There is a years-long season of life with preschool and school-aged kids where there seems to be a kid birthday party every other weekend. Birthday parties provide a great outside-of-school opportunity for our kids to socialize with their friends, and often some “get to know the other parents” time as well, but this also creates extra errands we moms usually end up tasked with. It can feel like there’s always a gift to buy or afternoon to plan for. Here are a few ways to calm the madness and streamline your efforts as the birthday party invites start to roll in.

Take a photo of the invite as soon as you receive it

This is my routine when I receive any invite now — take a photo on my phone, put it on the calendar, and RSVP as soon as I know my reply. This way, the info is always available and I can pull it up quickly when I need the address or venue information. Doing all this at once gets it out of the way, which means less worrying about it in the meantime.

Have a go-to gift

Having a reliable gift already determined can take most of the guesswork out of gift giving and make your shopping trip a little more efficient. Sticking with a similar gift each time helps you stay on budget and can lend focus to your child’s gift-shopping participation. Having a go-to kid birthday gift also allows you to have items on hand ahead of time — or even seize opportunities when items go on sale. Some ideas for go-to kid birthday gifts:

  • A kid-size water bottle filled with individually wrapped treats, like candy or fruit snack packets
  • A book accompanied by a Target (or similar) gift card
  • An age-appropriate journal and pens or markers
  • Kid-size beach towel, sidewalk chalk, bubbles (for spring or summer birthdays)

Buy cards in multi-packs

I don’t know if it’s always been this way, but man, greeting cards have gotten expensive. With the card alone claiming $4-6 of the birthday gift budget, it’s tempting to forgo it altogether. That’s absolutely an option, but if you do choose to include a card with your gift, consider keeping a multi-pack of birthday cards handy — you’ll be stocked for the next few birthdays!

Have gift bags and tissue paper on hand

I tend to hoard gift bags for reuse, so my gift-wrapping bin seems to always be stocked with suitable options. Even still, there is often a need to replenish the collection. One of the benefits of giving a similar gift each time is that you can always wrap it the same way. Rather than seek out the perfect-sized gift bag, I look for multipacks in the size I know I will need. The dollar store is a great place to find bulk packs of tissue paper as well. Wrapping in gift bags makes it much easier for little hands to assist in wrapping gifts for their friends ahead of the party as well.

Like nearly everything as a mom, it’s impossible to make attending kid birthday parties completely stress-free, but with a little preparation, you’ll already have a plan the next time an invitation shows up.

Hannah DeLisle-Stall
Hannah grew up in rural central Massachusetts and now lives in a teeny tiny town in the Berkshires. Hannah has BS and MS degrees in engineering and has spent most of her career working as a manager in the manufacturing industry — where there are few women, and even fewer moms. She is currently a Senior Manager in the Aerospace Manufacturing industry, working on parts that go into Commercial and Military Airplanes. Hannah and her husband met during college, when they were both volunteering at a local food bank. After graduating, building their careers, traveling, and even living on opposite coasts for a few years, they were married in 2015 and welcomed a son in 2019. Together, they love to camp, travel, and hone their DIY skills. In 2023, they completed a 3-year project to design and build their family's forever home. Hannah loves to volunteer, especially with organizations that help women and mothers advance their careers.