or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › the no gifts necessary dilema
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

the no gifts necessary dilema

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
When sending out birthday invites, do you add in a line about 'no gifts' or 'gifts are optional' or 'no plastic toys please'?

I've done it a few times, trying to lessen the piles of presents my children recieve at parties. Some presents are great, don't get me wrong. But some...some leave a lot to be desired, and I don't just mean from my POV...

And I've heard both sides of the coin on this one: saying 'no gifts necessary' is either seen as rude or phew! what a relief! Some people think I'm being mean to my kids and get even MORE than they would have in the first place. Other parents - friends and family alike - who are having hard financial times are thankful for the leeway. And, IMO, having no gifts around leaves more fun time to enjoy the party without stopping the fun to 'open the gifts'...which, if you've seen our family, can take over an hour! For just one kid!

So, what do you do, if anything? I'd LOVE to reduce the amount of crappy plastic toys that come in via presents. And no. It's not easy to keep them 'in the box' so I can return them later. Let's face it: tons of kids all ripping at the same time? wanting to play with whatever the heck is in the box? Yeah.

I am having a birthday party for my DS soon and I have a dilema as to what to put on the invites, if anything. In the past we've asked for 'experience gifts' or a quick mention that DS is saving up $ to do A, B, or C...and that worked great! But I was still told that it was rude by some and seen as needy by others...

I just don't know what is the best course of action...
post #2 of 25
Well for family, we usually just put no gifts because most of them know that we have a ton. Our grandparents will usually still buy a savings bond. And the we will give him his gifts from us at the bday dinner.

For friends, we usually do a book swap. Just ask everyone to bring a wrapped book and each kids gets to pick one to keep.
post #3 of 25
I would much rather receive an invitation asking for no gifts than one specifying what kinds of gifts NOT to get. It's a tricky situation, but IME people are going to get the guest of honor whatever they want to, and when you limit the guest list to kids/family who are very close to the guest of honor, you're more likely to get more appropriate gifts.
post #4 of 25
I wouldn't say "gifts optional" or "gifts not necessary" because that's just stating the obvious. I mean, let's face it, gifts are always "optional". they're certainly not REQUIRED. If you don't want people to bring gifts then you need to state it unequivocally: "Please, no gifts" Otherwise, most people will still feel obliged to bring a gift.

I agree with the pp that you don't want to start restricting the type of gifts in a general birthday invitation. That might come across as insulting. I have seen a number of people say "no gifts" and I think it's great. One person asked people to, in lieu of gifts, make a donation to a charity of their choice in the name of the birthday girl. I think that's an excellent option.
post #5 of 25
I put on the invitation, "This party is a book exchange. Please bring one book for every child that attends. Books should be for children aged x - y and in good used or new condition, costing no more than $7."

Unfortunately, I forgot to write no presents on top of that. Next time we will write that on there. However, presents-wise, it was great: there was the fun of buying, giving and opening, everyone got something, no crap to be handed out, and people didn't have to spend much.

Next time I will be more specific: "The theme of our party is BOOKS. Each child may bring one book to give to another child so that each child will give and receive one book!*" And then follow the asterisk with:

"*No other gifts are necessary, thanks!"

You could easily do this with potted plants, books, magazine subscriptions, comics, or anything else you think would be appropriate.

ETA... yeah, I guess gifts are never necessary, but in this case, a parent might wonder, "So, am I supposed to bring a book and a present?" Maybe someone else can suggest a polite way to say "pllllleeeeeeaaaaase do not give us more junk toys that you bought with your hard-earned money, we'd much rather you enjoyed a nice family meal."
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth2008 View Post
I wouldn't say "gifts optional" or "gifts not necessary" because that's just stating the obvious. I mean, let's face it, gifts are always "optional". they're certainly not REQUIRED. If you don't want people to bring gifts then you need to state it unequivocally: "Please, no gifts" Otherwise, most people will still feel obliged to bring a gift.

I agree with the pp that you don't want to start restricting the type of gifts in a general birthday invitation. That might come across as insulting. I have seen a number of people say "no gifts" and I think it's great. One person asked people to, in lieu of gifts, make a donation to a charity of their choice in the name of the birthday girl. I think that's an excellent option.
I agree with everything you said. people still feel like they should bring a gift if you leave it open. My son's birthday is three weeks after Christmas, so we did no gifts for his parties until his 5th and he had caught on that everyone else gets presents on their birthday. But up until that point we always asked that if people really felt the need to shop for something to bring they bring something for the homeless shelter. Packages of new under ware and socks in various mens and women's sizes.
post #7 of 25
Also, i can't imagine anyone thinking you're being mean to your child by asking for no gifts. That's just ridiculous. Most people recognize kids get far too many toys at birthdays that they don't need.

Another option is a book exchange where you ask everyone to bring a wrapped new book and then every child at the party gets to pick one and they all open them together.
post #8 of 25
We've found that people feel the need to bring "something". I love the book idea! The last few years, we have let the kids pick out a charity, and we ask people to bring a donation... we've done canned food, winter coats, baby supplies for the women's shelter and one year we did coke tabs for the Ronald McDonald house. Part of the festivities includes decorating a big box to put them in, and then we just make a special day for the kids to take the items. The Ronald McDonald house was a lot of fun b/c we got to spend the day making crafts with the sibblings at the house. The kids loved it!

