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#1 of 21 Old 11-25-2011, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hope this is in the right forum...

 

It is time for my baby's first birthday and we want to start a precedent of having "green" parties for him. We would like to encourage people to purchase second-hand or otherwise sustainable gifts, and/ or donate to an environmental cause in his name, and use reusable/ recyclable wrapping. I am having trouble wording my invitation. I would like to politely encourage people to make green choices without feeling obligated. My dh feels like it sounds too "preachy" and I tend to agree that comes off as self-righteous. This is what I have so far:

 

 

     I can't believe it's been a year already! (DS) will be 1 year old on December _.

     And we would love for you to come celebrate with us.
 
     We are attempting to start a tradition of having a green (earth-friendly) party by making as little garbage and

     using as few resources as possible.  

     To this end, we welcome sustainable or second-hand books, clothes, and toys, donations in (DS) name to an

     environmental cause, and reused/ recyclable gift wrap. 

 

 

Any ideas?????
 

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#2 of 21 Old 11-28-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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Happy birthday to your little one!
I sympathize with what you're trying to do - we buy second hand for the same reason - but yeah, I do think it's rude to mention gifts on an invitation. IMO, if people ASK you what you'd like you should feel free to say so. You can also tell your family and close friends what you're hoping for and they'll tell people who ask them what you'd like.
Many subsequent posters are going to disagree with me but I have noticed there seems to be a different culture of gift giving here in Canada (or maybe just among the people I know) than in the U.S. I have never heard of a gift registry other than for a wedding and I have never seen it mentioned on the invitation - both practices that have appeared in previous threads on this subject.

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#3 of 21 Old 11-28-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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I do think it's kind of rude, I don't know that there's any way you could rephrase it that would be more gentle though... I think it might work better if you focus on making the party 'earth-friendly' on your end (reusable dishes/utensils, decorations, etc.) than by trying to tell your guests what to give & how to wrap it. You could say something about the theme being "green" and there are some gift options you could consider that might help -- like requesting no gifts, or doing a used book swap or recycled toys swap in lieu of gifts. It seems preferable to me to ask guests to bring specific items to swap rather than asking them for specific types of things for your child (but some will likely bring a swap gift AND a gift for your DS, or ignore your no-gifts request, and yes, it will probably be wrapped in regular wrapping paper...)

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#4 of 21 Old 11-28-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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I agree with crunchy_mommy. You can't make people do what you want, and even those who are willing to try being "green" about it are going to fail somehow. (Think monstrous plastic toy made in China wrapped in brown kraft paper b/c the giver was going to use paper grocery bags but the gift was too big....) And it is a little rude to tell people what to buy and how to wrap them. So I'd leave all that out, and just green it up on your end. That's what I did, and of course got made fun of, and didn't care. I recycled all the paper and plastic I could, used cloth napkins and other reusables, and just did the best I could.

 

Today I had a conversation with someone who said she had Thanksgiving at her house this year. She had the whole table set, tablecloth and everything. Her mom walked in and said, "Just use paper plates so you don't have to do the dishes." And there you go, a dinner for 20+ people served on paper plates with paper napkins and cups, and plastic flatware, all got tossed after one use. I cringed. But of course, it goes on all the time and all you can do is be an example and hope to inspire others to realize it's not so good for the environment to do everything disposable.

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#5 of 21 Old 11-28-2011, 07:15 PM
 
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I agree that as far as etiquette goes, you shouldn't put it on the invitation. Tell people that ask, and maybe close family what you'd like or could use, and ask them to spread the word if others ask. I commend you for your efforts, though. I can't stand the inevitable pile of plastic toys that require batteries and break after a few weeks. I do think the idea of a used book or toy swap for all of the guests is great, and it would be fine to include on the invite.

You can do things on your end to help make the party green, too. Buy extra utensils, dishes, and platters at a thrift shop. Use cloth instead of paper table cloths, etc.

