Author Topic: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties  (Read 2437 times)

gavint

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Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« on: April 09, 2019, 03:12:07 AM »
Hi folks,

I'm a dad of four kids, and one thing that has been annoying me going through are the obligatory birthday parties, and the accompanying expectations of spending that go along with them.  We just went through two sleepover parties (holy shit what a nightmare - twice!), and the mountains of crap that both of the kids got from their friends and family was astonishing.  I'm in the process this week of moving one of them to another room in the house, and as a result have discovered the sheer volume of forgotten junk that has accumulated under furniture and been stuffed into drawers - unbelievable!

My new plan is to instruct all family members and parents of friends to not give any kind of physical present, but instead make a deposit into an investment account I've set up for each of the kids.  Certificates for days out or whatever are totally acceptable though.  I also want to try giving cash as a present to the kids who invite mine to their birthdays.  I don't give a crap what the other parents have to say about this - this mindless junk accumulation needs to stop!

Anyone else use this strategy?


gooki

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2019, 03:29:48 AM »
Good strategy. Maybe try giving experiences (zoo, rock climbing tickets), if you think cash is to in your face for some families.

BeanCounter

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2019, 04:00:23 AM »
When the party is in your home, I find it perfectly acceptable to say on the invite “we are excited to celebrate DS/DD’s birthday with you, but please no gifts.” As my kids have gotten older this has become the norm since most of what they are interested in is larger video games and electronics. When I am unsure or if the invite does not specifically say “no gifts”, I send a gift certificate to the local ice cream/candy store or movie theater in a card and that has always been well received.
My boys (6 and 10) already do not play with toys other than a few board games and sporting goods. They certainly don’t need anything more, even they recognize it.

skp

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2019, 06:55:21 AM »
Hi folks,

I'm a dad of four kids, and one thing that has been annoying me going through are the obligatory birthday parties, and the accompanying expectations of spending that go along with them.  We just went through two sleepover parties (holy shit what a nightmare - twice!), and the mountains of crap that both of the kids got from their friends and family was astonishing.  I'm in the process this week of moving one of them to another room in the house, and as a result have discovered the sheer volume of forgotten junk that has accumulated under furniture and been stuffed into drawers - unbelievable!

My new plan is to instruct all family members and parents of friends to not give any kind of physical present, but instead make a deposit into an investment account I've set up for each of the kids.  Certificates for days out or whatever are totally acceptable though.  I also want to try giving cash as a present to the kids who invite mine to their birthdays.  I don't give a crap what the other parents have to say about this - this mindless junk accumulation needs to stop!

Anyone else use this strategy?


While I think it's perfectly OK to put no gifts please on an invite and it's marginally OK to ask (not tell) relatives to put money into an investment account, I think it's tacky to ask for it from parents of friends.  I suppose it depends on your level of closeness.  I was always taught it was rude to dictate exactly what type of gift to bring.

merula

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2019, 07:44:12 AM »
Yeah, I said "no gifts" on my kids' recent birthdays, but I wouldn't ask for cash for an investment account.

Another thing I've seen is asking for food shelf donations or book donations, but I also think that one goal is to make birthday parties easier for all parents by establishing a new standard.

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2019, 08:16:30 AM »
I agree with the poster who says it's a good idea to go with "no gifts" from parents of friends; and ask for investments or experiences from family.
I'd be super annoyed if the parents of my daughter's friends asked for money for investments.

Another option is to have a party where the gift is a physical donation to a charity that your kid cares about. Then your kid can go to the animal shelter, food bank, boys and girls club, hospice center, or whatever and drop all those things off.

MDfive21

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2019, 08:19:09 AM »
i stopped giving presents 2 years ago.  my D9 goes to probably 15 bday parties each year and i just have her write a really nice note in a blank card, put a $20 bill in and call it a day.  we have a budget line specifically for this so it's never a burden.  a $10 bill would probably be fine, but all the junk she's received for her birthdays averages $20 so that's the price point for our peer group.

the hassle of going to the store to pick out some plastic pos is just too much.  it's always last minute and causes stress that i don't need.

i think you're perfectly within your rights to say 'no presents'.  most people will feel compelled to give a card so your kids might get some cash out of the deal and you can allocate it however it makes sense for you.  i thought it was tacky when i got an invite with a link to a charity in lieu of gifts.  keep it simple.  either don't say anything or just say no presents.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 08:20:49 AM by MDfive21 »

Nick_Miller

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2019, 09:06:20 AM »
How is giving a link to a charity tacky?

