sil and b-day invitations - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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I struggle with it too. Then the ol'time-manner's brigade wants to stomp on the ONE easy, simple, straightup, no strings attached solution!

Drives me crazy. I'd rather be ethical than have manners sometimes. I'd rather be logical than make life more difficult for me and everyone else for some out of date passivity.
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#62 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 03:17 PM
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also, i have ever expectation that my child will have relationships with others--particularly when they are older--and i may not know those children or parents well. but i would hope that i would at least make an attempt to know them--and i think that 'in passing' such as when the child is dropped off is as good a time as any to put a family with the child, you know?
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#63 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 03:22 PM
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i suppose that, technically, the manners and the ethics are supposed to be intertwined. the underlying "ethic" of not including a note is because it assumes gift giving, either way, when technically that is not supposed to be assumed.

but, our culture has changed--and it is assumed. and thus, i think that perhaps the manners must change with that.

if it is always assumed that there must be gifts given--but if the gifts should be specific or gifts are not wanted--then it makes sense to provide direction or to assert that they are not wanted.

both have benefits and draw-backs.

for me, i'm constantly saying "no gifts!" once i got pregnant, i told my mother "dont buy a thing! not a thing until i tell you what to buy--or it goes straight to charity!" i want a moby wrap; my mother wants to buy a $2k stroller--you see how we are?

my mother is terribly disappointed, and technically i'm being terribly ill-mannered towards her (which, btw, manners are something that i value, but i also study them AND break the rules when i need to), but honestly, i don't want some $2k stroller junking up my world. i mean, even if i wanted a stroller, this one isn't my first choice--AND my mother doens't really have th emoney anyway!

ah well, it's crazy. i had to put up a huge barrier--STOP BUYING ME STUFF! you know?

terrible manners. LOL
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#64 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 03:23 PM
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We are having a backyard party because I am rebelling against the $500 party for a 3 year old. If I spend that much money it will be on plane tickets to visit family.

Zoebird - DD's school requires that we stay in our cars to drop off the kids. There is a carpool line where a staff member comes out and gets the child out of the car and takes them to class. I break the rules because DD likes for me to watch her walk down the hallway to class. That is also the reason I know some of the parents, they are the other rule-breakers. Some of the parents get very angry though about the parents who walk their kids in (I was yelled at once) and I am sure they never get out of their car. So there is no drop-off opportunity to talk with the other parents.
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#65 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 03:25 PM
 
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I LOVE it when likes/dislikes of the child in question are included on an invite. That way I don't have to guess or bother the parent with an extra phone call or email. Yes I RSVP, but most invites I get now are evites, and you just click a little yes/no box if you're attending. For DDs last party, I got so many calls/emails asking about gifts that I finally sent a mass email to everyone on the evite saying something like "I've gotten a lot of questions about what sorts of gifts DD would like. Your presence is your greatest gift blah blah blah, but if you choose to bring a gift and are looking for ideas, she wears a size 6 and loves blah blah blah." If that was rude, oh well.
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#66 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 03:36 PM
 
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Birthdays without presure has some great ideas for reducing pressure around gifts. http://www.birthdayswithoutpressure.org/gifts.html

I'm in a pickle of my own b/c my 5 yo daughter is about to have her bday party--and she hates princesses. This makes her somewhat, umm, different from the average girl around here. Most parents of the kids she's inviting know her well enough to know that (or have asked for suggestions), but there's a few from her preschool that I don't know well--and I'm living in fear that someone will bring her Disney Princesses of some sort--or a barbie doll--and her disgust will outweigh her good manners. I guess we'll just review, review, review good manners before then!
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#67 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 03:37 PM
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e: technically, i would say "not rude" because so many people asked, and you were just expedient and emailed everyone. seems pretty straight forwrd to me--and it technically follows the rules.

lala: that's weird. i mean, why does the school lhave that policy? that's how my dad knew most of the parents of the kids i knew growing up--was dropping us off at school. of course, we were dropped off for before-school care and stayed at school for after-school care too--so my parents really only met those parents who were also dropping off early and picking up late. . .but honestly? honestly? no getting out of the car?

wow. schools have gotten very weird, IMO. LOL!
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#68 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 03:41 PM
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thanks for the link, nate.

