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Old 08-06-2012, 05:25 PM   #1
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Some toddler birthday etiquette questions

Oy, so DS just turned 2 and the b-day celebrations of his "friends" is going around as well. Some may have read about the joint b-day issue with our family and DS's second cousin whose family assumed they could use our DS's b-day to celebrate as well...anyway, that went well and things turned out ok. One of DS's "outside the family friends" did attend, and one suddenly had to work when she found out there was a second b-day kid. I don't know if she really did have to work or just felt awkward at a big family thing, or felt obligated to buy two gifts.... Anyway, things went pretty well TBH!

So since it was mostly a family thing, I didn't worry much about additional kids except the one who we have been close to (their family) for years. The b-day boy who couldn't make it "invited" DS to his b-day in September. The little boy who DID make it is also in September, not sure what date yet. I HAVE to make it to that one so I'm afraid to RSVP to the other one. What do I do? Wait to RSVP until we get an invite to the close family friend, or ask the family friend what date they plan to have it (if they know) so we can plan ahead?

A second question - DH and I went to a birthing class before DS was born. Fast forward about a year later and DS and I are doing gymboree and run into a lady who was in that birthing class. We became "facebook friends" but don't talk or anything. I occasionally hit the like button on her pics, I don't think she really does on mine (no big deal, but we aren't close is what I'm getting at). A bunch of people formed a playgroup outside gymboree and DS and I have been to a few get togethers, maybe 3 or 4 tops. They kind of stopped having them over the summer. This particular lady and her DD were invited but never attended. I have no idea why - work maybe, other obligations, no desire - who knows. But anyway,she invited DS to her DD's b-day which is also in September.

There are a few issues here - one, I really do not know her at all although she seems very nice. Two, we can not afford gifts for all these b-days in one month and three I don't want to RSVP to her DD's party only to find one of the two we'd like to go to is on the same weekend. WWYD? I feel bad because she msg'd me on FB the other day asking if for our address so DD could invite DS to her b-day and I gave it to her not really thinking about it. I don't know the date yet so maybe that could be my out? Or am I now obligated to go??

And FINAL question (if you are still reading! LOL). Our "kid" birthday gift budget is usually about $20 or so. The kiddo's parents who we are family friends with bought DS a gift that is about $50 retail and $40 online. It's a nice toy, but $$. My own parents didn't even spend that much on DS. What do you do in these situations? Do you then buy a gift for the child on their b-day of the same value and stretch the budget a little? It's only once a year I guess? I just don't want to get into a....."last year DS got their DS a $50 toy, and they gave us a $50 toy, so we now have to continue that price range..." As it is, I usually do the $20 toy when it's on sale or something so sale or clearance it would still be high. I also hate to just give a gift because it's a "good deal" I got. I'd rather pick out a nice gift that I know the LO would love.

I have a feeling this birthday thing just gets worse as they get older doesn't it?


Last edited by Mom2Connor; 08-06-2012 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:01 PM   #2
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Re: Some toddler birthday etiquette questions

I think you are totally over thinking it and might overextend yourself. Just decline the 2 parties you kinda want to decline, RSVP yes to the one you really want to go to and thank everyone for inviting you. As for how much to spend, I would shop sale racks and try to get a $20ish gift for half of off or something or buy something at Ross or TJ Max. Don't spend $40 or $50 just because someone else bought your child an expensive gift. It is a kids birthday party, not a wedding. It is really not a big deal. Don't sweat it! Just have fun. Amongst my group of good friends we still have to decline parties because I swear from September until December there is like one or two a weekend it is nuts! Everyone understands and nobody gets mad if you don't come.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:43 PM   #3
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Re: Some toddler birthday etiquette questions

^^^agree!! If you really want to attend the party of the kid who couldn't make it, then call the good friend to see when that one will be and RSVP accordingly. Politely decline the girl you don't know.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:45 PM   #4
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Re: Some toddler birthday etiquette questions

I have no problem turning down bday invitations. I will go out of my way to attend the party of someone we are close to, but other than that I don't sweat it if it's inconvenient, or if I just plain don't want to go. I have turned down many over the past year because they've been around naptime, or during my DH's only day off, or whatever. This will obviously change once DD is older and has more friends.

