When I was a little kid (I say this a lot, fair warning...), birthdays were small affairs with 5 to 7 friends, usually at the birthday boy or birthday girl's home. Pizza, cake, open presents, watch a movie or play some games, see ya later. Today, it's different, at least in suburbia. Parties are held in "venues," with "staff" to help run the event. Entire classes are invited, plus neighborhood friends. That's a lot of parties for a child to attend each year. Of course, my daughter loves this set up!
When my daughter was younger, we used to spend about $25, including card and gift bag, per present for her friends' parties. Now, given the sheer volume of invitations, that seems totally unrealistic; there are plenty of quality presents young children will enjoy that cost much less.
With another friend's birthday party in the books last weekend, here are some ways I've simplified birthday gift-giving lately:
My thought is, if I'm feeling stressed about something that should be easy and fun, it needs to be simplified!