Her friend has lots of toys between she and her younger sister (sound familiar?), and Lindsey just couldn't pick something out that she wasn't sure she didn't already have. So she ultimately chose three figurines of animals that she knew her friend liked. I'm sure her friend will finds lot of different ways to play with these.
It took us a very, very long time to pick out this gift. Part of the challenge is that I try to spend a certain amount of money per birthday gift, and these three little tiny figurines were up to that limit. They seemed ridiculously expensive to me, but they look like a $5 gift. So Lindsey still kept looking for something that seemed more substantial to fill the gift bag. But we couldn't find anything that was just the right price point without getting way past our budget.
By the end of the shopping trip Lindsey had decided that the gift she chose was good enough, and that her friend didn't need a big gift to know how much she meant to Lindsey.
It got me thinking about the excess that gets lavished upon our kids for birthdays. The gifts, the parties, the goodie bags. We've been guilty of it ourselves, spending hundreds of dollars to host a birthday party somewhere other than our house, pushing little plastic bags of crappy toys into little hands as the guests walk out the door. We've now reduced gift bags to passing out balloons that we bought for the party, if even that.
When Lindsey turned four I convinced her to have a no-gift party. We asked guests to bring a donation to Children's Cancer Research Fund. She thoroughly enjoyed the party and all the activities, but after all the guests had gone she asked if the following year she could have presents.
I would love to continue to have birthday parties for my girls -- they love the party itself and the time with their friends. But I don't need to have my child receiving 10 or 11 gifts from their friends for their birthdays. Yet if I banned gifts, they would be so disappointed. And how do I make this fair, when the eldest has had two more birthdays than our youngest? Do we continue to allow the younger one to receive gifts for a couple of years after we've cut the older child off?
What are your thoughts? How do you handle birthday gifts from your kids' friends?