I feel like there are more parties and gift-giving events to go to these days than ever. We don't have a huge circle of friends, but between kid birthday parties, baby showers, holidays, and hosting birthdays for our kids, the spending on these events can seem constant. And get expensive.
With 4 1/2 years under my belt, I feel like I'm becoming a more mature and seasoned mother. As a part of that, I won't allow holidays & events & parties to usurp my budget. They are meant to be fun celebrations, not a strain.
I posted this Money Saving Mom article in the Weekend Links, and I was reminded that people think really differently about money & the role it should have in celebrations. Take this comment:
"...not about "impressing" parents but if you are going to have them come and spend money on a gift for your child I would think they should at least get a bakery cake and something other than a craft to take home.."Ummm... the kids at my daughter's birthday party got homemade cupcakes and a flower that they planted in a flower pot with their name on it as their take-home gift. And I thought it was perfect. I infinitely prefer homemade cakes to store-bought cakes; it's hard to beat homemade chocolate buttercream icing. To each their own.
For that reason, I don't expect the people in my life to buy my family expensive gifts. And I don't buy expensive gifts for birthday parties and baby showers; it's not something that's doable for us at this stage in our lives.
But where is the line between frugal and tacky? Here's how I define it:
Nice: any gift that's given with good intentions.
Extra Special: a gift that's customized for the recipient (for example, we had a relative put together a dress-up box for our 2 year old. At my son's birthday, we had a friend put together a set of arts & crafts supplies. I thought those gifts were really great).
Tacky: showing up to an event where gifts are clearly expected (kid parties, baby showers), and either not giving anything at all, or giving something that is clearly not useful for the gift recipient.
Nice: Providing something to drink, a light snack, and somewhere to go to the bathroom. Introducing people who don't know each other. Chatting with guests.
Extra Special: Going above & beyond by serving special food, drinks, or nice decor.
Tacky: Not providing something to drink or a bathroom. Not talking to guests. Not making an effort to help guests have a good time.
When it comes to giving presents or being a good host, it's really not about money, to me. It's about what consideration and effort gets put into it.
Do you feel like you need to spend a certain amount when you're giving a gift or hosting a party?