A survey of parents conducted by T. Rowe Price found that 62% of parents agreed that they spent more money on gifts for their children than their budget allowed for. Holiday gifting is an expensive part of life for many families, but gifts don’t just stop during the holidays: celebrations spring up throughout the year, and if your child has a special occasion during the fall, this can put increasing pressure on your holiday budget. If you have a little one with a big imagination and a social occasion coming up, rest assured that you can keep within your budget while presenting them with a gift they’ll love.
Money means nothing to children
The right gift isn’t necessarily the most expensive new piece of tech or the toy all their friends have. The right gift is the gift that sparks joy in your child, giving them delight at the moment and sparking memories that will last. One survey conducted by Moonpig Kid’s Institute found that 80% of respondents found gifts they received as children to be more memorable than ones they later received as adults. The survey prompted the organization to conduct an experiment on children opening unusual gifts and highlighted the delight of a group of young girls giggling over unwrapping a jar of pickled onions.
The organizers noted that monetary value has no relevance to children: what makes a good present for them is unpredictable and fun, and the experience of receiving a gift is as much a part of the gift-receiving process as the present itself. Simply making the present-giving process fun will make your child’s birthday a memorable event. Try wrapping gifts in multiple layers of wrapping, presenting the gift in a box within a box within a box, or creating a treasure hunt for your child to find their gift to make the whole event a memory they’ll treasure forever.
A gift that keeps on giving
One way to battle the urge to give big gifts is to look for small gifts with big potential. For the budding cook, this might be a children’s recipe book packed with child-friendly recipes that you and your child can create throughout the year. For a little superhero, this could be a costume of their favorite character, giving way to a wealth of imaginative play games. If you have a child who loves telling stories, one hand puppet (or, for older children, a puppet making kit) can set the stage for many happy days of puppet shows and storytelling. A basic child’s gardening kit will give the budding gardener everything they need in order to learn how to look after their corner of the garden throughout the year. Presents that may seem small can offer new opportunities throughout the whole year when paired with your guidance and willingness to join your child as they learn and explore new things.
Bear in mind your child’s age when you’re shopping for gifts. While you want to find something that will provide them with joy for many days going forward, it needs to be something that’s safe and appropriate to their interests now. Consider your child’s interests and what makes them excited, and check gift ideas according to their interests, age, and abilities. Shopping for preschoolers can be particularly challenging: watch how they play and look for gifts that spark their imagination. But remember, for children this age, the excitement is in receiving the gift as much as it is in the present itself. Make the whole process a fun experience, and you’re sure to make it a hit, no matter what your budget.
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