It’s birthday party season again in the Battling On household.  Every weekend involves at least one wunderkind attending someone’s party somewhere in the county,  and boy have I been clocking up the miles dropping off and picking up.  Every party involves an additional midweek dash to Milton Keyes, becoming ever more desperate as I search for inventive gifts on a budget.

Last week I failed.  I had nothing in.  I deliberated running the early morning toyshop gauntlet but baulked at the idea, nervous at the thought of panic buying a full size replica of the millennium falcon instead of a sub £10 gift including wrapping paper and card that still tips our budget into crisis.

In the end I consulted the Tworacle and satisfied myself that a fiver and a bar of chocolate in a card was not the worst crime ever committed in the history of gift giving.  In fact out of all the gifts my children have ever received, the one that I was possibly most grateful for was the fiver sellotaped to a bar of dairy milk that the Boy Wonder got for his fifth birthday…I’m pretty sure he donated the chocolate to the cause.

As I salved my conscience later in the day I pondered the present drawer suggestion.  It’s something I used to have, about a billion years ago when I only had one and a half children and life was easy.  Now it’s more likely that any stored presents would be ripped off and sold to the black market.  But it’s such a good idea.  What do you do? Bulk buy in the sales and put away under 24/7 armed guard or panic buy at the supermarket at 4am on the day of the party? I need to do something, I may not make it to the end of term with my sanity intact otherwise…

The Present Drawer
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15 thoughts on “The Present Drawer

  • May 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    It must be a nightmare nowadays because there seems to be such pressure on parents to arrange the flashiest party with the biggest ‘going home’bags. I often think children actually enjoy the ‘pound shop’ pressies more becasue they can play to their hearts content & if it gets broken then it’s not a fortune lost. What do the children really think I wonder. Is it more for parents than the kids? In answwr to tghe question, bulk buy, wrap them with a blue/pink label. Buying in a hurry always seems to cost more!

  • May 10, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I have a friend, a mother of three busy girls, who keeps a present drawer — it seems like a sensible idea, but I’m just not that organized. Then again, neither is she; I think that’s why she has a present drawer!

    If I have “gifts on hand”, it’s just by accident: i.e, I ordered a book that doesn’t seem suited to my daughter, so I hung on to it for the next birthday girl who looked to be a better fit. Last year, my sister bought my daughter the very thing we had planned to give her for her birthday… it turned out to be a bonus for me, as it meant I already had a ready-bought gift for my friend’s daughter, whose birthday was a few weeks later. (And, to bring this rambling comment full circle, that friend is the one with the present drawer.)

    And all of this reminds me… I need to buy a present this week, as my daughter has a birthday party to go to on Saturday.

  • May 10, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I have a present box which is depleted at the moment. Usually if I see something on offer I’ll buy it. I do the same with cards, bulk buy from Phoenix so that there is always something suitable.

    I always seem to have a gift and card but not enough wrapping paper

    Your post has just reminded me to start stocking up again.

  • May 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I bulk buy from play when Lego & sylvanians are on sale. It did backfire once though when they sent me a computer mouse by mistake.

  • May 10, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I have a present drawer and buy for it all year around as I see items reduced. Sometimes I get great bargains, I love a bargain 😀 It is worth the effort, though mine needs restocking now. Luckily my eldest and his friends prefer money these days and that is also very easy for me:) Jen.

  • May 10, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I have a box of presents on top of my wardrobe – things we’ve been given that I’m holding to recycle, things I’ve bought on BOGOF or in the sales. Only issue is remembering at all the right times!

  • May 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Just glad we have cats and not kids when it comes to this sort of thing. However i do try to stock up on cards for friends / families and their kids and buy presents when we see something suitable for someone even if a while before we need it. I try to pick up other things that would do for any one just in case. and i am terrible for not having the right wrapping paper in for the boy girl . adult variety – sadly alwasy seem to have loads of xmas paper which is not good 11 months of the year unless is a december brithday and I can claim old age is setting in!

  • May 10, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I have a present drawer – I buy things from sales etc. I also (whisper it) have been known to donate the occasional item from my children’s excessive piles of Christmas/Birthday presents to the present drawer…

    I also stockpile nice wrapping paper, but that’s because I just can’t help buying the stuff! But what I never have is suitable birthday cards.

    I do sometimes find that I’m just a bit bored with what I’ve got on offer in the present drawer and end up buying something different anyway, particularly if it is for a ‘special’ friend!

  • May 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Definitely have a present drawer that needs restocking.

    I refuse to spend more than 15 shekels on a kids gift. It’s ridiculous when they go to a gazillion parties. I am a great fan of the dollar type stores.

    I have also found that for the younger kids cool plastic cereal bowls and cups are a great hit.

    And really inexpensive are the big light balls with characters on them.

  • May 10, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    God, I’m so cheap – I have a stash from the local pound shop and the occasional item that has been forgotten at Christmas from Hawkins.

    Once they get to about 10 years old, your present has to be pretty unique OR cash. That way they appreciate it so much more.

  • May 11, 2010 at 12:53 am

    I have a present drawer, which I suppliment with making things like pencil rolls and bags, we couldnt afford birthdays without this. I also use the Book People for lots of books and just pop one in a bag. Some of the parties Maxi has been invited too inlcuded more than the class (his year has 80 children in) and the amount of presents is obsene.

  • May 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    It had never occurred to me to have a present drawer! Duh! What a great idea! Won’t happen ‘though I’m not that organised! Quick dash on the party morning for me! With older ones it is now money which is MUCH easier (but involves a quick dash to the cash point instead!).

  • May 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    If I ever see anything interesting in the sales such as in Disney store I will get a few things. Loving recently the doodle books that are around although most are around £10, there are some cheaper ones though. Or in Gap if there are nice t-shirts in the sale….don’t know about you but my stomach churns when mine have a big party and have tons of bits ( I would much rather they get a hat or t-shirt!) For older girlies, bath sets, notebooks…stickers ( they are all into stickers especially the puffy ones) hair bits…
    Good luck, we seemed to have turned a corner with parties, it seems as though your whole life is put on hold for other children sometimes doesn’t it. x

  • May 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Good post Paula. I don’t have a present drawer although. Must confess though that I do have 1 or 2 toys in the cupboard. Realistically looking at 9 yr old’s birthday parties-he gets loads of stuff and he is happy with eveything he gets. I dnt think it reallly matters too much when kids are younger what they get.teenagers will prefer money because they can get themselves something ‘cool’ which we wil never get right anyway.

  • May 13, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I used to have a present drawer, too. Why do we get less organised the more children we have?! Nowadays it’s a quick hurtle to Tesco or a fiver in a card. TBH I’d rather mine got money than yet more plastic tat. I’m coming round to the book token idea – think I’ll just buy a load and use them as presents.

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