot buy cheaply. It just takes effort etc. I get the op is broke and was short notice but I do think its advisable to buy a few bits during the year when they are on offer. Or have a few packs of colours and plasticine Etc handy.

Wheresmycaffinedrip... I think you are a bit dramatic in saying you would not have the space... I am not on about buying a massive array of toys Etc just a few bits so as not to be left fretting down the line.
Think it's expected when you have kids they Will be invited to some parties.....

Anyway my view is I personally would not send a box of malteasers.

Why don't you give one of the gifts you have left over since Christmas 20 years ago or whenever, not getting why if you have 2 presents in your home can't you gift one? What's the biggie? confused

We were at a party recently and the 5 year old's favourite present was a box of maltesers. smile As kids we always got a box of Matchmakers chocolates and we were always so pleased to get them, I remember enjoying them more than what toys I got!

Hope they enjoy their parties and I'm sure the birthday children will enjoy their maltesers.

fourfingerkitkat Sun 20-Jan-13 09:22:05

Molehillmountain - Brilliant post.

SparkyTGD Sun 20-Jan-13 09:25:02

(not read all messages)

Not at all, we invite children DS is friends with to any of his parties for them all to have a good time together.

He would be delighted with a box of malteasers grin

ByTheWay1 Sun 20-Jan-13 09:28:09

When we are short and needed a quick prezzie, my girls put together a "loot" box - a freddo frog, a flump, a chomp, and a couple of mini haribo bags - put in a cardboard box turned inside out and painted with the child's name and patterns on it - has never been complained about, usually get "what a fab idea" or "mmmmmmm might have that myself later" lol

zignzag Sun 20-Jan-13 09:32:26

bytheway1 that is a nice present as its thought and effort!!

Can I just point out the op refers to the present as crap herself ....

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 20-Jan-13 09:37:12

I just don't see how coloured pens and plasticine that you bought six months ago is more thoughtful than some chocolates.

I think the OP said crap because she was worried and self-conscious.

LavenderBombshell Sun 20-Jan-13 09:37:27

ZignZag

I think your idea of picking up bargains as and when is very sensible and not mutually exclusive with the odd box of maltesers as a present . And actually the fact there are differing opinions about this means that most children who have a party will not end up with all the same presents (which will please them )

(removes fence splinter from arse)

I'm getting old aren't I - can see both sides of the argument. What heartens me is that people can be bothered to ask / comment which says to me that people actually care , whatever their eventual decision.

Exits to live and let live oblivion

blush smile or vice versa

Thumbwitch Sun 20-Jan-13 09:58:38

Yourhand - yes! to Matchmakers - they were the height of luxury for us and to get a whole packet would have been amazing!

I'm really not kidding when I say I have no space!!! We live in a small house there r four of us including a rampaging toddler. Plus I'd rather find out what the kid likes first. No good having a stash of horrid henery books if he stopped reading them six months before, and no good handing out the Barbie if the girl has loads already. I'd much rather buy as I need than have a stash of unusable gifts taking up space gathering dust under permanent threat of discovery. But that's just me.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 20-Jan-13 10:31:08

I want my own box of Matchmakers now. Harumph.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 20-Jan-13 10:35:03

I always get presents for parties at the pound shop. There are some good things there;
A kite that actually flies
Fake hammas beads kits
bubbles
Joke glasses
plastic tat jewellery
Plastic fake kitchen food
Cookie cutters
Plasticine kits
Craft sets
Flashy light lazer thingies.

Ok so tat but who cares; its the thought that counts.

KindleMum Sun 20-Jan-13 10:40:21

DH is at the supermarket now and I'm seriously considering texting him to say get Matchmakers! Or Maltesers.

chicaguapa Sun 20-Jan-13 10:41:52

In all honesty if DS got a box of Maltesers for a party present I would realise that the sender was skint and would be touched that they'd still bought DS a present. And I would feel guilty that the sender had felt obliged to do that.

