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  #1  
December 7th, 2009, 09:03 PM
picklesmama's Avatar <;,><
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I haven't been in here much, so forgive me if this has been done, but I am interested in what everyone thinks of the trend of present-free birthday parties.

A few my kids went to this year were this kind, one present-free, one present-free for the child but requesting donations for a local animal shelter (invitation included a wish list) and one requesting canned goods for the food bank in lieu of gifts. I considered the idea for my kids, but they were not at all receptive to the suggestion, so I tossed it out.

Do you think this is a good lesson for kids or is it just mean? What lesson do you think kids and guests of present-free parties learn?
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  #2  
December 7th, 2009, 09:06 PM
Mikasa's Avatar Mom of 2 girls and 1 boy!
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I would not do it for my kids, but I don't think it is a bad idea. I have seen this idea for adult birthday parties but not for a child. I just don't think my kids would go for it.
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  #3  
December 7th, 2009, 09:14 PM
Jarheadwed's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Honestly, I love buying gifts for kids, so I would be bummed out if I didn't get to. I do think its a good idea for adults, though.
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  #4  
December 7th, 2009, 09:16 PM
picklesmama's Avatar <;,><
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarheadwed View Post
Honestly, I love buying gifts for kids, so I would be bummed out if I didn't get to. I do think its a good idea for adults, though.
I have never been to an adult birthday party where gifts were expected, or given!
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  #5  
December 7th, 2009, 09:21 PM
Jarheadwed's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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^ me neither, I think it would be tacky.

ETA- I have seen them given willingly to adults I mean, but not expected.
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  #6  
December 7th, 2009, 09:37 PM
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I think it's a great idea. I love buying gifts and DD will get them from us & immediate family no matter what. But from friends around the neighborhood or at school? She doesn't NEED all of those gifts. I would rather (age appropriate of course) ask DD what is something she cares a lot about... kids with cancer? animals? the elderly? Then we would host the party and do the above- ask for gifts in lieu of whatever she chooses. If she didn't want to, I would be okay with that. But I hope that she would be. I think it's a great thing to do. But, we may be different because we aren't huge birthday people around this house.
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  #7  
December 7th, 2009, 09:46 PM
SweetSimpleThings's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I think it's a great idea. As the PP said, most children get presents from immediate family. What is "mean" about recognizing that no child needs a dozen new "things" just because it's their birthday. And doing a donation to a food bank or something is all the better.

Would I force my child to do this? No. But I seriously hope that they would want to on their own... we have already done DS's first birthday as "no gifts please", his second birthday was only me, DH and him (went up to a local lake) and if we have a party for his third, it will be no gifts as well. When he's old enough to decide on his own, then I guess I wouldn't command it, but I'd suggest it to him, or talk to him about what other groups or organizations could use some generous gifts.
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  #8  
December 8th, 2009, 10:10 AM
IAmMomMomIAm
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I honestly hate being invited to a party and feeling like they only want my gift. It drives me nuts, and happens all too often. I don't think children need 12 new things to play with just because it's their birthday. Materialism is something I want to avoid teaching my children at such an early age. I don't want them EVER to "expect" a present from someone for any reason. I would hate to give him a big party two years in a row, where he gets countless gifts, and then not be able to afford a party the next year, and he gets nothing. THAT'S mean, in my opinion.

I will buy my kids a couple of modest presents for birthdays and Christmas. No one else needs to, though I won't stop them. But no. Friends won't come to their birthday parties with presents, and I think bringing things to donate to a charity of some kind is a much better alternative.
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  #9  
December 8th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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We've done it two years in a row now. We've had a fun birthday party (chuck-e-cheese) but requested no gifts. Some people got them any way and we were gracious, but we wanted our guests to feel as if they were invited because we wanted to spend time with them, not so that they can supply our children with presents.
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  #10  
December 8th, 2009, 10:19 AM
happyhme44's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I do think its terrible to FORCE a child to not get presents. Now if you discuss this as an option with your child and they agree then I am all for that. I think its awesome to collect dog food, blankets, etc for shelters since they rarely get enough funding. I am not going to ruin a child's birthday! I think there are plenty of other ways to teach them a lesson about consumerism and their once a year birthday celebration is NOT IT. If I don't want them to have a million presents then the party would be really small. I always had small birthday parties or just family parties.

