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Birthday party "no gifts please" help.


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DD is turning 9 soon. She wants to have a party and for months she has been saying that she doesn't want birthday gifts (from anyone) and that she would rather everyone just make a donation to the Wild Animal Park.

 

Please help me come up with wording on the invitations. I know the problem with these types of things is that some people still bring a gift and that those who don't then feel guilty. She is very serious about no gifts and the donation thing, but I want to make sure I word it properly.

 

My try:

 

(Insert name) requests no gifts please. If you would absolutely like to do something, she requests a donation be made to the Wild Animal Park.

 

Help!

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While I appreciate that you have an 8 year old who is already thinking unselfishly, I am not a fan. :glare: People aren't obligated to bring a gift to a party in the first place, and if they do bring one, they shouldn't be told what the gift must be or how it must be given. Nor should they be told they can't give a gift if they want to.

 

This might be a good opportunity to teach your dd about the etiquette of gift giving and receiving. It's very simple: All gifts are accepted gratefully and graciously. ;) Once a gift has been given, then it can be disposed of by the recipient however they see fit.

 

I would suggest instead that she work to make money to donate to her favorite charity, save her allowance, birthday or Christmas money for donation or research organizing a fund-raiser. To truly be charitable, one must donate their own hard-won funds, time or resources. If she has already done that, then kudos! An alternative might be to donate any cash she receives to her favorite charity and donate any toys she receives to a charity for needy children.

 

That said, if someone asks you directly what she would like for her birthday, you can tell them.

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We had a similar party a few years ago where we collected items for a local animal shelter.

 

On the invitations, I said something like "in lieu of gifts, (dc) is collecting items for the xxx animal shelter. If you would like to make a donation, they have a list of needed items on their website, which is _______". Everyone brought items needed, and some gave cash. Everyone, kids and parents alike, loved the idea. The shelter was also most appreciative.

 

Your dd could take donations and make one big donation rather than having everyone send their own donation.

 

Kudos to your dd for wanting to help support the Wild Animal Park. :001_smile:

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The twins did this at their birthday party last October. We worded it this way on the invite:

 

'In lieu of gifts, if you are so inclined, kindly bring a can or bag of dog or cat food (your choice). NAME and NAME will be bringing all the food to NAME OF ANIMAL RESCUE FOUNDATION on Saturday, October xx. Thank you so much.'

 

I cannot tell you how many pounds of dog and cat food everyone brought-- the kids and their parents LOVED doing this and the rescue foundation (which is where we rescued our pooch) was so appreciative.

 

Kudos to your dd for wanting to do this.

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I like the wording. You might add "a donation be made to the Wild Animal Park on her behalf". We asked for no gifts at out wedding, and I'm sorry that we didn't offer an alternative such as a donation.

 

The truth is most people do bring gifts because they feel that there is a social obligation - I am occasionally drawn to give a specific gift to a specific person because I have something great in mind, but mostly (especially with kids parties) I know I'm giving something that will be used for a short period of time then broken / outgrown / passed on. It drives me crazy.

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While I appreciate that you have an 8 year old who is already thinking unselfishly, I am not a fan. :glare: People aren't obligated to bring a gift to a party in the first place, and if they do bring one, they shouldn't be told what the gift must be or how it must be given. Nor should they be told they can't give a gift if they want to.

 

This might be a good opportunity to teach your dd about the etiquette of gift giving and receiving. It's very simple: All gifts are accepted gratefully and graciously. ;) Once a gift has been given, then it can be disposed of by the recipient however they see fit.

 

I would suggest instead that she work to make money to donate to her favorite charity, save her allowance, birthday or Christmas money for donation or research organizing a fund-raiser. To truly be charitable, one must donate their own hard-won funds, time or resources. If she has already done that, then kudos! An alternative might be to donate any cash she receives to her favorite charity and donate any toys she receives to a charity for needy children.

 

That said, if someone asks you directly what she would like for her birthday, you can tell them.

 

Wow, I had no idea putting such a request on an invitation was such a faux pas.

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DD is turning 9 soon. She wants to have a party and for months she has been saying that she doesn't want birthday gifts (from anyone) and that she would rather everyone just make a donation to the Wild Animal Park.

 

Please help me come up with wording on the invitations. I know the problem with these types of things is that some people still bring a gift and that those who don't then feel guilty. She is very serious about no gifts and the donation thing, but I want to make sure I word it properly.

