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non-gift birthdays? - Page 3

post #41 of 67
Mumster; IME, to the kids (and to me), having a party is a gift in and of it's self. Maybe that's because I have always explained it as such. Parties cost money, no way around that. Even if you make everything yourself and use regular plates & silverware they cost money.

Last year we did have one parent call to ask if we were serious about the gifts, and when I explained it to them, they sounded pleased to be invited to a no pressure day out. Of course it snowed like crazy the day of the party; we had to move it, and it turned out only half the people came at the later date but that's beside the point
post #42 of 67
We tried no gift, and I am still having to write thank you's for the gifts to my just turned 3yo. I gotta say, it made me feel not listened to, because I DIDN'T want gifts for him. He got a ton of stuff for the holidays (more than usual because it's the last year we won't be paying for any extra schooling, so I figured we'd have a little splurge), and stuff from us and stuff from his grandparents and it's ENOUGH. I don't even like most of the stuff we got (though one cute fishing game was a hit, but it sucks C batteries like they're goign out of style.). Well, I tried. I'm not happy w/the way it worked out, and I didn't do traditional goody bags (and told them that before the party), but the kids had a great time, and I think even w/out gifts it would have worked well.

The kids at my older dd's school soemtimes do no-gift parties, but they set up a donation area, one child collected cash for the ophanage she was from in China, and another did a cat food and blanket donation for the humane society. Donations work well because no one wants to seem like they don't care about the child's interests, right? But notsure that would work so well w/really little kids. Well, it didn't work for me at ALL.
post #43 of 67
I mentioned in my first post that our non-gift parties were part of our Lumbee culture. For those who dislike the idea of attending a party without a gift, would you still bring a gift even if you knew the non-gift party was done for cultural reasons?
post #44 of 67
lexbeach, I have to say that I agree with pretty much everything you've said, although I can see the other POV as well. I personally feel like you, we need to start being radical in our actions relating to the environment. We need to start changing the way that we think about almost everything...shifting paradigms so to speak. I think this is one good example of a cultural "norm" that can easily be changed.
I too, have tried the "no gifts please" plea on the invitation just to be completely ignored. Really, when I say no gifts, I mean it. I have a small house and very strict guidelines on what my son can have. It is frustrating, because I truly do not want this junk in my house. Most of the time, I can tell that the gift-giver gave no thought whatsoever to what they were buying (just buying something for the sake of...) and I am left to deal with getting rid of it. So, really it turns into much more of a burden than a gift.
post #45 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva View Post
I mentioned in my first post that our non-gift parties were part of our Lumbee culture. For those who dislike the idea of attending a party without a gift, would you still bring a gift even if you knew the non-gift party was done for cultural reasons?

No


I have a question. Why are gifts junk? I mean, some toys are junk but some are not. And not all gifts are toys. For her last bday, my dd got some books and some plastic toys and some art supplies and some clothes. The plastic toys are kinda junky but the other stuff is really nice.

And, to clarify, I see most parties in general as being consumerist, commercial, and environmentally unfriendly. So, by limiting the size and scope of our parties, I am doing my part for the environment. I just don't tell people they can or cannot bring a present.
post #46 of 67
delphin- I was meaning "junk" in the extra toys/clothes/things not wanted or needed.

And I too see smaller parties as being eco-friendly! See we do have something in common!

And our non-gift parties are cultural. I said earlier that my dh and dd are Lumbee and the non-gift receiving parties are a cultural tradition. We don't have no-gift parties to be rude and so far we haven't run across anyone in our lives who believes that we are, but we also live in an area wher a great majority of us are Lumbee or Tuscarora.
post #47 of 67
I like the idea of no gift parties, but have never been invited to one. I'm contemplating DD's next bday. We have no family here, so our family party is usually just us and one other family that are our dear friends. Their dd is our dd's bff, so that works out well. When we visit with my parents at Thanksgiving, they do a little cake and gift celebration in honor of dd's birthday. Her birthday is special, just not overdone.

I'm so not into the huge parties. My childhood parties were very simple in comparison to todays. Mom made a cake and bought ice cream. Our friends came over, we played games, ate cake and ice cream. They did bring gifts, though.

The whole idea of goody bags is foreign to me. When did that start?? I really like the idea of a book exchange! We love books!

I would have no problems with "your presence is present enough" on the invite. Ya'll have given me alot to think about with this thread. I already do handmade gifts for adults. Gonna have to look into things dd and I can make for other children as gifts!
post #48 of 67
This year we have decided on handmade bead bracelets to give to guests. We have really cool glass and wooden beads and hemp for stringing. We will spend the month of Februar making them. Kailey wants to celebrate at the swimming pool and have a Lumbee party. We'll have friends who are dancers come perform for us. We are so excited!
post #49 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatfulMomma View Post
Gonna have to look into things dd and I can make for other children as gifts!
My favorite thing to make for toddlers/preschoolers is a set of bean bags. VERY easy! My kids "help" by picking out the fabrics and drawing lines for where I should sew. They also measure out the beans (I usually use organic lentils) for each bag. When I have the time, I add letters to each bean bag to spell out the child's name.

