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No Gifts At 3 Year Old Party?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
What do you think about this? DD will be turning 3 soon and wants to have a birthday party beyond just family members. She doesn't expect gifts (only cake! :LOL ), and for a lot of reasons, I'm not really comfortable receiving gifts (we already have too many toys, I'm kind of picky about what she plays with, I don't want people to feel obligated to spend money, don't want gift-giving to become the focus of having parties, etc.).

How would you feel if you received an invitation that said, "Please, no gifts. Just bring yourselves! We'd love just to have you spend this special day with us!"

Or is there better wording? Would you comply? There will be a mix of mainstream and more progressive families invitied if that makes a difference.
Have you requested no gifts for your dc's party?

Thanks for your input!
post #2 of 28
I think that's fantastic! I have wanted to do that myself, for the same reasons.

Yes, I would comply. (DD might want to make a handmade card or other small momento.) I would love for children's birthday parties (at least for my child) to be less of a consumerism fest and more of a fun time for all.

Parties in our area frequently turn into competitions between the parents to see who can give the best gifts, hand out the best party favors, have a pony ride at the party, or an aired-up bouncy thing (what ARE those called).

At my dd's dance class last spring one girl announced that for her birthday she was having a pool party, ice skating, sleep over with buffet breakfast! There were only three girls in the class, and my daughter wasn't invited! (Not that I wanted her to attend, but she felt very left out.) I thought the parents were not demonstrating good behavior, personally. Sorry to wander off topic.

Yes, I would be quite pleased to see "no gifts" parties.

If you can't quite muster that, perhaps "handmade gifts only" could be a compromise. Or even a "books" party.
post #3 of 28
I've been to one just like that. The child turned 3 and the invitations said "no presents please" and we had a lovely party.
I would consider doing the same.
post #4 of 28
I would do it but don't be surprised if somebody brings a present. Some people just can't resist.
post #5 of 28
If I received the invite I'd come but probably bring a gift anyway and give it to her privately. I just can't seem to go to a party and not bring anything!
post #6 of 28
What about doing an in lieu of gift? Pick a charity or other organization that your DD thinks is cool (like Make a wish or the SPCA for example) and let everyone know that instead of a gift a donation to that charity would be appreciated...you could even make it part of the theme depending on what charity

post #7 of 28
for a couple of parties we attended we donated to the hefer charity and bought a few chickens for a family or a goat i think,i can't remember exactly how it works but the family must help another family if they receive the donation,with offspring maybe??
check it out,the children loved being involved in choosing,
post #8 of 28
I'm glad that no one has told you yet that Ms. Manners would be appalled!

I think "No presents, please" would be perfectly fine, and personally, if someone ignored that and brought a gift, I would probably send it on back home with them.

post #9 of 28
Dd turned 2 last Friday and we had a party. The invites said no gifts. Half the people brought them anyway. I did not really care but felt bad for the people who did what the invite said then felt like they should have brought one because the others did. For next year, we will have to specify something like a charity to keep it from happening again.
post #10 of 28
I think no gifts is the way to go, personally. My husband and I recently agreed to stop gifts on holidays altogether. I think we'll still be doing a stocking for the kids at Christmas, but no major gifts at all. Not for the kids, not for us, not for anybody (there may be exceptions). We'd like to take the focus away from days in which we get a bunch of stuff and have the day focus on celebration. We agreed that we will do gifts that we want to do when we want to do them, so that the attention is not a "on your birthday, I automatically give you a gift" sort of thing, but the gift can be a really thoughtful gesture that will carry more meaning and will more likely be something really well thought out and personal.

Here's the text of our invite for my son's 3rd birthday party next week, (which was printed up very nicely, I might add ):
Please join us in celebrating
the 3rd anniversary
of the birth of el chupacabra,
my son's name

Saturday, August 20, 2005
2 p.m.

at our home
RSVP email

Light refreshments will be served.

No gifts, please.
post #11 of 28
My DD and I have been to a party where that was stated, and it was just fine. I would give you a headsup that people might slip "little" gifts into a card or something. We are guilty of that--my DD was confused that she didn't get to pick out a present and help wrap it (one of her favorite parts of other people's birthday). Instead we decided that she would make a really pretty birthday card with lots of spangles and other stuff that we normally don't use (It was pretty cute, DD drew lots of pictures of her friend and her together playing, made sure I labeled who was who, ect.) She asked if she could include a sheet of her favorite cool stickers (glittery faeries) and I thought that was fine.

So...I guess we violated the request. But neither DD's friend nor her mom really seemed to mind--I think they were too busy looking at the card and partying.
post #12 of 28
We like the 'no gifts' idea too. For my daughter's b-day we request donations for her sponsored family in Honduras instead. We went to a party recently where they were trying to raise a specific amount for new toys in the local childrens hospital (This invite read "No gifts please - but if giving brings you joy, contributions are welcome for dd's toy fund for the Children's Hospital". Finally, for Christmas last year my dd and her close friends each chose a 'wish star' for a child in need and bought gifts for those kids instead of each other...

