Buying Presents for Other People’s Children

Over the years, it can be startling how many presents you seem to buy for other people’s children, whether your friends children, your children’s friends, nephews, nieces or God children. We hope this guide will give you some food for thought.

Your friend’s children
When we were younger we got into the habit of buying Christmas and Birthday presents for our friends children. Then, as our own children got older, we started to realise just how much stuff children accumulate – all those little presents really add up. One of our friends suggested that we stopped buying for each other and although it seemed a bit mean initially we think she was absolutely right. Certainly, our children haven’t missed these additional presents and we’ve probably saved a fortune.

Your children’s friends
Children will generally get a present from every child that they invite to their party (although we were in awe of one parent who sent their child to one of our children’s party without one!). If you hold a party in the local sports centre and invite the whole class that’s about 30 presents. If you want to see what 30 presents x 10 birthday parties looks like you should see our daughter’s bedroom – and most of the time we only had 10 children or so at a house party!

Have a budget and stick to it if at all possible. Our budget used to be £5 but it has crept up to more like £10 over the last couple of years – more if you add in the card and wrapping paper too. This may not sound like a lot, however, £10 x 30 children is £300 worth of presents!

Ask your child what their friend likes, and just as importantly, what they don’t – this is generally very helpful. If possible, take your child with you to buy the present or sit them with you if you’re buying on-line. Children can often instantly spot what will be popular. Try to avoid buying things which they are likely to have lots of already. By the time they are 7 or 8 most girls will have a room full of cuddlies, diaries, ornaments etc. Our son is only 3 so we’re not sure what the equivalents are for boys yet!

Now the pressure is really on – it is a well known fact that Aunties and Uncles always buy the best presents! My Auntie and Uncle have bought fantastic presents for my brothers and I and now our children for the last 40+ years. They always seem to be able to spot something that isn’t readily available in the shops and is just that little bit different. And they managed to do it without having a wonderful resource like the internet so really you have no excuse!

Some ideas are:
Think of alternatives to toys – how about a swimming bag and matching towel for school swimming lessons; a really nice backpack, a lava lamp for their bedroom.

If you’re buying toys – can you get something to go with what they already have – an exciting bridge or tunnel for their wooden train set, shiny new vehicles for their garage, a playroom or nursery set for their dolls house. These can give some of their older toys a new lease of life.

You could buy them a music CD or computer game but these can be really difficult to get right unless you know the child really well. You could ask mum or dad if there is anything they are desperate for currently.

Buy an experience rather than a present. If their parents will allow, why not take them out to a local theme park or to see a musical.