and lala, for what it's worth, i prefer "down home" parties--whether at a park or third-party venue that is simple or at home in the back yard, i always find it more personally fulfilling than some extravaganza for a baby.

i was invited to two 1-yr old babies parties a number of years ago, a month apart. the first was a very fancy party at a very expensive restaurant where the child received an entire toy-store worth of gifts (my mother and i bought an outfit for the child). the second was a back-yard party with a simple cake and food, and it was a "no gifts please" party. i did give a gift because i just loved it--and i said 'i'm sorry, but it was too cute and i had to get it!"

and guess what i got when i was pregnant? she gave that gift right back to me. i cried! it was the best thing she could have done. she said "i know how much you loved this, and my daughter did too--but i thought you'd enjoy it if i gave it back to you!" even though i'd had a little get together to celebrate my new pregnancy with friends and said "no gifts, please--just come and celebrate with us!" we met at a coffee shop for that, and had coffee/tea/chai and cake for everyone--and she was the only one who brought a gift.

it is probably the best gift i've ever gotten. is that weird?
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#69 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lalaland42 View Post
If he came home with a bunch of stuff and you were the sort who thought kids need cool new stuff all the time then you wouldn't feel the need to buy as much in the future.

I am not talking about family, even with a lot of grandkids, I am talking about parties where the whole class is invited plus the entire soccer team plus... Most of the parents will be virtual strangers with the birthday kid.

ETA: I have one friend whose husband wants their kids to have "a whole pile of presents" to open on their birthday. By having 40 kids to the party, he gets to buy less.
Ah - gotcha. I've been very lucky that I've never had to deal with parties like this. DS1 did have a party with 16 guests once, but that was the biggest. He only had that many because he just couldn't choose which of his friends to invite and invited all of them from school, and a few others.

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#70 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 04:04 PM
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i don't have experience with massive parties except for the quintessa (sp? is that even the right word?) but the whole community chips in for those.
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#71 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
i'm just saying that it's beyond my experience. i spent my early years in LA where my parents worked long hours, going to school an hour from home (closer to my parent's work), in a place where people spoke many languages (and parents might not have spoken english), and yet my understanding is that people would RSVP for birthday parties and ask over the phone one way or another.

most families here--even those in bedroom communities and spread out and what have you--seem to have some basic understanding that this kid belongs to those parents and so on.

so, it is really foreign to me that you wouldn't at least know the parents in passing.

and, i also wasn't saying that those children "shouldn't be allowed" to attend, but i do wonder how the whole process is being determined--i mean, what is the inherent value. for example, some want everyone in the class to feel included, others just want close friends at the party. neither one is inherently problematic, but both has draw backs. the first is possibly not knowing the parents, the second is others in the class feeling excluded.
When ds1 was younger, he only invited his friends. I knew a few of the parents in passing, from dropping ds1 off at school (one of the other moms often walked with me from there to the bus stop - I went on to the office, and she went up the hill home). There were still many I didn't know at all. Many parents didn't RSVP, so there was no way to talk to them at that time, either. Much of the time, I couldn't even contact them, because ds1 didn't know their numbers, and if he did know their surnames, they weren't necessarily the same as their parents' surnames.

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#72 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 04:12 PM
 
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but, our culture has changed--and it is assumed. and thus, i think that perhaps the manners must change with that.
I wonder how much our culture has changed in this respect, honestly. Gifts for birthdays, weddings and showers have been common for a long time. Yes - thing have changed in that the new couple probably doesn't really need the gifts, and the birthday kid probabaly already has a room full of toys, etc., but the underlying cultural "thing" about giving gifts for these occasions is old.

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#73 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 04:13 PM
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The theory behind the carpool drop-off lane as described by the director of the school:

If there is a clear boundary between the child leaving the parent and school, it will be easier for the child to adjust to the day. The parent leaving the child at the classroom can be distracting for the child and the rest of the class. Parents should say goodbye to their kids at home and do all the hugs and kisses before school. Blah blah...

I don't think this arrangement is uncommon at Montessori schools.

DD's boundary is the classroom door though. She likes me watching her as she walks to the classroom door and looks back the whole way but does not look back after she enters the classroom. (A couple of times she wanted me to walk to her classroom door) The school has accommodated her because she is a little more high needs than most kids and I insisted.

