A New Age Menace Called Return ‘Great’ Gifts

Growing up, I don’t recall receiving very many return gifts after attending birthday parties of friends or kids in the neighbourhood. Even if there was the remote possibility of it having been there, it would have been something rather simple I’m sure…like pencils & erasers at the most. Sigh! Neither did we give those kids who attended our birthday parties any return gifts. Poor souls.

I remember one’s birthday was ‘the day’ waited for with great excitement – it was all about new clothes, the cake, balloons, friends & family who would drop in for the party & of course the rapturous vision of an awesome pile up of gifts. Looking back, it was also a lot less complicated then.

Today, I watch & hear about parents who go nuts as they try to organise ultra magical birthday parties for their kids, each trying to outbeat the parents of  other kids. I wonder who’s suffering from peer pressure…appears not just kids but parents too! With theme parties & event managers called in to make sure that 1 year old Meena’s birthday is grand & a riot (Meena incidentally would rather just go to sleep) – the parents are at their wit’s end trying to figure out how to make it different & what  the appropriate aka great return gifts should be. I would not be off the mark in saying that the motivation for many children to attend birthday parties is simply the excitement of collecting their  return gift! Kids will endure the party if they have to, knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that it is well worth the wait. [Parents – it had better be well worth the wait…]

The next time you plan a birthday party for your kids you may want to consider some of these options instead of the Barbie, Ben 10, doll house or cricket set circuit.  These are some of   my best picks for return gifts, they are eco-friendly  too! So go ahead & give this a shot –

1. An earthen diya on which they paint their names

2. A handmade paper bookmark with the message “I love reading. No space for more toys”

3. After the birthday party, hand brats back to their Parents with  “Here’s our return gift to you – your child” added in smoothly.  

4. Or try giving kids a map of the locality so they return home safe.

5. A nice colourful poster for their room “This munchkin (or teenager) does not accept return gifts.”

Risk – kids who receive the above mentioned return gifts may return no more to your home forget your parties. In fact they may choose to ‘unfriend’ (another blasted new age word)  themselves with your kids! On second thoughts, maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all…

 

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4 thoughts on “A New Age Menace Called Return ‘Great’ Gifts

    • I think its a combination of factors – pressure to keep up with peers, the ‘lil’ Joneses & of course the media does its share in driving this.

  1. I seriously dont know when this practise developed (noone invited me to b’day parties as i didnt have kids my own) but got hit by it as soon as the neighbourhood kids saw my new daughter in my hands…This baby in my arms did not know birthdays or friends….but i had a battalion of kids surrounding me in the play area asking when’s her b’rthday, will u celebrate, whats the menu, and of course whats on the menu of return gifts….even before they asked her name…WOW

    BTW I love the idea of your return gifts….super like the 3rd one especially

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Sindhu…especially the questions kids asked you …whoa!!! Can just imagine “Aunty what’s the return gift for her birthday? And oh yes, forgot to ask what is baby’s name?”

      It’s become an obsession with many parents this magical birthday & return gift trip.

      On the selection from above, a confession – 3rd one is my fave too – just needs to be handled with a dash of cheek 🙂

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