To tackle the problem of what to get i usually try to keep a couple of things from the Santa list for birthday, it never gets noticed that Santa didn't bring everything on the list as the excitement of what they received takes over and if like mine Santa's list is quite lengthy it is explained that they will not receive everything they ask for anyway. I think it also helps to try not to fall into the trap of going overboard spending lots on presents for birthdays, it is easy to go all out and end up with another Christmas morning scene. Birthdays are special and individual so i do like to make the kids feel special but this can be done without lavishing expensive presents on them. We have banners and balloons and always have birthday cake breakfast! Never one to miss a reason to eat cake!
We try to arrange a special treat like a day out or family get together which works out cheaper than a huge party for the whole class, and often is more enjoyable and memorable for the kids as they get to choose where to go and who to take. We have done our share of whole class parties and yet to find a cheep way to do it.
Although it is not always cheep to treat them to a day out i always do a search for voucher codes i can use to pre-book online, and there are often some really good deals if you look on sites such as www.revouchers.uk. These sites are ideal for searching for discount codes when getting the presents too, especially being soon after Christmas places often have really good deals so well worth a look.
Another way to keep cost down is to check and use voucher codes when they come up any point throughout the year, as if you have an idea what to get and where to get it, it can be bought and put away anytime so if there is an offer on this saves money and the extra cost straight after Christmas.