I think most mamas don’t exactly get excited about kid birthday parties. Whether we are planning them or attending them; it’s stressful, loud, busy and over-stimulating at the best of times! We have all been apart of those celebrations where you watch your child (or another), unwrap gift after gift. The child develops this methodical way of just tearing through the bags and paper, and you catch yourself feeling uncertain by the visuals of extreme waste and excessive plastic toy pile up…and not to mention the evidence of greed in the child’s eyes. In a world where our children have easy access to just about anything…and instantly, it’s hard to provide them with “things” they will appreciate. I know we all want to raise our children to appreciate ALL things in life, but it can prove to be quite challenging. At these celebrations, it’s almost like you see this child in a state of euphoria where their emotions are just intensified by the attention, and all objects that surround and overwhelm them. Now how do we take control of this? Read-on to see some tips we offer to second-hand gift giving or really just more meaningful gift giving to help calm any celebration down.
Guidelines to the gift-giving part
Here’s a few tips that we found helpful in keeping gift giving at children’s birthday parties a little under control and resisting as much as possible the purchase of the over-plastic packaged gifts.
Check out what local kid friendly places are in town. Options are endless when you start thinking of the variety; Arts and craft workshop, swim/skate passes, trampoline park, movie package passes (easily purchased at Costco), indoor bike park, indoor play park/structure, singing lessons, reptile or animal sanctuary, waterpark cash, nail manicure/pedicure, or even a special live show or theatre.
You would be surprised at how many of the above options are also available for online purchasing, which helps you on saving time and ordering right from your computer, and eliminates waste as you can email the receipt!
Create your own ticket for future babysitting, a sleepover at your place or favourite meal. Works great for the birthday child AND parent ;)
My favourite go-to aisle in any thrift shop is the book aisle. Not only is this a great gift for the child, where you can personalize your choices and find books in their preferred genre, but it’s also a relief to the parents to see a new book title come onto the shelves for shared reading. You can also check out the board game aisle, which is also a great hit for the whole family. You will find your money will also go MUCH further in a thrift gift. I can find 10 excellent condition, pre-loved books for under $15, whereas if I walked into a big box store like Chapters, I would walk out with only one book .
Make that contribution while it’s still hot! While our federal government still supports and will match your savings inside an RESP. The match is called the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). We will get a 20% match on $2500 contributed per child, per year. This gift idea may not mean much now, but will help support that child’s future down the road.
Contribute to your favourite charitable organization, one that means something to the child, whether it’s a child focused like “Make a Wish Foundation”, or maybe they are more passionate about animals and the “World Wildlife foundation” makes more sense.
There’s a few websites out there that will allow you to not only gift to your favourite charitable organization but also a portion will be contributed to a gift of your child’s choice, try www.echoage.com to support this option.
Honestly, it’s whatever you feel most comfortable gifting. If second hand items ain’t your thang… you can always find many options in the gift card format. You can customize the gift to how much you want to spend and choose a store you feel that child would appreciate. Why not let the child hang onto that gift card and save for something big they really want, or allow them to pick out an item of their choice. You’re gifting a potential experience and item, all in one!
You can’t forget that personal touch of a handmade card…it really doesn’t take much to fold a piece of paper in half, initiate the verse on the front or even a few drawings on the inside from your child.
In addition to the homemade card, I like to add my own little riddle that I have printed on tags to attach to the card… you can also be creative and write your own!
What are your eco-friendly gift ideas?? Share in the comments.
Simply Green Mums