 

My try:

 

(Insert name) requests no gifts please. If you would absolutely like to do something, she requests a donation be made to the Wild Animal Park.

 

Help!

I just wanted to express my admiration for your dd's request! If I received an invitation saying "in lieu of gifts... donation item for..." I wouldn't be offended AT ALL! I'd be floored and all too happy to pick up some puppy chow. :)
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Look, I know its *technically* not supposed to be done.

 

But I don't care.

 

I think your daughter is a super sweetie for wanting to do this, and I say go for it. I like the way you've worded it.

 

I went to a first birthday party for my niece last weekend. She's the third daughter in seven years. She has more toys than Toys R Us, and how many clothes could she need with TWO sisters ahead of her. Sure, a few new things here and there; but my bil had to rent out the American Legion hall, because they invited so many people. BIL/SIL have a very nice house, plenty of things; they're not hurting for money by any means.

 

Now, I DO believe every baby is special, deserves to be celebrated, and all that. And I adore my niece, my bil, and all their family. But seriously, I had no idea what to get the girl, and knew whatever I bought her (while graciously recieved by the birthday girl and her parents) was not a necessity by any stretch. If they had requested no gifts, but suggested a donation instead, I think that would've been a FANTASTIC idea.

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Sorry. I know I sound grumpy about it. :D

 

I'm not personally *offended* when I get invitations with gift suggestions or requests. They do make me wince a bit. I may still be inclined to give to their charity, if that's what they prefer. However, the core idea of etiquette involves putting other people at ease, and invitations with gift instructions don't fit the bill, IMO.

 

From a parenting perspective, I do believe it's far better to teach children to make personal sacrifices for the sake of charity rather than trying to get other people to be charitable for their sake. :mellow:

 

If this is trendy or acceptable in your social circle, then you can obviously pull it off without offending anyone.

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I don't have a problem with invites that ask for no gifts. You have had some great recommendations for wording so far. If anyone does arrive with a gift, just set it aside, discreetly, and open it after the party. I would make sure dd calls and thanks the child who decides brings a gift so they know that it was appreciated.

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I honestly wish that we could get rid of gifts at parties, altogether :)

 

Last year my dd didn't have a party because she was busy in a play and we just brought a big cake for the entire cast. The year before that, we lived in Hawaii and she felt the same way (didn't want any gifts). The group of people she wants to invite - I have no idea if this is acceptable to them or not, because this isn't a usual group of friends for a party (we're military - we've moved around).

 

She sees that she really doesn't need anything. But I know she wouldn't want to offend anyone either (or make anyone feel uncomfortable).

 

I'm not sure how to handle this now. I'll have to think about how to approach it with her. I appreciate the advice so far.

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Wow, I had no idea putting such a request on an invitation was such a faux pas.

 

I dunno. You can say "in lieu of flowers please donate to" in an obit, and I would find it perfectly fine to get an invite with something similar. Now then, if someone did bring a present and your child was rude about it, that would be a different matter. :001_smile:

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I like the idea of asking people to bring some kind of physical donation (cans of food, items for shelter, toys to be donated, whatever). I have received a few of the "no gifts please" invitations and they are always a problem for me because in my experience most people don't follow that. Once my son was the only one to abide by the no gift suggestion and he was embarrassed. Yes, we were actually the only one following the birthday child's stated wishes but it ended up being awkward. Since then I'm always torn about whether or not to get a gift when the invitation just says "no gifts" or "your presence is your present".

 

That just may be our experience, but for some reason it seems that people like to arrive with a physical item. Asking for something to be donated I think makes it easier for people that want to bring something.

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I think people tend to bring gifts to children's parties even when the invitation says, "no gifts," because it's quite unusual to find a child who doesn't want presents for his or her birthday, and they don't want the birthday kid to be disappointed.

 

Party guests may wonder who came up with the "no gifts" idea -- and assume it was the parents, because they didn't want more toys and clutter in their house, not the child, because most of us don't know many kids would want a birthday party without a bunch of presents to open.

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Miss Manners says,

 

Anyway, no instructions about presents, even negative instructions, belong on an invitation. The host is not supposed to be thinking of the possibility of getting stuff from his guests.

 

But so many are, in fact, focusing relentless attention on the expected windfall that some nice people who truly want to relieve their guests from the obligation have resorted to breaking the rule.

