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-   -   Birthday invite with “Please no plastic toys” (http://www.mothering.com/forum/35-parenting/1394022-birthday-invite-oeplease-no-plastic-toysa.html)

ian'smommaya 12-07-2013 04:15 PM

How can I do this nicely? Is it possible to do it without hurt feelings? Is it important to you? Lets talk it out!


erigeron 12-07-2013 04:46 PM

A better strategy might be to ask for gifts in a specific genre that will naturally exclude plastic toys. For instance, you would like everyone to bring books, or art or craft supplies.


grahamsmom98 12-07-2013 04:53 PM

Are you sending the invite, or are you asking about replying to an invite???

 

If you are sending, why not say, "No Gifts, Please!  Just bring yourselves!"  Make the party about sharing a special day with people your child likes. Have a theme and do group games related to it, have a themed cake or dessert.  Do crafts.  Birthdays don't have to be about presents.

 

If you are replying to an invite, don't bring any plastic toys.


One_Girl 12-08-2013 06:32 PM

I think it's tacky and after having been the odd parent when dd was in preschool and kindergarten I don't suggest doing anything that sets your family apart as weird. It's easy to donate the presents but hard to lose the stigma that cuts your child out of the playdate loop.

katelove 12-08-2013 06:48 PM

I definitely wouldn't send an invitation which said "please no plastic toys".

If I received one, I would consider it fairly poor taste but, as I usually give either books or something I've sewn myself, it probably wouldn't change my plan either.

Suggesting no gifts is hard I think, if your child has been to lots of parties and seen other children receiving them. I think the only really tasteful option is to say nothing, accept what is given graciously and remind yourself that plastic toys are usually broken fairly quickly. Or as PPs said, can be donated if your child doesn't love them.

Sharlla 12-08-2013 09:08 PM

I would just return the undesired gifts.

contactmaya 12-09-2013 09:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharlla View Post

I would just return the undesired gifts.

The only thing worse than setting limits on the type of gifts given, is to return them. Seriously.....so ungrateful, so condescending... (or did you mean return them to the store? Thats one option, if the receipt is provided.)

 

I think the 'no gifts please', is the best option. I think gifts should be received gracefully, and if you dont feel they are appropriate, then give them to someone who might appreciate them.


lr810 12-09-2013 10:42 AM

I share your preference to limit the plastic toys, but I don't think an invitation requesting "no plastic toys" would be received well by the families of some of your children's friends.

Over the years, my kids have had parties where they requested donations for a cause they cared about instead of gifts - pet food for a shelter works well because their friends can pick something out to bring to the party.

We've also had some 'no gift' parties. Some people had an issue with the 'no gift' parties, so I can imagine a 'no plastic gifts' party would not be taken well.

They've sometimes chosen to receive gifts, and they've enjoyed those, too.

I think the point of the party should be to enjoy time with friends, not to receive gifts.

I've given many parties at this point, and honestly, the parties with the fewest number of kids and the fewest minutes spent being directed by adults have been the ones my kids have enjoyed the most! They don't really care about the gifts!

Have fun!

Hoopin' Mama 12-09-2013 11:32 AM

Is your child young enough that you can donate the toys without them becoming upset? Because this is the perfect time of year to donate new toys.

 

I think you should either say your presence is present enough - or just don't say anything. I think saying no plastic toys is too off-putting.

 

Or do a bring a book, take a book party.


babymommy2 12-09-2013 12:13 PM

If I received that invitation, I would be tempted to bring a plastic toy out of spite. I wouldn't actually do it, but I'd be tempted. It will  label you as judgemental of all who do own a plastic toy. Gifts are gifts, you are not supposed to dictate what someone gifts to you. Either say no toys, or donate toys you don't want


Ola_ 12-09-2013 04:11 PM

It's hard and I definitely wouldn't put it on the invitation. One of the things that we've had some success with is mostly inviting people who know our toy preferences. Mind you DD is nearly 3 so I'm sure that doesn't work so well as they get older and make their own friends. At the same time the plastic exposure thing is most important to me when they're little and their little bodies absorb everything.

