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When are expensive gifts appropriate for children?

expensive gifts for kids

Most parents don’t want their children to be spoiled, but that doesn’t mean it’s never appropriate to give your child expensive gifts. What’s appropriate boils down to your values as a family. There’s no clear-cut right or wrong type of gift. 

Also, one family’s idea of expensive may be transferring a car title to their child, while another family’s idea of expensive is a new iPad. With a relative term, you can apply principles that will apply to any understanding of expensive.

Below, we’ll share some occasions where expensive gifts are appropriate, what types of expensive gifts have the most long-term value, and what alternatives to costly gifts are every bit as valuable.

Occasions for Expensive Gifts

If you’re thinking about splurging for your child, some times are more fitting than others.

Christmas Gifts

Christmas is a special time to build family memories and partake in traditions. You may be able to make a family memory your children will talk about for years to come with a well-planned expensive gift. 

Birthday Gifts

Besides Christmas, birthdays are the most popular gift-giving occasion. Milestone birthdays are a good fit for monumental presents. If you’re looking for the right time to give a costly gift to your child, their birthday gives you a good opportunity.

Accomplishment Gifts

Perhaps your child just graduated from high school or college. Graduations are momentous occasions when giving an expensive gift is appropriate.

Other accomplishments like getting their first job, getting good grades, or learning to drive might be good times for big presents. 

Religious Occasion Gifts

Depending on your religion, there may be an important ceremony of growing up where gifts are fitting. Jewish people celebrate bat and bar mitzvahs. Catholics recognize first communion and confirmation. Many Christian sects recognize baptism as an important step of faith. 

If you’re celebrating a religious rite of passage, gifts may be a special way to recognize the milestone.

Types of Expensive Gifts

These categories of gifts have a wide price range of specific items. So whatever your definition of expensive is, you might want to consider something in one of these categories as a special gift.

Heirloom Toys

A handmade wooden toy collection can last for generations. They’re solid and durable. Besides being practical, these toys are beautiful works of art that encourage imaginative play and healthy development. They can be a great alternative to technology-based toys.


The gift of an experience can be one of the best presents ever. Experience gifts range from season ski passes, a summer in Europe, a zip-line adventure, pottery classes, and anything else you think the recipient would enjoy.

Experiences can be life-changing, and they’re usually worth the investment.


While a pet is a great source of entertainment for kids, they can also be a big responsibility. This can be a good thing, as taking care of pets can teach children the importance of caring for living things. There are plenty of cat and small dog breeds that are great for families, but don’t be afraid to look out of the box at animals like fish, reptiles, or even insects.

Practical Gifts

Just because something is useful or practical doesn’t mean it’s cheap; useful items can be very expensive. For example, a car is useful, and gifting a car could be as inexpensive as transferring a title on an old car to your child or as expensive as buying a new car

Cars aren’t the only practical gift idea. A computer or tablet may be considered useful since children could use them at school. A bicycle could be used for transportation. Of course, there’s not much more practical than clothing, and even expensive clothes can be useful.


Some may argue that education isn’t a gift, but parents aren’t required to pay for their child’s college education. Helping your child finish their education without the typical accompanying debt can help set them up for financial success early in adulthood. 

Valuable Gifts That Aren’t Expensive

You could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on gifts, and your children may love it and enjoy the gifts, and you will probably think your expense was worth it. 

However, whether or not you can afford expensive gifts or not, you should give your child these valuable gifts that no amount of money can replace.


No amount of money can make up for the time you spend with your children. You could spend your time doing activities that cost a lot of money, or you could spend your time playing board games. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you’re together.

You can spend time keeping your kids entertained at home or spend the day at the amusement park where the park does all the entertaining.

When you spend time with your kids, put your phone away. They need to see that you care about them more than you care about work, social media, or the latest news story. You can’t say you spend time with your kids if you’re distracted by other things.


You may be tempted to compare your gifts for your children with others. Maybe you wish you could do more for your children. Stop looking at what other people do, and start focusing on the love you can give your children, which is worth far more than any earthly treasure. 


You can’t actually give your child character, but when you spend time intentionally raising them, you will help them establish good character. Kids with good character will attract loyal friends who will enhance their lives and have their backs. They’ll work through school, mentorships, and training to get solid jobs where they can add generational values. 

And hopefully, they’ll be able to pass their values down to the next generation by raising their own children.

If giving extravagant and expensive gifts fits into your budget, many occasions warrant giving your child something special. If you’re on a tight budget but save to splurge on your children, you’ll probably enjoy their excitement so much that the sacrifice is worth it.

But remember, no matter what your gift-giving budget or plans are, your children need your involvement in their lives more than anything else. You could raise perfectly balanced children and never buy them what would be considered an expensive gift.

Gifts are secondary to your time and love, so make sure you give them what’s most important before you go crazy with gifts. 

Balance is key, and there’s no right or wrong price range for gifts. What’s best for your family is best for your family. Be confident in your choices and give your kids the best of yourself.

Melanie Musson's picture

Melanie Musson writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, She loves to help people understand how insurance can help them protect their assets and maintain financial stability so they’re free to purchase gifts as they see fit.