The "No Gifts Please" Birthday Parties - Page 5 - Mothering Forums
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#121 of 146 Old 11-29-2006, 06:45 PM
 
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I respectfully disagree with this. A traditional gift-giving occasion can be a wonderful time to make a meaningful, giving gesture to a special person in your life. A gift given in love and received graciously is about both the giver and the receiver. But I really feel for you on the clutter issue. I like consumable gifts, too!! Gone but not forgotten I say

I also think that a child's birthday party is not "all about" the child. A party is for everyone! The birthday child is the guest of honor and along with the host (usually the mom!) they have a chance to really show how very special his or her friends and family are by treating them to an afternoon of fun.

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#122 of 146 Old 11-29-2006, 07:30 PM
 
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would it be rude to specificaly ask that give my ds a book for his birthday? or is that being too demmanding?
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#123 of 146 Old 11-29-2006, 07:47 PM
 
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would it be rude to specificaly ask that give my ds a book for his birthday? or is that being too demmanding?
I think thats fine. Its very general...like saying my kid is really interested in animals or babies. However I think asking for wooden toys only is a bit demanding.
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#124 of 146 Old 11-29-2006, 09:18 PM
 
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How did I get a Canadian flag on my post above? Just curious?
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#125 of 146 Old 11-30-2006, 12:23 AM
 
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Actually, the birthday parties we throw for dd are about as not-consumeristic as they come. We do not invite over hoards of 3 yos and since dd is not in any sort of school and will not be in the forseeable furture, we are not obligated to invite an entire class or anything. Her friends are our friends.....young and old. That comes to about 40 people that live in our area. We have a cookout in our backyard. I cook everything from scratch including veggie burgers and cake. We eat off of our real dishes and drink out of mason jars and even use cloth napkins. We play lawn games and cards. The kids really like frolicking in our raspberry bushes and eating their fill. There is sidewalk chalk, a baby pool, and sprinkler. The kids get to stay up WAY past thier bedtimes chasing each other around the yard until they collapse in a heap of blankets on my livingroom floor and the adults carry on with quiet conversation and cards. Dd loved her last one and stilll talks about it daily. She has no idea she is suppose to be disappointed about not getting a huge pile of stuff nor does she know it is rude to not contribute to the clutter in our house, global warming, landfill, and child labor.

And whoever said that ettiquette comes before social responsibiliy.....I completely disagree.
Now THAT is a birthday part I can envy! : I wish we were stationary and lived closer to family so we could do something similar.
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#126 of 146 Old 11-30-2006, 12:35 AM
 
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Oh, and I do remember reading about a theme party Gwyneth Paltrow had for herself (not her children) where she asked everyone to bring their favorite childhood books (or maybe adult books, as well), and asked them to write in the book a bit about why it was their favorite and what it meant to them. I think a gift theme party sounds nice. I'm not sure how one would do this other than with something like books. Anyone have any other ideas?
On another thread, someone mentioned that all the partygoers could exchange wrapped books so that everyone takes one home! Problems solved. Hosts have extra wrapped books on hand.
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#127 of 146 Old 12-01-2006, 09:17 AM
 
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Actually, the birthday parties we throw for dd are about as not-consumeristic as they come. We do not invite over hoards of 3 yos and since dd is not in any sort of school and will not be in the forseeable furture, we are not obligated to invite an entire class or anything. Her friends are our friends.....young and old. That comes to about 40 people that live in our area. We have a cookout in our backyard. I cook everything from scratch including veggie burgers and cake. We eat off of our real dishes and drink out of mason jars and even use cloth napkins. We play lawn games and cards. The kids really like frolicking in our raspberry bushes and eating their fill. There is sidewalk chalk, a baby pool, and sprinkler. The kids get to stay up WAY past thier bedtimes chasing each other around the yard until they collapse in a heap of blankets on my livingroom floor and the adults carry on with quiet conversation and cards. Dd loved her last one and stilll talks about it daily. She has no idea she is suppose to be disappointed about not getting a huge pile of stuff nor does she know it is rude to not contribute to the clutter in our house, global warming, landfill, and child labor.
I grew up having parties like this as did everyone I know (and they're great!). But I don't think that's the point really. That's just the old fashioned way to have a party and there are still lots of people who do it like you do. I've done it for years with my oldest two DS. Nowadays I think there are more companies offering party themes and easier things so parents don't have to do it themselves. I see nothing wrong with that really if the parent is willing to fork out the money to do it. When it comes down to it all - it's all about personal choice.