I think it is nice to put it in the invite. But I would also try to start a dialogue with as many of the parents as possible - you may start a trend
post #13 of 28
This is appropriately timed as we just sent out invites to DD's 1st birthday.

My MIL and FIL asked that we invite extended family to the party... in fact they gave us a list! Some of the names on the list were people we hadn't seen since MIL threw me a baby shower. DH just isn't close with his extended family, and only seems to see them at weddings and other like events. These people haven't even met the baby yet!!!!

Ugh, etiquette nightmare rearing its ugly head, right?

I wasn't comfortable with the idea that the extended family might view the invitation as "just another request for a gift". So, I wrote inside each card: "No gifts are necessary. We just want you to meet DD and see our new home."

Hopefully this averts any weirdness over gifts. Fact is, I would really like to see a lot of these people, and her birthday is a good excuse to do so. We just moved, and now finally have a place to invite people to come and see our lovely daughter.

For what it's worth, we are actually having a "real" birthday party for her a week earlier with a select few of HER friends and that's it. The other event is just going to be another family BBQ, but with cake...

post #14 of 28
I have a "thing" about having a party and getting gifts. For some reason it makes me so uncomfortable! So we've tried this approach at several parties (baby showers, DH 30th BDay party, and DD's 1st birthday). Most people still brought gifts
post #15 of 28
I've tried this and folks bring gifts anyway. Then, the folks who did as I asked get all squirmy. I just hint that "something small" is really fine with us and give examples. The littlest lego and playmobils or the polly pocket sets ykwim?
post #16 of 28
I must either be too southern or too old-fashioned--but frankly, I'd never go to a party without a gift. And I guess you probably wouldn't invite me, either. :LOL

But I like the idea about the charity. There are SO SO many organizations that could use your money (and your friends' money--to be blunt), and if they are willing to spend it on a plastic toy, why not instead make a contribution to a women's shelter or the local Children's hospital cancer wing/ward or the SPCA (if you are an animal lover like me)?
OR--ask to bring a gift and state on the invitation that ALL gifts will go to Children's Hospital in honor of the birthday girl/boy and make arrangements ahead of time to donate the gifts.

That way everyone will feel good about buying a gift, and not awkward about showing up to a party without one and your child will see that being altruistic is a wonderful thing and that there are so many children in the world (even in your own backyard) that are much less fortunate than she is. Or that there are pets without homes that need our attention.
I think it would be a wonderful gesture.

Actually, now that I think about it, a little girl did that in this area and made the local evening news---so if you want a little publicity to go along with it, call your local tv and radio station and ask strangers to donate in honor of your child, too. Sounds like a stretch, but you would be surprised at the generosity of strangers.

And be sure to print on the invites that this is going to be the case (that the gifts or the money will go to charity) so no one is surprised and will donate appropriately.

Good luck!
post #17 of 28
Oh and by the way, as tacky as it might sound--your gifts will be a tax deduction!
post #18 of 28
I'll be the lone voice of dissent.

Honestly, I think of Scrooge. If a child (or an adult) decides they don't want gifts for their own birthday party, that's fine. But to decide it for them, when they all get so much joy out of both giving and receiving gifts at that age... It's a birthday and I think giving and getting gifts is a perfectly fine way to celebrate.

And I hate the charity thing as well. Again, if a child or adult requests donations in lieu of gifts, again that's terrific. But I think me taking a tax deduction in "honor" of someone's birthday is just plain tacky.
post #19 of 28
Originally Posted by EFmom
when they all get so much joy out of both giving and receiving gifts at that age... It's a birthday and I think giving and getting gifts is a perfectly fine way to celebrate.
Every party my kids have been to except one, the sole thing they have taken for the birthday child has been a picture they have drawn for the occasion. Both my kids and the recpients have been thrilled with these. The birthday children show them all the other drawings they have received and they spend a long time talking about them all. The one "gift" we took was homemade CD of songs that my daughter chose specificalky for that child. She also illustrated the CD label.

But I think me taking a tax deduction in "honor" of someone's birthday is just plain tacky.
Well, that's not the point. The point is to honor the birthday person by doing good in the world. How is that possibly tackier than honoring the birthday person with some small, unnecessary plastic trinket that was probably made by a low-wage worker in some other country (the accepted way of celebrating a birthday)? And you don't even HAVE to take the tax deduction if you think it's so tacky!
post #20 of 28
We did this for dd's third. Relatives didn't pay any heed to the request for no gifts, but a couple of friends did. Believe me, with all the stuff laying around our house, more stuff is the last thing she needs, but grandma just can't resist. Don't be surprised if people do show up with gifts, though.
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