‘No gift’ birthday parties — Ya right!

By Oblivious MaMa

Birthday gift alternative

My daughter’s first official birthday party invitation sounded perfect — a summer at the park with pizza, cake and “No gifts.” The wee one probably didn’t even know that guests typically brought a present to birthday parties. She was two and still preferred boxes, rocks, sticks, leaves and other non-commercial merchandise.

So we got a nice card that came with a few stickers and off we went. Other guests brought presents.

The next party was another, no-gifts event. In fact, it said, “Please, no gifts,” making it sound like the birthday girl would be offended if we gave her one. We brought a card and stickers. Other guests brought presents. I overheard one mom say, “How can you not let the birthday girl open presents?”

When it came time for my kid’s 3-year-old birthday, we invited guests and politely said, “No gifts necessary.” Truthfully, we didn’t need more toys to clutter the house. The kid is the only grandchild on both sides of the family. She’s loaded with toys. Some, in fact, were still in their box, unopened.

Pretty much everyone brought a gift.

We now bring gifts to all no-gift-please parties.

So, what is the truly proper thing to do? Can’t I just say, “In lieu of presents, please bring a cupcake with extra frosting for wee one’s mama”?

Okay, seriously. I hadn’t explored alternative gifts until we got an invite from Emma. Wee One’s latest birthday invite asks that instead of a gift, please buy some material to donate to a cancer charity that makes pillows to cheer up the sick.

Great idea for two reasons: 1) No unnecessary gifts to clutter up the house and 2) You clear parents’ gifting conscious and give their kids a way to still buy something. Why didn’t I think of it before?

Telling parents “no gifts” apparently is meaningless. But giving parents and children an alternative seems to be the trick.

A few other alternative gift ideas that kids may just go for:

  • Book party — Have everyone bring a book and do a book exchange.
  • Gift exchange — Okay, so if the kids aren’t crazy about books, pick a price limit and encourage parents to stick to that because the party is a gift exchange.
  • Ask for a specific home-made gift — My kid loves art. I don’t know if this would work but asking for a rock or leaf from a favorite park along with a back story would have delighted my kid.

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Source: Oblivious MaMa


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