Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Birthday angst

Several of Girl Terror's little friends have birthdays coming up. They're so cute, giving each other hugs and gifts! Of course, behind the scenes is not so pretty. I hate, really really hate, buying stuff for other kids. I'm not mean, it's not that I am so cheap, it's just the whole "competition" thing with the parents. Is my gift good enough? Did it cost the right amount? Did she spend more on my kid than I did on hers? I try to not think this way. I do. But the worry still niggles in. With my one friend, it really is an issue. Her issue. She mutters when her mother-in-law gives her practical gifts. She compares what her sister gives their mom to what she herself has chosen. I know she thinks I'm a terrible gift giver, because in many ways, I am. I won't give a child a gift I disagree with, like a toy gun. I try to give toys that I would buy for my own kids, like art stuff, a stamp set, books, or games. Often the things I've given are put away, and not played with because they require parental effort or supervision. I also don't spend as much on a gift as said friend, and I know she notices.
With my other friend, who is probably reading this right now, (Hi Wendy!) this is just not a problem. It goes back to the similar parenting styles. I bought a gift for her son that I think he will like, she will like, and I will want to buy another to give my own child. I didn't spend an obscene amount of money, and she won't notice or care. I actually enjoyed picking it out, and I'm hoping the store has another one for me to buy later! Her son will say thank-you, and Girl Terror will try and give him birthday hugs.
How do you handle the Mommy Gift Competition? How do you choose gifts for another child? What do you do if someone gives your child something you think is inappropriate?

10 comments:

Ella said...

Oh I hate this, it's such a minefield. I don't spend much on my kids so I don't spend much on friends' kids either. I choose something appropriate, not too expensive and I try not to worry at present opening time. But I still hate the whole thing!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Call me Scrooge, but I think the best policy is "No gifts, please."

Usually, nobody else has a clue what your child would like/should have.

And if you enforce a no-gifts rule for your child's birthday, then you don't have to buy for anybody else, either.

I usually get paid for coming up with great ideas like this, but you can have this one for free because I like you a lot.

rachel said...

Give a book. I always give books. I shall be known for all eternity as "The curmudgeonly aunt who always gave us books".

Comic books count.

Raehan said...

Recently I've been to two birthday parties where the parent has told me what I should get her child. The problem is they were things I am trying to steer away from: barbies and princess stuff. We DO have a few barbies and princess stuff, but I prefer buying gifts that I feel better about because RAchel goes shopping with me and it is a learning process for us both.

I did buy the Barbie and princess stuff, but I didn't feel really good about it or he experience of picking out the gift.

Raehan said...

Oh, and I HATE when people open presents in front of everyone. It's just too hard on the little kids and then parents compare. I cringe when I hear "time to open presents." The children never enjoy it and the birhday child always ends up misbehaving.

tales north said...

I am the same way when it comes to buying kids a gift. I try to buy ones that I think my kids would enjoy and are not distasteful - like toy guns! As far as price goes - your gonna love this one! I bought our friends son a big basket of outside pool toys from the trading post - cost me $16 dollars. I bought the exact same basket for my kids in Superstore when they had all the summer stuff still out - cost me $3.99. Talk about taking it dry hey!

Northern_Girl said...

Cash - I give cash for everything...birthdays, weddings, showers (baby and wedding), funerals. Cash, baby, just cash.

wendy said...

Hi tammie(see you tomorow) thanks for the nice words I was a little worried when I started reading your post! I personally like seeing ppl open gifts that I give so why would I deprive others of that. I guess I try to make my kids parties a bit different we really try to make the whole present thing a nice calm experience for the bday kid rather than the feeding frenzy I have seen at other parties. Plus I LIKE appropriate, useful gifts;) and I dont' care how much stuff costs it really is the thought that counts to me!

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