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creativegifts
Image by Pleuntje

Every year, for ten days, my daughters are the same age. Yes, they’re only 11 1/2 months apart. Yes, we know how that happens.

In addition to being born super close to each other, Eva and Ella (yes, they both start with a short “e” and yes, that’s VERY confusing) have birthdays quite close to their cousin, who was born 11 days before Eva, which is the day before Ella’s birthday.

Confused yet? I am.

Anywho, since I was really good at getting pregnant, especially when my sisters-in-law got pregnant (like, all of them, twice), we deal with a good deal of birthdays, back-to-back. That’s a lot of parties. And, potentially, a lot of presents. 

Since we’re not just frugal, but frugal minimalists, we’ve had to find creative ways to give gifts that are both budget-friendly and meaningful. I am too opposed to possessing meaningless crap to even give it as a gift.

Plus did I mention I’m cheap frugal?

So, if you’re of a similar mindset/budget, here’s a list of gifts we’ve given over the years that kids have enjoyed:

1. Edibles

Treats are always a hit. My kids love cookies, ice cream and apple pie. So why not make it for them as a gift? Ella has been asking me to make apple pie every day for the last week, so I think she’ll be getting some these hand pies for her birthday. I’m all for a special treat on their birthdays.

2. Plants

Last year, we got invited to a joint birthday party for three siblings. I had a low gift budget, so Isaac picked out an inexpensive, handmade boat at the farmer’s market for his friend and the girls picked out the gifts for his sisters (their friends). Each girl got beautiful potted flowers to either keep inside or plant outdoors.

My girls thought it was a great idea and said they’d love to get their own flowers (or veggies).

3. Experiences

Swimming. Fun museums. Movie date at the dollar theater. We are huge on giving the gift of our presence. Often, this is what our kids want the most (especially when they have to share us with three other kiddos) and they love hanging out with parents who aren’t preoccupied with work or the bus. Solo dates with each parent are a bonus.

4. Lessons

Okay, we didn’t do this, but my sister-in-law did and I plan on stealing her idea. For my niece’s birthday this year, she got her a horse riding lesson. They were pretty inexpensive and will give her a chance to ride a horse for the first time.

I can think of a number of one-time lessons my kids would enjoy, and if they love it, we could figure out way to work more into our budget.

5. Kits

One year, my nieces and nephews got homemade bug collecting kits as gifts from us. Each kit contained a magnifying glass, pencil, notepad, bug collecting jar and flashlight. They didn’t even need to be wrapped as it all came in a tote bag for collecting their findings. I’ve seen some other cool kits I want to try like a fort kit, gardening kit and baking kit.

6. Interest-oriented

Eva is a very creative child. So we tend to gear her presents toward her interests in art. Once it was a ballet outfit found at a consignment shop. Another time it was drawing supplies. This year, it will probably be some kind of lego set (she would love something like this – I’d love to find it used) as she’s expressed interest in building structures.

7. Scavenger hunts

One year, we put together a scavenger hunt for Isaac’s birthday that led him to the one present we got for him that year.

We took two different-colored pieces of construction paper and glued them together. Then we wrote the final location of the present on one side, drew on puzzle pieces on the other and cut them out. We wrote clues on the pieces and hid them all over the house (and some outside), with the first one taped on the ceiling above his bed.

He had a blast finding everything! And so did we. The present at the end was just a very cool bonus.

What’s your favorite frugal gift for kids?