What Type of Gift Should You Get?
Most guests at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah give a cash gift, usually in multiples of $18 (which is a lucky number in Jewish tradition), although gifts are often given as well. Sports memorabilia and jewelry are common since they are gifts that the Bar or Bat Mitzvah can treasure forever. As always, you should give what you feel comfortable with, though here’s a little guidance:
- For a 13-year-old attending a friend’s Bar Mitzvah $36-$72 is adequate (remember the rule of $18!)
- An adult couple that’s friends with the family should give more in the neighborhood of $100-$150.
- Close relatives are expected to give a little more. This might be a good occasion to pass on a family heirloom, such as a ring or watch, or a religious item like a Talis.
It’s perfectly acceptable to give a gift other than cash. These are some items to consider for your family member or friend’s special day:
- Religious items – A kiddush cup or mezuzah from a judaica store is a nice way to encourage the child’s religious growth, though you should probably check with the parents first.
- Charitable donation –A popular and fun gift is to plant a tree in Israel under his or her name.
- Electronics – An iPod or digital camera will put a smile on just about any 13-year-old’s face.
When to Give the Gift
Based on Jewish custom gifts are usually given during the reception, not at the service itself.
It is your child's birthday party in a couple of weeks and you are stumped. Do you give party favors to the kids to take home at the end or just don't give anything out at all? Use this guide to help solve all of your problems.
Are they required?
Goody bags are not required, but they are an unspoken way for the hostess to express gratitude to the guests and send them home with a small memento to remember your party. You can give your guests goody bags without spending much money on them. Or, if you oppose goody bags all together, then you could still give guests something to take home by hiring face painters or balloon twisters, or by having children make art projects, like t-shirts, picture frames, or plates at the party. That way, they will still leave the party with something in their hands!
How much should I spend on party favors?
You can spend whatever amount you feel comfortable on, but the typical amount is $3-$10 per child. Usually people will go to a dollar store, Michaels craft store, Five Below, or Party City to get small knick-knacks. Another alternative is to send kids home with one higher-quality item, wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a gift bag.
What should I avoid putting in the bag?
Stay away from including a lot of candy—parents will not be happy when their child comes home with a bag full of sweets. Only put one to two pieces in the bag (and make sure to avoid peanut products in case of allergies!). Avoid including useless junk that will only hold a child’s attention the afternoon they receive it—no parent wants his or her child bringing home stuff that will just be making its way into the trash or crowd the playroom. Avoid: paper fans, cheap plastic toys, tiny koosh balls, Silly Putty, etc.
What should I put in the bag?
Under 3-years-old: a small packet of sidewalk chalk, bubbles, dress-up items, and stickers.
- 3-6 years: gum, colored pencils/pens, coloring books, toy cars, hair accessories, sunglasses.
- 6+: fun school supplies, like colorful pens/pencils/markers, cool irregular-shaped erases, Lipsmacker chapstick, nail polish, puzzles.
Here are some great gift ideas that are just great for older sisters and brothers:
The average toddler is around 2-4 years old and has so much energy that you can hardly keep up with them. Toddlers are always growing, learning and discovering new things.
The best gift ideas for a toddler are gifts that are eco-friendly, practical and very affordable.
Here are great gift ideas for toddlers that are guaranteed to make their birthday special:
- Dress-up Toys. Toddlers love to play dress up in their mom and dad’s closet, so why not let them have a blast? Buy baby dolls that are able to change into different outfits. These accessories are additional gifts to add on the birthday gift.
- Musical Toys. Music is soothing to most children. However, these unique gifts are all about making noise and how much of it your child can make. What more can a toddler ask for? The best affordable musical toy gifts would be: cymbals, tambourine, toy flute, kazoo, etc.
- Cooking Play Sets. Toddlers seem to mimic everything their parents do, so cooking play sets are perfect gifts for the little girl or boy that loves to bake and watch mommy in the kitchen. Also, these gifts are a good start to a collection, especially if the set comes with lots of dishes and cups.
- Wooden Blocks. Blocks are great gifts for toddlers, because they enjoy building things and have even more fun knocking the blocks over. This gift is very helpful when teaching kids ABCs and 123s.
- Memory Games. As toddlers explore they enjoy playing games that are fun and educational. One of the greatest things about this gift is there are no loose pieces, just one game board, which makes for easy clean up.
Not only are these gift ideas perfect for toddlers, but they are sure to be a big hit at every birthday party!
Toys, games and gadgets are always at the top of a young boy or girl’s wish list, but their interest in these items might wane as soon as the next fad or “it” item emerges.
