I don't know about you, but I've always found buying birthday presents for my kids/friends a complete minefield; so much so, in fact, that I usually leave it 'til the last minute and then order some complete tat from Amazon Prime at the eleventh hour. Guilty as charged...
What I do know, however, is that I'm always so genuinely touched and impressed when my daughters' friends and their parents put in that little bit more effort than I usually do; it's been a goal for some time now to replicate this and be just a little more thoughtful when it comes to gifting. Here goes!
I don't think anything is more thoughtful or relevant right now than gifting ethically sourced and slowly made items; we all LOATHE those dreadful LOL dolls and all of their plastic packaging. Yes, they might love them to bits, but isn't it our responsibility too to model the behaviour we so long to see in the younger generations, showing them that reusable items are just as fun and, more importantly, are kinder to the planet too? I recently read a really great blog post about why we should feel more comfortable with re-gifting things and feeling less terrified about giving someone a second-hand toy or item of clothing as a present. I'd never really considered it before, if I'm honest, but I really wouldn't rule it out these days. I don't think it's that different either to having a 'Present Cupboard'; a place we all discard the unwanted gifts, digging them out over the coming months when we've been caught short and need another hand cream for a distant aunt! Fast fashion and the feeling that 'shiny new things' have promoted within our behaviour is certainly not our fault as individuals, but we can perhaps try to change our behaviours - even if only gradually - and, whilst we become more accustomed to it, we could definitely start with the recycling of gift packaging, bags and boxes where we can. Just rip that tag off, smooth out the creases and there you go!
If you're looking for an absolute showstopper of a gift, then I would really recommend the kids backpacks; they're just utterly beautiful and super practical too. They can easily be handed down to siblings or passed on to friends and cousins when they've been grown out of. These are definitely a much 'bigger' gift at £45, perhaps for god-children or nephews & nieces, but they're slowly made, entirely by hand in small batches, and then packaged sustainably by me. I'll even gift-wrap them for you too, if you add a note at the checkout!
My personal favourite is the quilted pencil cases; I really don't think there's anything more wholesome than gifting a beautiful handmade pencil case to a little person. What's even better is that, being easily portable and brightly patterned in our Bombaby block printed animal print designs, they can easily be snaffled by parents who need a handy little pouch or quilted makeup bag to take on their travels; they're so versatile and, at only £13.50, they're also under the £15 mark that I never like to go over for birthday presents. Fill them with sweets, colouring pencils or hair bobbles for only a pound or two extra.
If you're looking for some lovely sets of pencils to go with the pencil cases or pouches, our friends over at Zanypig have some beautiful presents; the Fairies in the Garden set is undeniably pretty and so reasonably priced.
The lovely flat quilted zip pouches are the next step up from these; they're flat (obviously!), but a little larger and hold bigger items, books and even smaller electronic devices. Again, the block printed quilted animal print designs are bright, cheerful and pretty much gender neutral in their design (check out the fab lining too!), so they're easily passed on or pinched by mums who want one too!
Our quilted laptop sleeves, at £25, are at the higher end of the price bracket, but these are really popular and incredibly practical; they can certainly be used by all of the family and it goes without saying that we all need a little nudge to look after our laptops and tablets. These quilted laptop sleeves are light as a feather, so using them is no inconvenience. No excuses!
The 'Jewellery Treasure Cases' are probably my favourite from the gift edit; they're the perfect case to fill with all sorts of delights and, if you have something really special you want to present in something really gorgeous & reusable, this would be a beautiful way to package your gift for that someone very special. They're beautifully lined and have a secret pocket inside for storing small bits 'n bobs.
I really hope that you've found something of use here and that, if nothing at all, it's given you that metaphorical kick up the backside to either up your game when it comes to gifting, or even planted the tiniest of seeds about why giving second hand or reusing unwanted presents really isn't the worst idea there ever was...
The kids' birthday party madness is back: give us all strength! Good luck!