Not to brag, but I will...my kiddos have both volunteered to have birthday parties where the only requested "gift" were canned goods for a local food charity. It went over very well. Although we didn't provide any sort of link, we did indicate in the invitation the charity my kiddos were collecting for.

I would like to see more kiddos do this. It sends a positive message, helps people in need, and helps mitigate the accumulation/materialism issues, even if just a bit.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2019, 09:15:38 AM »
How is giving a link to a charity tacky?

Not to brag, but I will...my kiddos have both volunteered to have birthday parties where the only requested "gift" were canned goods for a local food charity. It went over very well. Although we didn't provide any sort of link, we did indicate in the invitation the charity my kiddos were collecting for.

I would like to see more kiddos do this. It sends a positive message, helps people in need, and helps mitigate the accumulation/materialism issues, even if just a bit.

I guess to me, a link is tacky- because kids like things that are tangible.  It would be hard for a 9 year old to think "my friends parents (or even 'my parents' for the gift giving kid) clicked on a link and transferred money".  Note- that I'm totally OK with COLLECTING for a charity at the party. 
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 09:35:51 AM by I'm a red panda »

StarBright

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2019, 09:24:22 AM »
Yeah, I said "no gifts" on my kids' recent birthdays, but I wouldn't ask for cash for an investment account.

Another thing I've seen is asking for food shelf donations or book donations, but I also think that one goal is to make birthday parties easier for all parents by establishing a new standard.

^ this. I would not ask for cash from anyone actually. I might mention cash to grandparents only, but some people also find joy in giving presents (both my mom and MIL) and I'd hate to take that away from them.

I don't love to dictate what other people can give. We keep it simple at Christmas and birthdays when it comes to what we give but anything else makes me feel a bit icky. We also have kids whose birthdays are basically the first day of school, so we never have parties because inviting people is just too hard :) It is a nice way to avoid the issue.

cats

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2019, 09:40:01 AM »
Most of the invites we've received explicitly say "no gifts", which I think is a good way to handle it--as others have said you may still wind up with some cash or gift cards but probably not a lot of outright junk.

Another tactic (for your own kids, at least) is to limit the number of guests.  Especially for sleepovers, this is good for your sanity as well!

Teachstache

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2019, 04:24:16 PM »
I agree with the poster who says it's a good idea to go with "no gifts" from parents of friends; and ask for investments or experiences from family.
I'd be super annoyed if the parents of my daughter's friends asked for money for investments.

Another option is to have a party where the gift is a physical donation to a charity that your kid cares about. Then your kid can go to the animal shelter, food bank, boys and girls club, hospice center, or whatever and drop all those things off.

I like this idea. It allows gift givers an option to provide a physical gift & also allows for no gifts, too. I personally think it's tacky to request cash from anyone, relatives or friends.

Plugging Along

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2019, 04:28:52 PM »
We have tried several different combinations.  Keeping in mind gifts are gifts, and graciousness and politeness is more important. 

For family and people we are really close to, some are happy with donations, as we explained that a debt free education will be worth so much more.  Some family still wants to buy stuff, so they usually ask for a list, and my kids will send a thoughtful list. My family doesn’t want to seem to do the donation. 

For friend parties, we have always said ‘No gifts please as your presence is gift enough’.  We found just doing this it was random people still bought gifts, so we have also added either ‘OPTIONAL,child will be supported charity X.’  We have our child research a charity they want to support.  We either asked for donations that charity needs, or a ‘$5 and $5’ which $5 dollars goes to the charity, and $5 to my child for whatever they are saving for.  We also as parents will match all donations.  So if my child wants to give their five also, the chariity gets that amount.   