I think the carpool lane works for some kids. But just like all parenting, it is not a one size fits all.
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#74 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 04:20 PM
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gift giving is old. the assumption that party=gift is not that old as far as i see it.

i mean, it makes sense for communities to come together to provide for each other's needs, and to do so in a ritualized way--and so in that way gift-givign is very old.

but the assumptive process, i think, is not that old. i really think it's a modern thing, based on the increase of wealth in industrialized nations and the consumerism-based society.

---

ok, i get the idea, but the parents must stay in the car? my mother would have parked, walked us to the side walk, and that's that. then, possibly, talk to other parents around there. i was never walked to the classroom, as far as i remember.
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#75 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 04:25 PM
 
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I am absolutely against gifts at parties. I have been at WAY too many kid parties where the gifts are torn into, and tossed aside to get to the next one and so on.

We do not do gifts at all at our children's parties. We let our kids pick an organization and I offer people the option to donate with us if they feel the need to 'bring something'. Some do, some don't. We try very hard to teach our children that the party on their b-day is to celebrate THEM, and how much they mean to us. They get a few small things from us (parents) but beyond that we do not want them to develope the 'gimmies' so the rest of the 'party' is about simply celebrating them with the people who love them. We also tend to do parties where the guest walks away with something (not a junky goody bag either) to honor them for having a place in our kids' lives. My son has a tye-dye party every year and everyone gets a shirt, and my dd just had a garden party and the kids decorated bird houses and planted some seeds in pots to take home.

I personally cannot stand the party competitions and giving gifts. Most kids have too much stuff to begin with, imo. HOWEVER, if there was a child truely in need, I would not hesitate to bring gifts. For most kids we know, its art supplies or books. I never bring toys/clothes.

Just my .02
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#76 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
or, i could utilize the RSVP process to get the "word of mouth" information out there, and then accept--after that--anything that ends up coming as a gift (which is what i do now for myself anyway).

from an etiquette standpoint, there is a snare (which has been explained before), and there are benefits and draw backs to both perspectives.
Yes..... it is a gift. A gift. Trust me, as a minimalist, I totally get being given stuff that I won't use, disagree with, the whole bit. But, it is a gift. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" and all that. Yes it is nice to receive something that you appreciate, can use, wasn't a waste of the giver's money and your time in getting rid of it, but I don't feel that as the recipient one has any right to dictate to the giver what to get. If the giver asks, then guidance can be given. But to start off with the guidance is what is rude/presumptuous IMO.

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And if it is tacky to put a note in a child's card, then it is also tacky to tell them when they phone. Assuming that they phone, and that when they do they understand English well enough to understand the exchange.
You are so right, it would be rude to tell them when they call. Now, if they ask for guidance on procuring a gift when they call, then suggestions can be made.

ITA with PP who said sometimes the unexpected gift is the best kind. More than once I've heaved an internal *sigh* when DC have opened a gift from certain relatives, only to mentally to myself later after I've realized the gift turned out to be a great thing.

As a gift giver, it makes me uncomfortable to be 'told' what to get/what not to get. An invite that states "no gifts please" (in whatever phrasing) makes me wonder if I should follow that, or just go with getting a gift, anyway, since I'm then worried that every other attendee will indeed have a gift and then I'll be the only one who didn't and then I'll look foolish/rude. Either way I risk being rude: if I don't get a gift, I might look foolish, if I do get a gift that's actually going against the wishes of the host, so what to do??? And when told about a registry, then I wonder if the recipient will be irritated and unappreciative if I give something that is not on the list. And it seems that when I do the items are priced such that I either have to spend less than I planned and end up getting a lame gift (one towel, anyone?) or am forced to go way over my spending limit.

I understand the "just trying to help and save time" and "everybody brings gifts" sentiments, I also understand wanting to guide the gifts to save waste (giver's $, recipient's space and/or time and energy), but it just never comes out to it being ok to tell someone what to give. To be the recipient and to make that first move in telling/guiding the gift is presumptuous IMO.
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#77 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why the eyeroll and sigh? I would think that seeing her happy face when she opens your gift knowing that it is exactly what she was hoping for would be worth buyiing the gift.