We usually still get some toys, but if it's not something we're interested in keeping, we just donate it later.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
I know. It does sound silly that someone would say that I am being 'mean' or 'rude'...it was a gossip thing, some SILs (I have 6, so it's impossible keeping them all happy) kept it up behind my back and years after the party I finally caught wind of it. By then, of course, they had spread their dissatisfaction with me to an endless amount of people and I was just like, "dude, really?"

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the book swap idea! Now how to fit that into a Pirate Party theme...

Pirates read, right?
post #10 of 25
we say "your presence is present enough!"
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
we say "your presence is present enough!"
I've used this line too.

I can't stand when I get an invitation telling me what to bring or what not to bring--I don't find many things tacky, but that one I really do.
post #12 of 25
I'm having this same dilemma, as DD1's birthday is 2 weeks after Christmas and we will be having her first friend-party this year. Although I am well acquainted with the families of most of her friends, I'm not sure they would be comfortable enough to say "hey, we can't afford a gift right now," you know? I would HATE a child not to come because they can't afford a gift. Just didn't know how to tactfully put on the invite that gifts are not necessary at all. Additionally, she'll be inviting up to 15 friends (yikes!) and the thought of her receiving 15 presents makes me twitch.

So, I suppose this post is just the long-winded way to say "subbing to this thread" LOL
post #13 of 25
I would say "no gifts please". That is really common around here (or "please no gifts" and totally accepted. I always follow the rules, unless it's a close friend and I sneak something to them.

"No gifts necessary" is kinda ambiguous to me. And I would never ask people to bring or not to bring something specific.

If someone asks me for suggestions I usually ask for books.
post #14 of 25
We started doing "white elephant" or used gift requests and it's worked out great. With my friends, our game this x-mas is to see who can come up with the cheapest, yet still cool gift for the kiddos. So far it's $.25. The kids of course, couldn't care less. And no one's been offended. If anything, people call to clarify and it has started some great conversations.

Oh, and we always state it as a request, not a demand. (There's always the perfect present that someone wants to give that can't be found used.)
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I put on the invitation, "This party is a book exchange. Please bring one book for every child that attends. Books should be for children aged x - y and in good used or new condition, costing no more than $7."
This is an awesome idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSerene View Post
We started doing "white elephant" or used gift requests and it's worked out great. With my friends, our game this x-mas is to see who can come up with the cheapest, yet still cool gift for the kiddos. So far it's $.25. The kids of course, couldn't care less. And no one's been offended. If anything, people call to clarify and it has started some great conversations.

Oh, and we always state it as a request, not a demand. (There's always the perfect present that someone wants to give that can't be found used.)
This is a great idea, too!

Last year, ds was having some friends to his party who I didn't know too well. I was concerned about the gifts he might receive, so I decided to ask for no gifts and instead asked for food items to be donated to the food pantry, which was really in need at that time. My ds was so proud walking his food donations into the pantry!
post #16 of 25
When I had a kid's party for my son's 4th birthday, I put on the invitation, "please bring well wishes in lieu of gifts" and practically everyone just gave him a card.
post #17 of 25
I absolutely love the book exchange idea!!!! I don't usually mention gifts on invitations since I usually have to have them translated (my kids friends are all Japanese and DH and I don't speak/write Japanese). I have had calls about what my kids want and I always tell them that my kids love things that are handmade. Usually at their parties, most of their gifts are snack foods, flower bouquets (even for my DS), pencils/paper, handmade cards. . .and sometimes they do get toys, clothes, etc. . . It is a Japanese custom to never go to someone's house without taking a gift of some kind. . .so they wouldn't ever come without anything.

My mother always taught me that mentioning gifts on invitations is very tacky (especially on wedding invites or listing where you are registered). As someone invited to the party, it is always proper to call a close friend or family member of the person and ask what they would like. To this day I can't mention gifts on anything
post #18 of 25
Quote:
When I had a kid's party for my son's 4th birthday, I put on the invitation, "please bring well wishes in lieu of gifts" and practically everyone just gave him a card.
I'm so sorry, please forgive me, but I'm a recovering English teacher and absolutely can't help myself--it's "good wishes" since the adj "good" modifies the noun "wishes." "Well" is an adverb and so modifies a verb, adj. or other adverb. So you'd wish him well in addition to the good wishes he received.

Now I'll just go on my merry typo way.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
I would much rather receive an invitation asking for no gifts than one specifying what kinds of gifts NOT to get. It's a tricky situation, but IME people are going to get the guest of honor whatever they want to, and when you limit the guest list to kids/family who are very close to the guest of honor, you're more likely to get more appropriate gifts.
I like the no gifts option, especially when you're at that young age where the invitees may not be so close to the inviter. I appreciate it. I've done it for my baby's party and some folks still brought gifts. I appreciated the thought.

It's also a nice option in today's rough economy. I say it's totally find to say gifts optional or no gifts please. On some our invites we've written, 'No gifts please, just your presence' which I thought it made it sound less harsh.

Bokonon, have you really received a 'gifts not to get' invite? Ouch. Don't get me wrong, I'm picky about stuff my kid plays with/wears/eats/etc.. but that's just plain tacky.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
I'm so sorry, please forgive me, but I'm a recovering English teacher and absolutely can't help myself--it's "good wishes" since the adj "good" modifies the noun "wishes." "Well" is an adverb and so modifies a verb, adj. or other adverb. So you'd wish him well in addition to the good wishes he received.

Now I'll just go on my merry typo way.
You learn something new every day.
Thanks for the tip.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Childhood Years
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › the no gifts necessary dilema