gifts or no gifts?



As you can see in our invitation for my son's first birthday party, we asked that guests not bring gifts.  My husband and I felt that we had enough plastic toys to trip over as it was, and I felt our one-year-old son may not enjoy gifts as much as he would other aspects of the party at this point in his life.

I seriously struggled with the proper way to phrase this because I didn't want it to come off in a rude or unappreciative manner. I ended up with a little rhyme to express that we have more than we need and there are so many in our community and world who simply do not. It read, "Jackson is thrilled to play with our keys. Give to the needy. No presents, please."

Unfortunately, I failed to think about people buying presents in advance since that's not the way I roll most of the time. My friends and family are way too organized in comparison to yours truly! In retrospect, the request may have worked better had it gone out further in advance of the party.

As a result, several people had already bought presents. One of my dearest friends brought by presents before the party. Several brought presents to the party. And, my family from Oklahoma sent presents after the party.

So, my no-present idea was a bust. However, each gift was very much appreciated. My son actually loved opening the presents and has been playing with each and every one of them non-stop since he received them.

My fear is that those who obeyed the request for no gifts may have had their feelings hurt in some way. It has made me wonder if I shouldn't have made the request in the first place and rather left it up to the discretion of those attending.

What are your thoughts about, or experiences with, no-gift birthday parties for children?



2 comments


Amy K. said...

I have so much catching up to do. I don't even live by you, but I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! You worry and wonder and appreciate so many of the same things I do. Our children are only 7 months apart so the stages are right on the money.

I think you were fine to ask people not to bring presents. Parents deserve to have these special moments (and moments in general) be the way they want them to be. My in-laws totally want to spoil my girls and Ty and I have a major issue with it. We are always finding gentle ways to guide them so they can still be the grandparents they want to be without compromising our values. It's not easy! Kara's 2nd birthday was yesterday and I asked gram and gramps to keep it simple. In the way of bubbles. A book. We bought her a tricycle and helmet and wanted that to be her "big ticket" item. (At Christmas, even Santa was trumped by them in both quality and quantity - it was a nightmare). In the end, people are usually happy to accommodate and feel good about respecting your wishes. Letting people know what your wishes are is the only way they can do that. The ones that don’t? Well, there’s a learning curve. There will be opportunities to talk about it between now and next year.

All said, sometimes I wish I had a little more edge to me. I know moms with an "Oh he-- NO!" attitude and they seem never to get ruffled by what other people are doing or not doing. They say it like it is and disregard any emotional fallout. I get a little too caught up in trying to avoid hurt feelings. There is a balance in there somewhere. I keep trying to find it.

Laura Monchuk said...

Happy belated birthday to Kara and to you! You have a 2 year old now! :)

I know what you mean about desiring "a little more edge" and a little less worry about everyone else's feelings. I think that, as new parents, we must be closer to finding that balance than ever before. You can mess with me, but don't mess with my kid!

There is a fine line there with extended family members. Some of my fondest memories of my grandparents were things that they let me do that Mom and Dad didn't necessarily let me do. I don't want to rob my son or his grandparents of those special things...unless it truly endangers his physical or emotional health. I think you're right: communication is the answer!

I'm so glad to hear you are enjoying my blog. I think you should start one, too!

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