Ungrateful little buggers

Tomorrow a friend of my son is celebrating 8 complete years on the planet. This means a party, and this means presents and lots of them.

Buying presents for children is somewhat of an arms race. You must always try and match the cost of the latest present bought for your child, and this leads to a gentle selection pressure upwards. Over time, the money spent on each kid increases at a rate higher than inflation.

There are various ways around this, but few are successful. You can announce that you don’t buy gifts, and don’t want any bought for you, but then you can say goodbye to your and your children’s social lives. You might buy a cheap present, but don’t count opn being invited next year, and making your kid a target of teasing is not a good idea.

You could go together with a few other parents and share a bigger present, but this doesn’t work either as many parents promise to come to the party and then don’t, leaving you out of pocket for the pricey gift.

Or you could try this system – tell every child coming to bring a FIXED but modest sum of money, which is  put into a pot and used to buy the kid a nice big fancy whatever – one good present, instead of dozens of cheap pieces of crap.

Personally, I get a horrible feeling at any kid’s party, watching the queue of packages being ripped open and deposited casually in a pile. Reducing this to one good gift that the child actually wants might restore my faith in birthdays. And if I have to buy another fucking ninja turtle to give away, I think I may just puke.

/ paddy (the toyshop’s best friend)

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7 thoughts on “Ungrateful little buggers

  1. I’m with you Paddy. I know just what you’re saying.

    My kids are invited to endless parties.

    And when choosing pressies, I’m thinking all the time of what “Johnny’s” mum might say about it or whether “Oliver’s” mum will think I’m tight. Thing is, I know they will pass derogatory comments if I only spend a certain amount on their child’s pressie because they’ve said things to me about other mums.

    So tedious. And shallow.

  2. Snart är det över, kalasen tar slut snabbare än man kan ana och man minns alltihop som en parentes som det är skönt att ha bakom sig!

    Jag tror man kan ha lite regler. Många barn hade det, fick bara köpa för en viss summa. Det var av helt andra orsaker än för simpla presenter som visssa barn inte blev bjudna på kalas!

  3. I can understand your frustration, especially if your child is often invited to parties. Here in Deutschland we try to keep it modest. Parents always ask what the birthday child would like and I’ve learned to expect a very clear directive from the child’s mother (often for books or something educational). People are cost conscious, so gifts are usually around €5, stretching to under €10 for a very best friend. Thus far, things remain quite sane.

  4. Annaa: Maybe you’re right – now I just have to convince his mum that it would be a good idea…

    029: They’re back…and yes, you ARE old..!

    Charlotte: Wow, sounds great, perhaps I should have a German theme party…

  5. The last time we had a party we rang round to all the invited guests and told them “50 kroner upper limit on presents, please”. The only way we would have passed derogatory comments about any of our guests would have been if they had clearly spent over the limit.

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