Personally, I appreciate little hints when it comes to gift giving - I would rather buy something that I know the child will love as opposed to something that I think that the child will love when in fact he/she will never play with it.
OP here....

I just wanted to reply.

I rolled my eyes and sighed because

I was looking forward to picking out a gift to her from ME. I feel as though I have been used to buy an expensive toy her mother wanted her to have. Its not special anymore becausee they told me what to get and I got it. there was no personal thought or insight on my behalf at all.
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#78 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

my mother is terribly disappointed, and technically i'm being terribly ill-mannered towards her (which, btw, manners are something that i value, but i also study them AND break the rules when i need to), but honestly, i don't want some $2k stroller junking up my world. i mean, even if i wanted a stroller, this one isn't my first choice--AND my mother doens't really have th emoney anyway!

ah well, it's crazy. i had to put up a huge barrier--STOP BUYING ME STUFF! you know?

terrible manners. LOL
IMO since it is your own mother it is a different situation, a closer relationship and all that, vs. guests invited to a party.

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OP here....

I just wanted to reply.

I rolled my eyes and sighed because

I was looking forward to picking out a gift to her from ME. I feel as though I have been used to buy an expensive toy her mother wanted her to have. Its not special anymore becausee they told me what to get and I got it. there was no personal thought or insight on my behalf at all.
Excellent point!!!

Is it a gift, or is it procurement fulfillment from a list.... from wiki: Procurement is the acquisition of goods and/or services at the best possible total cost of ownership, in the right quantity and quality, at the right time, in the right place for the direct benefit or use of governments, corporations, or individuals, generally via a contract.
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#79 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 05:32 PM
 
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When I receive an invitation I am really relieved if it gives some kind of clue what to buy. Doesn't have to be a registry card but just what size clothes or SOMETHING. You know, a general idea. Because I like to get the kid something they will like, that's part of the fun for me. And with children, I just don't know what they are interested in. It's different when it's my own adult friends and I know them pretty well. But with children... how would I know what a 7 year old girl is into, for example? I don't have any daughters nor any 7 year old children, so I wouldn't have a clue. "Anything to do with cats and dogs" is good, it's general advice. "Fur Real Friend" is too specific. Okay I'm rambling but actually I feel more uncomfortable calling and asking what their child wants, that seems so lame to me, compared to just getting some general info on the invite.

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#80 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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Eh - generally I'm all over decrying the disgusting materialism of children's birthday parties in our degenerate age and so on, but letting people know what size she wears, and that she's into cats? I don't see that as being a problem. Dd would probably draw her a cat card.

I wish I knew the parents in dd's class. I know two sets and that's it. She goes to before and after school care, and once in a while I'm able to pick her up, but there's 300 kids at her school, and I don't know which parents waiting outside the doors match with kids in her class...still, I wouldn't tell her she could only invite the 2 kids whose parents I know....
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#81 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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Benji's Mom;
When I respond to an invite, I usually say "is there anything Bobo is really into or really hates?" That gives me general categories to work within--and tells me what to stay away from.

If all else fails, I go with art supplies--but I try to get something a little different than usual. My friend has a ds who's turning 5 and is into Star Wars. We've been friends since the kids were born, and so have the kids, even though they're starting to be into completely different things, so we're invited to the bday party. My daughter hates superheroes, star wars, anything remotely "scary" or too boy-oriented. So we went to a good toy store and picked out various kinds of paints, then she went with Do-A-Dot paints, and some good paper.
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#82 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 05:57 PM
 
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I wouldn't put down a specific gift on an invitation. Generally, I don't even give specifics when people ask me what my child wants. However, I see no problem in giving some clue to the child's interests (or size) on an invitation. I've never done it, so this isn't some kind of defense of my own poor etiquette. When someone used to call me and ask what ds1 wanted, I usually said something like, "oh - he's not asking for anything in particular, but he loves arts & crafts and Spider-Man and is really into sculptures with clay right now". That leaves people all kinds of room for picking out something that's from them, but it also gives them something to work with with, yk?

Personally, I wouldn't tell anyone about my child's "big wish" item, as I'd usually be getting it myself.

