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)