|My presents did NOT look like this!|
Ideally at our house, we give one present each night, hopefully under $10 for 7 of the 8 days. On the 8th night we typically give each a $20-30 gift. We have yet to engage in the contest for the lowest priced gift, though that day may be coming. This year I made some one-time more expensive purchases for HubbyJD's office - professionally framing his some of his certificates. Other presents were $3 picture frames with our pictures in them and sweatpants. I got, as expected, books and my requested DVD of Firefly the Series.
Child1 and Child2 got a different tack. One of my friends wanted to get rid of some of her barely used toys and gave me three times the number of toys I could possibly use. Some of the items I donated onto my synagogue's playroom, but other ones I sorted, cleaned up, and gave the boys. Eventually I did buy a few specific trifles. In all I don't think I spent more than $40 on all of their presents. We lit our candles, ate a doughnut, and opened presents. They eventually played with their presents - blocks by far are the most popular thus far - but the sheer novelty of ripping off the paper was more exciting.
Maybe one day my children will go to a huge birthday party and realize some of the other kids get big new expensive toys. However, at this point, they don't care - and even if they did - in 10 minutes a new toy becomes a used toy. A set of blocks is a set of blocks as far I'm concerned.
(If you were wondering how I wrapped blocks without a box, I can fill you in. When we moved, I bought curtains that came in zippered clear vinyl bags. Those saved bags made great containers to stack the blocks inside and then wrap. The blocks got moved to a big plastic container and the zippered bags now store other toys.)