 

We've been asked what DD would like as a gift and I usually suggest books or something similar that's pretty hard to do in plastic. And when we get plastic stuff (which inevitably happens) we make a call whether to keep it or not. We have kept a few things (more than I'd like but what can you do). Others we return for store credit or something. Many stores will do store credit if they carry the item even if you don't have a receipt. And if that's not an option then donating is great too.


bright_eyes 12-13-2013 01:47 PM

We got an idea from a friend who did it and it went over well.  It went over well here as well. We said, "No gifts, but if you would like to bring something, please bring a toonie for the birthday boy".  My son got a bunch of toonies he could use to buy something he wanted and no one seemed to mind bringing one. 


contactmaya 12-13-2013 02:21 PM

Perhaps it might go over better if you included an informational article about the dangers of plastic exposure...i once came to a house where, pinned to the door, was  an article about the toxins brought in from footwear,  followed by a request to remove shoes in the house. I thought it was really great and informing. I had no trouble removing my shoes after that. Mind you, we remove our shoes  in our home anyway...


erigeron 12-13-2013 02:59 PM

I would find it really obnoxious to get an article like that, personally, and I think that many other parents who sometimes let their kids play with plastic toys would feel similarly. I don't think that would be a good approach. 


cynthiamoon 12-13-2013 04:51 PM

I don't think a party should be a platform for advocating my lifestyle choices, so I would not include an article.

I would agree with others who say "no gifts please." It's better than asking for specific gifts.

babymommy2 12-13-2013 05:57 PM

Including an article is worse that saying no toys please!


farmermomma 12-14-2013 12:54 AM

I really like the pet food for the shelter idea. My son would love helping like this. It would fill him up more than any toys or no toys ever could. Thanks 810. What's a toonie Bright eyes?

Mama505 12-14-2013 01:09 AM

No gifts or donations to charity (maybe have the birthday child choose three that they would like to support and offer those up for ideas so that attending families could choose one to give to).

 

I was wondering the same thing... What's a toonie?


Serafina33 12-14-2013 05:10 AM

I love the book or art/craft supplies request

Heatherdj79 12-14-2013 07:24 AM

Canadian money. A toonie is a two dollar coin. A loonie is one dollar coin. 


contactmaya 12-14-2013 09:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post
 

I would find it really obnoxious to get an article like that, personally, and I think that many other parents who sometimes let their kids play with plastic toys would feel similarly. I don't think that would be a good approach. 

Interesting. I find the 'requesting no plastic toys' obnoxious, but less so with an article that explains why. But agreed that the general sentiment is a little obnoxious because you shouldnt dictate the type of gifts  given to you, since they are 'gifts'.

 

However, i think a person who is particularly aware of the dangers of plastic, might feel guilty passing off such toys to charity.  As i become more aware of the dangers of different types of foods and the ways they are packaged and processed, i actually feel guilty making food donations where the foods should be canned or or dry and processed. Its a bit like, 'well, you're poor, so feed yourself these chemicals, and let your kids play with these other chemicals...because my kids are too good for that...' sort of thing.  ...just a thought....


SweetSilver 12-14-2013 10:06 AM

Who is the party for?  Family or friends?  Both?  For family, I think it's perfectly reasonable to request "No Plastic", along with some favorite toy/craft supply ideas and places to purchase.  I find my relatives don't buy online as much as I do, so it's nice to have alternative suggestions for stores that have a large selection of such things.

 

I practically begged MIL to buy doubles for my girls if she finds a craft kit she likes, got some minor guff, then begged again "Please make this easy for me, I know they should be sharing at their age but this is a huge favor for me!"  ETA: I've told my sisters "No Barbies" and got eyerolls (they both have grown daughters) but then obliged with alternatives, and even brought those over for several birthdays without reminding.

