Option 1: The Book Exchange. This is where you pick a "gently used" book out of your own book collection, wrap it up and bring it. Everybody throws their wrapped gift into a pile and at the end of the party every kid gets to pick a book and bring it home with them. This allows all the children to get a gift, not just the birthday boy or girl. YAY!!
Option 2: Find something in your house, wrap it up and give it as a gift. Why? Something something consumerism something something better for the environment something something.... something. I actually love this option, because it means that I get to go through my house and find some crap I no longer want, and then it becomes your crap and no longer my problem.
None of this is relevant at all to the point of this post, by the way, I just felt like talking about crap for a few paragraphs.
Last week one of Child 2's BFFs had a party and we brought along a little plastic dinosaur (that I spotted on the floor by the front door when we were on our way out and snatched it up because I had completely forgotten about the whole "bring a gift" thing). This week, his buddy gave him a thank you card for the little plastic dinosaur (apparently this is the protocol when you receive wrapped crap. I was not previously aware of this and will try to remember in July when Child 2 turns 6).
I was lucky to be there when the card was handed over and was able to have the child read it to me, otherwise I would have no fucking clue what it says....
And then on the inside, in what is obviously the child's mother's handwriting, it says "thank you for the dinosaur, I bring it into the bath with me."