Requesting "no gifts" for children (FRIENDLY debate) - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-06-2006, 04:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lisalou
I think that article pretty much sums up what's disgusting about children's birthdays. Does one really need to invite 25 kids to a 6 year old's birthday? Why not make a rule if you want him to get just 5 gifts that he just invites his 5 closest friends? I know if some mother who traditionally did no gifts or a book swap sent out an invite for that traditional book swap and then informed me that my child was chosen to give her son a birthday gift rather than a book, I'd suddenly be going out of town that weekend. It's not a good compromise at all. All it's doing is reinforcing to the child that he should expect presents for his birthday and that his mother is depriving him of 25 gifts but at least she let him get 5 this year. :

Fortunately we live in "spartan" Vermont so at least I can look forward to more sane birthday parties as dd gets older.

Well you may invite 25 kids because that is how many children are in his class and like my dd, you dont' want to exclude anyone. Hardly a 'disgusting" reason.

But the "choosing" the friends to give gifts. Were these people kidding. That was indeed disgusting!

And if they really were sooooo intent on their kid not getting alot of gifts why not fogo the gifts THEMSELVES over the holidays. Or just let the child cull thru the gifts after they have been given and give the rest to charity.

That is what we do. My dd's pick between 5-7 gifts they really like and we give the rest to charity. It's never been hard for them to do this. My dd's enjoy bringing things to the local community house and they are later passed out to children who might never get a gift otherwise ( the center give them as b-day gifts to children who are involved with the center).
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maya44
Well you may invite 25 kids because that is how many children are in his class and like my dd, you dont' want to exclude anyone. Hardly a 'disgusting" reason.
No not disgusting, but wierd. The entire class?! I undertand that schools have an invite one child invite them all polices for parties, but that is more about not leaving students out than having an afternoon get together for your son's birthday with cake and games for his 5 closest friends.
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maya44
Well you may invite 25 kids because that is how many children are in his class and like my dd, you dont' want to exclude anyone. Hardly a 'disgusting" reason.
I think if the school is setting up policies or even making recommendations about this kind of thing then I think that's quite disgusting. A child's birthday party is not a school event! I also don't think it's right to expect that parents can host 25 kids in their home - that's a lot of work and a lot of expense. If it's the child that decides s/he wants to invite all the kids in his/her class so as not to exclude anyone that's admirable, but when the school, teachers or other parents start getting involved and making rules about how many children need to be invited that's just totally wrong.

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Old 02-06-2006, 12:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride
She was wondering if you meant it. There are people who put that on invitations, not so much because they don't want people to bring gifts, as because they don't want people to feel as though they have to. I think your friend was trying to determine if your request was genuine (eg. made from philosophical objections to consumerism) or pro forma (eg. not wanting to look greedy).
Yeah that was my thought, which is what made me uncomfortable. The request was sincere, not as a statement against consumerism but as a sincere invitation to enjoy my daugher's existence if that makes sense. This is a friend that "does the circuit" where plastic toys abound and invitations are about making sure there are a certain number of kids at your party for appearances' sake so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Still it was a bit offensive I thought.
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamawanabe
No not disgusting, but wierd. The entire class?! I undertand that schools have an invite one child invite them all polices for parties, but that is more about not leaving students out than having an afternoon get together for your son's birthday with cake and games for his 5 closest friends.
Personally I think it's nice that Maya's DD wanted to invite her whole class. It says something about the culture of that classroom (not to mention her daughter's feelings for making sure no one gets left out) There is way too much bullying and exclusion in school so it's a very positive change indeed.

I got the feeling from her post that it was her daughter's choice, not any policy making by the school.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Quagmire
Personally I think it's nice that Maya's DD wanted to invite her whole class. It says something about the culture of that classroom (not to mention her daughter's feelings for making sure no one gets left out) There is way too much bullying and exclusion in school so it's a very positive change indeed.

I got the feeling from her post that it was her daughter's choice, not any policy making by the school.
sure, but it is excessive, IMO.

A 25 person birthday party is excessive - I would never have such a party, never have had such a party; I've never known any adult who have ever thrown such a large party in honor of themselves (my wedding and all my friend's wedding were small, intimate affairs). So yes, to me it seems wierd and and excessive and embarrassing to invite 25 people to celebrate your birth.

I am concerend that it is becoming the new "normal." Who waats to deny their kid a "normal" childhood, but what is a parent to do when culture changes so that what is "normal" to our children is embarrasingly excessive and weird and wasteful to us?
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:35 PM
 
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I think it's excessive too. It's the main reason why in our family we rarely have birthday parties that involve a bunch of kids - it's usually just family and maybe one or two friends. And ya know what? My children have never complained and never asked for more. I think sometimes parents think that their children expect more then they actually do.

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Old 02-06-2006, 05:05 PM
 
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Still it was a bit offensive I thought.
Look on the bright side - at least she asked, instead of just showing up with a Leap Pad or something.

We usually had from four to six guests at our parties when I was a kid. DS1 has had anywhere from six to 16 (first year of school...he invited classmates and relatives and family friends - after that, he went to just classmates) - usually about eight. DD's parties have just been family - so only seven kids, other than her brothers (fortunately, that's only two families, so there aren't seven gifts to deal with).

When people ask me what my kids need/want, I always include clothes...spares me from having to shop, and they don't end up with a bunch of useless toys.

