Kids & Parenting

How Much Is Too Much?

When I was little, and I got invited to birthday parties by school friends, my mum enforced a strict £5 present buying maximum.  Note the use of the word ‘maximum’.  Sometimes, we didn’t even reach the full fiver.  And if I wanted to top it up, which I didn’t, but if I did, that was on me and my pocket money.  Hence, I didn’t ever top it up.

By the time I had kids of my own, I realised that things had moved on some 30-odd years, and I adjusted spend accordingly to a £10 maximum for any child under the age of 11, apart from very close friends and family.  It wasn’t until The Photographer became aware of my policy, purely by chance one day (I think I may have foolishly asked him to put some money into a card as I had to rush out – error), that I even realised there was a problem.  Oh, he was outraged!  Did I know, he asked, what an insult £10 was?  Well, I didn’t dare tell him about my five-pound policy regarding any child of nursery school age *insert see no evil and speak no evil monkey emojis somewhere here* so, shhh…let’s keep that strictly between us.

Subsequently, I have upped the present fund to somewhere between £10 and £15 pounds.  I refuse to go any higher for now, because by the time you’ve fronted the cash for the 10 to 20-odd kids (state/private school class size and popularity-dependent) that your child has to provide a birthday present for and multiplied that amount by the number of children that you have, you’re talking at least one pair of these:

These are Louboutins. I could never ever wear these…even in my wildest dreams.

or a few of pairs of these Air & Grace corkers :

Say “hi!” to Copeland

or a couple of pairs of these Grenson beauties in tan and metallic silver:

Well, hello Emily!

In other words, a fair bit of change!

So, to illustrate that I’m not just a total skinflint and that birthday gifts can be frugal and fantastic, here are some things that you can buy for someone else’s child for a tenner or less…and all can be ordered from the comfort of your own laptop.  You’re welcome.


  1. KemiKids – @kemikids


BOLD slogan tee from KemiKids – currently only £6.00.  Kids always need clothes.  And when the clothes are stylish, both child and parent  should be even more grateful.  This tee is currently available in two sizes: 3-4 and 5-6, so this is one for the younger or more slight kids.  It’s 100% organic cotton and totally gender neutral.  KemiKids is an online shop, run by amazing mama, Yvonne, and specialising in affordable accessories that inspire women to feel great about themselves.  These tees extend this focus on self-worth to the little ones.  And, while you’re browsing the shop for stuff for the kids, you might as well congratulate yourself for doing something for the kids by doing something for yourself in the form of an incredibly affordable purchase.  Win!


  1. Made by Lowie – @madebylowie

Mini superhero hand painted wooden peg dolls  – £4.00 each.  Grab a couple for less than a tenner.  Add some more if you really like the child.  And, if you start early enough, say, age 3 or 4, you can add to the collection every year and the dolls will still be relevant by the time the child is 7.  Handmade in London by another lovely mama, the range also includes Super girl, Wonder Woman and Batgirl. For those little ones who are into slightly gentler play, there are also mini fairy tale princesses and the obligatory Elsa and Ana (of Frozen fame) too.  Everyone catered for. Win!


  1. Acorn & Pip – @acornandpip


My First Newspaper Editor-in-Chief  –  £6.00.  Know any young, budding journalists?  Don’t want them to become the next Rebekah Brooks (boo!) or Kelvin MacKenzie (hiss!)?  Want to show them that news can be interesting even without a private investigator getting involved?  This is the gift for them.  Brought to you from the creative minds at German design agency, Donkey, via UK-based and mama-run online shop, Acorn & Pip and with “peace and quiet for parents included as a free insert”, what is not to love?  Win!


  1. Kishem – @kishemworld

Kishem & Ko Inspirational Colouring and Story Book For All Children – £5.00.  Brought to you by family run company Kishem, a combination of the names of the young sisters who created this book: Kemi and Kiisha.  These problem-solving sisters realised that there was a shortage of books, especially colouring books, that represented them and their school friends, so… *insert lightbulb emoji*…they made their own!  They believe that all children have something special about them and hope that this book helps them to realise that they are really cool and that they can do anything.  Because representation matters, I think that’s another win!


