Birthday Gifting Etiquette: Tips for Choosing the Perfect Present for Your Child’s Friend

by Staff

Navigating the world of birthday gifting can be a maze, especially when the gift is not for your own child but for one of their friends. How do you choose something that aligns with the child’s interests and fits within your budget? What kind of etiquette should you follow? Here are some tips to help you select the perfect present for your child’s friend without stress.

Understand the Birthday Child’s Interests

Before running off to the nearest toy store, take the time to understand the birthday child’s hobbies and interests. If you’re not familiar with the child’s likes and dislikes, ask your own child for some insight. Are they into sports, arts and crafts, or maybe they’re a budding scientist? For gifts for girls, for example, consider whether she loves dolls, enjoys reading, or has a passion for building things. Pinpointing what they enjoy will make your job a lot easier and your gift much more appreciated.

Set a Budget

Setting a budget before you start shopping is essential. This keeps your spending in check and ensures you don’t feel overwhelmed by the plethora of choices available. A good rule of thumb is to spend approximately $15-$25 on a gift. If your child is attending multiple birthday parties in a year, keeping within this range can help manage your overall expenses.

Age Appropriateness Matters

Always consider the age appropriateness of the gift. A toy meant for a 10-year-old might not be suitable for a 5-year-old, and vice versa. Many toys and games list appropriate age ranges on their packaging, making it easier to select something that is both safe and enjoyable. Books, puzzles, and educational toys can be a good fit for various age groups and offer substantial value.

Opt for Timeless Classics

While it might be tempting to buy the latest trendy toy, sometimes timeless classics are the best option. Board games, LEGO sets, and arts and crafts kits have enduring appeal and can be enjoyed by children of different ages. These types of gifts also encourage creativity and cooperation, making them a win-win for anyone involved.

Consider the Parents

Consider how the parents of the birthday child might feel about certain gifts before making your final decision. Avoid items that might be messy or noisy unless you know the parents won’t mind. Also, think about allergies and dietary restrictions if you are considering including a sweet treat with the gift.

Eco-Friendly Options

In today’s environmentally conscious world, eco-friendly gifts are more appreciated than ever. Look for toys made from sustainable materials, books about nature and conservation, or kits that teach children how to grow their own garden. Gifts that promote environmental stewardship can have lasting positive effects.

Personalized Gifts

Personalized gifts add a special touch and show that you’ve put thought into your selection. Items like monogrammed backpacks, name puzzles, or custom storybooks can make the birthday child feel extra special. Just be sure to double-check the spelling of their name!

Include a Gift Receipt

Including a gift receipt is a considerate gesture. Even after careful selection, there’s always a chance the child might already have the item or it isn’t to their liking. A gift receipt allows the parents to exchange or return the gift seamlessly if needed.

Handwritten Cards

Never underestimate the power of a handwritten card. Encourage your child to write a birthday message or draw a picture. This adds a personal touch that can mean just as much as the gift itself. Plus, it’s a great way for your child to practice gratitude and thoughtfulness.

Wrapping Matters

First impressions count. Presenting your gift in attractive wrapping paper or a gift bag can enhance the excitement. Choose colors and designs that are festive and age-appropriate. Adding a bow or ribbon can elevate even a simple gift.


Choosing the perfect present for your child’s friend doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By focusing on the birthday child’s interests, setting a budget, ensuring age appropriateness, and adding personal touches, you can navigate birthday gifting etiquette with ease. Thoughtful, well-chosen gifts are always appreciated and help to strengthen the bonds of friendship between your child and their friends. So the next time you receive a birthday party invitation, you’ll be well-prepared to make delightful and considerate choices. Happy gifting!

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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