DD is having a birthday party at the beginning of November in which both sides of our family will be invited.
DH and I have... preferences... about gifting. It is emphasized way too much, and contributes to materialism and consumerism. We hate toys with batteries and would like to steer away from plastic in favor of more diverse, natural materials, books, and real instruments. And really, DD doesn't need anything, nor does she expect it at her age. We have too much stuff as it is and are actually in the process of simplifying. I really, really, REALLY do not want to receive crap, as well-meaning as that crap is given it is just going to end up in a landfill and be total waste of resources and space. I want her to receive things that will be used and that develop her creativity and senses.
What we would like ideally is for people to just show up sans gifts, but knowing our family, this won't ever happen even if we spell it out. They are as mainstream and consumer-oriented as it gets, and kid birthdays mean, by tradition and default, a trip to Toys R Us .
So here's our little dilemma:
1) How do we word our invitations without offending folks? We'd like to make it clear that gifts are not expected, but extend graciousness nevertheless. We'd also like to, somehow, give some sort of guidance to the kinds of gifts DD receives without appearing pushy or controlling. I'm not sure how to pull this off. Do I say nothing and just grit my teeth and be gracious for them thinking of us? Do I provide a link to an amazon wish list or my pinterest page for gift ideas? Should I make a simple statement about gifts (not expected/preferences? If I state preferences or provide a link for ideas, does this seem like it would cancel out the "gifts not expected" part, and urge people into gifting? Should I just say "gifts not expected" or "gifts discouraged" <--- sounds kind of mean and ungrateful? What would offend you if you were receiving this invitation?
2) The "gift-giving" portion of the party is something we want to totally do away with. Since we aren't expecting gifts, we don't see a reason to make any gift-giving that does take place a public matter. We don't want to isolate people who chose to not give gifts. At the same time, our families both will naturally expect a public gift unwrapping, it being a 1-year old's birthday party and all. They'll "want to see what else she got" and watch her be cute :P. We were thinking about doing gift exchange on a private person-to-person basis, maybe as people come in or when the party is in a lull go to a bedroom. Am I overthinking this? Is it really that big of a deal? What would you think?
Any and all input would be sooo helpful! Thanks!