  1. Coinage

Pretend it’s 1987.  Gift the child the opportunity to count out their age with an equivalent number of shiny, pound coins.  Child’s parents will probably side-eye you and your offspring like crazy next time they see you, but it will totally make sense to the birthday boy or girl, as well as doubling as a counting game.  Educational and frugal.  Win!  (N.B. I suggest only practising this up until the age of 10)


So, there you have it, my top five, in no particular order.  But, I’m sure there are more.  So, I would love to know if you have any other birthday present ideas that don’t break the bank.  Plus, it doesn’t cost a single penny to share using the comments below*

Cee x

*well, technically it may actually cost quite a bit because you may be paying for the Wi-Fi or the 3G/4G to get you onto the internet and therefore onto my blog, plus the electricity to power your laptop, tablet or smart phone plus you may be sitting in a room with the light on, unless you are in some kind of internet café or coffee shop or other establishment that provides free internet access… then there is your time, which is priceless, but you know what I mean… *insert cheeky wink emoji here*



16 thoughts on “How Much Is Too Much?

  1. This is such a great post Cee! I appreciate the suggestions as I’m always trying to find ideas for gifts for neices /nephews …. other kids from family friends. Last week I gave a tenner … card and sweets etc. I just gave up! Lol xx thanks for sharing x

  2. Hahaha I love this post and your sense of humour! Was laughing the whole time. I’m a proud cheapskate so I will save this for future reference. Thanks for sharing!


  3. I like people who are just lovely and incredibly helpful! Hahaha seriously though, great post! You’ve made lovely suggestions, I really like the wooden superheroes. I’ve had enough of giving £10 gift vouchers 😑 thanks for sharing! Xx

    1. You are welcome! 😊 Love the peg dolls too (much preferred to the plastic rubbish that currently clusters my house!) Happy shopping and thanks for reading x

  4. Great post! My friends and I have this conversation often and it’s got to the point where the presents I buy are not even personal or thought out well because I’m just looking for something in budget.
    When you plan and look at a range of suppliers something so unique can be bought for a reasonable price…and you know it’s unlikely someone would have bought the same thing.

    1. Right?! It’s one of the reasons I prefer to give money so that the child can buy what they want. But, if you have the time, putting a little bit of thought into it can save you money and make a much nicer gift. Thanks for reading x

  5. Great post. Thank you for featuring Kemikids. I have a strict policy on receiving and giving birthday presents. I have been known to refuse expensive presents from people that are not close to the family. I don’t like the pressure it places on me. Also, we don’t do expensive presents. Our policy is to give useful presents. Most of the time being book vouchers, clothes or £10 for the child to spend on getting something or banking it. There is absolutely nothing wrong in giving a child £10. Don’t feel judged. Xxx

  6. LOL central. Love the suggestions. I have thought about this many times I used to get good gifts for school friends but after I saw the pound shop trash some of them tried wrap school pals got a tenner and I don’t say yes to every party. Not boosting anyone’s numbers. Parties are invariably a time thief so we’ve got to have a relationship. Close friends and family it depends if it’s a special birthday. Generally £15 is standard more for a special one… as for birthdays in November, December and January 😭

    1. Lol at pound shop trash and not boosting numbers! 😂 But why do all the birthday parties occur at the same time though?! 😭 Thanks for reading xx

  7. My policy is the same as yours. My little gets invited to so many parties…and it’s bloody expensive. However the kid’s parent that got my daughter a pen for her 4th birthday….. i returned the favour when it came to his birthday. There’s being careful and then there’s just being plain tight.

  8. Oh I hate the reciprocal exchanges of tat! I stick to godchildren and their siblings only, a book or clothes and pound coins in their card for their age.

    This is until my son is school age and I’ll be careful then too because it’s not fair on parents who don’t have much money or have heaps of other kids to buy for. I know of one mum who bought a selection box for every child in the class to go with their Christmas cards – it’s too OTT and too much pressure.

    1. A selection box with a card????! Why do people do things like that?! 😭 Such a waste of money and so unnecessary! I’m glad people like you still do the coins in the card. I think it’s super cute. Thanks for reading xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *