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post #81 of 137
Miss Manners is usually really funny and realistic and not too thrilled about materialistic excess, and so I wonder what she would say about KID parties.

On the other hand. This thread has actually made me want to have a Yes Gifts party for my kid
post #82 of 137
We just had DD's 4th bday party, which was no gifts. We followed the lead of a friend's party, who was no gifts. I thought that it was perfect as we were inviting school classmates and families, who we know but not necessarily that well. I have been to other parties, buying gifts and not having a clue as to what to get. Now, at both DD's party and the other kid's no gift party, another girl brought a gift. I had to kind of roll me eyes. I am sure no one was offended, but I found it a bit...pushy?? for lack of a better word. I know and am friends with the mom, and know it was meant with good intentions, I just thought it a bit unnecessary. What DD has done for no gift parties is to make a picture. That doesn't in my mind qualify in the no gift rule.

Last year we didn't say no gifts, she got gifts, and it was ok too, but until she asked for it to be different, I am going with no gifts. It isn't as if she doesn't get a ton for her family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Now, if only I can get DH to agree to no party favors.
post #83 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2
Miss Manners is usually really funny and realistic and not too thrilled about materialistic excess, and so I wonder what she would say about KID parties.

On the other hand. This thread has actually made me want to have a Yes Gifts party for my kid
Really? Why?
post #84 of 137
So many great points have been made. For us: I prefer the no-gift policy for our children's parties, but it seems confusing to my DD whenever we buy for others' b-day gifts. As a compromise I like the exchange idea.
post #85 of 137
We just went to a party where "no gifts" was clearly stated on the invite...and there were LOTS of gifts, which were opened at the party. I felt a little bad that we had "followed instructions" and not bought anything. Oy!
post #86 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow
IF we were to do a party, we'd do a theme party [lets say teddy bears for example] and never mention it was a birthday. I would just say ''you're invited to a Teddy Bear Party'' date, time, etc and then write ''just bring yourself, and your favorite teddy bear'' or use it within any theme.... a garden party everyone could bring seeds to and they could learn about planting seeds and take their planted pot home with them [you can do this very green with leftover newspaper as the ''planter'' or what not] This will bring the focus off who the party is for and if they need a gift and on to whatever they need to celebrate with you. If anyone apologizes or says they wish they'd known just say ''oh no, we celebrate all the birthdays without gifts- but thanks so much for the kind gesture''
This is along the lines of what we are planning for dd's birthday - a messy party! Because dd is in preschool and is invited to the birthday parties of her classmates, she is getting ideas about parties and gifts already. (She asked for a bounce house ) AND her birthday is in JULY

I agree that as parents we have to let things go sometimes. The line where letting go starts is different for all of us. It is so hard to stem the flow of stuff - but at the same time I will not keep dd from going to a friends birthday party because it has some garish theme (a la Disney).
On the other hand, I am comfortable with being the one to be out of the norm and not doing what everyone else does. If that means that dd will ask for "no gifts" at her birthday party, then thats alright. I really like the idea of a theme like books for the library I'm already the hippie mom Hopefully when dd is old enough to understand what is happening she will be happy to not get a pile of stuff for herself and do something else instead (what, I dont know - but I hope she will take the lead). I really think that the only way to get there is to start now by refocusing the birthday celebration away for the pile of gifts.

If Miss Manners doesnt like it then
post #87 of 137
Oh, I guess just that this thread has made me relax a little bit about hating the plastic crap, as long as the crap is given sincerely...which I think some people do. And that it is kinda rude to tell someone who genuinely wants to give a gift that they shouldn't.

Problem though is that realistically a lot of gift-giving at bday parties & places where you don't know the other parents well is NOT going to be that kind of gift. So. I will still probably find ways around the gifts by having parties for other reasons, or do some of the creative things people are doing here.

Really, though, I actually have kid parties for ME--I feel like the grownups are very interested in having something resembling a grownup party they can take kids to, so that is the kind of thing I like to do (like have them between 4 and bedtime, that sort of thing, so parents can feel justified in having a glass of wine and relaxing). I even invite people without kids! Horrors!
post #88 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2
Really, though, I actually have kid parties for ME--I feel like the grownups are very interested in having something resembling a grownup party they can take kids to, so that is the kind of thing I like to do (like have them between 4 and bedtime, that sort of thing, so parents can feel justified in having a glass of wine and relaxing). I even invite people without kids! Horrors!
Well, I totally agree with you on that one. We do this too, and I would say half the parties we have been to are like this. We were just at one this weekend where the kids were upstairs playing, adults were downstairs eating awesome food, drinking wine, beer or other, and having a fabulously luxurous Saturday afternoon. It was so low-key, but nice, and we all had a great time.
post #89 of 137
We went to a friend's No Gift birthday party a few years ago. Go figure, we were the ONLY ONES who abided by their request.
Maia ended up feeling badly that she was the only one who didn't bring a gift!
post #90 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2

Really, though, I actually have kid parties for ME--I feel like the grownups are very interested in having something resembling a grownup party they can take kids to, so that is the kind of thing I like to do (like have them between 4 and bedtime, that sort of thing, so parents can feel justified in having a glass of wine and relaxing). I even invite people without kids! Horrors!
This is what we do too. Dd is only 2.5 so most of her friends are adults and their kids of widely varying ages. We usually start our parties around 6pm and they go until the last man is standing (usually dd.....we had a party last week and she was up until 2am!!!!!!). We have activities for the kids, food for everyone, and places for children to crash when they get tired (usually play tents near the circle of adults so they feel close).
post #91 of 137
Oh, I am feeling so torn about this very issue right now!