The $5 and $5 works well if list the charity and what our child is saving for.   We found donations work well if we are specific. This year my kids did a used clothing drive for a children’s crisis nursery.  So no money, no gifts.  It changes each year, and it allows our kids to focus on the purpose of the party, to connect and celebrate with others, and help those less fortunate,.  People seem to appreciate they don’t have to give anything, or if they really want to, they have an option for something easy and meaningful
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 04:33:30 PM by Plugging Along »

jeninco

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2019, 05:13:25 PM »
We had a lot of luck in a year when the kids were middle-level readers (so, 4th grade, maybe? it was a while ago...) asking for "a book you think the birthday boy would like." Somehow I got in there that used books would be great, too. So the birthday boy, who was at an age that was hard to shop for, got a few new books, and a few friends brought a stack of used books (like, 5 of the Hardy Boys series). It was great to have some appropriate-leveled books lying around for the next few months.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2019, 05:25:03 PM »
I've tried the "no gifts, please, your presence is your present," with very limited success.  Most people brought a gift anyway.  One parent called me up and yelled at me, "are you joking with this?!  Of COURSE I'm bringing your son a present!!"   After a while, as the kids got smaller groups of friends, I started inviting fewer kids and just let people do what they're going to do.

When I go to parties, I tell my kid to write "happy birthday, from me" in a blank card, and I stick $20 in it ($40 for some closer friends as they get older).

We threw 2 birthday parties this past weekend (one for each of our sons), and the majority of people brought Visa gift cards for $20-25.  A couple of toys were given, but not a ton, thank goodness.  I could have done without the gift cards, but oh well.

Now I still have to get the boys to write thank you notes. 

Acorns

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2019, 08:06:21 PM »
For the past couple birthday parties for my kids, I have added a line on the invite, "in lieu of gifts, please consider donating to xyz charity." This has been marginally successful, maybe 30-40% percent donate, and some people donate and bring a gift. I still like putting it as an option, hopefully it will catch on.

Abe

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2019, 11:14:13 PM »
My friends and family all live in small houses so understand the special pain of dealing with excess volume of toys. We bring food or very small toys. We now have a strict donation policy that an old toy must be donated for every new one received. Our son's only 3 and doesn't seem to care yet, we will see how this works when his long-term memory improves.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2019, 11:29:06 PM »
For friend parties, we have always said ‘No gifts please as your presence is gift enough’.  We found just doing this it was random people still bought gifts
Likewise.

I've found it's better to say, "Food will be supplied, and there should be no gifts, though you can bring your child's favourite snack as a gift." Then we just get piles of chips and lollies.

MDfive21

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2019, 09:29:48 AM »
I've tried the "no gifts, please, your presence is your present," with very limited success.  Most people brought a gift anyway.  One parent called me up and yelled at me, "are you joking with this?!  Of COURSE I'm bringing your son a present!!"   After a while, as the kids got smaller groups of friends, I started inviting fewer kids and just let people do what they're going to do.

When I go to parties, I tell my kid to write "happy birthday, from me" in a blank card, and I stick $20 in it ($40 for some closer friends as they get older).

We threw 2 birthday parties this past weekend (one for each of our sons), and the majority of people brought Visa gift cards for $20-25.  A couple of toys were given, but not a ton, thank goodness.  I could have done without the gift cards, but oh well.

Now I still have to get the boys to write thank you notes.

yeah, i don't get what's so hard about putting cash in an envelope. 

i remember getting cash from a couple people for early birthdays and that was waaaayy more exciting than some toy or a book or the godawful itchy green sweater vest grandma got me that one time.  like, wow it's a $5 bill!!  and it's MINE!

TVRodriguez

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2019, 11:20:38 AM »

We threw 2 birthday parties this past weekend (one for each of our sons), and the majority of people brought Visa gift cards for $20-25.  A couple of toys were given, but not a ton, thank goodness.  I could have done without the gift cards, but oh well.

Now I still have to get the boys to write thank you notes.


yeah, i don't get what's so hard about putting cash in an envelope. 

i remember getting cash from a couple people for early birthdays and that was waaaayy more exciting than some toy or a book or the godawful itchy green sweater vest grandma got me that one time.  like, wow it's a $5 bill!!  and it's MINE!