DS would also think it was ace to have a whole box to himself.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Sun 20-Jan-13 10:45:22

When my ds1 turned 4 he got a range of party presents from a €15 remote control car to some expensive looking hardback books, to a plastic sandwich box with Lightning McQueen on it that I know was €1 because I saw it in Aldi a few days later - his favourite present... the sandwich box of course. That friend's mum actually knew what ds1 liked, and thought about the present so the amount spent was utterly irrelevant to ds1 smile

Bez00 Sun 20-Jan-13 10:45:37

You would be out the door with kids parties, though. I was at one with my four year old recently. I brought along a Imaginext Batman yoke, I doubt the parents would know who brought what, the gift was descended on by a host of 4 year olds and the paper wripped off with speed you normally associate with piranha attacking.
I think that the suggestion about the loot box is great, kids love that kind of thing, and by adding a small toy or colours to your shopping each week, you could have a good stash for unplanned parties.

soimpressed Sun 20-Jan-13 10:46:28

Maltesers would be better than something from the pound shop and my ds would be just as pleased with that as anything.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Sun 20-Jan-13 10:46:50

I agree Maltesers are fine btw and better than plastic crap that needs to be found a home and ends up getting stepped on smile

Dancergirl Sun 20-Jan-13 10:54:31

Oh, and I think it's just as rude to describe a gift as 'plastic crap'. That plastic crap could have been carefully chosen or all that person could afford.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Sun 20-Jan-13 11:09:02

Not rude to describe it that way on an anonymous forum and speaking in generalities Dancer - rude if said about a specific present your child has actually received, yes. I meant given a budget of a pound a box of maltesers is probably better than flimsy poor quality plastic toy of the same monetary value. However carefully chosen plastic item bought with the recipient child's likes in mind can indeed be a good present. Random stockpiled plastic toy ncan be bought with no thought other than "this'll do for somebody or other" though and in that case can be crap though, that is hard to deny I think...

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Sun 20-Jan-13 11:10:05

oops sorry for excessive number of "though"s

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Sun 20-Jan-13 11:13:27

btw naice middle class present of a book or other educational item can also be a bit crap when the present is all about how the giver's parent wishes to be perceived ("Oh I always buy books") and utterly irrelevant to the interest/ age of the recipient. It is usually obvious which presents have involved thought, and that is much more important than budget.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 20-Jan-13 11:13:49

Never realised it was such a mindfield before re party presents. DS goes to a small school though so not many parties throughtout the year especially as he's getting older.

I buy decent presents in the sale and store them should we get a invitation close to the date, things like crayola sets and board games that dont date. DS loves to choose himself if we have time and we have no set budget as such but go based on what the child would like.

I'd have gone with a book or crayons over chocolate but only as it looks like more effort has gone into the present. I tend not to buy chocolate on its own but to add to a present.

Yeah I'm not thrilled about all this plastic tat talk.

One the one hand you're talking about lack of finances and on the other, slagging off presents that are probably all someone can afford! confused

In saying that, I had a party for ds6 yesterday and I struggled to keep up with who gave what! The piranha metaphor is very apt!

Some gave lots, others gave less but some of the less expensive stuff was definitely well thought out as they were relevant to DS.

Either way, I was delighted that his friends came and nothing else mattered! One little girl came whose mummy forgot her card. I don't know if that was an 'excuse' or not but it made not one bit of difference because I was just glad he wasn't sitting in an empty hall!

Meanwhile the kids haven't actually noticed or don't give a monkeys anyway. In my day I got socks from
One family member and we were perfectly happy. Far far far to much thought is going into how the parents r going to judge. Theres no need to al be trhing to out do eachother. Seriously it's a six year olds birthday, probably be falling out next week, they r kids. Y the worry?

It's like the Harry Enfield sketch. " considerably richer than yoouuuu"

BumBiscuits Sun 20-Jan-13 11:29:45

Kids don't care, they just want their pals at their party.

Those who have kids that have been on the receiving end of expensive gifts need to remember that the may be regifts or bought in the sales.

DD has been invited to a party next week and the gift has cost me £5. It was originally £20 but in the Boots 75% off sale.

Thingiebob Sun 20-Jan-13 11:38:54

I would hate, hate, HATE the idea that a friend of my DD didn't come to her party because the parent couldn't afford a present.

I don't think presents are compulsory. it's lovely of course but my DD has her birthday presents on her birthday.

I now I've already said this but a box of maltesers is a great present for my DD. She would yum them up. I think OP, you will find that most decent people will not bat an eyelid at a child turning up with chocolates, or an inexpensive gift.

Dancergirl Sun 20-Jan-13 11:38:56

But apart from the money, the birthday child might actually LIKE that flimsy, poorly made toy from the pound shop.

It doesn't matter if you only voice your opinion on a public forum and not to the person's face, it doesn't make it ok; thinking about someone's gift as 'crap' is horrible imo.

theukgrinch you shouldn't 'rank' presents into what's 'better'.

BumBiscuits Sun 20-Jan-13 11:57:51

It's not what the parents think about the gift that matters. I've never known either of my kids to turn up their nose at any present while attacking the pile after their parties.

