How Much to Spend on Kids' Birthday Gifts
Berkeley Parents Network >
Bday Gifts > How Much to Spend on Kids' Birthday Gifts
The last advice I see on BPN about this is from 2002, so I'm
looking for an update. How much are people spending for birthday
party gifts for 3-5 year olds? Also, would you spend more for a
gift because the party is extravagant, even if the child is not a
particularly close friend?
$10-15. Not more for extravagant parties - that's the party-planner's
-Am I cheap?
Hi. Being a single mom of limited income, I decided several
years ago that my maximum for birthday presents is $20.
Currently my kids are 3 and 10, and that price max works for
both. My kids can pick one present under $20 or several that
add up to $20. It's ok to go over a couple dollars (tax,
etc.), but you can find plenty of very nice presents at
reasonable costs. There is a kids' store on College near the
BART station (name escapes me) that has great presents under
$20 and will wrap for free. Also Michaels Arts & Crafts has so
many wonderful things. Good luck!
I usually aim to spend about $20, maybe slightly more if it's
someone we're particularly close to. I definitely don't let how
much the parents are spending on the party influence what I
Not into the competition
You didn't say this, but I sense that you (and I) are trying
very hard not to get caught up in current trends which seem to
require that children have extravagant birthday parties,
complete with extravagant gifts. Just like in ''the good ol'
days'' I find that today's children would have more fun with a
good-sized cardboard box than with a $100 toy.
When I shop for birthday gifts, unless the child is a very good
friend, I limit the amount to $12. Not only is it more wallet
friendly (especially in those months when we seem to have a
party every weekend) but it forces me/my daughter to think
creatively about the gift. I have her help me (after all, these
are HER friends), and it gives me chances to teach her about how
to shop for someone else, how to shop creatively/stay on a
budget, and how to leave a store and be OK that she didn't get
anything. If my daughter insists on an item that is over-
budget, she has to kick in the difference from her allowance.
You would think that would automatically cause her to go for an
cheaper item, but not so. It DOES make her give more thought to
her choice, but she is just a likely to go for it as to choose
something else. Though my daughter is 8 now, we started
introducing and building on these ideas when she was in the age
range of your post (3-5).
Another thing I do is allow my daughter to decline invitations.
I think that is just as important a part of a social life as how
to behave at the party. Not to mention that a birthday party
declined is very nice on the wallet. I hope this has been
helpful and not TMI!
I spend something between $6 and $12 dependent on what I would like to
maybe a bit more if the kid is a good friend of the family (like
$15-20). I personally
don't care how extravagant the party is, that's up to those parents to
decide, I still
earn the same amount of money. Same for parents who consistently put us
shame with their gifts - it really doesn't make me any richer so I have
my limits for
giving to them. I know some people who are financially not well off, and
really creative with their gifts, and I actually appreciate it better
because they've put
so much thought into it. I'm curious to see how I do on average :)
mom of 2
$10 if it's just a party you were invited to because everyone
$10 - $20 if it's someone your kid plays with regualarly (if I
like the kid and the parents)
$25 $35 reserved for the two very best friends of my son.
I don't spend more than $20 for that age. But I also find that
it really doesn't matter because cheaper gifts can be just as
popular as more expensive ones. My daughter was given a Mr.
Potato Head toy (a plastic bucket with about 50 parts) when she
turned 2 and it was (and still is) one of her faves. It was
$10 at Target.
We spend $10-$15 on children's birthday gifts- it is within our budget
plenty of choices with books/toys/art supplies etc. We would not spend
on the extravagance of the party. The gifts my children have received
have been within
that price range as well, with the exception of some close friends who
have a bigger
budget and really love to gift others. We determine actual gift value
appropriateness- a gift the birthday boy or girl will enjoy based on age
We usually spend up to $ 15.00, and it does not matter whether
the party is extravagant or not. We may spend a little more for
something unique for a close friend. We try to steer away
from ''plasticky'' toys and usually have our kids make their own
We spend about $10-20, usually on the lower end. We try to honor
the ''no gifts please'' and ''please donate to ...'' requests, but
sometimes we already bought the gift specifically for the child.
I spend around $10-15 per gift, maybe more if the recipient is a
close friend of my child.
We spend around $10 for birthday gifts for our daughters' friends, ages
2-9. This is
the same amount we have spent since the oldest was a baby. Sometimes we
go up to
$15 if we need to for the perfect thing. Sometimes a little more for a
close friend, esp.
one who has given something special in the past. We never take the
the party into account in selecting a gift. (BTW, my daughter just
attended a bday party
for an 8 yr old where the most coveted gift was papers, pens, and
stickers put together
in a ''homemade craft kit'' so I know that the cost of a gift does not
determine its value
to the recipient.)
--it really is the thought that counts
I have typically spent between $10-25 for birthday presents for
kids that age. I might spend in the higher range for a child
that is closer friends with my child and especially if I know
that they really want that particular toy/item. I do not base
what I spend on how ''extravagent'' the party might be... I spend
what I feel I can afford.
We spend about $20 on a gift, more (up to $30) if it is a very
close friend. And a big No on whether you need to spend more for
an extravagant party. You are a *guest* not a customer or
I spend $15-20 on bday gifts. I don't think you should adjust
up or down depending on the type of party. It's the birthday
child's parents' choice what they want to do and a gift is not
an admission price in my opinion.
I spend less than $10, though my kids have definitely gotten
presents worth double that.
My child will be attending his first preschool-wide birthday party, and I am
wondering what the current norms are on price ranges for gifts. The
archives show that the standard in 1996 was about $10-15. Has it changed
I usually find two or three smaller, less expensive gifts
and wrap each one separately. The kids like opening several
gifts wrapped in fun and interesting ways - while still
being easy to open, of course! They may add up to around
$15. I try not to spend more than $20 unless they are
really close frends. I try to not attend parties for kids
we really don't know well. This saves on funds and
may reduce bad feelings when they aren't invited to my kid's
parties. I really like it when presents aren't opened while
the guests are still around.
We've been invited to a birthady party for a four-year-old niece.
We don't have any idea about what to get or what the going rate for birthday presents
is, because we have just had a baby ourselves. Any advice?
I have a daughter whose fourth birthday is coming up soon, so I'm
also interested in this subject. I'll throw in my comment on
gifts, which is that I think they are generally in the range
of $5-$10. I try to pick out gifts that are not very commercial.
I'm not sure this makes me popular with the kids, but I hope it
makes me popular with the parents. Some recent gifts I've picked
out for children turning five are: binoculars (~$10), a science
kit to grow seeds, a candle-making kit. Please let me know if
anyone has any other suggestions.
This year will be the first party where we have not written on
the invitation that children should not bring gifts. For parties
up until age three we could get away with it, but now my daughter
insists that a birthday party must include presents. I'm afraid
that she'll get a lot of toys that I don't approve of, but I
can't think of any way to avoid it.
I agree with the
message about keeping gifts at $5-10 and trying to come up with nonstandard
stuff--especially nature-based and crafts. It's true that you always get
gifts that you'd rather not have around the house. I've found that I can
sometimes stash things in the closet immediately after the party and leave
them there until they won't be missed if I donate them.
re the birthday gift ideas: we try to stick to $7.00 a birthday, and
I am always a big proponent of books! can't have enough of them,
regardless of age.
this page was last updated: Sep 25, 2012
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Berkeley Parents Network