I am about to send out invitations for my twin sons' third birthday party, which will be on their birthday, February 18th.

For their first birthday party, we did a whole group party with all of their friends who were all turning one then too. Everyone brought one wrapped gift, and we all swapped, and it was really fun.

Last year we didn't do a birthday party at all because we were moving and it was crazy.

This year, my boys really understand the birthday party thing. We have been to so many birthday parties over the past year, and they always want to know when it's going to be THEIR birthday party. So, we decided we sort of have to have one, and I also do think it will be fun.

I feel tempted to do the "no gifts" thing, but Lukas and Jasper are TOTALLY expecting gifts from their friends. They always help me make or pick out the presents that we bring to parties, and that's always an exciting part of it for them. So, whenever we talk about their birthday party, they say, "and our friends will bring us presents, and we'll have cake, and a pinata. . . etc." So, I feel like they would be really disappointed if I said that there weren't going to be any presents.

And I feel awkward about requesting a particular type of gift, even though I'd really love it if everyone brought books or puzzles or something homemade. I think that the families we are inviting would all bring nice gifts since they know us and know that we're snobby like that (no plastic stuff), but I guess there's no way to know for sure. The whole thing is just awkward, especially since my boys are twins and I wonder if everyone will think they need to get a present for each of them (which, I guess they sort of DO need to do).

So, I'd pretty much decided that we just wouldn't say anything about gifts on the invitations, and that we wouldn't open any of the presents during the party. We are only inviting six families, so hopefully even if they do all bring gifts, it won't be too overwhelming. We are giving the boys each two puzzles, three books, and a small frog drum (something they've wanted for a long time), so I don't think the presents from us will be overwhelming.

But then I read this thread and now I just don't know. I love the idea of the book exchange, but I wonder if my boys would be confused as to why the presents aren't all for them, and since nothing like that has been done at any of the parties we've been to, I wonder what people would think. Do I say "no store bought gifts," or is that a lot to ask of the working full-time, less creative folks who would really prefer to just buy something? Do I say "no gifts please" and just explain it to my boys?

What would you do in my situation?

Lex
post #92 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2
Oh, I guess just that this thread has made me relax a little bit about hating the plastic crap, as long as the crap is given sincerely...which I think some people do. And that it is kinda rude to tell someone who genuinely wants to give a gift that they shouldn't.

I agree completely. My kids just got hte little people train station as a gift from my brother and his wife. I'd never dream of telling them not to give it. That is their experience with their relationship with their auntie and uncle.. it tells about their family to allow the them to give the kinds of gifts they want to, from their heart. And it tells our kids to be thankful and gracious when we don't turn our nose at gifts given to us.

I also agree thought that it is different than the piles of toys one gets at a birthday. To many at once, often given out of social obligation and norms than from the heart. We don't do gift parties, but my kids do get gifts at other times of the year... and sometimes even plastic
post #93 of 137
lexbeach, honestly... I'd have a traditional party. I like to downplay things, but I also have kids who haven't been to a traditional party and don't know that lots of kids get lots of gifts. It is just what they know, so they are delighted with it. I think there is value in letting your kids feel ''normal'' and part of the flow... I think to force otherwise might do more harm than good.

You have 18 years or more to help instill the values of materialism and giving... and imo this has to be safely balanced with not letting kids feel deprived. For them to give things up begrudgingly would only make it harder for them to learn the lessons you want to teach them.

If another parent asks what to get just thank them for their kindness and say ''if you want to do something, just do something simple and low key'' you might even add ''... since there are two of them I'd hate for them to get used to a massive collection of toys each year, you know? [chuckle]''

I think it would be better not to ask for specific kinds/types of toys... and I wouldn't advise doing no gifts if they are really looking forward to it. I'd only do that if the child didn't care or if they were old enough to discuss it and find and even middle ground that made everyone happy.

jmo.
post #94 of 137
You know, the whole kid birthday party thing is really weird to me. When I was growing up, on birthdays you got to pick your favorite food for dinner, and you had cake and few presents after, but it was a family affair - very special and nice. I think I went to one kid party during elemenarty school.

But of course, when your kids are invited to several parties a year, they will want one too. It is like the ante has been raised on what is normal. Now it is not normal not to have big birthday parties?
post #95 of 137
The middle-class norm is just more of everything all the time, or something. Like houses used to have one bathroom, and nobody cared that much (unless yoou were the one waiting...). Now you're supposed to have one bathroom for every bedroom. People used to have 1 TV--now they have 2 or 3. Everyone's supposed to buy a set of new clothes every few months, have 7 pairs of shoes when they used to have 2. You can't even keep a kitchen or a bathroom for 30 years--you're supposed to "update" all the time. Etc.