For DD1's 5th birthday, one mum had taped a £5 to a gift, a jigsaw or game. I thought how odd, but nice all the same. The gift obviously came in below her usual gift budget. now I'm worried I'm seen as the type to be a judgey-pants about party gifts

zignzag Sun 20-Jan-13 13:45:12

People are just snobby by saying plastic tat or whatever from pound shop..... Really silly attitude. There are plenty of decent presents to be got in pound shops, that are not tat. As I said before I would stay away from obviously flimsy gifts but the usual books, crayons, colouring books, character breakfast sets, footballs, dress up items, playdoh, paint set, zoo animal set, farm animal set, craft set...... All of these are not breakable and can be bought cheaply. I always have a few bits in the house that I can add to or make up a gift if needed or if visiting friends etc. at least if op bought a few bits over next few weeks she would have something to add to her now famous box of malteasers wink for future parties If the child is asked to future parties after the skimpy and thoughtless present produced at this one

What gets me is the op has 2 gifts in house to give, she also referred to said box of malteasers as crap in the title!!!

lljkk Sun 20-Jan-13 13:47:15

At least the Maltesers will be appreciated. DS was a HUGE Ben10 fan, but went off it 4 weeks before his big birthday party. Half the stuff he got was Ben10 (sigh). Somebody in our house would have eaten the Maltesers, for sure.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 20-Jan-13 13:52:20

Crossing it out doesn't make it any less unkind, zig.

OP has also said that another MNer has offered to do some beading for her to go with the Malteasers.

As an aside, presents don't get opened at parties where I am, they get taken home and opened later. This means I can make a list for thank you notes and means the whole time at the party is for, err, partying.

5madthings Sun 20-Jan-13 13:59:28

zig are you seriously suggesting that a child wouldn't be invited back to another party if they gave maltesers as a gift?! Fucking hell I wouldn't want to be friends with anyone who had that attitude!

My kids would love the maltesers especially the ones that come in a box as they would play with the box afterwards and use it for their 'treasures'. And what makes it a thoughtless gift?!

Maryz Sun 20-Jan-13 14:00:22

Well if my child wasn't invited to a future party because I (not my child, btw, no child of this age buys their own presents) either didn't bother or couldn't afford to buy a present, then that's fine by me.

Any family who will decide on a party list based on the memory of what the child did or didn't bring last year isn't the type of family I want my child to spend] time with.

5madthings Sun 20-Jan-13 14:00:24

doctrine presents opened at home after the party here as well, much easier and I can keep note and send a thank you smile

zignzag Sun 20-Jan-13 14:35:26

No not saying a kid would not be invited to parties, kinda tongue in cheek, but I do feel the gift is shite. Anyway it's not life or death.....

yanbu, bloody love malteasers, tho if you have a pound shop ours is selling sone fab stuff at the mo, sponge bob activity packs, angry birds stuff, hardback famous five books etc.

What Maryz said.

M0na, I hope your DCs enjoyed the parties this afternoon!

LittleMissFantabulous Sun 20-Jan-13 16:12:08

M0na you can be invited to any party my lot have, Maltesers are the holy grail of chocs about these parts!

Hope the kids had a good daysmile

Molehillmountain Sun 20-Jan-13 17:36:07

Zig-no one I know would not invite a child to a party because of the quality or otherwise of the gift given. And as repeatedly stated, maltesers would be a great gift much appreciated by the child. I know the message has been given but I have just recalled the last three Christmas and birthday gifts given by our children to dh-yep, a small box of maltesers each. After the contents are eaten the boxes invariably become treasure boxes, monsters with gaping mouths, moshi display cases, etc. And, although I very frequently give craft sets as gifts, and dd and ds enjoy receiving them, I think they actually prefer the recycling of boxes. They're able to do exactly what they want And because dh is the only one who is given boxes of maltesers, one to themselves would cause great excitement. I feel that what really comes out in this thread is that people give in different spirits and a spirit of "what would this child like?" Has nothing to do with finances or whether the gift is chocolate, plastic, from a pound shop, or Harrods, bought specifically for that child or drawn from a present cupboard. Any of those things could feel smug or lovely, mean or generous. The very worst thing people can do is give a gift because it makes them look good. Op-hope the parties were fab.

Lueji Sun 20-Jan-13 17:45:26

I DS would love maltesers.