 

In general, though, even relatives feel like they are the ones being judged for narrowing down choices.

 

If the invite is for friends, though, I would include "no gifts".  If the goal is one party, invite the family over for a big lunch and present opening, followed by the friends coming over for cake and games.  And goody bags, sans plastic.


Polliwog 12-14-2013 11:03 AM

When my kids were little, I limited plastic toys as much as I could, although they received, and loved, the Little People sets they were gifted. I still try and avoid "cheap" toys, but there are some plastic toys we wouldn't want to do without, particularly our MagnaTiles and Legos.

erigeron 12-14-2013 11:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post
 

Interesting. I find the 'requesting no plastic toys' obnoxious, but less so with an article that explains why. But agreed that the general sentiment is a little obnoxious because you shouldnt dictate the type of gifts  given to you, since they are 'gifts'.

 

However, i think a person who is particularly aware of the dangers of plastic, might feel guilty passing off such toys to charity.  As i become more aware of the dangers of different types of foods and the ways they are packaged and processed, i actually feel guilty making food donations where the foods should be canned or or dry and processed. Its a bit like, 'well, you're poor, so feed yourself these chemicals, and let your kids play with these other chemicals...because my kids are too good for that...' sort of thing.  ...just a thought....

Well, I can sort of see that, but this position makes the assumptions that 1. other people don't have the same information you do and they would reach the same conclusions as you if they had access to the same information you do, and 2. that help that is imperfect doesn't help. Maybe other parents know about the drawbacks of plastic and for whatever reason have decided it's not as big a deal to them. If you did choose to issue a "please no plastic toys" invite and somebody asked you why, then I think it would make perfect sense to share your articles, but I don't think it's good to assume that other parents must only be using/giving plastic toys out of ignorance and that you can avoid any hurt feelings by sharing your information. I get not wanting to host a party and just say "Oh, well, if I get plastic I'll just donate it" if you really aren't a big plastic fan, but in that scenario "no gifts" is probably a better way to go, and then go buy a wooden train to donate to Toys for Tots (or whatever). 

 

As regards imperfect help, you meet people where they are, you know? If they live in an apartment without a stove or refrigerator, it doesn't matter if fresh food is healthier if it spoils before they can eat it and they don't have a way to cook it. In that situation canned food is better if it means they can store it safely and heat it in the microwave when they're ready to eat it. At least that way they get to eat. Charities are conscious of the needs of the groups that they serve, and will ask for the items that work best for those groups, even if those items might not be "best" for another person in a different situation.


Peony 12-14-2013 01:45 PM

If it is a kid party (not a family party), then absolutely not unless all the invitees are all very crunchy themselves. An article IMO is just condescending. I wouldn't go the no gift route because odds are, many will still show up with gifts. Either turning it into a theme like "Please bring your favorite art and craft/book, etc..." or just donate the gifts to a charity. 


sillysapling 12-15-2013 01:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post
 

Interesting. I find the 'requesting no plastic toys' obnoxious, but less so with an article that explains why. But agreed that the general sentiment is a little obnoxious because you shouldnt dictate the type of gifts  given to you, since they are 'gifts'.

 

However, i think a person who is particularly aware of the dangers of plastic, might feel guilty passing off such toys to charity.  As i become more aware of the dangers of different types of foods and the ways they are packaged and processed, i actually feel guilty making food donations where the foods should be canned or or dry and processed. Its a bit like, 'well, you're poor, so feed yourself these chemicals, and let your kids play with these other chemicals...because my kids are too good for that...' sort of thing.  ...just a thought....

Anyone who would buy a plastic toy for another child likely gives their own children plastic toys. Assuming they do this out of ignorance is insulting and condescending. Providing an article is basically saying "I think you don't know enough to give your own children the best" rather than assuming it's because they made an informed decision that is different from your own. If a person asked specifically "Why don't you want plastic toys?" then the article would be appropriate- but sending it out like that would not.

