Whether you're hosting or attending, birthday parties are no piece of cake. My kids have been invited to several parties recently, and I'm hosting a party for my son next month. The topic is top of mind.
The toughest part for me is knowing how much to pay for loot bags and gifts.
I never know how much to spend though I do spend a lot of time trying to come up with useful or creative ideas. I've bought everything from popular children's books to cute socks for my kids' loot bags. I wrap items in a cellophane bag and tie them with ribbon to make them look fun. Sometimes I'll even attach a "thank you for coming" tag, but this, of course, is extra work.
Party planning experts say you don't have to give loot bags, but we all know kids love them. If you choose to give something at the end of a party, pick up a little token at a dollar store. You can also give out books or buy each child a gift card in a small value.
At craft or Lego parties, kids take home whatever they made and that is the loot bag. It's basically a way of thanking friends for attending.
When my kids are invited to parties, I have an equally hard time deciding how much to give as a gift or even what to buy. People have bought my kids everything from books and clothes to games and sports equipment. As long as a gift receipt is attached, we can exchange duplicates or anything that's the wrong size.
That's why I tend to go with gift cards for toy or book stores. You can easily buy gift cards at the grocery store or pharmacy, so I don't need to make a special trip—I just add it to my shopping list.
If my child is going to a party for a good family friend, I'll give a more expensive gift, or plan a fun outing so that we can all do something special together. If my kids are invited to a friend I don't know as well, I'll give a gift card for $20-$25, which experts say is the average.
Do you give out loot bags? Do you have any creative loot bag ideas you can share? What do you typically give as gifts? Please share!