In fact, next year I may write in the invitations that any kind of chocolate would be most welcome. smile

Personally, I'd be happy to tell guests to make donations to children's charities, were it not for the fact that DS would be a little sad for having few presents.

Often a book can be very cheap, for example.

Lueji Sun 20-Jan-13 17:51:57

For example, DS this year was most happy with the marbles he got.
At 1 euro a bag.

And with pound shop pokemon cards.

Children's presents can become a huge burden on household finances if the parents are not well off.
I'd think that any gift should be appreciated.

insanityscratching Sun 20-Jan-13 18:03:50

The year before last dd's best friend didn't attend her party, her mum said she was ill but her friend told dd it was because she didn't have a present to bring. Both dd and I were upset because dd wanted her friend there and neither she nor I would have been bothered about a present. I already knew they had it tough. This year I tied myself in knots trying to get across to her friend's mum that dd only wanted her company and not offend her at the same time. Dd was thrilled that her friend attended the gift she brought wasn't important and all children who attended got the same thank you card that said " thank you for making my birthday special" whether they brought a gift or not as neither dd nor I kept a tally of who brought what.

zignzag Sun 20-Jan-13 18:23:08

*m

zignzag Sun 20-Jan-13 18:31:55

molehillmountain sorry but I find your post funny..... Sure why don't you just ask kids to give your children empty cornflake boxes etc as gifts. you sound waaaayy ott in your love and your children's love of empty boxes!! Seriously, next you will tell me they got a selection of empty boxes for Christmas...from Bisto boxes to butter tubs. Suppose one could always gift empty toilet rolls also...

Anyway as I said already. Not life or death but personally I would of had put some more thought into the gift. shoot me now

I don't care what gifts my kids receive as try have lots of stuff do not need anything but I would care what gifts I give to others. What's so wrong with wanting to gift a decent gift? All of a sudden it's like crime. The op asked for opinions and I gave mine. Does not make me wrong or right.

angel1976 Sun 20-Jan-13 19:25:21

I honestly don't think it's such a bad idea to recycle unwanted gifts. Of course, you try to give gender/age appropriate gifts, and not completely just random recycling! For example, my DCs got a whole lot of crafty stuff from their grandparents at Christmas and we have had a fair go at a few of them - hama beads, clay/pottery and mosaic pictures but truth of it is my DCs aren't that keen on crafts! We still have some crafty bits stored away like paper mache set and craft boxes so they will be recycled as birthday presents.

And some of my DCs' best presents have been birthday presents I would never have bought for them thinking they would not be interested. Which just goes to show... Recycling presents sometimes ain't that bad an idea! smile

Morloth Sun 20-Jan-13 21:24:10

I have a room full of kindercrap, some of it expensive but it is crap just the same.

Thank god DS1 is a bit old for these sorts of parties now. Just have to get DS2 through.

If it makes you feel any better OP, I think I might switch to just giving chocolates/sweets from now on. I suspect I am not alone in my hatred of the plastic.

Thumbwitch Sun 20-Jan-13 22:13:56

Can you still get Matchmakers?? I thought they were discontinued for a while by the bastards who own Rowntrees - but have just checked Wiki and discovered that they are still available and "are a popular addition to the British diet during the Christmas period." grin

PurpleStorm Sun 20-Jan-13 22:26:28

They had minty Matchmakers on sale in my local Co-Op over Christmas. They were with all the other Christmassy stuff.

Haven't checked to see if they're still in the chocolate aisle.

LavenderBombshell Sun 20-Jan-13 22:34:42

So - bollocks - tried to report back on random sample of my eldest DS (now teenage )
Edited highlights - chocolates - yes - because all you get otherwise is lego and stickers and stuff.

OK my final word - enjoy the (circa) 4 yr old parties , bcause IIRC correctly - they do not care . They just want cake and games & feeling it is their day and stuff (whatever stuff ) to unwrap. It is so innocent and to be enjoyed .

LePetitPrince Sun 20-Jan-13 22:57:45

One of my kid's got a second hand sweatshirt as a present, the same parents gave a cheap t-shirt from a local sports shop the following year. She wore both and I was glad to see a present being used.

I'd personally like to ask for NO presents but then others might think I was judging their parties.

YANBU

Gargamella Sun 20-Jan-13 23:59:15

OP - the host and parents would so much rather have your kids there than not go because of worrying about having to get an expensive gift. I've had one or two people say they've forgotten birthday invites over the years and am pretty sure gift worry was behind it. I so wish I'd known beforehand and could have told them that a box of maltesers would be more than enough. Hope all had a great time x

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