Stay within your gift budget. No one will notice the difference in value. And be thankful the parents didn't give you the link to a bday party gift registry, like the invitation we just received
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:28 PM   #5
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Re: Some toddler birthday etiquette questions

well, first of all I don't feel the need to be friend's with my childrens' friends' parents, so if your child likes this little girl and he wants to go well why not? However since it's so busy for you in September don't feel bad declining. Or if you really want to work it out just be honest and explain that you have family parties coming up and could you let her know a little bit closer to the actual date? As far as the budget, just because a person decides to spend $50 does not mean you have to. If you want to give a more expensive gift I'd find it on sale, otherwise don't sweat it and don't go over your budget. It's ok, don't worry about it all!
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:13 PM   #6
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Re: Some toddler birthday etiquette questions

I wouldn't RSVP to anything until you get an invite and it has an RSVP by date on it. If you haven't received an invite to the party you want to go to before the RSVP by date on the other invite(s) then decline. An invite to a child's bday party does not come before family time. I have been known on many occasion to decline "because we will have family here that day" even if the "family" is DH, the kids, and myself.

As for gifts... I keep a gift bin, it is a plastic storage tub that contains toys that were purchased at clearance sales (Target has awesome 90% off sales) and bought brand new in the sealed package at yard sales. I also have books in there that are brand new, never cracked, from Goodwill and the like. My kids always have their choice of really nice gifts, usually in the $15-$40 range, but none of them cost me more than a few bucks. Going out to the store and buying something full-price, with the pressure to buy the "best gift" and trying not to blow your budget... Not my idea of a good time! Plus, as DS1 has grown into the school-age party scene, I have found that it is nearly impossible to maintain my sanity in the toy department. Try telling a kid he can only spend $10 or $20 there - not easy. First of all, things are expensive! Secondly, they want to pick something that their friend will like. Have you priced Hello Kitty stuffies lately? Yikes! It is so much easier to pull out a storage bin, say, "pick something for your friend" and have all parties feel good about it.

Tip: For things that sit in the gift bin too long, we utilize the Giving Tree at DS1's school and/or the YMCA. Last year I had some Melissa and Doug puzzle books that had been in the bin for a few years, so I chose age-appropriate gift tags and gave those to the giving tree. The year before it was 2 sets of Matchbox Adventure Sets, and 2 different 7-year-olds received them for Christmas. It helps teach kids "giving" without training them to be "consumers".
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:06 PM   #7
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I just want to toss in a comment about gift value. I like to give people nice gifts because I can. I like to think I'm giving them something they would want but maybe couldn't afford. I do NOT expect gifts of equal value, only of equal thought and caring spirit.

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Old 08-06-2012, 11:29 PM   #8
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I would not respond to anyone about the partys till you know when they all are. If someone asks just say you are not sure yet it is too far out.
As for gifts we have about a 5.00 limit. I look for sales year round and have a tote with gifts. The kids get to shop from the tote when there is a party. It works for us, and the birthday is not about the gift it is about celebrating with the person.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:06 AM   #9
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Re: Some toddler birthday etiquette questions

Responding to the value of gifts. I am a giver and I LOVE giving nice gifts but do NOT expect the same in return. I love the thought behind a gift. On top of that, I am that "$50" gift may have only cost me $10, $20, $25.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:27 AM   #10
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Re: Some toddler birthday etiquette questions

Originally Posted by hpfgirl View Post
I just want to toss in a comment about gift value. I like to give people nice gifts because I can. I like to think I'm giving them something they would want but maybe couldn't afford. I do NOT expect gifts of equal value, only of equal thought and caring spirit.
Definitely this.
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