My boys' birthdays are coming up in a little over a month, and it's time to start thinking about planning a birthday party. They will be turning 6 and 3. Of course I want their party to be fun and special. The thing is, though, I really dread the PRESENTS! We live in a TINY house (I'm going to school and am very low income at the moment), and we are full to the brim. It seems like I go through a declutter process every month; it's such a struggle! So we just have no room for any more toys. (In addition, I'm trying to live naturally and have as little exposure to toxic chemicals as possible, so I try to avoid plastic toys. I hate the battery-powered toys--all the low-quality noise they produce, and idiotic flashing lights--but people only seem to get stuff that's low quality like that for kids these ages!)
So, I know it's rude, but I wish I could tell people when I invite them, "Don't buy them presents. More than likely I will just turn around and return the item or sell it." But of course, I won't say that. I wish I could just have a party and not get presents, but that would be like asking the wind not to blow. Present giving is such a deeply embedded part of our culture.
One thing I've thought of is setting up a crowd sourcing website, and asking people instead of giving gifts to contribute towards a high-cost item, like a push bike. Then I could get a single item that is more meaningful, rather than a bunch of crappy little items. How would you respond if you got an invitation like that? Would you feel like your contribution is marginalized? Or would it be fun? What else could I do??