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AIBU to attend a birthday party and give this gift?

(60 Posts)
vmedd Sat 20-Apr-19 12:46:03

This is my first time posting here and I was hoping you guys could help me.
Background is my husband and I have 2 boys. 1 in the school nursery and the eldest in reception. Since December when my husband was suddenly made redundant we have had to considerably tighten our belts on just my part time wage. He had no redundancy package due to being there only a short time. We are financially muddling through & DH now has a job on minimum wage.
Now my big worry is both my children are being invited to parties. 2-3 a weekend. I have had to decline a few that weren't close friends but then my eldest especially is catching on with the chat on the playground at school, then is asking why he missed out. AIBU to give a homemade card with a £5 note in? Or should I decline the invites? I don't want to buy plastic, cheap toys for the sake of it or risk duplicates but by giving £5 am I inviting judgement?
Thank yousmile

3boysandabump Sat 20-Apr-19 12:47:34

I often stick a fiver in a card. Parents seem to prefer it rather than ending up with a load of toys that the kids don't even play with

ohdeartheregotheeggs Sat 20-Apr-19 12:47:52

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all :-) a homemade card is lovely (and shows thought!). Rather than £5 in the card I'd suggest some sweets and maybe a nice book? The book people often sell book collections pretty cheap (think £10) and you could break them up so you have a book for each party if that makes sense?

ohdeartheregotheeggs Sat 20-Apr-19 12:48:34

Actually when I posted that I realised as a child how chuffed I was to receive any money I could go and choose a toy with 🙈 either way I think is fine :-)

Aeroflotgirl Sat 20-Apr-19 12:50:24

I agree, go to Poundshop and get some bits and pieces from the kids/art section, there are loads of character stuff or any discount stores like B&M, Homebargains. Just shop around.

Lulu1919 Sat 20-Apr-19 12:50:58

Homemade cards are fab
Supermarkets often have small books or sticker book colouring books etc less than £5
It’s the thought that counts x

Averyimportantperson Sat 20-Apr-19 12:51:26

The works were recently doing 20 cards for £1. They should keep you going a while.

NotMyUsualTopBilling Sat 20-Apr-19 12:53:07

I have up buying gifts for kids parties a few years ago, I just chuck £5 in a card and don't give it another thought.

I didn't like having parties for mine because of all the random crap toys, books that we already have and/or duplicate items which almost never get played with.

Atleast they can save cash to buy something they like/want.

justasking111 Sat 20-Apr-19 12:53:19

Oh I have always given money, having had three kids, I really do not want more crap. Gift tokens if you baulk at cash are an alternative.

Aeroflotgirl Sat 20-Apr-19 12:53:37

Card Factory also do 10 cards for £1 as well.

RageAgainstTheVendingMachine Sat 20-Apr-19 12:53:38

5 quid in a card is fine, it really is. My eldest was tickled pink when someone did that daffodil

Aeroflotgirl Sat 20-Apr-19 12:55:49

You don't have to put £5 in a card, it is a lot if there are all those parties per weekend. See what discount shops have that you can wrap up, or just get a bag of sweets or box of Maltesers to give. I got a box of Maltesers for my birthday once from a friend at school, I was so happy, it was my favourite chocolate.

Flyingaddict Sat 20-Apr-19 12:56:30

£5 in a card is great, they can put it towards something they really want rather than plastic tat that usually ends up in the bin

KurriKurri Sat 20-Apr-19 12:56:35

Home made card is fine - very nice in fact, and I honestly wouldn't spend as much as a fiver - the birthdya child will be getting loads of stuff, you don't have to give anything except a token gift. I would buy packs of books from the Works or similar and split it up for various parties, add a packet of sweets.
Or go to somewhere like poundstretcher and buy a beahc ball, or a bucket and spade set - children love all that kind of stuff and it will cost less than a fiver.
I think people go OTT on gifts for children's parties - I was on a small budget when mine were little and simply couldn't afford to buy big things for every party child. My kids were perfectly happy with things like colouring books, little sets of dolls/action figures ect that you can get cheap in places like Wilkos or poundstretcher. I know they are plastic tat - but more expensive toys (like Lol dolls etc) are alos plastic tat, just hiked up price plastic tat.

