We tend to do one larger more expensive gift then tons of little ones(except for the youngest she still likes all the little stuff).
Do you buy a ton of frugal gifts or one bigger gift.
We set a limit and what they get, they get. DD2 is turning 3 next month. We are getting her a $130 powerwheels. Thats it. We are giving her a big party though. DH insists on a bounce house and that will hit me for a hundred. DS4 we rented a playplace (nonrestaurant) for $50. He got a few gifts in the $20 range and a ton of shirts I got on clearance for $2 or less. DD11 lost her party due to failing grades and got about $100 worth of clothes from us. I always try to stay right around $100 on gifts for birthdays and $150 for Christmas. They get a lot for that too because I shop clearance all year long.
We figure out what our children want or need, what our budget is, if we are or are not hosting a party and if it is friends or family, and then that all dictates what they may or may not be getting.
Growing up we sometimes got joint gifts. All our (5 kids) birthdays were in a 3 month window, we sometimes would get the sit down talk "Would you like to do this/have us buy this, and then this trip/item will be a birthday present for all of you?" We got that a lot of years, and we were all perfectly fine with it. We got the combo birthday/christmas gift on occassion as well. Usually it would mean we got to spend a few days at a cabin in Maine and hang out all the beach all day and go wandering around the cliffs and little shops and stuff. If I have to forego a conventional gift or party to do something like that? Hell yeah. Some years we had small homemade gifts for birthdays or Christmas. We knew money was tight or that there were things that money needed to go to over frivolous gifts, and again, it wasn't a problem.
Not getting an expensive gift or party will not scar anyone haha
Birthdays we get Ds what he asks for.Which is usually a game or two and maybe a new board game.(We love playing board games together).We never break the bank for birthday's.Now Christmas is another story.We dont go toooo over board but he is a good kid that doesn't ask for stuff through out the year,he makes good grades.So Chrismas tends to be a little more pricey for us.I budget for Christmas all year long so everything gets paid for in cash.It works for us.(And he is getting into electronics now.I'm like WOW they are expensive)LOL.