The birthday parties are just part of this. Selling more stuff, making it seem normal for people to shower 4-year-olds with more toys in one day than some kids get in 5 years. I read somewhere that the average American child now gets 70 new toys a year. !!!!! The first time I went into a Toys R Us I almost passed out. I had NO IDEA it was like that. It does bother me that to be polite you are supposed to go along with social trends that I think are really destructive...and, you know, stuff that not that many people are truly into anyway. I just can't believe that they really are. They do it because they think they're supposed to, because 'everyone else' does it. But if everyone is doing it only because everyone else does it, rather than because they truly WANT to do it, then...
post #96 of 137
Quote:
I've seen this before, but IMHO, it is rude not to open gifts together as a group. How else can you thank the giver in person? I don't get it. And I think the kids enjoy seeing what the birthday girl/boy received...isn't it part of the fun?
I don't know. To me, it seems like that's the worst part of the party - at least for toddlers! None of the other kids want to sit and watch someone else open gifts for 30 minutes. So the parents either have to hold their kids back or they let them "help" your child open gifts. Either way, NOT fun! Hmmm, maybe someone should start a thread on party manners.

Anywhooo, this thread has really made me think. I certainly wouldn't think someone rude if they specified 'no gift', but after giving it some thought I wouldn't do that for my son's party. I don't like all the ten tons of crap, but I also don't want him to be the "wierd" kid (well, our family is already "wierd" for a number of reasons that I'm NOT going to compromise on so this is harmless imo), I don't want him to be confused when we are at other parties, I really don't think he'll become a spoiled brat because he gets toys at Christmas and birthdays, and I figure some good can still come of it. I can teach him how to accept gifts and how to thank people, blah blah. We can certainly play up the other aspects of the party - it doesn't have to be all about the loot.
post #97 of 137
I haven't read the whole thread yet but wanted to say that I too am against all the massive piles of crap kids receive BUT I think the opening presents part of the party is a VERY important part.

It teaches kids manners and how to thank people and the other kids love it when their presents are opened. Last year for my 5 yo's birthday party we had each of the kids sit in a circle holding their gift and he opened them one by one, thanking each child individually and giving them a hug. The children were all delighted.

For us it's not about the "loot" but about the act of giving and receiving. We try to keep our parties small (about 10 kids) so that it doesn't become overload. We do that despite our oldest being invited to upwards of 25 parties a year. He just has to pick and choose who he's going to invite.
post #98 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2
Miss Manners is usually really funny and realistic and not too thrilled about materialistic excess, and so I wonder what she would say about KID parties.

On the other hand. This thread has actually made me want to have a Yes Gifts party for my kid
Miss Manners would be too polite to say anything about the excesses sometimes achieved by parents for kid parties.

She would also be too polite to mention that it's rude to assume people were bringing gifts to a birthday party by putting "no gifts" on an invite. However she would have no problem with you telling invitees that you would just like the pleasure of their company when they ask you want your child would like for their birthday.

I have to admit this is the reason why we don't have big parties for dd yet and probably never will. It sort of quickly becomes wedding gift redux.
post #99 of 137
I see no problem hosting a no-gifts party for young children. And, frankly, who cares if mom gets upset when her DH forgets a holiday? What does that have to do with her child's party? It's not as if she, DH, and other family are not going to give her child gifts (at least, that's not what op stated). As long as the child's birthday is celebrated with some gifts from family at another time outside of the party, there's no problem.

For my son's 3rd birthday we had a messy party and requested no gifts. A couple of people brought gifts because they didn't feel right not bringing something. That's fine, that's their choice. We just set them aside, opened them after the party, and sent nice thank-you notes. We didn't feel weird about it because we had asked for no gifts. At that time, my son was soooo not interested in opening numerous gifts. It's an all-day affair because as soon as he opens something, all he wants to do is play with it . . . not open the next one. But he had a GREAT time at his party, and we celebrated his birthday on the actual day the following week with presents and cake, just as a family.

We'll continue to do no-gift parties for years. At some point, if my kids are going to parties where there are gifts, then we may start doing parties that way . . . or we may talk to our kids to find out what they want to do rather than assuming they want the same kind of party. And I'm sure, as my kids develop special friendships, they'll receive and give gifts to those friends.

I'd rather have the gift of someone's company than some obligatory gift . . . and I'm teaching my kids that value too. They'll learn the fun is in the party itself, and not the windfall of booty. Seems to me that many kids learn the opposite when parties include gifts. Just my own observation.
post #100 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou
Miss Manners . . . would also be too polite to mention that it's rude to assume people were bringing gifts to a birthday party by putting "no gifts" on an invite.

I'm sorry, who here doesn't assume you will bring a gift to a child's birthday party unless it requests no gifts?

Can we see a show of hands?
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