In my little family we always have had parties with just family, only grandparents, uncles/aunts and cousins. This year my oldest is choosing to go to a movie with two of his best friends from school but I'll still have a cozy family party. If they want to bring gifts (which they always do) then they can. I'm not against that. My son actually wanted to have a family party just so he could see everyone. He loves get togethers here at home. Neither of my DS have never once been greedy about gifts, even when they were as young as 2 or 3 years old. We've never put emphasis on that.

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#128 of 146 Old 12-01-2006, 09:21 AM
 
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Ok, this is a great thread! I have a question for all of you ladies.
I have a set of twin girls, who will be 5 in Feb. They go to different
schools for kindergarten, as they need to have their own space. We
would like to have a birthday party for them, but my hubby said that if we
invite anyone from their classes, we should invite the whole classroom.
Ok, I can see his point, and I have found a place that sports a full
kitchen and has (what we call) a "gerbil cage" - a big activity play area
that can hold up to 50 kids. Even if all the kids did say they could
come, there wouldn't be more than 40 kids total. I don't have a problem
with putting on the invites that we would like if two cans of food be
donated for a food pantry in lieu of presents. Is this kosher? Also,
do we invite the kids to "both" the kids party, or specify which child
the classmate is being invited to celebrate with? TIA!
Why not just invite only the children in their classes that are the same sex?? Just invite all the girls and not the boys. They are allowed to do that in the schools here. It's either the whole class they invite OR just the children of the same sex. That would cut back on guests significantly. Plus, a party like this can be very big and very stressful. You have no idea how many will actually show up and how many end up bringing a sibling that isn't invited or both parents that end up staying, etc. It can turn out to be very expensive - not to mention if you don't have enough food and party stuff to go around for everyone.

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#129 of 146 Old 12-01-2006, 10:17 AM
 
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They are allowed to do that in the schools here. It's either the whole class they invite OR just the children of the same sex.
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean. What do you mean by they are allowed to that that in the schools? This is a child's birthday party at what I I thought was a non-school location. Did I miss something?

Namaste!
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#130 of 146 Old 12-02-2006, 10:54 PM
 
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I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean. What do you mean by they are allowed to that that in the schools? This is a child's birthday party at what I I thought was a non-school location. Did I miss something?

Namaste!
The reason for inviting the whole class is that no one gets left out when invites a passed out at school. At my youngest two childrens Montessori school this is avoided because we have a school directory with the children address. They don't allow passing out of invitations at school so we mail them. We still invited everyone from my sons class.
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#131 of 146 Old 12-02-2006, 11:04 PM
 
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Why not just invite only the children in their classes that are the same sex?? Just invite all the girls and not the boys.
My son's friends are the girls in his class...so I would never invite only the boys. But I also wuldn't invite just the girls because he already feels "different" about being the only boy in his group of friends and this would further illuminate that difference. I'm never in favor of an arbitrary division of children along gender lines.

In most schools, the policy is that if invitations will be distributed on school grounds then each child in the class (or each child of a specified gender) need to be invited. But if you are having a private party at your home or other location, and if you send invitations to a select few by mail I am uncertain as to how the school can influence who you invite.
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#132 of 146 Old 12-02-2006, 11:15 PM
 
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would it be rude to specificaly ask that give my ds a book for his birthday? or is that being too demmanding?
I think you can sort of do an end run around the gifts thing by having "theme" parties. Book parties (books), garden parties (seeds, pots, dirt), dress up parties (costumy things), time capsule parties (pics of each child, a letter, some small thing to put in a time capsule), cooking parties (those jars that have all the dry ingredients for a recipe). art party (art supplies) etc. If there's a theme the it sort of follows that the gifts will go with the theme and if you do gift bags, the things in the bag are likely to be used up, not things that just sit around, get broken, and end up in the trash.

I'd never put "wooden toys only" or "books only" on an invitation but I would totally do a theme party and hint strongly that gifts that went with the theme would be appreciated.
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#133 of 146 Old 12-02-2006, 11:19 PM
 
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I have to say, I like "no gifts please" better than "no plastic," which is inexcusably and horrifyingly rude IMO.
OMG, do people actually put that on an invitation (the part about plastic)?? I can't even imagine!!!

Sara Mama to DS (6) and DS (4)
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#134 of 146 Old 12-02-2006, 11:39 PM
 
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And whoever said that ettiquette comes before social responsibiliy.....I completely disagree.
I have to agree with yooper here. Etiquette changes all the time. It is cultural and when cultures change (and they frequently do) so do the "rules" of etiquette.
Social responsibility, however, goes beyond our generation. Specifically it gets passed to our children. This is why it is SO important to set a good example for our kids and involving them in creating their future world.

