It’s all about the pressies

Since my last post we have had three parties, I kid you not! Hey it’s all good craic. Anyway, as the title implies this post is about the pressies. While the best bit of the party for an attendee is receiving your party bag loot, the best bit for the host will no doubt be unwrapping all their awesome gifts. As I’ve said before we try and stick to a budget of £5 and I see it as a personal challenge to get a variety of cool gifts suited to the party host in question.

I figured I should give you a wee selection of ideas for future gifts by showing you the most recent items we have packaged up for parties. I always try and include my girls in the purchasing of these gifts as I think it’s good to teach them to spend money on others and not just themselves. Also they are pretty savvy shoppers and I value their opinions, after all they know their friends better than I and my girls love nothing more than a mission.

The first of our gifts was for a friend in Amelia’s class, the topic of the month in class was the garden and the chosen book they were looking at was Jack and the Beanstalk so it made sense to include a wee copy in the parcel, bought at Home Bargains for 69p (RRP £5.99 ).

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Also included was a How to Draw Princesses colouring book (69p in Home Bargains RRP £6.99), Stampers (59p each, HB), Pack of 4 TY erasers (£1, Poundworld – I have seen these elsewhere retail at £1.39 for one eraser!), a make your own candy jewellery set (79p, HB), funky lollipops (29p each, HB), and lastly some of my homemade flower clips (approx. 10p each to make). This selection of gifts cost £5.13 in total. I bought the cute postcard in Paperchase for 60p, sometimes I prefer to include a quirky postcard in an envelope instead of a card and they can always be framed after the birthday, we throw far too many birthday cards away!!!

The next party was that of Phoebe’s ‘boyfriend’ as she likes to call him, much to her Dad’s horror. Like any father of girls, Steve will always think of his daughters like this:

So the thought of this:

(You gotta love Seth Cohen!) Causes Steve a world of stress:

I just know he’s rehearsing the scene from 17 Again, you know the one where the Dad owns the no good boyfriend in the school cafeteria, for such times. And I’m sure the purchase of a display cabinet for his many shooting medals will coincidence with the appearance of the first boyfriend. Anyway plenty of time before that madness ensues.

So this ‘boyfriend’ was turning a big four on his birthday, he oozes cool therefore the gifts had to do the same. Behold the present:

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Included was a How to Draw Dinosaurs colouring book (69p, HB), a funky plane pencil (59p, HB), lollipops (29p, HB), Polystyrene Planes (from a pack of four from Poundland), a clay monster set (39p, HB), Pirate stampers (59p, HB), a Bingo set (99p, HB) and my favourite, a Transformers Optimus Prime Egg Cup and Toast Stamp set (79p, HB). This gift cost £5.12 in total.

Onto the next party, Amelia’s friend Amy turned five. Amy is a girlie girl who loves to dress up so we opted for a Barbie Bride ensemble, this was purchased in the Smyths sale. Every now and again Smyths have a stock clearance sale to ditch old stock, if you know when it starts and you’re prepared to be there when the doors open and battle with other manic women then there are bargains to be had. This dress was reduced from £17.99 to £1, I of course bought as many as I could get my hands on, that was only two unfortunately.

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Included with the dress up gear was a Bunny nightlight (£1.99, HB – these retail at £4.99 on dotcomgiftshop), a lollipop (29p, HB) and a candy jewellery set (79p, HB). This gift cost £4.07 in total.

Next weekend we have another four year old boy’s birthday party and Amelia’s friend Gracie is having a disco party, check out the uber cool invite:

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As Gracie’s party is set to be outdoors with a festival vibe we are preparing a festival inspired gift, can you tell I love a theme?!

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We’ve gone with a Design Your Own Pumps set (reduced from £2.99 to £1 in B&M Bargains), a sun hat (£1.12 in the Sainsburys TU 25% off promotion), sunglasses (75p in the same Sainsburys promotion), Pepsi Cherry Vanilla Lip Balm (39p, HB), Candy Jewellery set (79p, HB), lollipop (29p, HB) and although not pictured here I’m also including some of my flower homemade clips. This gift cost £4.54 in total.

Phoebe has another party in a few weeks for her friend Zara who will be five. We’ve decided to train Zara up for the Great Northern Irish Bake Off, check out her equipment/present:

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A Charlie & Lola Apron (99p, HB), Hello Kitty Cookie Cutters (49p, HB), Tea Cupcakes (£1, Poundworld), a Frozen Cupcake set (99p, HB). As the gift only comes to £3.47 I will probably add a whisk, bowl and wooden spoon with it.

I love gifts like this because they often provide you with something to do with the children on rainy days, of which we have many in Belfast. Practical gifts are great. One of the best gifts I ever received was that of a herb plant pot with accompanying his and hers gardening utensils and gloves, it was a wedding gift from a friend and we are still using them.

As a parent the best type of gifts are those with crafty items or a game or items of clothing. Clothing can be a gamble but if you are confident about size and style then clothes are a good buy. I bought this little dress for a birthday girl for later this month, she is a close friend so I know this will work and it was originally £10 reduced to £3 and then £2.25 in the Sainsburys TU 25% off promotion. I will of course add some extras with it.

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Finally, for the funky little four year old boy this weekend, we’ve opted for this funky circus light for his room (£4.99, HB). How cool is this?

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Other quirky items I’ve come across that could be included in a gift are:

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Ship Shape Pencil Case (19p, HB)

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Papermate Felt Tips (£1.49, HB)IMG_0102

Finger Puppet sets (29p, HB – Paperchase sell similar products but at much higher prices)

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Play Doh sets, HB often have great Play Doh sets for super prices, this Doc McStuffins one was £1.99 (RRP £4.99).

Do look out for Crayola items at good prices in Home Bargains (Paint sets, Washable Colouring Pencils), B&M Bargains, Asda and Poundland (especially the Crayola Pavement Chalks), these always make good gifts. I also spied chunky chalks that look like Sharpie pens in B&M last week, they are called Chalkies and are £2.99, I’m dying to buy some but alas we’re all stocked up on chalk at present.

For the accompanying birthday cards you should head to your local Barnardos Retail Shop for nice cards at good prices, most of them are 79p. In my local shop they are always on sale for 29p/39p or four for £1. What is more, you can giftaid your purchase to enable Barnardos to claim back 25p on every pound you spend. Bonus!

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In final, don’t let the numerous birthday parties overwhelm you or your bank balance. I hope I’ve given you some handy tips for future present buying.

Next up, the wrapping…

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