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<p>I am throwing a party for my son's 6th birthday. I plan on inviting his kindergarten class; however, he attends public school and some of his classmates are from low-income households. I am proposing to restrict gifts to just family members so as not to alienate any of the children in his class. I would hate if someone did not attend simply because they could not provide a gift. What are your thoughts?</p>
 

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<p>Personally, I wouldn't reference gifts at all on the invitation. Dd has invited her class before and received a wide range of gifts - gifts that were pricey and perfectly nice gifts that clearly were less than a few dollars. I think families give what they can afford to and would be afraid to make it into an issue.</p>
 

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<p>We've written "no gifts, please" on birthday invitations several times in the past when we were inviting a whole class (sometimes I add "your presence is present enough!").  Not only do we not want to make some kids feel bad who can't afford presents, but I also don't want to have that many new gifts in our house!!  A few people sometimes bring presents anyway, but the great majority do not (if anyone is confused about the "no gift" policy we suggest homemade cards instead, and some parents seem relieved to have *something* to bring).  I'm sure that mentioning presents on an invite might be considered rude by some sticklers, but it seems like a small price to pay to just have a fun, present free birthday for us.</p>
 

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<p>This was one of the reasons (but not the main reason), that I worded my dd's sixth grade birthday party invitations like this:</p>
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<p>"Please do NOT bring a gift for the birthday girl.  Instead, please bring a wrapped book (either less than $7 new, or gently used) that a kindergarten girl would enjoy.  The children will do a book exchange at the party."</p>
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<p>1.  I picked the $7 figure at random.  You could certainly choose some other dollar amount.</p>
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<p>2.  I toyed with adding some kind of face-saving sentence like, "In these busy times, if you find that you don't have enough time to go shopping for a book or if you forget to bring your book, please come anyway and we will have extras on hand." But I just couldn't figure out a way to word it without sounding awkward, so I just didn't mention it. In the end, I did have extra books on hand, but every single invited child did bring a book.</p>
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<p>3. The extra books came in handy because there were some siblings who didn't bring a book, and I was able to include them in the book exchange without drawing attention.</p>
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<p>4.  Several parents later told me that they were going to do the same thing at their next party.</p>
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<p>5.  I could totally see this happening at a birthday party full of kids from affluent families who are trying to be eco-friendly, so it's not necessarily just for parents who are on restricted budgets.  It just looks like I'm trying to be trendy.</p>
 

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<p>I'm completely in favor of no-gifts parties; did it for the first time for my 6 year old's last party.  She was getting too much stuff already from family & close friends, and we needed to invite her whole class per school rules, and ... it was just better for so many reasons.  I've seen the book exchange done by a family in her class, too.  I think this approach is increasing & it's great.  There is more focus on playing together & having a meaningful celebration, and less on "stuff," and I'm glad for my kid to get that message at her parties and at others'.  I say -- go for it!</p>
 

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<p>We always have 'no gifts' parties, and we try to keep them simple.  But it's not always that easy - our children are starting to ask why they don't get presents at their parties when they always take presents to their friends' parties.  And they want to know why we can go to a fancy venue.  But our reasoning is the same as the OPs - it can be a huge burden on a low-income family to buy gifts for others and it can be a strain on the child of that family if they feel their gift does not measure up.</p>
 
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