DS1 turns 13 this year. I'm starting to suggest dinner at a restaurant with the family and two or three friends, but he's not biting yet. I wonder if he doesn't want to give up his cake, and doesn't understand that I'll make his cake, regardless. hmm....

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Old 02-06-2006, 05:17 PM
 
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The problem Ive seen with "no gifts" birthday parties is half the people either forgot about that being on the invitation or don't care and brought something anyway leaving everything else feeling awkward for coming empty handed. A lot of people think "no gifts" means "I dont want to ask for gifts"

Mother of 3, welcomed a new baby girl July 2011

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Old 02-06-2006, 06:27 PM
 
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My children are only 2yo and 4mo but we definitely plan to have a no gift policy for birthday parties. We will still give presents and accept them from close family, but they won't be opened at the party with their friends. It think it's much more appealing to find ways to rise to the challenge of finding other ways to make the day special rather than focusing on presents (I do like the idea of asking for books, homemade presents or a donation to charity if you do ask for presents though).

We are trying to keep the focus off acquiring possessions in other aspects of out life as well. DP and I like to give each other experiences (e.g. concert tickets) rather than things.For our anniversary I was thinking about going here.

ETA: If I were having a no gift party and people brought gifts I would inobtrusively tuck them away and send a thank you note later.
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Old 02-07-2006, 12:09 AM
 
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OK honestly? That article didn't make one iota of sense to me. First, how odd is it that only a couple of kids brought presents? Then the other parents think what? And the other kids think what? Either that the present-bringing parents didn't pay attention to the words "book swap" or there really was an A list and a B list.

Secondly, I don't understand why anyone would HAVE to have 25 kids at a party. Sure, we have been invited to plenty of 20 kid birthday parties in which the whole class was invited. But I just tell my Kindergartener that if he wants to have thus-and-so kind of party, we don't invite the whole class. That we can do more with less kids. And that's it.

So yes, they sound like an odd combination of morally superior and confused...

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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Old 02-13-2006, 02:45 AM
 
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You could suggest that guests give a gift to a child in need. WorldVision has a wonderful "gift catalog" in which you buy food/goods/services for people in need around the world. When you donate, you can specify how you want the money to be used. Such gifts are a blessing to both the recipient and the giver!

Such gifts help teach your child to delight in helping those in need.

http://www.worldvision.org/

During the holidays, we often donate money on behalf of a person, in order to "buy" something that relates to their interests. For example, if your sister is a teacher, donate money so poor children in Africa can go to school. If your father enjoys sports, donate a soccer ball to a child in South America who has no toys. We like to donate goats so needy families have food for themselves and can earn some extra money from the milk and milk products they sell from the goat's milk and kids.

For your party you can request that guests make donations to WorldVision, specifically to children's causes like basic medicines, mosquito nets to prevent malaria, educational tuition for countries that don't have free schools, clothes and blankets for those left homeless after the 2005 Pakistani earthquake, farming tools for their families, a share of a well for clean drinking water, redemption from the sex slave trade, seeds for growing a garden, toys and personal hygiene items, etc.

Wendy
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Old 02-14-2006, 02:25 AM
 
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I'm really torn over this issue. My son is almost 2 (upcoming birthday party I'm trying to figure out) and this past Christmas I tried to get everyone not to buy him toys, I stressed books, art supplies, donations, handmade gifts, etc. It didn't work well. People either didn't respect our request or only bought him clothes, which was fine with me, but Christmas Eve at his grandparents house I saw the look on his face after opening only a few outifts, and I truly felt bad for him. An aunt showed up later and gave him a toy phone, and he loved it and sat and played with it and his cousins all night.

It taught me a lesson. I was trying to control something that wasn't mine to control, and it wasn't fair to him. I think gifts are okay as long as there is a balance and no one goes overboard. I still think I will make a "wish" list for his birthday to hopefully prevent the mountain of useless plastic toys.
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:26 AM
 
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I would love to do a "no gift" party dd has way to many toys, way to many books etc...(thanks grandma lol) If i had one though my family would have a breakdown of some sort our family likes to give gifts. If i got a invite with no gifts then I would respect the parents and not bring one. Also if we ever do a "no gift" party and people still bring them ill put them off to the side and not open them at the party.
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KayasMama04
Also if we ever do a "no gift" party and people still bring them ill put them off to the side and not open them at the party.
I don't understand why you can't do that and leave out the "no gift" part. Maybe I'm naive but it seems to me a lot of the excess of gift giving could be stopped by just not having the "Opening of the Presents" event at birthday parties. You and your child can open gifts later and start writing thank you notes at the same time. I just can't imagine someone who has picked out a heartfelt gift of some sort to give to your child would really mind the skipping of watching your child trying to hurriedly go through 30 gifts and somehow appear vaguely grateful for each one. And the person who is giving a gift to show off how generous and amazing they are without taking the recipient into account kind of deserves not getting to show off.
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Old 02-14-2006, 11:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lisalou
30 gifts
That's why people don't want to leave out the "no gifts" part.

Namaste!
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:16 PM
 
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That's why people don't want to leave out the "no gifts" part.

Namaste!
Then I guess I'm with jkpmomtoboys in being as to why you have to invite 30 people to a child's birthday party. To me it sort of smacks of the same excess that you're trying to prevent by putting "no gifts" on the invite.
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