Yet certain items seem to withstand the test of time. Building a collection for a child is a nice tradition because they can look forward to receiving the same type of gift every year and something they will appreciate more and more as the quantity of items grows. But collections don’t have to be comprised of expensive items—a small stocking stuffer or token present for one night of Hanukkah makes a great gift, and a nice addition to a regular present without going over budget. Here are five ideas to get you started:
Pez Dispensers: These colorful candy holders may have celebrated their 85th birthday in 2012, but new versions tied to movies, holidays, toys and even presidents and introduced regularly. It’s hard to think of a character that doesn’t have its own Pez dispenser, but that means that it should be easy to find ones pegged to someone’s interests.
Hess Trucks: These green and white toy trucks (and cars, planes and even space shuttles!) have been a holiday tradition since 1964. This year, for the first time, Hess Trucks will be available for purchase online, making it easier than ever to gift a child their first toy truck.
Comic Books: Thanks to big blockbuster summer movies, kids have been reintroduced to classic comic book characters like Spiderman, The Green Hornet and Captain America. Interest in comics can generate a love of books, even in the age of apps and e-readers (many digital editions are now available the same day as hard copies). The imaginative storylines provide an entertaining and fun hobby that can last for years.
Trading Cards: Baseball Cards have been able to maintain the test of time, whereas some cards, (Ahem, Pokémon) have fallen by the wayside. As a relatively inexpensive gift, baseball cards are a great option for younger kids. Since they are at a low price point, they are a good incentive gift, or as a reward for good grades and completing chores. The notion of luck and rush of excitement when ripping open a new pack will keep their collection growing.
Christmas Ornaments: A family’s Christmas tree is most likely decorated with a colorful assortment of lights and ornaments, but ornaments that mean something special or commemorate specific events or occasions will always carry more meaning. A Christmas tree can serve as a vertical 3-D scrapbook for a family if you give children an annual ornament catered to their interests. Think ballet slippers to commemorate a first dance class, a baseball to mark the beginning of Little League play, and a car to commemorate a driver’s license. Make sure to write the year on the back of each ornament before gifting it!
Buying someone a gift is representation of a joyous occasion, but at times, the process of choosing the “right” gift can feel like anything but a celebration. This is especially true when you are shopping for some of the harshest critics to date: children.
Let’s face it–if kids don’t like something, they won’t hold back. With all the rules and regulations associated with the purchasing of toys or games for kids, it’s hard to keep these guidelines in mind along with a kid’s ever-changing likes and dislikes. Buying a kid in elementary school a gift for ages 6-and-up may teeter into “babyish” territory, but getting the newest rated T or M (teen or mature) action video game may not be what mom wants her 11-year-old playing before bedtime. So how do you know if you are choosing what’s best?
Age ranges are placed on games and toys for a reason. For the toy industry, the main and most essential purpose for those guidelines is safety, says Adrienne O’Hara, a Toys”R”Us spokeswoman. “Parents and gift-givers should absolutely take note to packaging notifications when dealing with young children,” says O’Hara. “When kids are 3-years old and younger, they are at greater risk for swallowing small or hazardous pieces.”
Don’t Hold Back
Since children are constantly going through various stages of development, games geared toward complimenting and enhancing that current phase of the child’s life make the best gifts. For children ages 6 and up, it’s important to take his or her skill level and interests into account, but you should only purchase gifts that fall within their age range. A game or toy for ages 6 and up is still appropriate for a 7-8 year old, but one designed for children 7 and up may not be the best choice for younger child, especially one not even in Kindergarten yet. In general, you should always make sure your recipient is at the younger age of a provided range when choosing a gift.
Moving Too Fast?
Another common conundrum gift givers face is buying for tweens (10-12 years old). This is a tough age to buy for, because while some tweens might be more eager to leave their adolescent years behind, you also have to be careful not to go beyond their maturity levels. While this mainly affects girls, think twice before purchasing cosmetics, perfume, hoop earrings, hair accessories, etc. without getting her parent’s permission.
When a PG-13 or T-rating is applied to a movie or video game, is it okay to buy it for a tween or teen? The moral answer is to leave that decision up to the parent’s discretion. Although some parents may be willing to ignore the guidelines, it is not your call to make for someone else’s child, and you don’t want your gift to provoke an argument or be withheld from its’ recipient. Even if a child is old enough by movie or video game standards, it might not be a subject matter that all parents would agree is appropriate for their teen.
Purchasing toys and games for only children should also be handled delicately. Most games and toys are designed to complement the multi-player audience, but does that mean the you should search of something strictly designed to accommodate party of one? It’s healthy for kids to be interactive and social, so if you are gifting a toy or game that is for more than one player, it could be the perfect companion for the next sleepover or play date, especially for kids in grade school (yet the age that kids start having sleepovers varies as well). On the other hand, there are plenty of fun and stimulating games and toys suited for individuals, especially games that are more educationally-oriented.
The most important rules to remember when buying any child, big or small, a gift, is to use your own discretion, knowledge of the child’s skills and abilities, and to follow the age ranges because that will lead you toward something that will be indicative of the child’s capability and enjoyment. After all, it’s really about putting a smile on the child’s face–and the parents!