 

It does them no good. Miss Manners is often asked whether "no gifts" means that only cash will be accepted, which is, if anything, even more vulgar.

 

So, while traditional etiquette dictates you say nothing, it seems more and more the "norm" to make the request.

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We might have to consider something like a food bank donation, it sounds like, if we do anything.

 

I do wish we weren't such a gift-giving-consumer-driven society. Even if someone comes to my house for dinner, they bring a gift. It would be nice to just get rid of the constant gift giving - it would make everyone's lives easier. I'm not being a scrooge - it's just that I don't see it as a necessary thing most of the time, kwim?

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I think it would be nice if she had a themed party that tied into the donation. Also, I think it would come across better to ask for items to be donated to a shelter, etc, as opposed to implying that people should make cash donations to the wild animal park.

 

I'd be happy if my kids received an invitation like this. In the past we gave had invitations requesting only recycled gifts.

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I think it would be nice if she had a themed party that tied into the donation. Also, I think it would come across better to ask for items to be donated to a shelter, etc, as opposed to implying that people should make cash donations to the wild animal park.

 

I'd be happy if my kids received an invitation like this. In the past we gave had invitations requesting only recycled gifts.

 

But we're really not "theme" people. We just want to invite some friends to a party for fun and friendship, and cake :tongue_smilie:

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Sorry. I know I sound grumpy about it. :D

 

I'm not personally *offended* when I get invitations with gift suggestions or requests. They do make me wince a bit. I may still be inclined to give to their charity, if that's what they prefer. However, the core idea of etiquette involves putting other people at ease, and invitations with gift instructions don't fit the bill, IMO.

 

From a parenting perspective, I do believe it's far better to teach children to make personal sacrifices for the sake of charity rather than trying to get other people to be charitable for their sake. :mellow:

 

If this is trendy or acceptable in your social circle, then you can obviously pull it off without offending anyone.

Actually, an invitation worded as the OP suggests puts me at great ease. I love gift suggestions.

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However, the core idea of etiquette involves putting other people at ease, and invitations with gift instructions don't fit the bill, IMO.

 

I respectively, but strenuously disagree. I find selecting presents for others' dc very difficult. Often I don't know what the kids like or don't like, or what's kosher in that family (Barbie -- cute plaything, or repressive icon?), or what they might already have. I fear that whatever I gift I do get, is played with at most once, then is trashed.

 

Ask me to pick up a bag of dog food, or a donation to some charity? That puts me at ease.

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I like the wording. You might add "a donation be made to the Wild Animal Park on her behalf". We asked for no gifts at out wedding, and I'm sorry that we didn't offer an alternative such as a donation.

 

The truth is most people do bring gifts because they feel that there is a social obligation - I am occasionally drawn to give a specific gift to a specific person because I have something great in mind, but mostly (especially with kids parties) I know I'm giving something that will be used for a short period of time then broken / outgrown / passed on. It drives me crazy.

:iagree:I know. What a waste--for our own pocketbooks and for the planet. It's not just the gift, either. It's also the time putzing around looking for the "right" thing, and the gas used. It's the fact that we try to make it special, but it so often isn't. It's pretty hard to get a $20 gift that is special enough for a kid who already has everything they could want or need.

 

I remember when an extremely well-off friend of mine was moving. She had a huge storage closet full of unopened gifts that her kids had simply never used. They accumulated them fairly quickly by having 30 kids invited to each party. I would have rather handed the kid a twenty than mess around finding a gift if it's honestly not wanted or needed.

 

All that to say, I think the donation thing is a good thing. Miss Manners may have to change with the times, because some people are feeling overwhelmed and buried beneath the responsibility of too much stuff. Even some kids are feeling it.

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My dd loves animals (we just got our first family cat two months ago). I just looked up the local Humane Society and they have a list of "donation items".

 

http://www.sdhumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=don_WishList

 

Maybe somehow we could do this, if we could manage to word it properly. I know my dd would LOVE taking the donations in herself, and we could do a little tour at the same time. Something to think about for sure.

 

ETA: we're doing the party at a party place (all kinds of bouncy slides and such), and while she doesn't want birthday gifts, I'm pretty sure she does want it to be a celebration of her birthday!