Aeroflotgirl Sat 20-Apr-19 12:56:44

Be selective about the parties your ds goes to, decline if he does not play with the child.

nutbrownhare15 Sat 20-Apr-19 12:58:42

Given that you are getting invites to so many, I'd try to spend less than £5 each if poss. Some good suggestions above. I've been buying Orchard Toys games for bday parties at a cost of £5-6 but we only get occasional invites.

BackforGood Sat 20-Apr-19 12:59:12

Agree with everyone. Whereas (as a child, or as a parent of birthday child) a fiver in a card would be wonderful, you honestly cold just send a card, or wrap up a box of maltesers (£1 in our poundshop). Don't stop him from going because you are short on cash.

Aeroflotgirl Sat 20-Apr-19 13:00:09

nutbrown I love Orchard toys, they are really good, and reasonably priced too.

PippilottaLongstocking Sat 20-Apr-19 13:02:52

Oh wow my child only gets invited to around 5 parties a year! We always do homemade cards, I think it’s much nicer than bought ones, and most kids would be happy to have £5 to spend, although you could probably pick up a small gift for less than that

locketsprocket Sat 20-Apr-19 13:04:24

£5 is more than enough for school friend party

I have a box of party bits, packs of cheap cards, and pick up little gifts that are on sale etc so I always have something in

Greyhound22 Sat 20-Apr-19 13:07:49

I often put £5 in a card it's fine - however I would hate to think a child hadn't come to my son's party because of the pressure to buy a present - a card is fine - they get so much.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sat 20-Apr-19 13:09:21

@vmedd - it sounds like a fine present to me. I always felt that what mattered was that children came to the dses' parties and they all had a good time together - it was lovely that people gave them presents, but that wasn't why they were invited, and if there were friends whose parents were in a bit of a financial pinch, and gave a small present or none at all, I would not have dreamt of judging them for it. And I'm glad to say that they boys didn't either.

AuntieStella Sat 20-Apr-19 13:14:06

If you're on your uppers, don't spend as much as a fiver.

Try the nicer stuff from a Poundshop (by which I mean craft supplies rather than tatty/flimsy toys), a set of MatchAttax cards or similar for those who collect them, or get a couple of sets from The Book People and give a book.

Stompythedinosaur Sat 20-Apr-19 13:15:56

I think it's fine, but I also think you can spend less than £5 a party if things are tight. A couple of £1 bags if sweets work well.

Thehop Sat 20-Apr-19 13:16:50

I always stick a £5 in a card.

vmedd Sat 20-Apr-19 13:20:23

Thank youflowers all for your reassurance and fabulous ideas. I'm so grateful. Clearly I was making a mountain out of a mole hill🙈

tabbiemoo Sat 20-Apr-19 13:21:48

Personally not a fan of cash in a card. I would prefer to get a few bits from supermarket/pound stores.

I tend to batch buy presents for kid’s birthday parties - make use of the deals/sales the supermarkets/Argos do.

UCOforAC12 Sat 20-Apr-19 13:23:53

Homemade cards are absolutely fine (and often the best). Present wise as someone suggests get a job lot of The Book People books and give a couple (usually work out at £1 each if you get the right bundle).

JudgeRindersMinder Sat 20-Apr-19 13:24:44

I’d be gutted if your wee boy didn’t come to my party because you felt you couldn’t afford a present. Handmade cards are fab, whether or not there’s anything in it

SarahMontague Sat 20-Apr-19 13:24:52

Ah I wouldn’t refuse the invites and have your little boy miss out because you’re worried about the value of the birthday present you’re giving. If anyone judges you on that they’re seriously mean-spirited.
As others have said, you might need to pare it down a bit more when they’re both attending parties. I second the Book People - buy packs & split them up.
Children of that age have no idea about what is being spent on their present. And as they grow older parties tend to be fewer, so you won’t have to buy as often. X

Margot33 Sat 20-Apr-19 13:26:30

Fiver in a card is perfect. This only happened to one of our children once and we thought it was great, she got to spend it on something she really wanted.

Witchend Sat 20-Apr-19 13:27:12

Really don't worry about it. I can remember one parent giving a small bag of sweets wrapped in newspaper for one of mine and being really apologetic. Said child was delighted and flung her arms round her proclaiming sweets were her favourite present.
Personally I wouldn't have minded if they hadn't brought anything at all, and would definitely be upset to think they hadn't come because they couldn't afford a present.