I'm (obviously) with you on this one.  Not to mention that there is a fee of $4 or $5 just to buy the gift card, and I would have to go out of my way to stop off and buy it, rather than just putting cash in a card.  Also, since my kids prefer cash (it seems more real to them), my husband and I usually trade them cash for their gift cards, which we then use on groceries or whatever else.

As an update, my 8 year old has finished his thank you notes, at least, and he brought them to school to pass out today.  Fingers crossed that he actually passed them out.  My other son, who is 12, has yet to do his, but I'm going to nudge him on this today after school.

FLBiker

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2019, 01:53:06 PM »
We just had DD's 4th bday.  We did it at a local park, and asked for cat supplies in lieu of gifts.  We're going to take DD to the local Humane Society to donate the supplies and pet some cats (her idea).  Folks seemed totally down with charitable items vs gifts, given the amount of stuff DD received.

meandmyfamily

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2019, 08:04:30 PM »
I completely agree and with 4 kids it can get crazy.  I have the oldest grandkids so I got all the aunts and uncles to give cash in the amount of their age.  Even my 13 year old was happy to get $13 from family!  The grandparents insist on buying things but they always ask what the kids want, need or do an outing somewhere.  They are very generous.  They will also do a smaller gift and send some money for college savings.  We also have started just sending cash in envelopes to parties my kids are invited too.  The junk must stop.  All the little giveaway bags drive me crazy too.  We will occasionally do a bag of my kids favorite candy or give away a book otherwise we don't do it!

Hula Hoop

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2019, 04:39:24 AM »
I feel very lucky that the convention here is that one parent asks the parents of the birthday girl/boy what the kid wants or needs (usually clothes, a lego set, a new scooter/bike - but it could also be an experience gift, I suppose) and each parent chips is 5-6 euro to buy the big gift.  IMO and in the opinion of most of the parents at our kids' school receiving a Euro 50 gift from 10 kids that the kid actually wants is way better than 10 random 5-10 euro gifts from each one of those 10 kids.  And Euro 5 per birthday party is affordable for us.

MayDay

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2019, 07:02:25 AM »
We put no gifts please on all invites, and 75% of friends respect it (0% of grandparents respect it!).

We give a 10$ bill. Most people spend 20+ but I just don't care. Plus I think most kids would take 10$ cash over a toy any day.

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2019, 02:59:28 PM »
The $5 and $5 works well if list the charity and what our child is saving for.   We found donations work well if we are specific. This year my kids did a used clothing drive for a children’s crisis nursery.  So no money, no gifts.  It changes each year, and it allows our kids to focus on the purpose of the party, to connect and celebrate with others, and help those less fortunate,.  People seem to appreciate they don’t have to give anything, or if they really want to, they have an option for something easy and meaningful
Our kids did the $5 and $5 things for many years.  It was great for not having a huge bunch of useless crap.  Kids really liked being able to pick out a pricey gift.  It would take them weeks of thinking and shopping to figure out how to spend their money.  There were lots of teachable moments as well.  And the bonus: they started saving some of the money and are now dedicated savers.

ilsy

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2019, 03:27:12 PM »
For several years now my kids have a budget of $150 for their BD. They are free to spend it as they wish, I provide cake and an additional small present as my personal gift. Over past several year my daughter chose to get an iPad, a cellphone (I pay for the line), to go to a life concert with me to her favorite band (I thought it would suck, but I actually really enjoyed it). My son paid for family outing for a day at some fun center (paid for himself, his sister, me and my bf; we're usually in teams boys against girls)- he did this for a few years, got an iPad and for his next BD he wants a desktop. They do have a choice to invite their friends and have fun with them, go to movies with friends, but they choose not to. My kids' friends usually say "no presents" and tell where they would like presents to be donated, like Lidia house. My kids were invited to a hockey game, zoo, parks, family centers, swimming pools.

Relatives usually give gift cards, which is no better than gifts in my opinion bc we just go and spend the gift cards on stupid things.