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#83 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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Uh,......huh?! How is writing "no presents" telling people what to buy? It is saying,"Please DON'T buy anything!"


I think that invitation was tacky, tacky, tacky! My kid probably wouldn't go to that party. It just sounds like a gift-grab to me.

Talking about PPs who said that they have seen a card saying "no presents necessary" but then listing suggestions as well just in case.

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#84 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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tacky tacky tacky



Oh and "no presents" drives me EVEN MORE up the wall. Seriously. Big giant pet peeve. And JUST as tacky.
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#85 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 06:50 PM
 
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Why is saying "no presents" tacky? True, it assume that you were thinking of getting something--but who doesn't assume that these days?

We just got an invitation to a 2 yr old's party that said "please, no gifts--just bring your cameras and share pictures!" I thought it was nice--a 2 yr old doesn't care about presents, or understand more than one! Mine just liked balling up the paper at that age!

Of course, now she's 5, and she couldn't understand *why* no presents. So we've told her she can make a picture, and that will be her gift.
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#86 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 07:22 PM
 
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OP here....

I just wanted to reply.

I rolled my eyes and sighed because

I was looking forward to picking out a gift to her from ME. I feel as though I have been used to buy an expensive toy her mother wanted her to have. Its not special anymore becausee they told me what to get and I got it. there was no personal thought or insight on my behalf at all.
Well that makes total sense - I love buying presents too! Honestly, if I was in your shoes I would get whatever you want for a gift - their suggestion was just that, a suggestion. Since you know that she really likes cats could you return the Fur Baby Friend and find a cat gift that you actually had the chance to put some thought into - I'm sure her mom hasn't told her that you will be bringing the Fur baby Friend (hopefully). I would go out and have fun shopping!!!
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#87 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 07:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NotTheOnlyOne View Post

I dont know. Maybe I am too sensitive about it but I though it was a little rude.

I agree...and if she would like a few certain toys in particular, then maybe her parents should be getting them instead of telling other people who haven't asked.

: Mama to ds (5) and dd (3) and .
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#88 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 07:33 PM
 
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See for me, I'm very much so a minimalist when it comes to "stuff". I hate having lots of stuff and do not like all the stuff that comes with some of the "traditional" gift giving holidays or other events. Even still, I just don't get bothered when people write it out. I understand that parties shouldn't be all about gifts, and I don't think I've ever been to a party where it is all about gifts. For example, my cousin is getting married and in the invitation it included where they are registered. I know my cousin, and I know she isn't a materialistic person. She doesn't need lots of things and likes to live green. So I guess I just don't always assume the worst when it is included. I assume the person is trying to make my life easier. I also don't take it as a demand either. I know that I can still get them something else if I wanted to, or nothing at all. I guess I just don't like to worry about that kind of thing.

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#89 of 89 Old 03-17-2008, 10:23 PM
 
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Here's what I think is rude about "no presents":

1. It violates fundamental rules of etiquette. I don't think invitations should mention presents at all. For them, against them, against them but for a donation instead... it doesn't matter. Mentioning them at all seems rude to me.

2. Speaking of etiquette... this is the way it usually works.... you go to a party. You are fed. You are given things to drink. You are given cake and ice cream. Your child is given a bag of party favors, however simple or elaborate they may be. If you do NOT bring a present, this leaves the social equation unbalanced. A lot of etiquette rules are actually an attempt to level the playing field, to make sure that no one is "out" more than anyone else.
3. There is something about it - and I know I'm gonna get flack for this but hear me out... there is something about it that comes off as VERY elitist and snobby. As if to say one of two things (or both). Either it's oh my child has so many toys and she has everything she could ever possibly want and we have way too many toys as it is that we hardly have room for them all! Which is seriously rude and just off-putting on so many levels. OR... and I'm not sure which is worse... there is the not-so-hidden sentiment that nothing you choose could ever possibly be good enough or the right thing or in line with our values so don't even bother. We only do sustainably harvested wood toys made in the United States. We only do non-character toys. We only do fair trade organic. We only do

4. It's a child's birthday for goodness sakes! I for one love buying or making presents for children! So do my kids! We really get into it and put a lot of heart into it. Please don't take that away from us!
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