I'd go as far as saying the Social Responsibility trumps common courtesey most of the time.
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#135 of 146 Old 12-02-2006, 11:48 PM
 
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I figure the only friends worth inviting are the ones who will understand our request of no gifts.
Agreed. The ones that are hell bent on buying cheap plastic crap from an exploitive corporation for their own satisfaction in complying with thier own social rules shouldn't even be on the guest list.
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#136 of 146 Old 12-03-2006, 12:10 AM
 
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[QUOTE-sabrosina]Agreed. The ones that are hell bent on buying cheap plastic crap from an exploitive corporation for their own satisfaction in complying with thier own social rules shouldn't even be on the guest list.[/QUOTE]

Unless they are the child's grandparent/ great-grandparent and then, they should be invited, but warned that anything battery operated gets played with at THEIR house, but won't stay in ours.
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#137 of 146 Old 12-03-2006, 01:03 PM
 
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We put no gifts on our cards because we thought it was only considerate seeing how many parties the kids are getting invited to. This costs a lot of money, especially if you have mulitple kids. Actually, we only had a small party with 4 of dd's friends. The ones I'm offended at are the ones where they choose to invite the whole class AND expect gifts. I think that is too much. But I also try and respect each parent's different perspective. In our house, the emphasis isn't placed on the gifts because I think that takes on a life of it's own. Our emphasis is on how thoughtful it is of our friends to take time out of their days to come celebrate with us and make our kids or our day special. That, to me, is a gift in itself. Just like with Christmas, the gifts are a part of it but i try to get the shopping done early so the focus is on getting the tree and that tradition, wrapping gifts, decorating, making cookies with family, listening to music, enjoying the fun of decorations at the mall. The gifts will inevitably come, but i feel if you focus too much on that then you miss the whole point of the party...or a holiday. I'm thankful she's made friends who want to come. At ours they ended up giving her gifts anyways but they were small and great. And she appreciates everything. I think if she got 15 gifts at once she couldn't have time to comprehend all that and it would become meaningless. Our focus was on games, company, playing and CAKE!
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#138 of 146 Old 12-03-2006, 02:48 PM
 
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I think it's inappropriate to bring up gifts AT ALL on an invitation. It is ALWAYS your choice whether you bring a gift or not.
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And I think we're shamelessly kidding ourselves if we say that gifts are optional at birthday parties. Would YOU want to be the kid at a party who showed up with no gift when everyone else did?
Yes, I think it's ridiculous to suggest that not bringing gifts to a standard birthday party is a socially acceptable choice.
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#139 of 146 Old 12-03-2006, 06:39 PM
 
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We've asked family to avoid flashing, noisy toys for ds this Christmas because they seem to make him a bit, well, thoughtless (random button-pressing etc), but I'm really worried now that I might have offended them!
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#140 of 146 Old 12-03-2006, 08:42 PM
 
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I haven't seen the no-gifts invite - but what seems to be popular is a group gift. This doesn't go out on the invite, but one invitee- mom will e-mail others. I personally like it because that way there is no junky plastic toys - and dd gets something that she wants. I don't like the idea of opening toys at birthday parties anyway. I always had a hard time with it as a kid watching others open presents...

On the other hand, I think it's a good exercise for a child (of a certain age, of course) to help think of, and pick out a gift for another.

One little boy (3) picked out flowers for my daughter, it was the sweetest gift ever!!!!

I struggle with the issue, because my children already have so much (we're working on declutter/paring down) and the more they have, the less they play with... On the other hand, since they attend birthday parties, I don't want them to feel like they're the only ones who don't get gifts.

-H
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#141 of 146 Old 12-03-2006, 09:12 PM
 
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Like a poster above, we have a large community of like-minded parents. All of us insist on "no present" birthday parties, and we have cookouts or get togethers for all the kids (upwards of 40 or 50, including babies.) If everyone, every year, bought presents for every kid, our small houses would be jam-packed. AND it would be an incredible waste of money. Instead, we each buy our child one big toy for his/her birthday (my son got a bike for his 4th in June), and we all concentrate on having a good time, eating good food, and celebrating the life of the child in question with cards, home-made crafts, etc.

FWIW -- this is the same for the adults' birthday parties. I just had my 40th, and all the families got together and made me a quilt, each square stitched by a family with a word in its center that reminded them of me. It is a masterpiece, and a treasure, and something that money can't buy.