Blueberries

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2019, 07:18:00 AM »
I got an invitation asking for money this year and it did rub me the wrong way.  Then I thought about it.  I would have spent money to purchase a gift and I'd rather give the kid what he wanted.  I'm a bargain hunter and I could have found a nice Lego kit (something this child would have liked) on a decent discount but cash is cash.  With plain cash, this kid knows what I am giving him and I would wonder whether I was too cheap, too showy, etc.  I still cringe and I wouldn't ask for cash, but I think the reaction has more to do with ourselves than the person asking. Maybe that's just me, though.

I agree with the poster who says it's a good idea to go with "no gifts" from parents of friends; and ask for investments or experiences from family.
I'd be super annoyed if the parents of my daughter's friends asked for money for investments.

Another option is to have a party where the gift is a physical donation to a charity that your kid cares about. Then your kid can go to the animal shelter, food bank, boys and girls club, hospice center, or whatever and drop all those things off.


We get an invitation like the bolded every year.  The child picks a charity or something specific (blankets for a dog shelter, books for a school) and plainly states that this is in lieu of gifts.  I love the idea and if we did birthday parties, I would steal it.

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2019, 12:06:03 PM »
I have had very good luck with simply saying "No gifts, please" on party invitations. It cuts out over 50% of the gifts, and more important, it takes the pressure off of those poor people (like me) who HATE feeling compelled to spend time and money buying gifts for a dozen birthday parties a year.
One other dad took my example and did the same thing at his kid's party, and we've really bonded over it.
When we go to parties where gifts are expected, I have started giving a card with $20 cash, because I know the kids will be happy with $20 and it saves me the time and energy of buying junk gifts ($10 is probably ok in most places, but we live in Santa Monica where everything is inflated). The exception to this is if one of my son has a specific thing he wants to buy for his friend (it's only happened twice, and each time I was touched that he cared enough to think about it and so I let him get his buddy the present).
I would definitely stay away from asking for money in the invite. I totally understand where you are coming from and it wouldn't bother me personally, but other parents will for sure be offended and that could have some blowback for your kids.

okits

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2019, 12:45:20 PM »
In the past I have used an online system where people donate and half goes to a charity, the other half goes to your kid and what they want as a gift.

I know not everyone likes it but I love receiving those types of invitations.  Save me an hour of time and energy by just paying into a fund online (and I get a tax receipt)?  This parent is happy.  Kids don’t open gifts at the party anymore, so having a physical item where they can rip the wrapping paper off seems less important.

Giving a gift is very much a social habit and so with “no gifts” requests I will ask if there’s a charity I can donate to in honour of the child’s birthday.  It feels off to just do or give nothing.

Villanelle

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2019, 01:07:44 PM »
Hi folks,

I'm a dad of four kids, and one thing that has been annoying me going through are the obligatory birthday parties, and the accompanying expectations of spending that go along with them.  We just went through two sleepover parties (holy shit what a nightmare - twice!), and the mountains of crap that both of the kids got from their friends and family was astonishing.  I'm in the process this week of moving one of them to another room in the house, and as a result have discovered the sheer volume of forgotten junk that has accumulated under furniture and been stuffed into drawers - unbelievable!

My new plan is to instruct all family members and parents of friends to not give any kind of physical present, but instead make a deposit into an investment account I've set up for each of the kids.  Certificates for days out or whatever are totally acceptable though.  I also want to try giving cash as a present to the kids who invite mine to their birthdays.  I don't give a crap what the other parents have to say about this - this mindless junk accumulation needs to stop!

Anyone else use this strategy?


While I think it's perfectly OK to put no gifts please on an invite and it's marginally OK to ask (not tell) relatives to put money into an investment account, I think it's tacky to ask for it from parents of friends.  I suppose it depends on your level of closeness.  I was always taught it was rude to dictate exactly what type of gift to bring.

