I have a four year old who is beginning to get invited to a lot of birthday parties. While I am happy that she is invited, I have some issue with the parties. I only have small family celebrations for my children. We have our immediate family over for dinner and cake. Part of the reason for this is I am really trying to avoid creating little consumers. The gifts are overwhelming, I have even been to a party where the host requested no gifts and people still brought gifts. I feel like children are just given so much "stuff" at these parties that will just be played with minimally and end up in a landfill. I even just recently saw a gift that we had given a friend, in the donation of children's toys at our church. Long story, but I know this was the gift we gave because it was a pretty unusual toy. I am not comfortable just buying things to give to these children, sometimes children we barely know, and have them end up unused or in the trash, such a waste. I also feel that toys are better kept simple and to a minimum. I actually had a friend comment that she was glad her kids birthdays were in the summer because they get to "restock" their toys.
I am just so uncomfortable with all of this, it seems wrong for our family and I feel if we are going to these parties we are contributing to this viscious consumerist cycle. How do I approach this? Do we decline invitations? Try to come up with a new gift idea? My daughter has also been asking why she doesn't have these types of parties and all the presents. I am not sure how to explain or what to do.