Buying a gift for someone is never easy, but when that person is a child who doesn’t belong to you, the minefield becomes even more dangerous. Whether it be a gift for a niece or nephew, the son or daughter of a friend, or a gift to take to one of the numerous birthday parties your child will attend before their 10th birthday (we all know kids have better social lives than we do, right?), the urge to ‘get it right’ is very strong. So, what do you choose?
This post is not about the actual items that you can choose from, but how you can make sure you choose something that will please the lucky recipient. It’s not faultless, there is bound to be some ungrateful little darling who pulls a face somewhere along the way, but it may make 99% of your gift choices a success.
- Ask the child what they would like.
This one may sound obvious, but how often do you actually ask the child in question if there is anything they would actually like? Most children would be more than happy to give you a full list of ideas, and there should be something on there that suits both the child, and your budget. Admittedly, you may also get the odd unicorn on the list (these are kids after all), but this will give you a real insight into the child. It can also avoid embarrassing situations, like when my mom asked my niece if she would like a talking Annabel doll and got the reply ‘why would I, I want a Spiderman suit.’ The fact that she was a six year old girl didn’t mean she wanted a talking dolly, or a Barbie, or anything else that I would’ve loved as a child. If in doubt, ask the question – WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE?
- Think outside the box
A gift that is original, thoughtful, and something that is not the normal generic average, High Street toy shop faire is bound to be a more successful gift than yet another toy car/dress up doll. A site like Wicked Uncle, which dedicates itself to finding the sorts of toys, games and activities that would make you a ‘cool uncle/aunt/insert your choice here’, is definitely a great place to start if you are looking for a birthday gift idea that is far from the mundane. Here you will hopefully find something that will not only be a gift a child would choose, but also a gift that a child could possibly have designed – i.e something batty and bonkers but also totally brilliant.
- Ask the parents
OK, this one could be tricky, as parents either get very embarrassed and say ‘no, no, just bring a card, that’s enough’, when you ask what their child would like, or they tell you clothes. Trust me, no child wants clothes and would ever ask for clothes…unless it’s a Spiderman suit or a football kit. It is still worth asking the parent though, as this can help you to avoid buying the same as someone else, or buying something totally wrong.
- Talk to your own child
This definitely needs to be on your list for classmates birthday parties. Ask your child what their friend really likes, if they have any hobbies, or has mentioned something they would like. This works well if the parent has been the non responsive type, just get your kid to ask the original question ‘What Would You Like?’ For under fives, be prepared for some original answers though…my aforementioned niece once replied ‘Sky Tv’ when she was asked this very question.
You may still struggle occasionally, after all, what do you buy for the child who seems to have everything, but hopefully you will find something that ticks the boxes and makes the recipient smile!
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