Check out the make-your-own Toys and Dolls Forum for more ideas.

HTH!

Lex
post #50 of 67
My DD is 4. None of our neighborhood friends have gifts at their parties, but her other friends do. You know...the non-gift parties are way more fun. And because their parents started young, the kids don't automatically expect presents. Lily had been to just one birthday party, PACKED with crappy 'disney princess' gifts, so when another friend invited her to a party that was "no-gifts," she was honestly confused and a little sad she couldn't give her friend a gift. But the homemade cards that friend received were wonderful, and the whole party was celebration of the friends together and made up for it. Now we've been to a couple of other parties, one gift-free, the other with gifts. I can say that the gift parties invariably ended up with at least one set of tears, misunderstandings, and the whole group getting off track. The non-gift parties were full of fun and games and being together. We're doing non-gift next year for sure. If someone brings a gift that's fine, but I'm not going to encourage it. Our kids have too much stuff in this country as it is..Better to celebrate the child then the stuff, I think...just my thoughts..
Gina
post #51 of 67
I think the whole birthday party issue is the only thing I am preemptively dreading about parenthood. I strongly believe that parties need to scale down and become more environmentally sound. But I also think it's incredibly rude to dictate someone's generosity. I do like the idea of a book exchange as a "theme" but I fear that in some communities that would be interpreted as bringing a book to exchange AND a present. :

I love giving gifts. And I don't think the things I give are crap either. I try to buy locally made arts/crafts or music from local bands. If I could make things, I would make all of my gifts. I give a lot of books.

I wish parents communicated with each other. I can see myself calling the mother of the birthday boy/girl and asking what the child likes or needs and trying to find gifts that will actually enrich their lives (books, art supplies, music, etc.) rather than just fill up landfills. I think a better "tradition" would be for all the parents to pool a small amount of money and get a group gift. But that requires communication and shared values, which can be hard to navigate. I don't think it's something that the host can demand of people.


Otherwise, our birthday celebrations are going to be: fancy dinner, some kind of show, and one or two friends.


That said, I would always respect the request of "no gifts" although I would probably try to find ways around it. I would call first, but one thing I might do is have my kid (if he/she was amenable) help me make some candy/cookies to share with everyone that we could bring in a pretty box.
post #52 of 67
I won't at least not a total no gift my DD top LL is gifts (And its one of my strongest) so it would devestate her to have a giftless birthday and even more to not be able to give gifts. However I don't see that I need to invite 40 kids and expect 40 gifts ect gives can be a special party day with mommy a few personal gifts from family but not for kids allowing her to choose a way to celebrate without a lot of presents to open etc. As that will look deffrent depending on age and maturity.
post #53 of 67
If we were invited to a "no gifts, please" party, we'd not bring a gift. I don't like all the excess that finds its way into our homes, so I would certainly respect other parents that request no gifts be brought. Plus, it would save me some effort of trying to figure out what to get their child, making a special trip to the store, and setting aside $$ for the gift. I feel that most children in the US have too many things as it is, so getting them yet another thing they don't need is not enhancing their lives in any way. However, if the invite/parents didn't specify no gifts, I would try my hardest to bring their child something nice.

So, for our kids, instead of a big friend party with people that aren't dear to my children, we plan a big family outing. We'll drive a few hours and see some really neat site, like the TN Aquarium was the last one we went to see. That was in Aug, and the kids still talk about it now!

We will do a homemade cake and party with us and grandparents here at our home. The grandparents provide them with a gift, so they do get to open something. We haven't been buying them gifts for birthdays to this date. Our oldest will be 6 in March and the youngest will be 2 the same month, and we're going to Mammoth Cave and Dino Park to honor their b-days. This really means more to them than a superficial party would.

I'm not saying all parties are superficial, but I just know that my kids are very attached to us, their family, and would enjoy this plan for b-days more than the traditional one.
post #54 of 67
law- we went camping for Kailey's fourth birthday with two other families. We had such a blast. I even "baked" a cake on the fire- the kids (and parents) thought it was awesome!

I guess it really is what you are accustomed to.

I grew up wiht birthday parties where the presents were brought but not opened until after the party was over- then thanks you cards were sent out.