Aragog Sat 20-Apr-19 13:35:55

Homemade card from your child is perfect. That was pretty normal round here. £5 in the card as a gift is also fab.

Aragog Sat 20-Apr-19 13:37:46

Agree too though that the gift packs of books which you can split, or a box of Maltesers have always gone down well when DD had them given to her when smaller.

saraclara Sat 20-Apr-19 13:42:23

Definitely go to the Book People website.Their sets of good, well known author picture books can work out at just over£1 each. Yet they're proper gifts that don't give the impression of being a budget buy.

AgentPeggyCarter Sat 20-Apr-19 13:44:21

My DC have gone through a phase of suddenly having hectic social lives on the party front. I found both the Crazy Chefs and Shopping List Orchard Games on Amazon for £3.85 each. I bought a stack of them to reach £20 (so free postage) and have been giving those. My DC love them (and DD is 5 now so they seem to have a bit of longevity) and I figure if they have them they’re ripe for regifting and not plastic tat.

JenFromTheGlen Sat 20-Apr-19 13:47:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Widowodiw Sat 20-Apr-19 13:48:05

For £5 you can go pound shop and get colouring books etc. I ever spent more than a fiver as the number of parties we got invited to was just silly. Don’t sorry by then time they are about 7 a fiver in a card will be the done thing.

Dishwashersaurous Sat 20-Apr-19 13:48:09

Books from the works. They frequently have ten for ten pounds. Stock up and give two for a present or even one

And we always make homemade cards, the invitee makes them and draws on things they like.

The works also have big packs of blank cards cheaper than hobby craft

Dippypippy1980 Sat 20-Apr-19 13:48:31

Kids get so many presents at parties they just merge into one big pile. Please don’t fret over how much you spend.

My nephew has a class mate who never goes to parties. My nephew and his friends still invite him to every party, and on the last invite my nephew wanted to write that he didn’t have to bring a present and his mum could stay the whole time of she wanted, whatever would make him allowed to come. They are ten. Made me cry😢.

Kids really care about the presents - they just want their friends so run around with.

Waveysnail Sat 20-Apr-19 13:49:21

Wouldnt even bother with a card. Colouring book and some pens/pencils are fine.

Waveysnail Sat 20-Apr-19 13:50:53

Yep to others too - small box sweets

Waveysnail Sat 20-Apr-19 13:51:20

Also used plain paper at home and kids have decorated it to wrap presents.

Butterymuffin Sat 20-Apr-19 13:52:46

Kids are always happy to get money or chocolate. Spending even £1 or £2 on a card and Maltesers, or a block of chocolate, will be fine.

mumofthree321 Sat 20-Apr-19 13:57:41

There are lovely places like Tiger where you can pick up very cheap but nice gifts for a few pounds - that and a pack of sweets (max £5) is more than enough. Presents values vary enormously and honestly, the parents are just pleased your child came and enjoyed the party with their son/daughter. I wouldn't have been fussed if they didn't bring a present and just sent a card. I was just really happy to have them all there smile

heyday Sat 20-Apr-19 13:59:37

Its not easy is it? Here in London the parties seem to get more and more extravagant by the year, usually costing way over £200. I think a home made card is lovely especially if the child does the writing inside to make it personal. Parties just seem to be another way of creating more pressure and competition.

EleanorLavish Sat 20-Apr-19 14:00:54

Not that they type is school has anything to do with it, but mine went to a private prep school and a £5 in a card was deffo the norm.
Mine would have been happy with a home made card (they loved these!) and a pack of buttons or bar of chic tbh. grin
Go and enjoy. Hope things get a bit easier for you all soon.

EleanorLavish Sat 20-Apr-19 14:01:34

Typos! I’ll never learn to proof read. You get the gist.

glueandstick Sat 20-Apr-19 14:02:12

Home bargains is amazing for small kids birthday gifts. Their colouring books are 69p. I got some slime eggs for less than 50p and their sweets are bright and fun and very cheap. I keep a stock of small gifts at home for parties.

But really, kids would much rather you came than brought gifts!

formerbabe Sat 20-Apr-19 14:05:06

Personally, I'd much rather someone attend and bring a pound shop gift or a bag of sweets than not attend at all. Or even if they just brought a card.. presence rather than presents is what matters to me.

