Emily has reached the age when she attends a birthday party almost every weekend. Or, at any rate, that's what it feels like some months of the year. Since most of these birthday girls are from the same social group (usually schoolmates), they also get invited to each other's parties. All this translates to the challenge of giving presents at each party that are fun and yet distinct. We used to let the girls pick something out at Target, but this got quite ridiculous in that the girls simply picked something they themselves wanted. Between you and me, I think the perfect gift is a big cardboard box and a new roll of masking tape. But I know I'm going to get strange looks from the moms during gift-opening time, so I've never had the courage to do it.
Over the years, we've sort of created our own formula for buying gifts for the girls' classmates. Here's what it looks like:
- A jigsaw puzzle (a good one, like the Ravensburger ones)
- Something to read (the current favorite book to give is George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin)
- Something to make
Occasionally, a friend will personally request a handmade item. For instance, one good friend of Emily's told me, "When Emily comes to my birthday party, can you make me a Rapunzel wig?" I love that the girls know me well enough to ask things like that.
Sometimes we pick up a craft kit from Michaels, but there are times when we put together our own, like this peg doll kit.
This is another kit we've put together for this weekend's birthday party - The Royal Pegs In Their Paintable Wooden Castle.
It consists of
- The castle, which is a birdhouse from Michaels for $10 ($6 if you use their 40% off coupon)
- A pack of paintbrushes
- A little palette of acrylic paint (you can buy the empty ones at Michaels for about $1 and fill them yourself)
- A bottle of satin varnish
- Wooden toothpicks (rounded) for painting tiny details
- A family of wooden peg doll blanks
- A sample princess for inspiration
These peg doll blanks can be bought in small quantities from Michaels/JoAnn/Hobby Lobby but I buy them in bulk online, as I've been doing for years, so we always have a stash to dip into.
We will also be writing a little instruction sheet, in case the new artist is unfamiliar with aryclic paints and varnish, and also to reassure parents who might be afraid of anything messier than color pencils.