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The Birthday Box

Tips for creating a gift stash for under 5's

It's Saturday morning. There's a birthday party in the afternoon for your child's friend and you're scrambling to find a suitable gift. With one hour on the clock, you're making your way to the shops...traffic! You could make it easy for yourself and sign them up for a Bumble Box....but...

There's another way. We like the concept of a Birthday Box. Without desperation or time pressure in the mix, we'll spend less and give more thoughtful and age-appropriate gifts. How? First, find a home for a few gifts and wrapping supplies (ours live in the wardrobe of our master bedroom). Next, have a look around your home and make a list of the 5 most loved/most used toys, books or activities for the stage your children are in. Select the 3 items which are most gender neutral and set out to buy a couple of each.

With a 3 and 5 year old in our house, here are a few of our favourites...

Depesche Sticker Books. We've tried them all (horse farm, castle, space, doll house, etc). The best bit about these is that the scenes really get creative minds humming. There are no instructions or right or wrong answers for where the stickers should be placed. These books are perfect for journeys by plane and train.

Stick-lets den-making connectors. Know any outdoor adventurers who live near a wood and like to go camping? These little connectors could be just the tool they've been looking for to hold sticks and twigs together securely with no tricky cutting or tying to be done.

Dress-up masks and slippers by Sew Heart Felt. Everything's comfy and quality and the range includes animals, pirates, indians--all made by a UK company. What's more, they have a lovely line of felt children's slippers. After all, who wouldn't want some-bunny looking up them?

Children's Books by Andrea Beaty. Iggy Peck Architect, Rosie Revere Engineer & (the new) Ada Twist Scientist are inspirational rhyming stories. Each story tells us about a child following their interests and breaking from convention to do what they enjoy and have a talent for. As creators, they conduct many experiments and the characters don't get things right every time. They learn and try again. We love the message each of these stories bring.

Costumes by Pretend to Bee. Whether you're after historical figures, animals or fairies, Pretend to Bee is sure to have a costume to please every birthday girl or boy. We've had many of these costumes and they all seem to wash up nicely and are made from a quality material that stands up to use.

Wrapping up...

Everyone will have a favourite way to wrap gifts--no doubt you do, too. We've found that a nice, big role of brown kraft paper, a selection of paper tags (in place of a card) and some stickers (like colourful polka dots) help us to keep our Birthday Box clutter free while allowing us a few options to customise each package on the day of wrapping. And with such low-cost wrapping supplies, we can put our funds into the gift itself.

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