Mummyoflittledragon Sat 20-Apr-19 14:05:48

I’d rather a child came with no present than not come. I get that parents would probably be too embarrassed. At this age however children really won’t notice.

When dd was this age she was invited to loads of parties and I used to get things off Amazon reduced and I’d buy job lots. All the same thing for a few kids if it was cheap eg Spider-Man 60cm inflatable £2.97.
www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0051DU6SW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?psc=1&tag=mumsnetforu03-21&ie=UTF8. You could add a little packet of sweets if you wish.

Amazon also sometimes discounts things to ridiculously low prices. In 2015 it was the deadly 60 stuff. This was £3.84 (2014 - checked my orders) now £17.99 www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B007H949Q8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_image_o00_s00?psc=1&tag=mumsnetforu03-21&ie=UTF8 Idk if this item will ever get slashed in price again but prices on toys do fluctuate wildly. When ds was into toys I always used to put toy purchases in my basket and monitor. Eg Occasionally baby Anabelle something or other could go down to £19.99 but only for a short period then creep back up over the next week or two to the rrp of £34.99.

Playmytune Sat 20-Apr-19 14:09:07

I wouldn’t put £5 in a card, could be thought of as couldn’t be bothered getting anything (now I guess I’m being shot down in flames).
Go to The Works if you have one nearby. As pp said you can get either 10 or 20 cards for a pound. On top of this, as well as books, they sell cheap toys and craft kits. I have just bought 3 craft kits and the most expensive was £4!! Also got a lovely wooden Alphabet jigsaw, which was only £4.99. They are great value and much better than a box of Maltesers etc.!

Purpleheadgirl Sat 20-Apr-19 14:09:24

We have always at primary level either spent £5 or given £5 note. I also keep an eye out year round for things on offer even at supermarkets and pick up things that would be £7.50 or more for £2 or £3 each and put away to choose from later. Book people are took for presents or bags for parties as can get 10 decent books for £10 which often have price of around £5 printed on each smile

NewSchoolNewName Sat 20-Apr-19 14:10:33

When we’ve invited kids to parties, it’s because we wanted the child there, not because we wanted extra presents for our DC.

£5 in a card would be absolutely fine, or a cheaper token present. One of DS1’s favourite presents at his 5th birthday party was a bag of jelly babies. He was thrilled to have them all for himself.

daphine2004 Sat 20-Apr-19 14:10:34

@ohdeartheregotheeggs I always give a book or a few books now and buy big packs from the book people or the works. It usually works out 10 for £10, so not much to spend. It just got to the point we were going to parties every weekend and spending £10 at least, not to mention the running around during the week to buy something. It’s just too much really but I’d always want to give a little gift.

BlueMerchant Sat 20-Apr-19 14:12:37

£5 in a homemade card is absolutely fine.
My two have always loved getting money to save or spend.
They would also always be happy with a bag of sweets or a colouring book/new crayons when they were small.

AlunWynsKnee Sat 20-Apr-19 14:18:49

My favourite cards are home made😊
Dc got a lovely one from a friend this year and one of my dc made me an incredible one this year.
My dc loved an actual note of money too.

ColdTattyWaitingForSummer Sat 20-Apr-19 14:22:16

Homemade cards always come across as thoughtful, as it takes more effort than going and buying one. Mine have always loved getting birthday money, as then they get to go and choose something they really want. Also when they’re little craft supplies, nice colouring pencils etc are always popular; two or three of those from the pound shop (if you have one) and a small sweetie would make a lovely present.

Talkingfrog Sat 20-Apr-19 14:54:07

Money in a card is fine.
From reception onwards my daughter has had a mixture of gifts and £5 in a card. She loves both. She likes opening a gift, but she also likes being able to pool the birthday money together and go and pick something herself.
If you did want other ideas at any time, the entertainer often has toys "half price" at £5. When dd was getting more invites I would pick up one or two to have ready. The works often does 10 books for £10. Could be worth stashing some ready. Whilst done stories are more boy / girl a lot are unisex. Dd lived stories so books went form well, and parents might like it too.

woolduvet Sat 20-Apr-19 14:57:34

You could buy some cheap tubs and make some different coloured play dough. Get a few cutters from the pound shop. Home made card is absolutely fine.

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