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#6 of 21 Old 11-29-2011, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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is there any polite way to tell people that we think second-hand gifts are ok? because most people wouldn't think it was appropriate and we just want to tell them it is for us.

 

I like the toy/book exchange idea, but most people coming to the party don't have young children.

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#7 of 21 Old 11-29-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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Hmm well I think it would be preferable if you just spread that info through word of mouth. And I don't think many people will get him second-hand items so it may not be worth mentioning it if they won't listen anyway... But if you really think people will listen to your request & really want to include something on the invite, I suppose you could say something like, "No gifts necessary, but if you choose to bring something, second-hand and recycled gifts would fit well with our desire for an earth-friendly celebration."

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#8 of 21 Old 11-29-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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As it has been stated, the invitation to the party is probably not the best place for this type of information.

 

We just spread the word in casual conversations.

 

Facebook can be an easy way, too. Sharing links about your passions can clue people in without saying a word...

 

Definitely "green it up" on your end. It'll be noticed and clue people in for future reference. When asked, I keep it light and have a smile on my face. Some folks are freaked out by change and will get out of the conversation QUICKLY! Others will ask more questions due to curiosity or feeling threatened, etc. When someone is genuinely curious, I answer as deeply as the other person wants to go -- letting them lead the way.

 

Best wishes!


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#9 of 21 Old 11-29-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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I suggest making the invitation all green and recycled looking and have it be a "green themed" party by having all environmentally friendly decorations, foods, ect and not telling people what to buy. I would spread the word that it is a "green" party and that you would like second hand gifts/ sustainable gifts, but not put it on the invitation. I think your DH is right, it does sound self rightous and preachy. Some people are just going to buy stuff from Toys R US and put as much gift wrap on it as possible and there isnt anything you can do about it. But if their surroundings are very eco friendly looking, and they are one of the only people there with loud, battery operated toys and tons of packaging, they might think twice about doing that next year. Of course, they could be like my MIL and think that she is the ONLY one who buys fun, exciting gifts.
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#10 of 21 Old 11-29-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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Whether or not it's rude aside (I think if you are inviting like-minded people, they may not find it rude...I personally wouldn't), be prepared that people may not do what you ask.

 

For two years in a row, I have asked people NOT to bring gifts to my kids' birthday parties.  I've written it on the invitation (i.e. "It is enough of a gift to spend a day with all of our friends; please do NOT bring a gift." and "No gifts please!"  Because, "gifts not required" apparently wasn't forceful enough for a friend of mine and her kid's party...she was trying to be polite about it, but everyone brought gifts anyway.) I've told people who asked what my kids wanted, to not get them anything.

 

They still ended up with a bunch of stuff.  I gave up and stopped doing birthday parties altogether.

 

Another thing to keep in mind, if you're inviting people who aren't like-minded, is that there are people who have never been to a yard sale or a thrift store before.  My MIL and SIL, for instance, wouldn't know what to do if we sent them invitations with that wording...they'd have no idea what "sustainable" means, wouldn't know how to buy something secondhand, and my MIL in particular wouldn't give a child something that isn't a toy or clothes.  (We asked her for savings bonds if she HAD to buy the kids SOMETHING for their birthdays...she of course bought out half the toy department at Wal-mart along with it.)


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#11 of 21 Old 11-29-2011, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the input everyone, you're right, those who know us and care will give thoughtfully, and those who don't... prob never will, I'm starting to make my peace with that...

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#12 of 21 Old 11-30-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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I just had a thought... If people ask about what to buy, you can certainly suggest things like second-hand toys or a donation, but for those you know will not go for that, you could recommend a specific alternative that you find acceptable, like Green Toys. Then all you have to say is, "We really like the Green Toys -- they have their own website at www.greentoys.com or you can find them on Amazon." That way, it's mainstream enough that people can find them easily without having to search for some wacky website or out-of-the-way store (although our Whole Foods carries some of them too), and they're eco-friendly toys made of recycled milk jugs and are themselves recyclable. We bought the bucket/shovel/rake set for DS when he was 7 months old for a trip to the beach. He STILL plays with it 3 years later, it has lived outside even during hot summers, and it all looks like new. No fading, no cracks, just well-loved. You can put them in the dishwasher, too. So that could be a win for everyone. Unless you're just adamant against all new toys....