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I respectively, but strenuously disagree. I find selecting presents for others' dc very difficult. Often I don't know what the kids like or don't like, or what's kosher in that family (Barbie -- cute plaything, or repressive icon?), or what they might already have. I fear that whatever I gift I do get, is played with at most once, then is trashed.

 

Ask me to pick up a bag of dog food, or a donation to some charity? That puts me at ease.

:iagree:Yes, agree with ALL of this!

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My dd loves animals (we just got our first family cat two months ago). I just looked up the local Humane Society and they have a list of "donation items".

 

http://www.sdhumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=don_WishList

 

Maybe somehow we could do this, if we could manage to word it properly. I know my dd would LOVE taking the donations in herself, and we could do a little tour at the same time. Something to think about for sure.

 

ETA: we're doing the party at a party place (all kinds of bouncy slides and such), and while she doesn't want birthday gifts, I'm pretty sure she does want it to be a celebration of her birthday!

Sorry to be responding so much to this one thread, but I wanted to share that we did exactly this for my daughter's birthday. We toured a wild bird centre that is always looking for donations of items, even stuff around people's houses. They take tissues, old blankets, dog food, etc. My dd had her friends bring some stuff to share with the injured birds, and then we did did the tour plus went elsewhere for fun party activities.

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I think people tend to bring gifts to children's parties even when the invitation says, "no gifts," because it's quite unusual to find a child who doesn't want presents for his or her birthday, and they don't want the birthday kid to be disappointed.

 

Party guests may wonder who came up with the "no gifts" idea -- and assume it was the parents, because they didn't want more toys and clutter in their house, not the child, because most of us don't know many kids would want a birthday party without a bunch of presents to open.

 

Cat, I often wonder if you're channeling me (or I'm channeling you :lol:). This is exactly what I wanted to say!

 

And I agree that Miss Manners needs to change with the times. Personally, I think so much of that stuff is arbitrary hooey anyway.

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We've been doing no-gifts parties for years. We have had no problems with it at all.

 

I typically put something like this on the invitation:

 

"We're having xx's 13th birthday party at our house (address) next Saturday (date). This is a no-gifts party. The boys will swim, eat, and play computer games. Please bring a towel and a bathing suit. Hope you can come!"

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My dd did this for her 10th Birthday. She made her own invitations, and asked them to bring something for the local animal shelter. It was a sleepover party for 4 of her special friends. On the 2nd day, after a big pancake breakfast, we took the donated items to the shelter. She also wrote up a flyer explaining the needs, and said she would be taking things in to the shelter on this certain date, and if they cared to donate, to put things on their porch by a certain time and we would pick them up. She handed that out to the neighbors. DD found cat and dog themed party things, and we played games with cat and dog themes. It was not needed to have a theme, but she wanted to, so we came up with ideas. Everyone had a blast!

 

We know the families well enough to know that none of them would be offended by saying that in the invitation, in fact I was surprised that it could ever be taken negatively! Our friends and neighbors thought it was a great thing, and liberally donated! The shelter was thrilled to receive many needed items!

 

 

I agree with those that say that it would put them at ease seeing a suggestion of what to get! Then I don't have to try to figure it out, and the receiver doesn't need to spend the time returning it to the store! :D

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I think it is a great idea! I would not at all be offended. My daughter (age 18) did something similar for Christmas. She asked her grandparents (who always want a list) to please send money to help girls who are being rescued from human trafficking in Thailand. It is the gift she truly wanted--to be able to help someone beyond her own ability to do so--to make a difference instead of getting way too many things that she doesn't need. I think your daughter is grasping something more important than the traditions of gift etiquette. Perhaps she will inspire others to think creatively and compassionately in the process. Hope she has a great time at her party!

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We just had a "no gifts" birthday party.

 

We didn't want people to NOT come b/c they can't afford to buy a gift. ds's gift was having his friends there to play games and eat cake with him.:001_smile: (The economy bears its ugly face most on the days that should be joyous. We've been in the position of declining invites b/c we couldn't even buy food/clothes that month, let alone a gift. That is *the* most uncomfortable position...etiquette sometimes assumes affluence. kwim.)

 

There were still some gifts. They were accepted graciously. I like the idea of giving to a charity. In fact, dh and I talked about doing that...and I think I will work a little harder to convince dh to do that next time around.

