Kids birthday gifts are a tricky subject. It’s not easy to know what is acceptable and what is frowned upon in terms of gift giving and the protocol for gift receiving. To take the guesswork out of the subject, we looked around the internet for the most commonly asked kids birthday party gift questions and have put together this handy dandy gift etiquette guide for you.


  • Don’t attend a kid’s party you’re invited to? Don’t give a gift

Just because you were invited to a child’s birthday party doesn’t mean you have to give a gift if you can’t attend. That’d be like a restaurant expecting you to still give a tip if you canceled your dinner reservation.

It may be different if it’s an extremely close family friend’s child. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or damage a relationship for no good reason. Use your best judgment in that situation and act accordingly.


  • Can’t afford a gift? Make something

We’ve all been there. Times get tough for numerous reasons and it’s a difficult position to be put in. Simply let the party host know and see if it is alright for you to make something like the child’s favorite baked good or a homemade treat.

Kids birthday parties shouldn’t simply be all about the materialistic aspects. Doing something nice, even if it’s homemade, could leave a lasting impression on the birthday boy or girl. It also teaches the child giving the birthday gift a great lesson as well!


  • Find the right gift by asking your child

If you don’t have a good enough feel for what kind of birthday gift to get a child there are two methods. Ask your own child what they think their friend or classmate would want for their birthday and buy based on that recommendation.

You can always ask the parent as well. Obviously, they can provide some great insight. They may even have a birthday registry set up for their child. Although, as a quick Google search reveals, that’s about as controversial as hiring Pantera to perform at your preschoolers birthday party.


  • If the invitation says “no gifts”, don’t bring one

We’re of the belief of taking the parent at face value. If they say no birthday presents then no birthday presents they will get.


  • Avoid opening gifts at the party

Unlike most things nowadays, there is pretty much a consensus on this topic. The growing feeling is that opening gifts during a kids birthday party is like saying you like Adam Sandler, while it used to be acceptable, it’s frowned upon now.

Opening gifts during the birthday party can cause jealousy if the guests are younger and can also put you in the awkward position of your child reacting negatively to a gift someone in attendance gave them. The simple way to deal with it is to let the party be all about the fun and cake and let the afterparty be all about opening the birthday presents.

"What Are The Rules For Kids Birthday Gifts?" was last updated December 1st, 2020 by

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