When Did This Tradition Start?
In the past, children were invited to birthday parties with the expectation that they were honored to be invited, would bring a gift for the birthday boy or girl, enjoy a slice of the birthday cake and participate in some organized party games. Time rolled by and a simple party was no longer acceptable — a child’s party had to offer clowns, magicians or pony rides. You are now expected to buy gifts for the children attending your child’s birthday party. They may be called “party favors,” but they are gifts nonetheless and add to the expense of the occasion.
Reasonably Priced Party Favors
There are reasonably priced party favors that won’t make it necessary for you to assume a loan for your child’s birthday. The age of the children attending the party — and perhaps their gender — may determine where you shop and what you purchase, but here are some reasonably inexpensive party favors:
- Younger boys will enjoy anything car related. Tiny plastic cars are available at your local dollar store. Place two or three cars into a small sized brown brown bag containing confetti. Fold over the top, staple the bag closed and finish off the favor by sticking a car-related sticker on the outside.
- Younger girls will like glitzy hair ribbons, crowns and halos. Try to get every girl the same item, although not necessarily the same color. These favors can be distributed at the beginning of the party.
- Girls of any age — and I do mean any — love rubber bracelets. Use them as napkin holders so your guests can enjoy their jewelry during the party.
- Children in Little League will enjoy a wiffle ball for batting practice. Grab them up at the — you guessed it — dollar store and stick them in a bag with other ballpark favorites such as Cracker Jacks and Twizzlers.
- Little kids in soccer would enjoy a miniature soccer ball and an inexpensive sweatband.
- Fake tattoos — subject matter chosen appropriately — can be a hit at sex-segregated pre-teen parties.
- Cut, fold and use shimmer bubble wrap as a container for just about any party favor.
- A kid’s version of desk accessories might be popular if your child and his friends are determined to launch their own IT company by age 11. Include safety scissors, tape, a ruler and maybe even a cheap stapler. Make paper ties or cardboard briefcases as one of the activities.
- Finally, if you are out of time and wondering why no one taught you this stuff in Lamaze classes, go grab some $5 iTunes cards and put a sticker on it.
See? Those hot air balloon rides for Junior’s birthday party really aren’t necessary. Use your heart and not your credit card to express your love.