 

 

And I agree with a PP- your attitudes toward canned food is also insulting and ignorant. Canned food doesn't go bad, at least not as quickly, so it can be stored for far longer. The charities don't have to spend money on refrigeration for canned food, so they can put that money where it's truly needed. Poor people who don't have the right amenities for fresh food can keep canned food safely. It's not actually poisonous. Is it better not to use it? Sure, but it's far less damaging to give a can of fruit than to give someone moldy peaches (even if they were fresh when you got them- there's time between when you donate and when they get to those who need them). Canned food means that if one month they get a surplus, and the next month they don't get enough, then they'll be able to save the surplus and give it over the next month. You can't do that with fresh food.

 

If you really want to- you can do research on which canned/etc foods are safest and use the fewest chemicals so that way you know that you're giving people in need the best you can.


contactmaya 12-15-2013 03:16 PM

Im surprised that everyone finds an attached article about the dangers of plastic condesending. By the same token, i didnt find it condescending when i saw the article pinned to the door of my friends, where they requested we remove our shoes. I  found it informative.   I was thinking of that when i made the suggestion. Why is spreading information condescending? It is not dictating to anyone how they should parent. A person might have newly discovered the dangers of plastic and be excited to share the news.

 

But, its not important.  We can agree to disagree on that.  

 

As for comments about food and  charities. I disagree. Most of the poor are actually children, who shouldnt be overdosing on  the bpa in  the lining of most canned  foods, not to mention the commonality of undiagnosed gluten intolerance made worse by many of the gluten rich processed foods in food pantries. 

Not to mention, those kind of  foods are usually the cheapest, and the poor can afford them, but not other more nutritious food. I mean, if youre poor, youre more likely to spend 89cents on  canned food, because it is cheaper.

As for cooking facilities, that depends. Some families have better cooking facilities  than others. Homeless shelters come equipped with cooking facilites, some better than others.

 

Still, its better than nothing, and i agree that its difficult to manage quality food, whereas packaged food doesnt  go off...i understand. I still dont feel right donating food to others that i wouldnt eat myself, especially when i think its children who are supposed to eat it.

 

 However, its not the point of the thread.

 

As for plastic, i let my kids play with plastic, more than i should. I admit to a bit of willful ignorance....i also wonder exactly how much plastic is too much....again, not the point of the thread.

 

ps. i wanted to add, that not all canned food is bad, and some companies now have bpa free lining...those would be good to donate to charites as they are usually the most expensive.


grahamsmom98 12-15-2013 07:55 PM

Gee, aren't the keyboards everyone is typing on made of plastic?  Do you play with Cds or DVDs?  Plastic.  Much of the interior materials of your vehicles?  Plastic.  Medical devices?  Many contain plastics.  Bottled water?  Plastic.  Is your home 100% free of plastics?  Doubtful. 

 

What about all the other toxins out there.  They are to be found in so many things. 

 

If I received an invite requesting specifically-manufactured types of gifts, I'd simply RSVP I couldn't attend and send a card.  At least most aren't made of plastic....But, many do use chlorine in their manufacturing process, so maybe not.  Not sure about how safe the paint is on a mailbox and I'll be polluting the air by driving to the post office.

 

Why not skip the gift requests completely, and just offer guests foods that have your approval and games for the little ones (maybe they could play with sticks and leaves?).


ian'smommaya 12-15-2013 08:02 PM

Thanks everyone for the input I really appreciate it. I think this is a great conversation, a great way to talk about ideas, Thanks for keeping it polite!


Smithie 12-15-2013 08:09 PM

I have three kids born within two weeks of each other (in different years!) so I often say something like "we all enjoy books and board games!" which lets people know that they don't have to bring multiple gifts, AND means that the kids don't get a raft of plastic crap.

Maybe have a themed party? Classic board games? Sandra Boynton? Harry Potter? Make sure the theme lends itself to affordable and widely available gifts, and go all-out in your party decor and refreshments, and nobody will think you're being a jerk.


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