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:confused: I think Miss Manners is changing with the times. Anyway, the whole point of NOT mentioning gifts is the recipient then calls the host/hostess and asks, "What would Suzy like for her birthday?" Host/hostess replies, "Oh, she would really love a donation of XYZ (or a donation in her name) to ABC. Thank you so much for asking." OR, "Suzy is hoping for a gift free party. It would please her to have no one bring gifts. Thank you so much for asking" OR, "Suzy loves Barbies and My Little Pony. Thank you so much for asking."

 

When gifts aren't mentioned, it is completely polite and within the confines of etiquette to call and ask about wants, needs, and in appropriate cases, registries. Why is that so difficult? :confused: It is also perfectly acceptable to not bring a gift. Acceptable but completely (for most? many?) people uncomfortable, awkward, whatever.

 

I like using "old school" etiquette and when I am in doubt, I research what the "proper" etiquette is. It seems like I am in a minority anymore and I wonder if that is partially why people are always so confused and end up feeling out of sorts over these things all the time. There used to be a certain, accepted, way to do things. Now it is "anything goes" and no one seems to know what is Ok.

 

(This is not intended to sound snarky or self-righteous or condescending. It does, though. I keep trying to reword it, but it keeps getting worse and worse. :001_huh: So I will stop now and hope that my intent can be read and understood and no one is offended. :grouphug: )

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While I appreciate that you have an 8 year old who is already thinking unselfishly, I am not a fan. :glare: People aren't obligated to bring a gift to a party in the first place, and if they do bring one, they shouldn't be told what the gift must be or how it must be given. Nor should they be told they can't give a gift if they want to.

 

This might be a good opportunity to teach your dd about the etiquette of gift giving and receiving. It's very simple: All gifts are accepted gratefully and graciously. ;) Once a gift has been given, then it can be disposed of by the recipient however they see fit.

 

I would suggest instead that she work to make money to donate to her favorite charity, save her allowance, birthday or Christmas money for donation or research organizing a fund-raiser. To truly be charitable, one must donate their own hard-won funds, time or resources. If she has already done that, then kudos! An alternative might be to donate any cash she receives to her favorite charity and donate any toys she receives to a charity for needy children.

 

That said, if someone asks you directly what she would like for her birthday, you can tell them.

 

:iagree: Couldn't have said it better...

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I'm going to join the crowd of people who are okay with gift suggestions in the invitation. I don't like them in wedding invitations, though, so i'm old school that way.

 

Thing 2 was invited to a party where the mom asked for those who wanted to bring "gifts" to bring $5. They were getting ready to do an international move, and the plan was that Birthday Boy would donate half the money and use the other half for a gift for himself post-move. Since a good 20 kids were going to the party, it would've been many more things to deal with packing (or returning), and the move was supposed to be about 2 weeks after the party. I thought this was a GENIUS idea - we had cards already in the house, we acquired a new looking $5 and were off!

 

I understand that gifts are a "love language" for lots of people, and I understand that whole magic of selecting "just the perfect thing" for a child. However, when you're being invited to a party for a child you (the adult) might've met once, and not knowing the parents value system (like a PP mentioned), I think having gift suggestions DOES put the invitee at ease. At least THIS invitee. :)

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When gifts aren't mentioned, it is completely polite and within the confines of etiquette to call and ask about wants, needs, and in appropriate cases, registries. Why is that so difficult? :confused: It is also perfectly acceptable to not bring a gift. Acceptable but completely (for most? many?) people uncomfortable, awkward, whatever.

 

Because I have more than enough to do already without having to track down the parents and get them to give me gift ideas. Also, in my experience as the giver, I often do ask about gifts, only to be told, "Oh, anything will be fine." That doesn't help me! And in my experience as the parent of the recipient, to receive many phone calls and emails, only to have to say the same thing over and over, is ridiculous when I could have easily said it in the invitation.

 

IMO, this particular piece of etiquette is no longer necessary in most cases because most people want the gift ideas and pointers upfront and appreciate not having to track down the information. With the prevalence of gift registries and no-gift parties, it almost seems rude to make people hunt you down to ask you! The only people I've ever heard complain about these sorts of things are people who really try to stick to the Miss Manners-style rules.

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I honestly don't understand why it could be in poor taste to say "please don't bring any gifts". It all does seem incredibly wasteful to me, which is why it'd be nice to do away with all gifts. Why would some feel it improper to essentially be saying "hey, we really don't need anything, but if you so desire - there is a local animal shelter that really *does* have a need". It's so hard for me to understand why that's consider improper under Miss Manners. Maybe this should become the norm instead of the exception. I've been to parties where kids rip presents open so fast they don't even know what they get. 9/10 those kids don't need the gifts either.

