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Do You Have a "Hip" Birthday Party Idea?!

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It may seem strange to post about birthday parties since many of you have just wrapped up big Christmas celebrations. However, I think it is very appropriate to discuss birthday party ideas and savings tips now as you can often snag some amazing bargains on toys and more by shopping the after-Christmas sales. Besides snatching up some awesome deals on birthday gifts, reader, Sallie shares other ways that she makes birthdays unique and memorable for her own kiddos.

Check out Sallie’s email and picture below…

A few years ago, my daughter started getting invited to birthday parties for her little friends. I wasn’t sure of the protocol on gifts as we do something different (I will explain in a second). Anyway, after a few parties, I realized that the average gift is about $10. Well as I have three kids now, that can add up in a HURRY.

So this week every year, I put aside $50-$75 and hit all the awesome clearance deals. Yesterday at CVS, all the toys were 50% off so I bought five remote control cars that were normally $10 for a total of $25. I’ll keep my eyes open at other stores as well and usually get 10-15 toys for my budget.

That way, the morning of the party, I let my kids pick out which gift they want to give and wrap it. No last minute shopping or overpaying because it snuck up on us! Last year, I had three gifts left over and donated them to Toys for Tots.

For the birthday parties we throw, at first we just put “no gifts please, your presence is present enough!” However, I found that in our culture, people just NEED to bring something. So, here’s what we did instead:

For one party, we collected cash donations in a fish bowl for PEERS. They are a non-profit at Camp Lejeune that offers free babysitting for military that I used when my husband was deployed. We collected $300 and they were able to take up the carpet in one room and redo the hardwood floors with our gift!


For one party in April, we collected peanut butter and jelly for the local food pantry. The manager there told me that in the summer, they can’t keep enough of it on the shelf because it’s a meal kids can prepare on their own while the parents are at work. Most qualify for free lunch at school, but summer months are tough. (see picture above of all that was collected). Then I took my kids with me when we donated it and the food shelter gave my daughter a thank you certificate that we put in her scrapbook along with her pictures from her party!

For my son’s one year party in October, we asked people to bring size 1 or 2 diapers for the local crisis pregnancy center. We collected over 500 diapers. They were STUNNED.

I personally think Sallie’s ideas are awesome! So….how about you? Do you set a yearly budget for birthday gifts? Do you buy birthday gifts way in advance? Have you ever hosted a no-gifts birthday party? Was it a success? Let us know!

Join The Discussion

Comments 166

  1. April

    Last year I threw my 8 year old a Star Wars party. I made the cake and bought Lego star wars to decorate it with. Nothing fancy. We played musical chairs to the Theme of Star Wars, which I got online. When they were out they received their loot bag. I also drew Yoda and we played pin the light saber on Yoda. I had 50 pieces of paper and half said Jedi and the other half said Sith. I divided up the kids unto 2 teams of Jedi’s or Siths. One child from each team would run and pick up 1 piece of paper and if it said the name of his team he brought it back by the team. If it wasn’t his team name he had to leave it there. Winner’s were who found all their team names first. Didn’t matter as everyone won a home made light saber. This was made by cutting a pool noodle in half and using black electrical tape for the handle. They played with those things all night long. Could hardly get them to eat cake. They also were able to take the light sabers home! It was a very fun party.

  2. Shelly

    My daughter rarely asks for gifts and for her 6th Birthday she did not want anything so we askedfor items for the local crisis pregnancy center. We got tons of nice baby items then we went to the center and donated them. They sent her a nice thank you card and really fussed over her. Most of her friends still brought her a little something to the party. It was a huge success!!!

  3. Jill

    Two years ago, we had a “dog party” for my daughter (seven at the time). We had a dog themed party at home where the kids decorated their own snack bowls (like a dog dish), they made necklaces with dog charms on them, and we even had a “dog food eating contest” with Cap’n Crunch cereal. I made a cupcake cake in the shape of a big dog biscuit too — my daughter had lots of fun seeing all her friends. Also, instead of gifts, we asked for dog food donations for the local ASPCA. We donated almost 200 pounds of food for the shelter. The shelter was so thrilled, that they gave my daughter a coloring book on proper dog care & some crayons. It was a great day!

    • Bridgette

      I like that idea. I have twins turning one and dont know what to do because we dont need all those gifts. Love this

  4. Julie

    The new birthday party trend at my nephews school is to have every kid bring a book that they like. Then at the party they do a book swap game, and every kid leaves with a new book.

  5. Birthday Party Ideas

    Good ideas and designing of the party them.Thanks for this article with detail information.

  6. Bridgette

    I cant seem to find anything for my situation. Can someone help me out? I want to throw my twins a birthday party when they turn one but definetly no gifts. Its more along the lines of “celebrating” that they turned one. I would like something for adults too but its in April and we arent sure what the weather will be like here on the east coast. ANy ideas?

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