There’s a certain rut we all fall into when buying birthday presents for young children. Invariably, if our kids are in Primary School, they will be invited to 15-20 birthday parties every year. And, at the beginning of the year, we tend to make more of an effort to find the right gift for the child. But let’s face it, most of the time, we don’t know what to buy as we don’t know the child that well.
Then there’s the issue of buying a quality gift within budget. What quality gift can we buy for $15? Add in the cost of wrapping it and buying a card, and before you know it, we’re over budget. $20 x 20 parties = $400 per year per child. With more than 1 child in Primary School, we can be spending $800 -$1200 a year!
That’s a lot of money. And a lot of money for $15 gifts that will most likely break or be forgotten within a few weeks. Don’t even get us started with all of the other waste involved: our time and effort in buying the gift, the mum that has to throw away all the plastic packaging and wrapping paper waste, and then deal with the unwanted, broken or requires 9-volt batteries type of toys!
Wouldn’t it be great if we could figure out a better way to give a simple birthday gift? To figure out how to give the perfect gift for each child, one that they will appreciate, play with and that doesn’t generate so much waste. And while we’re dreaming, let’s also figure out a way to give this fabulous gift and stay within budget without so much running around 🙂
In this blog, we’ll take a look at how we can accomplish all these goals. How we can spend less but give more, we like to call it Mindful Giving.
By getting parents to chip in together, we combine our resources and are able to buy more with less. It’s tough to find a great gift for $15, but if 15 parents chip in together, then 15 parents x $10 = $150. Now we can give one great gift, spend less and reduce the amount of waste all at the same time!
But there’s a rub, someone has to organise the parents, and sometimes that’s much more hassle than trying to find a $15 gift on your own. Emails are sent, people don’t respond, some give cash at drop-off (who was that again?), others send it in our child’s backpack (which gets lost or used for tuck shop) and others tell us they’ll give us the money later.
To take the hassle right out of this equation, now, there’s GroupTogether.com. GroupTogether makes it easy to organise a group of parents to chip in together. In a few short minutes, a collection can be created online. Then the website does the rest: • send invitations, • collect contributions online, • send reminders, • create a group card with messages and photos from all the kids in the class and • transfer the gift funds at the end.
Luckily, most of our classrooms have a perfectly placed parent to setup the online collection. Every year, one very brave and wonderful parent volunteers to be the “Class Parent”. The Class parent or Parent Rep is the uber-organised parent that helps liaise between the teacher and the parents.
Using GroupTogether.com, the Class Parent can easily set up a birthday collection and then duplicate it for every child in the class in a few minutes. Parents can even decide to donate a portion of their child’s group gift to the charity of their choosing. Birthday gifts for the year sorted! Think of all the time, effort, money and waste that will be saved.
It’s time to move out of our birthday gift rut and onto the path of mindful giving. We love giving gifts, but not every gift is loved. Let’s ensure we give the gift that is wanted by pooling our resources together. At the end of the day, if we can also cut down on all the waste and teach our kids to give a little back to charity, giving birthday gifts feels better all around.
To learn more about GroupTogether.com and mindful giving, click here. GroupTogether was founded by two Sydney Mums and in the last 12 months has collected over $270,000 in group gifts and donated over $48,000 to charitable causes in Australia.
If you have other great ideas on how to organise birthday gifts for the class, we’d love to hear from you.
As parents, we’ve all been there and we’ve all said it, that seminal line, spoken moments after your child’s birthday party has ended, “NEVER again”. And yet…in our infinite wisdom