I am not sure if this is the best forum to post this in, so if you have better suggestions please let me know. But, I need some unbiased opinions of what to do about our son's second birthday party. We have two boys and always throw big parties for the first 3 years because it is the annual "family get-together" of extended family and close friends. The fourth birthday (and beyond) is kids-only (i.e. no grandparents, adult relatives, etc.).
Having two boys and trying to live simply/thrifty, our second son gets all of the hand-me-downs (plus lots of mama-made goodies). Every couple of months we go through and weed-out toys that they don't care for and donate them. We have a Waldorf-inspired play space and locked closet for the overflow/cycle-through toys. I have been known to return or re-gift toys that I don't feel are appropriate for my kids (gasp) - narrow-minded toys are put away and if they aren't asked for in 6-9 months then they get donated.
Last year for DS2's first birthday, we did an animal theme and asked for donations to the local human society in lieu of gifts. He still got some plastic junky stuff, which we opened after the party (when all the guests were gone) and donated, but it cut down on it immensely. This year we are doing a train theme (NOT THOMAS) and I would like to include this card with the invites, along with a blank "train ticket" with a safety pin attached to it:
"Instead of opening gifts, we will be making Max a memory quilt at his birthday party. Please attach to the enclosed ticket, in lieu of a wrappted gift, a 6-12 inch square of fabric - old or new, a piece of an old shirt will do - for Max's memory quilt. In lieu of a card, please use the ticket to write a piece of wisdom, favorite quote, or comical inspiration that you would like to share with Max as he travels along his journey through life.
Thank you for gifting Max with the true joys of life - blessing him with your wisdom, and wrapping him in your love."
What do you think? Over the top? Not a good idea? I need some honest, unbiased opinions please! My plan is to collect the squares & attached tickets in a basket, then instead of opening gifts, have each guest read their ticket and pin it to the backing/batting that I will have prepared on a table. At the end of the party, the un-sewn quilt will be a nice masterpiece on display, instead of a sea of wrapping paper tidbits and a bag of trash.
***Please don't think I am ungrateful, I always send a note of thanks for attending the party and, if they brought a gift, a thank you for the gift. I am trying so very hard to teach my boys that there is more to life than "stuff" and that life is better lived without all of this "stuff".