Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Gift Closet - 2010 kids' birthdays

Psst...I'll let you in on a secret! Here's what I'm giving the Nugget's friends for birthday gifts this year. A personalized cloth snack bag. They are handmade in the USA, out of cotton with a nylon lining. They close with velcro. They are lightweight so they will be cheap for me to ship. Best of all, they are machine washable! I am gifting them for ages 1-4 this year, girls and boys, because they can hold everything from Cheerios to hair clips to Matchbox cars to a sandwich. They are just a little something, but having it personalized makes it special. They straddle the line between fun and practical. And they can stand-in for Ziplocs, making them eco-friendly, which was a big selling point for me. I got one for the Nugget, and it's his "snacking in the car" container.

I made a master list of kiddos' birthdays and ordered them all at once to save on shipping. I also asked the seller to cut me a discount for the bulk order. I have worked with many Etsy sellers, and most are amenable to the bulk discount. She even threw in a couple of extra freebie bags that I use to pack Hubby's lunch.

Once they arrived, I organized them by month - Jan birthdays, Feb birthdays, Mar birthdays, etc. I bought a jumbo pack of flat manila envelopes for shipping. and put them all in a box in the office. In lieu of cards, I'll send limited edition Nugget artwork. Less money, more personal. I collect the Nugget's crayon drawings and paintings, and when a birthday is coming up, I ask him to pick one to send to his friend. I write a little message on it, and he adds some "writing" of his own.

One extra easy step I'm doing this year is sending out the entire month's worth of birthday gifts out together. Yeah, some will arrive early, but I think fellow parents will understand that multiple post office trips with a toddler can be hazardous to one's well-being. Plus, less chance of me forgetting to get one out on time.
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Another birthday secret? My moms' group has a pact that we don't buy gifts for kids' birthdays. Surely some gift-giving happens, since some families have been friends for years, but it's done on the down-low. We take turns hosting monthly birthday celebrations, varying what we do. We hosted the July party in our backyard with a potluck lunch and cupcakes. We've also done picnics at parks and Chuck E Cheese in the winter. I know this won't last forever, but I'm glad we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief and save some cash...at least until our kids start preschool!

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