Written by contributor Tiffany Larson.
Several years ago, my sister and I started hosting an annual joint birthday party for our children, born 4 days apart. Not only did we want to save our family and friends from two birthday parties in one weekend but it saved us money by splitting the costs. However, there were a few details to work out.
With such a large gathering of friends and family, there would be a lot of gifts. We also didn’t want anyone to feel obligated to bring a gift for a child they were not friends with.
Gifts were welcomed from family and we arranged a book exchange for friends. It killed two birds with one stone: partygoers felt like they were contributing to the festivities and no one walked away empty handed. And, in my opinion, books are one of the best gifts to receive.
On the invitations, we added the following verbiage:
“In lieu of a gift, please bring a new, wrapped book, appropriate for a child aged 2 – 4.”
After we had done this for a few years and parents knew what to expect, we shortened the wording to “bring 1 book for a book exchange”.
As kids arrive, we take the wrapped book and set aside. During the party, we designate the book that will go to each child. There is not a particular method we use although we often find that children will bring books appropriate for their specific age and that helps. For example, there are toddler aged children that come to the party who will bring a board book. We will then make sure another toddler gets the board book.
When it’s time for the book exchange, we give the birthday children their book to open first in front of the other kids. Once they are done, we hand out the books to the rest of the children to open. I love the look on all of the kid’s faces – it’s like Christmas!
We’ve been hosting the birthday party book exchange for several years now and it’s always a success! If you are looking for a way to cut down on birthday present overload, it’s a great way to do it.
How do you cut down on birthday present overload? What are your favorite gifts to take to children’s birthday parties?