We consume too much in this culture, and we MUST change our habits even if those habits (buying children toys they don't need) bring us pleasure. Just MHO, but one that seems to be shared by many on this thread.

Marie
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#142 of 146 Old 12-04-2006, 04:22 PM
 
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Like a poster above, we have a large community of like-minded parents. All of us insist on "no present" birthday parties, and we have cookouts or get togethers for all the kids (upwards of 40 or 50, including babies.) If everyone, every year, bought presents for every kid, our small houses would be jam-packed. AND it would be an incredible waste of money...

...We consume too much in this culture, and we MUST change our habits even if those habits (buying children toys they don't need) bring us pleasure. Just MHO, but one that seems to be shared by many on this thread.

Marie
I agree with that and I hope to someday have a gathering for DD more like that. While I dream about having only like-minded (crunchy) moms as my friends, : we have a variety of people in our life b/c of moving and different arenas we are involved in (and assorted neighborhood kids my DD has befriended). Therefore, there are many people who have vastly different values in toys and DD could easily end up with a Bratz doll which we don't approve of. So, rather than to be very specific about what to give or what not to give, the one time we threw a party for DD, we insisted people not bring gifts. One person did not respect our wishes and the gift was not fitting for DD. In addition, they insisted we open the gift right then and there which was very uncomfortable. I know enough about psychology to know that was not at all about my DD, but rather about that mom--and it was outright selfish. It hardly meant a thing to DD, but it hurt me and embarrassed other moms.

My parents have sent plenty of inappropriate gifts and I've tolerated it from long-distance friends too. Once they realized that they run the risk of sending DD something she already has (it's happening more and more), they have started to ask me for suggestions. Since my parents live out of state, I am sensitive to their need to connect w/their grand-DD so I let it slide so they won't feel hurt.

When it comes to throwing a birthday party, I know for certain that DD only wants a party to share with friends. She is an only child and spending time with friends is really fun and meaningful to her. To burden us and her with gifts that she does not want or need actually prevents us from having a gathering of her friends to celebrate. We prefer to have a family celebration with gift-giving. Between our family, long-distance friends, DH and I, DD receives plenty of gifts. I can't imagine having a party w/friends every year and adding another 6 or so presents to the pile! : Who has that kind of space in their home?
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#143 of 146 Old 12-04-2006, 07:20 PM
 
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I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean. What do you mean by they are allowed to that that in the schools? This is a child's birthday party at what I I thought was a non-school location. Did I miss something?
At my boys school, they are 8 and 11 IF they invite children while on school grounds (with invitations) then they have to invite either the WHOLE class or all the children of the same sex if they only want the same sex at the party. This is how a lot of the schools in our area are so no children feel left out.

Ofcourse all children have EVERY right to call each person and invite them on the phone or send them an invitation at their home and invite just one or two kids here and there. It IS a free country. ofcourse that can be done!! That's not what I said at all. I'm not naive.

IMO inviting over 30+ kids to one party just seems extreme to me. It's just too hyped up IMO and seems like it's over-exaggerated. Keep it simple is best.

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#144 of 146 Old 12-04-2006, 07:42 PM
 
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Do you ladies think it's kosher to write "No Bratz dolls please..." if you were totally against the flippin' things? My one daughter was invited to a classmates party, and the whole thing was themed for Bratz. Now, I don't agree witht the whole idea of those dolls, (not even for a 15 year old!!!!) We ended up picking out a Groovy Girl for her, and she ended up liking that more than all the other Bratz dolls she got that day!

DH Cain Mamma to 3 girls LO due 2/15
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#145 of 146 Old 12-04-2006, 08:01 PM
 
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Do you ladies think it's kosher to write "No Bratz dolls please..." if you were totally against the flippin' things? My one daughter was invited to a classmates party, and the whole thing was themed for Bratz. Now, I don't agree witht the whole idea of those dolls, (not even for a 15 year old!!!!) We ended up picking out a Groovy Girl for her, and she ended up liking that more than all the other Bratz dolls she got that day!
I'd probably list some activities she DOES enjoy that don't have anything to do with Bratz, so that you focus people toward things she likes, and (hopefully) no one will even think about Bratz when they're buying the gift.

Single mom of 2 boys
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#146 of 146 Old 12-04-2006, 08:06 PM
 
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While I dream about having only like-minded (crunchy) moms as my friends, : we have a variety of people in our life b/c of moving and different arenas we are involved in (and assorted neighborhood kids my DD has befriended).
Do you really dream of having only like-minded people as friends?
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