Thursday, September 6, 2012
Sample invitation created in Evite.
Kids have more stuff than they could ever really use? Want to reign things in a bit? How about having no-gift birthday parties?
Since I know a mom with some experience in this arena, I wrote to her, saying: I know you're done please-no-gifts parties, and I thought most people cooperated. Am I remembering correctly? Do you have any insight into why your requests got honored, and other people have had no such luck?
Here's the message I got back, shared with her permission.
Yes, I have successfully had no-gift parties for the kids since they were babies. I always send a note (on evite/email) saying that we really are having a no-gift party. I always say not to feel sorry for the birthday kid because we get them way too much stuff and they are in no way deprived of gifts. I do let immediate family give presents, but not at the party.
We just had my daughter's party and as usual there were a few people who brought gifts. In the past I have had a few people who brought gifts and they seemed very aggressive about giving them and so I relented. This year a few people brought gifts to her party but I think they just didn't pay attention to the invitation — so I just said, "Oh, didn't you read the invitation? I am so sorry for the confusion, but it's a no-gift party. You can just take that home and save it for the next birthday party." People seemed happy enough to take the present back. I suppose if they had embroidered a personalized pillow we would have had to accept it, but I think they were just generic birthday presents. My daughter didn't care. She just wanted friends at her party.
A couple of people asked if they could bring a small present and I said "No, why don't you just have your daughter/son make a nice card if you really want to bring something." She did get some cute homemade cards that I can put in a scrapbook.
A few years ago the kids asked if they could have gift parties and I said, "Well, you can either have your parents give you presents or your friends, but not both because it would be too many presents. And your friends are unlikely to get you a new bicycle or what you have written on your list." That pretty much satisfied the kids.
I did not have luck when I tried to have a toy donation instead of gifts. People really did not participate in that the way I would have thought. I realized then that "my cause is not your cause" so I just switched to no-gift parties.
I think there will always be one or two folks that will not honor the no-gift policy. But it is still a tradition I am committed to around here.