 

Again, it just comes back as wasteful to me, on an incredibly large scale. I think I know why I was happy to avoid a birthday party last year!

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I was thinking about this a bit more. If I told my daughter that it could be considered rude to say "no gifts please", she would find that incredibly strange. And when you think about it - it is kind of strange, right? Telling someone you don't need a gift could be considered rude or in poor taste?

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In my circle of friends the norm is no gifts. We all put that on the invitation, and most people follow it. Some do bring gifts, usually those that are especially close to the child, and they are set aside and opened later. My daughter's party was this weekend. She is 2. She doesn't need more stuff, and honestly we are in the midst of a remodel and have no where to put more stuff. No where. We had 17 kids come, and she received 3 gifts, one of which was from her aunt. I went to another party this weekend with the same "no gifts needed" and it was so nice NOT to have to run to the store at the last minute to get something. I knew she really meant it that she just wanted us to share in the fun. I think her son might have received 2 presents maybe?

 

I think it only works in our group so well because we all know each other and know that money is tight for many of us. Also, our kids are young, so they don't know better. My 12 year old does want gifts, but he only invites a few kids each year to do something special.

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I was thinking about this a bit more. If I told my daughter that it could be considered rude to say "no gifts please", she would find that incredibly strange. And when you think about it - it is kind of strange, right? Telling someone you don't need a gift could be considered rude or in poor taste?

 

I think it is because gifts used to be much less obligatory. So any mention of gifts seemed to indicate an assumption of being given something. Now, gifts are so obligatory, it is the opposite. That is why I mentioned earlier that I think Miss Manners is slowly changing her stance. ;)

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From a parenting perspective, I do believe it's far better to teach children to make personal sacrifices for the sake of charity rather than trying to get other people to be charitable for their sake. :mellow:

 

.

 

I think that is a personal sacrifice! My kids wouldn't want to give up their birthday presents - that would be a giant sacrifice.

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Wow, I had no idea putting such a request on an invitation was such a faux pas.

 

Personally, I don't think it's a faux pas at all. I know some parents get bent out of shape by no gift parties, but I think it's personally fine to do this. Saying your kid only wants webkinz is much different than saying no gifts, but a cat food donation would be accepted. Your 8 year old sounds super sweet and I'd much rather have a child that thinks more about giving than receiving. If she's anything like my kids, she still has far too many opportunities to receive graciously. My kids typically get 6 different gifts from family alone. We have regularly done no gift gatherings for my kids. If someone does get a gift, we quietly set it aside.

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DD is turning 9 soon. She wants to have a party and for months she has been saying that she doesn't want birthday gifts (from anyone) and that she would rather everyone just make a donation to the Wild Animal Park.

 

Please help me come up with wording on the invitations. I know the problem with these types of things is that some people still bring a gift and that those who don't then feel guilty. She is very serious about no gifts and the donation thing, but I want to make sure I word it properly.

 

My try:

 

(Insert name) requests no gifts please. If you would absolutely like to do something, she requests a donation be made to the Wild Animal Park.

 

Help!

 

My sister just did a birthday party for her dd. In lieu of gifts for her daughter she asked folks to bring a donation for the local food pantry.

 

She was super impressed. The kids showed up with bags of groceries EACH. She thought they'd bring a can or two at the most. Her daughter was so excited when they went and delivered it all to the food pantry.

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My dd loves animals (we just got our first family cat two months ago). I just looked up the local Humane Society and they have a list of "donation items".

 

http://www.sdhumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=don_WishList

 

Maybe somehow we could do this, if we could manage to word it properly. I know my dd would LOVE taking the donations in herself, and we could do a little tour at the same time. Something to think about for sure.

 

ETA: we're doing the party at a party place (all kinds of bouncy slides and such), and while she doesn't want birthday gifts, I'm pretty sure she does want it to be a celebration of her birthday!

 

This is way cool! My kids would really enjoy this I think.

