Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Birthday Parties for Kids

Seems like every week one of the kids comes home with a birthday party invitation. Buying presents for kids on a regular basis can get very pricey, especially in this economy. Recently, a friend of my youngest son gave him a very creative present and another used homemade wrapping paper, so in honor of the blog event Thrifty Thursday, I thought I would share those ideas here.

Artwork - My youngest son turned 10 at the end of January.  One of his friends is really into drawing with pastel chalk. He drew a wonderful sunset and his mom put it into one of those $2 8x10 frames you can get at WalMart. My son absolutely loved it! It's now hanging proud on his bedroom wall.

Wrapping Paper - Another friend of his wrapped his gift in homemade wrapping paper. He used markers to color a scene on a large piece of paper. He then used cookie cutters to cut shapes from different colored construction paper and pasted those onto the drawing. It was a wonderful idea.

Birthday Card - Wow, have you seen the price of birthday cards lately? They START at $3.99 and go up from there! Add in wrapping paper, a bow and a present and you're lucky to walk out of the store for less than $40. Be sure to check the dollar store for birthday cards! While they may not have a huge selection, you can very often find appropriate cards there. Another idea is to find a funny picture on the internet, print it out, then cut out the picture. Paste it onto a homemade card and write your greeting inside. 

Money Envelope - These days many kids would prefer to receive money or gift cards instead of presents. We always keep a box of envelopes in the cabinet, so we grab one and have our kids color it or otherwise decorate it. We put the money or gift card inside and that acts as both the wrapping and the card!

Dollar Store - The dollar store can be a great place to find birthday cards, discount wrapping paper and small toys. Beware though, sometimes you can find similar items at WalMart and Target for even less! For example, while shopping for school supplies they had crayons for $1.00, but WalMart had the same box for $0.79. 

Stock Up Box - If you are at the store and there's a clearance sale on toys, games or coloring books that fall in your child's age group, grab an extra and save it for the next birthday party. While shopping, if your kids are with you, ask if anyone is having a birthday soon that they know of so you can be prepared.

Creativity - Kids know what their friends like. My teenage daughter had 5 friends spend the night a couple of weeks ago. Knowing my daughter's love (obsession is more like it) with pickles, one of the girls bought her a big jar of pickles and put a big bow on the lid. She really appreciated the gift and it was very thoughtful!

Do you have any great ideas? Please share!

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