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#13 of 21 Old 11-30-2011, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm certainly not against all new toys. I mostly just didn't want ask people for expensive things since many will prob go buy plastic junk from china at Zellers or Walmart, I thought that at least second-hand clothes books and toys would be cheaper and create less waste.

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#14 of 21 Old 12-01-2011, 02:25 PM
 
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I'd go for an "in lieu of gifts" suggestion before telling people what to buy. Like, In lieu of gifts please write down a wish for the birthday boy that we will save for him when he can read. On our first bday we asked for items for a time capsule to be opened on his 18th birthday instead of gifts.

 

On the upside, these days everyone is using gift bags so at least you can reuse them! Also, those plastic toys can go to a shelter or given to a Christmas toy drive for kids who might not have much.

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#15 of 21 Old 12-02-2011, 12:44 PM
 
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I think you are struggling with it because there is no polite way to word this. I value the same things but I decline such an invitiation. You can politely ask for specific gifts. I suggest leaving off the suggestions whatsoever or saying at the bottom. "No gifts please, his toy chest is full." Now technically you shouldn't specificy no gifts either but it is the lesser of the crimes and will avoid all of the waste and junk.

 

 

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#16 of 21 Old 12-03-2011, 07:25 PM
 
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I agree, it's very hard to be tactful when talking about what gifts u would like people to bring. Maybe just word it the way u did but leave the last paragraph out. Assuming it's family and good friends u r inviting, u r bound to be talking to them about the party and if the conversation lends itself to the topic, i think that is a more appropriate time. Say for example they ask what he likes. U could say, he loves
so a second hand
or
would be perfect. And then go off on a "tangent" about this great thrift store u found. And let those close enough to u know what u r really hoping for ( I could def have that conversation with no need to beat around the bush).
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#17 of 21 Old 12-07-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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How about no gifts?  It's what we do.  For us, the celebration is about the child and celebrating their life.  The only people who get gifts are us, (and it's something I make) and her grandparents (this year, a bike).  But we don't do the gifts at the party.

 

We word our invitations with,

 

"Please no presents, just your presence"

 

or

 

"Please no presents, your presence is presents enough!"

 

or something like that.


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#18 of 21 Old 12-08-2011, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for your input. I just decided to not to mention gifts at all, but brought up the green party by saying that we doing e-invites only and would have a 'locavore' lunch. That way, people know about it but don't feel obligated to do anything.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

How about no gifts?  It's what we do.  For us, the celebration is about the child and celebrating their life.  The only people who get gifts are us, (and it's something I make) and her grandparents (this year, a bike).  But we don't do the gifts at the party.

 

We word our invitations with,

 

"Please no presents, just your presence"

 

or

 

"Please no presents, your presence is presents enough!"

 

or something like that.


I would do the no gift thing, but it's his first birthday and everyone's pretty excited. Maybe next year!

 

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#19 of 21 Old 01-11-2012, 05:14 PM
 
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How did the green party go?

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#20 of 21 Old 01-12-2012, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It went really well! I made a birthday banner than can be reused every year, out of all different colours of felt (maybe I will post a photo later). We had a locavore lunch: squash and apple soup, slow-cooked pulled-pork sandwiches with coleslaw and green salad from a nearby greenhouse (only the bread and salad dressing weren't local). And an organic banana-chocolate chip cake!

Most gifts were unwrapped or in re-used/ re-usable containers and purchased second-hand. The total garbage was less than half a grocery bag-full!

This was probably because the party was small, just a few friends, being right before xmas alot of people couldn't come, which was nice, because 12 people is busy enough! 

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#21 of 21 Old 01-12-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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It sounds like it went great!  How did the guests do on your gift requests?  I would really like to see your banner though.  :D

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