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I think it is because gifts used to be much less obligatory. So any mention of gifts seemed to indicate an assumption of being given something. Now, gifts are so obligatory, it is the opposite. That is why I mentioned earlier that I think Miss Manners is slowly changing her stance. ;)

 

This is exactly what I wanted to say. In reality, gifts at a birthday party are now obligatory, sad as it may be. So saying "no gifts" with its implied assumption that the guests would otherwise have brought a gift...just really isn't a big deal anymore in most cases.

 

I think that is a personal sacrifice! My kids wouldn't want to give up their birthday presents - that would be a giant sacrifice.

 

And this is an illustration of the cultural shift. Birthday gifts are so obligatory that we already think of them as "their birthday gifts," even when they haven't been given yet. They are apparently something that a child has "rights" to and can "give up" rather than something that a friend/relative can choose to give or not to give.

 

Note: I am in no way disparaging you or your kids. This is perfectly normal and most kids/parents would think of it this way. I'm just using your comment as an illustration of what has become the new normal. I have also seen numerous threads where people complain that their parents don't acknowledge their kids' birthdays with "at least a card," as if it is somehow a debt that is owed, rather than a pleasant surprise/gift.

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We did the "no gifts please" for last years party. Everyone that was invited seemed relieved not to have to think of a gift. I love your idea of making it about a charity. My girls want no gifts this year also. I'll mention this to them. I could really care less if is a faux pa. The fact is making people spend money on something that they don't want, need, or already have is rude in my book. All of our friends make much less than we do. Why have them bring gifts?

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I think what we are going to do is include a copy of the "list" from the Humane Society with a personal note at the top that says something like:

 

(dd's name) requests no gifts please (and yes, she really means it!) If you would like to bring something, please consider choosing an item from the list below. She will then be happy to bring the items to the local Humane Society. Really though, she just wants to celebrate her birthday with some of her closest friends, so all you really need to bring is yourself!

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Because I have more than enough to do already without having to track down the parents and get them to give me gift ideas. Also, in my experience as the giver, I often do ask about gifts, only to be told, "Oh, anything will be fine." That doesn't help me! And in my experience as the parent of the recipient, to receive many phone calls and emails, only to have to say the same thing over and over, is ridiculous when I could have easily said it in the invitation.

 

IMO, this particular piece of etiquette is no longer necessary in most cases because most people want the gift ideas and pointers upfront and appreciate not having to track down the information. With the prevalence of gift registries and no-gift parties, it almost seems rude to make people hunt you down to ask you! The only people I've ever heard complain about these sorts of things are people who really try to stick to the Miss Manners-style rules.

:iagree:

 

 

 

I honestly don't understand why it could be in poor taste to say "please don't bring any gifts". It all does seem incredibly wasteful to me, which is why it'd be nice to do away with all gifts. Why would some feel it improper to essentially be saying "hey, we really don't need anything, but if you so desire - there is a local animal shelter that really *does* have a need". It's so hard for me to understand why that's consider improper under Miss Manners. Maybe this should become the norm instead of the exception. I've been to parties where kids rip presents open so fast they don't even know what they get. 9/10 those kids don't need the gifts either.

 

Again, it just comes back as wasteful to me, on an incredibly large scale. I think I know why I was happy to avoid a birthday party last year!

I don't understand that either! I know that when my dd had her party, people were relieved to find kids (her friends helped collect the items and take them in to the animal shelter) who were willing to give instead of take!

 

I hope you follow through with this, I think you'll find it will be an amazing experience!

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:iagree:

 

 

 

I don't understand that either! I know that when my dd had her party, people were relieved to find kids (her friends helped collect the items and take them in to the animal shelter) who were willing to give instead of take!

 

I hope you follow through with this, I think you'll find it will be an amazing experience!

 

I should say - we've done the "no gifts before" on invitations, when dd was much younger. The problem is that many people still brought gifts (that feeling of obligation). That's kind of why she wanted to approach it differently this year (and why I'm hoping the extra "list" for the Humane Society might be extra incentive not to buy her a gift). Let's hope it works!

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This is exactly what I wanted to say. In reality, gifts at a birthday party are now obligatory, sad as it may be.

 

????

 

At what time were gifts for a kid's birthday party not de rigueur? When I was a kid (and I'm NOT saying when that was...), it was always expected to bring a gift. There's a bunch of episodes of Leave it to Beaver, made in the 1950s, that center around birthday parties, and everyone brings a gift. This isn't some recent decline of civilized society brought about by the hippies, Vatican II or the Internet, it has been like this for a long time.

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