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Last-Minute Birthday Gift Ideas

Last-Minute Birthday Gift Ideas
By: Mackenzee McWilliams

We’ve all been there… The last minute dash into the store with the kids in tow, grabbing a toy, gift bag, tissue paper and card for the birthday party that starts in less than 20 minutes. Birthday parties tend to sneak up on us! For some, keeping a cabinet with pre-sorted cards for every imaginable event works really well. But some of us are not nearly as organized or prepared as others. It’s always fun to give (and receive) creative and thoughtful birthday gifts. But time and money are often factors in whatever the grand plan may be. What a bummer, right? Not necessarily, if you have a plan! Below are just a few ideas to keep in mind when birthday party season rolls around.

  • Color-themed gifts. These are especially fun for preschool-aged children! A small bag with a bouncy ball, Play-Doh, stickers, Slinky, outdoor toys or bath toys – all in a specific color.
  • Gardening/outdoors set. A spade, gardening gloves, seeds and watering can (hello, Amazon prime, you beautiful saver of my sanity) are perfect for a little one with a green thumb!
  • CRAFTS! You can pick up a box set with instructions and materials to make anything from unicorn magnets to backyard rockets to slime!
  • For an older child who likes to read, a gift card to a bookstore is a great idea. You can add in a cute bookmark and cozy socks so they have something fun to open at the party.
  • Board games are always a big hit and kids love to try out new games on a rainy day. Include a notepad and pen to keep a current champion list!
  • A family movie night basket is a fan-favorite, especially if the party is for more than one sibling. Movie theater snacks (popcorn and Reese’s Pieces, anyone?) and a family-friendly movie will set your gift apart!
  • Dress-ups or costumes are a major hit. Grab a few popular costumes at a deep discount after Halloween, and save them for a birthday gift in the future.
  • Binoculars and a book about birds is a wonderful gift for an observant nature lover. If you can’t find the right book, pick up a sketch pad with pencils instead – for the young explorer to make notes and drawings of the birds or insects found outdoors.
  • Matching pajamas or other clothing items. Imagine how much giggly fun two little ballet loving girls would have with matching ballerina pajamas!
  • Outdoor toys. There is something so refreshing about being able to take all of the new toys outside after a party! Sidewalk chalk, bubbles, hula hoops, jump ropes, bug-catchers, frisbees, soccer balls, kites – all kids love these!
  • Look and Find Books or other book activities. These are great for the car or a rainy day!

Your gift does not need to be extravagant. Your gift does not need to be handmade. Your gift does not need to be store bought. It can be anything you make it. Sometimes you will still find yourself schlepping through the Target toy aisle with a cart full of kids dressed up as pirates. And when that happens, don’t forget to grab your secret checkout-line candy bar reward to eat on the way to the birthday party!

Mackenzee McWilliams is a wife, homeschooling mama and freelance writer. She loves staying up late to make creative birthday gifts, but often still finds herself sprinting through Target to grab a last minute gift on a Saturday afternoon!

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