This.  I you want no gifts, it's fine to say that.  It's also fine to spread among close family via casual comment that the very best present would be money for college, if they really feel compelled to give.  But if I was invited to a kids' bday party and the invite suggested I bring cash?  Well, I'd find that beyond tacky.  It kind of comes off like you are charging an entry fee, in a way.  And you are absolutely managing what people give you, which is pretty universally accepted as bad, right up until it is cash being discussed.  Imagine an invite that said, "Susie loves turquoise, so all gifts should be that color.  And she hates pink, so definitely nothing pink, even if the primary color is turquoise.  Oh, and dog-themed items are great, but please nothing with cats or horses.  Not items that make sounds, please, and we prefer items that encourage imaginative play.  See you on the 17th! "  Nope.  It's a *gift* and as such, the recipient doesn't get to choose. 

So if you want less crap, just say "no gifts, please".  Gifts are gifts, and as such, you don't get to dictate what you receive, and it's kind of gross to do so. 

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2019, 08:01:35 PM »
Everyone is talking about asking for money or donations, but why not just ask for something consumable, like art supplies, sports equipment, nerf darts, or anything else you find yourself replenishing on a regular basis anyway?

Although I second asking for books. Books are space efficient and easily donated when you're done with them.

okits

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2019, 08:36:19 PM »
Everyone is talking about asking for money or donations, but why not just ask for something consumable, like art supplies, sports equipment, nerf darts, or anything else you find yourself replenishing on a regular basis anyway?

🤔 We don’t buy any of that stuff.  Maybe my kids are too young?

A few parents who asked, we suggested clothes as the seasons were changing and birthday kid needed new clothes.  So that was useful. 

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2019, 11:45:09 AM »
I think the best approach is to say "no gifts please" unobtrusively on an invitation (or in the invite email, whatever), and then roll with whatever happens. Some people will still bring gifts; you can discretely tell them that wasn't necessary but was very generous of them, thank you. For close family like grandparents, feel free to express your wishes - no gifts please, but if you'd like to, you can donate to the kid's 529.

Personally, I find it annoying when the hosts, rather than saying no gifts, try to micromanage what the gift is. I've seen "bring your favorite book," but that almost seems more trouble to me - like, I have to go out and specifically get a book, instead of gifting that unopened lego set I had set aside that would be perfect for kid X?

I love the idea of gifting a gift card to a local ice cream shop or similar - will try that for the next party we attend that doesn't request no gifts. :)

englishteacheralex

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2019, 12:47:17 PM »
My kids are four and two, and within the last two months I've found myself addressing this problem by doing what my mom used to do: I keep my eyes peeled for bargains that would make good kids' birthday presents. I cleared a little storage space in our closet (we have almost zero storage space in our house) for kids' birthday/Christmas gifts.

Our kids are little, and their friends are little. Cash is a nebulous concept for them.

Good places for little kid gift bargains:

1. Target/Walmart after various holidays: my favorite is Halloween. So many Halloween costumes double as fun dress up clothes, and they are super cheap after Halloween. I have a couple of Ninja costume sets that I bought for $2 each. What little kid doesn't want a Ninja costume set--no matter what time of year?

2. The kids used stuff consignment store: pretty good deals, especially if I bring all the junk my kids get for their birthdays/Christmas and trade it in for new junk.

3. Scholastic book orders: Books through Scholastic are cheap. So are toys. I'm a teacher, so I also have access to a lot of bonus point stuff--I now have several book sets/games set aside for Christmas/birthdays for either my own kids or their friends.

When my kids become school-aged, I could see switching to cash like several other posters have mentioned. But I may actually keep doing my generic gift routine, because if you shop smart, you can get better value that way than with cash. I remember my mom stocking up on tween girl jewelry for gifts. She did the same for teacher gifts--she used to always buy a million shell Christmas ornaments when we would go on summer vacation at the beach. Those Christmas ornaments were then doled out to any random adult who merited a Christmas gift. 


CloserToFree

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2019, 07:10:54 PM »
@englishteacheralex, thanks for these genius ideas! Especially the Halloween costumes doubling as dress up. Never would have occurred to me.

kimmarg

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Re: Breaking the ridiculousness of kid's birthday parties
« Reply #35 on: June 06, 2019, 07:57:14 PM »
@englishteacheralex, thanks for these genius ideas! Especially the Halloween costumes doubling as dress up. Never would have occurred to me.

Santa brought my three year old a dress up box filled entirely with stuff from the Goodwill Halloween display, it was a hit.