How Much Should I Spend on a First Birthday Gift?

First birthday parties are joyous events that often involve a long guest list of friends and family who wish to share in the milestone celebration.

According to the party website Mommy Like Whoa, a poll of over 5,000 parents revealed the average cost of a first birthday party cost between $50 to $500. If you’ve been invited to a first birthday affair, you may be wondering how much you should spend on the gift.

There’s no one cut-and-dry answer but there are some factors to consider so you can come up with a good guesstimate. Read on to find out more.

🥳 About the Party

There are tons of venues for first birthday parties. Some are formal. Some are casual. Some are in between. The venue and formality will help you determine how much is appropriate to spend on the present.

If the party is in the host’s backyard or living room or at another informal setting such as the park, typically you can get by with spending less. In the event the party is at an amusement center, restaurant, or fancy venue, you may want to spring for more since the host is spending more on the party.

A black tie first party will just naturally call for spending more on the gift than a hoe-down in the backyard will.

👩 Who's The Host?

What is your relationship to the baby’s parent or parents? If you are casual friends, spending the minimum is fine.

The closer you are to the baby and his or her parent or parents, the more you may want to spend. If you are the grandparent or godparent, you’ll put out more than if you are simply a next-door neighbor.

💵 Average First Birthday Gift Cost

Baby Center, a website focusing on all things baby, let the community answer the question, “How much should I spend on a first birthday gift?” The most popular response was around $20.

The website Parenting had a different take on the question though, suggesting between $20 and $30 for a casual friend and up to $100 for close friends and relatives.

If you have the luxury of doing so and are good friends with any of the guests, you might do an informal poll of your own to see what the average guests will be spending is.

💳 What’s Your Budget?

The main thing to consider when contemplating how much to spend for a first birthday present is what amount you can afford. If you are having trouble paying your mortgage or rent, spending $50 on a present isn’t wise.

There are many ways you can save money when buying a birthday gift. From going in as a group to making the present yourself or catching a great sale, it’s better to be creative than to go in debt.

👶 Types Of Baby Gift Ideas

All gifts can be tailored to price. For example, you can spend a lot of a little on a toy. For price adjusted first baby presents, consider gifts like:

  • An age-appropriate book with a stuffed animal or toy
  • An outfit
  • A soft blanket
  • Bath toys
  • An educational toy

Milestone marking gifts are unique. You can personalize them so they’ll be treasured for years to come. Shops like Zazzle, CafePress, and Shutterfly are some of the most popular customizing stores that offer fun and fabulous personalized first birthday baby items like:

  • Personalized blankets
  • Create your own t-shirts and onesies
  • Memory wall art
  • Photo frames
  • Personalized ornaments
  • Photo calendar

Outside the Box Ideas

If you are crafty, you can make something unique and special for the baby such as a crocheted blanket, knitted house shoes, or a hand-sewn stuffed animal. A goodie basket is another excellent idea.

Cash Option

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reported that the cost for raising a child for a child born in 2015 was $233,610. The cost of raising a child born in 2023 is certainly set to increase.

Since one-year-olds will doubtfully remember their first birthday, it is not a bad idea to gift the parent or parents cash or a gift card to help offset the expense of raising the child.

The amount is up to you and can be figured by how close you are to the parents, how much you can afford, and the financial situation they are in. If you have excess and you know they are struggling, you can go high. If you gift a really big amount, you might want to give some anonymously so as not to embarrass them.

One to Grow On

The amount of the gift at a first birthday party should not be the focus but rather attending the event and celebrating the child is the ultimate you can give the parents and the youngster. Always follow your heart when it’s all said and done and you’ll give the gift in the perfect amount.

Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl is a professional writer that has been writing ever since she could hold a crayon. She has authored over 200 fiction and non-fiction books for teens and adults (both credited and ghost-written) on a wide range of subjects. Cheryl also writes blogs and articles on various topics and themes. Residing in a small mountain community in Southwest Colorado, Cheryl draws her inspiration from the gorgeous scenery, her 2 adult children, and 3 grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, party and event planning, and hanging out with family and friends. “I write so you don’t have to,” is Cheryl’s motto.

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