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"It looks like you are preparing for your daughter's wedding. You are so busy.", my mom had joked once, just a day before my daughter's first birthday. We both had guffawed at her comment, but she was right. We had planned a grand celebration with all our loved ones, family and friends, to raise a toast to this special milestone of our lives. There were so many aspects of the party to be taken care of and we were doing all that we could to make it a memorable day for us as well as the guests. The only thing that made me a tad bit anxious was "Return Gifts" for all the children, which has become one of the highlights of any birthday celebration today, be it a large scale one or a small gathering. For kids, return gifts have become the prime attraction of a birthday party and they wait with much eagerness and zest to know what goodies they will be taking home. When we were children, I remember how elated we would be even on receiving a Natraj pencil. Back then, return gift concept was not that prevalent so being presented with anything was a huge deal. Sometimes, I wonder how did such a transformation take place. But then, that was a different era altogether. A lot has changed, and so has the importance of return gifts in project "Birthday Party"!
Through this article, I intend to share some ideas which I believe make for great return gifts and also a few pointers to where you can buy them from. Some common and popular items like tiffin boxes, water bottles, stationery items, coloring books, color sets and cutlery are wonderful gifts. But if you have already presented them in the past and are looking for more ideas, this list might help you.
Books - Personally, I believe books are the best gifts for anyone, regardless of the recipient's age, gender or personality. When it comes to children, it is so essential to inculcate reading habits in them right at the beginning. Books are a window to the outer world and help to build one's imagination skills. You can easily find age appropriate books at a good bookstore in your city or on the Amazon online store. It is also not difficult to obtain books as per your birthday party theme, if you intend to give away theme based return gifts. For example, I gave an abridged version of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book to the elder kids during my daughter's "Jungle" themed birthday party and they loved it. You can also find a whole lot of engrossing sticker/activity books. Books are a reasonable gift option and many a time Amazon offers good deals on them.
Customized Chocolates - Never underestimate the power of a chocolate! Most kids love chocolates and a little bit of indulgence on a special occasion is warranted. Customized chocolates are sure to make the kids excited and delighted. You can contact "ReturnGiftings" who make finger-licking delicious chocolates at home, which can be customized with a message or as per a theme. I can vouch for the service and quality based on my personal experience with the vendor.
Hair accessories - Hair accessories will make for a fantastic return gift for the girls of all age groups. I highly recommend the stylish, appealing and trendy hair accessories from Reyas Accessories. They provide a wide range of designs suitable for every occasion and all their products are exquisitely hand-crafted. Headbands, hair clips, tiaras - they have it all and at affordable prices. You can get the gifts personalized based on your requirement. They deliver all over India and internationally as well, and can be reached on their official page.
Puzzles - Puzzles aid in development of a child's brain and help build cognitive skills in a fun way. They also enable parents to get involved with the kids while fitting the pieces. You should be able to find a good range in your local toy store. Also, Tiara's Toys offer a variety of good quality wooden puzzles for all age groups.
Bags - If you do not want to buy different gifts for each age group, then it's a great idea to gift a bag to everyone. You could go for pretty sling bags or tote bags. Bags with the design of various characters like Dora, Tom and Jerry, Winnie the Pooh,etc would be generally available in the local market. A wonderful utility gift for sure!
Mugs - Mug is a cool and useful gift suitable for all ages. What I like about the personalized or designer mugs is that they can be placed as a decor item at home, if one does not want to use them immediately. You can get customized mugs made at a store like Archies or at photography studios. If you are looking for a good collection of theme based mugs, you can contact Tasya Creations. They have quite a few available at wholesale price if purchased in bulk, and they also sell jute products.
Play-Doh - I realized because of my daughter how much fun play-doh is, not just for toddlers but for the elder kids as well. Working with play-doh enables kids to unleash their creativity and helps with development of their fine motor skills. Play-doh is extremely good for pretend play too. If you have a limited budget, you can go for the smaller packs and if there are no budget constraints, then you have limitless options to choose from. It truly is a fabulous return gift to provide hours of fun and learning to the kids!
DIY art and craft kits - I got this idea when we received a craft kit as a return gift during a party I had attended with my nephew. It was a DIY photo frame and it was so much fun making and decorating it with my nephew later at home. Such kits are not very expensive and are excellent for the older kids.
Plant - This may sound like an offbeat idea but I personally feel it's a lovely and unique gift. In today's scenario, when we talk so much about environment and the importance of "Go Green", gifting a plant makes perfect sense. When I mentioned it once to someone, the response I got was that the kids would find it boring. I think, on the contrary, they would find it very interesting and it would stay with them always. Imagine the fun in sowing seeds, learning about the process of germination and watering and maintaining a plant at home! They can learn a lot practically this way and it certainly would make them more sensitive and loving towards nature.
Finger puppets/ Magnets - If you are seeking economical and cute return gifts for the smaller kids, you can go for finger puppets or fridge magnets. You get these in all forms - animals, birds, alphabets, numbers, fruits and vegetables. The tiny tots will surely enjoy them. They are perfect for both genders and can be used in multifarious ways. For instance, I use finger puppets to narrate interesting stories to my toddler. You can get your hands on them through online stores or can contact Tiara's Toys.
Do you have more ideas? Please do share in the comments. I would love to add them to my list!