And who has big parties? I can't stand large kid parties. The most we have had at Kailey's birthday aprty? 8. and that was huge for me.
post #55 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva View Post
I mentioned in my first post that our non-gift parties were part of our Lumbee culture. For those who dislike the idea of attending a party without a gift, would you still bring a gift even if you knew the non-gift party was done for cultural reasons?
Nope I'd just explain to my DD that your child decided that the party was her gift and that her attending would also be a special gift. If our kids were close and with your permission I might allow my DD to suggest a special way we could do something at a latter date a special trip to a park a trip to a bookstore wher each can choose a book etc..
post #56 of 67
Quote:
And who has big parties? I can't stand large kid parties. The most we have had at Kailey's birthday aprty? 8. and that was huge for me.
All our parties have been just DH me and DD with the exception of her last her grandparents came. When we do add kids it will be just a few even if we do an entire say class it will be simple... However geez the parties around here are just stupid big HUGE parties with 100 or more and its mostly an excuse for the grownups to get together and drink the gifts just act as a distration so the grownups can countinue there party.
post #57 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by octobermom View Post
Nope I'd just explain to my DD that your child decided that the party was her gift and that her attending would also be a special gift. If our kids were close and with your permission I might allow my DD to suggest a special way we could do something at a latter date a special trip to a park a trip to a bookstore wher each can choose a book etc..
And that would be so cool!

Perhaps I am labeling the party (celebration) incorrectly. It is a celebration of birth of friendship and unity, well, crap, I guess it just is a birthday party.

I just don't think it is wise for us to dictate to a party thrower how they should plan their own party. Would you do it at a wedding? If the wedding was formal, would you balk and call the bride/planner and say they shouldn't dictate what you should wear? Or if they said in leu of gifts please make a donation if you so desire. would you bring a Oster blender anyway?

I just think it is unthinkable to dictate this to people.

We are raising our daughter with important values and to decide you will "find a way around it" is horribly inappropraite and borders on hateful.
post #58 of 67
Lex, I see your point about changing the way things are and that we do need to change our ultra-consumerist ways, but by your own admission, you are unable to do this, and its a bit off putting that you are lecturing people about principles you yourself are not really adhering to. I admire your purpose, and even agree with it, but why not practice what you preach?

Me, while I agree with the sentiment that it all must stop, gifts at birthdays is a nice tradition that I enjoyed growing up and I am not shallow and materialistic because of it, and i trust my kids will get through it okay, too. Besides, we already limit gifts by simply having small parties (usually family only). If we include friends (first birthdays, etc), we stick to a pretty core group of people and it never gets overwhelming. My mom is really good about always asking me what to get for the kids and she actually gets what I ask for, so that helps keep things under control. I think the limiting of gifts should implemented, but via an overall down scaling of birthdays, in general. I don't want my kids learning you have to have a jumpy house, pony rides, a singing circle and a catered lunch to enjoy your birthday. We are avoiding those types of parties more and more, because I think those over the top birthday traditions are more damaging than the gifts.
post #59 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva View Post
I just don't think it is wise for us to dictate to a party thrower how they should plan their own party. Would you do it at a wedding? If the wedding was formal, would you balk and call the bride/planner and say they shouldn't dictate what you should wear? Or if they said in leu of gifts please make a donation if you so desire. would you bring a Oster blender anyway?

I just think it is unthinkable to dictate this to people.

We are raising our daughter with important values and to decide you will "find a way around it" is horribly inappropraite and borders on hateful.

Actually, I do find it incredibly distasteful for a bride to dictate what their guests should wear. The level of formality can/should be discerned from the invitation, time of day, and the location. I think adults should be respected and trusted to wear something appropriate. If they don't, who cares? No one is going to DIE because someone wore a frock coat instead of tails. I also think that using a wedding invitation as a way to solicit charitable donations is incredibly tacky. People are perfectly capable of doing that on their own.

I wouldn't storm into someone's "no gift" party loaded down with piles of gifts just to make a point. But I do think that generosity is an important value and that gifts can and should be meaningful. There is nothing inappropriate and hateful about calling a party hostess and asking for a way to compromise and bring something to share with everyone. If I was told no, I would respect that.
post #60 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamameg View Post
Lex, I see your point about changing the way things are and that we do need to change our ultra-consumerist ways, but by your own admission, you are unable to do this, and its a bit off putting that you are lecturing people about principles you yourself are not really adhering to. I admire your purpose, and even agree with it, but why not practice what you preach?
I do practice what I preach. I mean, ideally I'd be living off the grid and growing all my own food, but since we're just renting our home at the moment, it's not totally possible for us just yet. We're doing the best we can in our current situation.

But I'm not sure where you got the idea that I don't practice these principles re: gift-giving and consumerism.

My kids are having a no-gift fifth birthday party in February. The only thing we will buy for the party is food (each of my twins wants me to make an ice cream cake for them . . . they'd share one, but they don't like the same kind of ice cream . . . and we'll probably have bagels and cream cheese or something else like that). My kids will each get one gift for their birthday, and I am making the gifts.

When we do go to parties that involve gift-giving, we bring a gift. It is always homemade, and my kids help me make it. I never said that anyone should choose not to bring a gift to someone else's party when gifts are expected. I'm just saying that we should all be promoting no-gift parties by having no-gift parties for our own kids.

Also, while I understand that it can be hard to read the tone of someone's message over the computer, I never intended to be "lecturing" anyone about my beliefs. I just feel very strongly about this issue. I really think we all need to feel very strongly about it. But, in my head, I'm not so much lecturing as I am pleading.

Lex
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