Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tomorrow is my middle son's 16th birthday, so I have birthdays on the brain. As I was wrapping his presents, I was reminded of all the birthday parties my boys have attended over the years. And all the gifts I've bought. Lego sets and Nerf guns and board games and basketballs and Hot Wheels and. . . gift cards. When all else fails, gift cards. Know what I mean?
One gift, though, is always a hit, whether I give it to my own kids or let them take it to a birthday party.
When my oldest son was turning five, I needed one more present for him. But it was late and all the stores were closed and I didn't have much money to spend, anyway. Still, I wanted one more little thing for him to unwrap.
So I gave him five $1 bills, five quarters, five dimes, five nickels, and five pennies. I put them all in a little gift bag and tied it with ribbon.
He was thrilled.
Since then, on every birthday, I've given each of my boys a dollar, a quarter, a dime, a nickel, and a penny for every year he's celebrating.
Here's the loot for my son's gift bag for tomorrow. By the time the recipient is 16, it's a nice little haul. But that's the nice thing about this gift: it grows as the child grows, so it's a nice amount of money for whatever age child. For instance, for an 8-year-old, the total gift is $11.28. That's enough for an 8-year-old to buy something he or she might really like (or several things, if the lucky kid has a mom who frequents garage sales!). But it doesn't break the giver's bank.
I just keep a stash of those cello loot bags that you buy at Dollar Tree, pop in some colored tissue paper, pour in the cash, and tie it all up with a ribbon.
Presto! A gift that always fits and never needs to be returned.