Birthdays and Halloween and School Clothes, Oh My!

Yesterday afternoon the girls and I took a quick trip to Target.  $150 later I emerged with 2 Halloween costumes, 2 plastic pumpkins, 3 birthday gifts, and a variety of sundry grocery items.  Yes, I realize that last phrase was redundant, but it sounds good, don’t you think?

I went to Target in search of birthday presents and somehow ended up shopping for Halloween as well.  I mean, I was there, the costumes were there, and we all know that Halloween will be here before we know it. It just made sense at the time.

Caroline will be Minnie Mouse, and Becca will be Sleeping Beauty.  I got home and ordered David a Darth Maul costume online and paid an astronomical amount in shipping, but I remember that last year I called all over creation and could not find the elusive Darth Maul costume, and David ended up being a mutant ninja turtle, and I couldn’t live with myself if my son didn’t have his costume of choice for the second year in a row, so there you have it.

halloween-2008

June, I know it pains you to read my run-on sentences, but bear with me.  It’s just how I talk.  Ask my real life friends.

So here’s a question.  Back to the birthday presents purchases.  How much does one generally spend on birthday presents for other people’s kids?  And while we’re at it, do you have any tried-and-true birthday gifts that you give over and over again?  I have been meaning to order a bunch of PakNaks to have on hand for just this purpose, but did I get around to it?  Of course not!  (Although just this afternoon I rectified this situation and placed an order so I have some for the next round of birthday party invitations that are sure to be pouring in.)  (And also, if you place a PakNak order for your own birthday party present needs, or for yourself because, you know, you deserve them, enter PAK10 at checkout for 10% off.  You’re welcome.)

I hate contributing to the accumulation of junkie plastic toys in someone else’s household, but I never know what else to get.  Disposable toys, that’s what I call them.  They’re cheap and fun for a few days.  Then they get thrown by the wayside and long forgotten.  And eventually tossed in the trash during a decluttering session.  At least, that’s what happens to them in MY house.

I have three of my own kids’ birthdays coming up this fall that I haven’t even begun shopping for yet.  I am always stumped with what to get them because after the birthday party presents and the grandparents’ presents, they really do not need another single thing.  But there is the expectation that mom and dad will get them something really fab.  So I wanna know.  How do y’all handle birthdays?

And then there is the issue of the birthday party.  Most of our friends seem to have a birthday party for each kid every year.  I’m a meanie because I make my kids rotate.  Last year David had a birthday party, and this year Caroline will have one.  Next year Becca will get her first ever birthday party, when she turns 4.

Of course we always have a small family celebration here at home with cake and ice cream and presents, but we don’t have a big bash for each kid every year.  My kids’ birthdays fall in Oct, Nov, and Dec.  Add that to all the fall festivities and then Christmas, and that’s a nervous breakdown in the making.  I just can’t do it all so I don’t.  Hub is in complete agreement.  In fact, he wouldn’t even throw a party a year.  I have insisted on at least that.

I mentioned school clothes because that’s just one more thing to buy this time of year.  Where does it end?  I swear, we spend more from Sept to Dec than we do the whole rest of the year.  What do you do?  Do you budget all year for the end-of-the-year spending spree?  Or do you just take it as it comes?

Did I ask enough questions in this post?  Come on.  Talk to me.

And also.  If you aren’t subscribed, you should be.  Because it would be a tragedy to miss a moment of the deep and thought-provoking discussions here at Musings of a Housewife.  It’s easy.