My sweet sixteen was the biggest deal in my garage, with all my friends, and we had a subway sub, chips, and a cake. lol I didn't expect any gifts at that age. Now do I think they need to be on my sweet sixteen... lmao heck NO. That crap is disgusting.
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  #11  
December 8th, 2009, 10:24 AM
Tammyjh's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I think its a good idea. My kids have recieved a lot of bday invitations like this except they were not asked to donate to anything. Many families are doing this in our area because the economy is pretty bad and if your children are invited to more than a few bday parties, even if you pick and choose which parties they go to, you can still spend a lot in present $$.
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  #12  
December 8th, 2009, 10:25 AM
IAmMomMomIAm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happyhme44 View Post
I do think its terrible to FORCE a child to not get presents. Now if you discuss this as an option with your child and they agree then I am all for that. I think its awesome to collect dog food, blankets, etc for shelters since they rarely get enough funding. I am not going to ruin a child's birthday! I think there are plenty of other ways to teach them a lesson about consumerism and their once a year birthday celebration is NOT IT. If I don't want them to have a million presents then the party would be really small. I always had small birthday parties or just family parties.

My sweet sixteen was the biggest deal in my garage, with all my friends, and we had a subway sub, chips, and a cake. lol I didn't expect any gifts at that age. Now do I think they need to be on my sweet sixteen... lmao heck NO. That crap is disgusting.
So those parents that can't afford presents for their children are terrible? I opt to steer my kids away from materialism all year long, and there's no special emphasis against it on their birthday. It's just not part of our lives, because we never know when we're not going to have money to give the kids useless crap that they don't need. So why get them used to it? My children do get presents.
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  #13  
December 8th, 2009, 10:30 AM
lilflower
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frgsonmysox View Post
We've done it two years in a row now. We've had a fun birthday party (chuck-e-cheese) but requested no gifts. Some people got them any way and we were gracious, but we wanted our guests to feel as if they were invited because we wanted to spend time with them, not so that they can supply our children with presents.
We request that there be no presents and that they donate to the charity of our choice or just show up. Celebrating a birthday doesn't need to be about presents. It should be about friends and family.
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  #14  
December 8th, 2009, 11:05 AM
**Badfish**'s Avatar Worth Saving
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We will do something similar once he's old enough to invite school friends. He already gets way too much from family, and I hate the thought of a kid not coming because they can't afford a gift. He'll have a choice: small family party at home or party wherever he wants with friends and he selects a charity.
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  #15  
December 8th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Ivy's next party will be gift optional. We had a big one this year and we had the party because Ivy is gregarious and likes people and it was an excuse to get together and socialize with people. I didn't really think about them ALL bringing gifts, but they did and that was not my intent. Even people who couldn't make it sent gifts and that made me feel really really REALLY awful. I wasn't doing it so she could get stuff. I was doing it so she could play with some kids, have some cake and swat at a pinata. I'm not going to force no gifts as described in the OP, but the invites will say "gift optional". I don't think kids should expect gifts from the guests at their birthday parties.
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  #16  
December 8th, 2009, 11:32 AM
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I think it's an awesome idea! Many kids nowadays have such a sense of entitlement it sickens me! Birthday parties are so over the top. I don't go for the pricey themed stuff. Seriously....all those plates, decorations, fancy invites, etc are just gonna end up in the garbage. I'd rather put that money towards my kids' college fund. We have 1st birthday parties and request no gifts, but they still end up with way too many toys. For birthdays after that, we've had dinner here with our parents/siblings only. The point is to celebrate their life, not get a bunch of stuff that they really don't *need*.

Our kids aren't even in school yet, but just from our friends' kids' parties we end up spending more than I'd like to. I can't imagine what it would be like once they are in school.
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  #17  
December 8th, 2009, 11:42 AM
irishxrose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilmom View Post
Ivy's next party will be gift optional. We had a big one this year and we had the party because Ivy is gregarious and likes people and it was an excuse to get together and socialize with people. I didn't really think about them ALL bringing gifts, but they did and that was not my intent. Even people who couldn't make it sent gifts and that made me feel really really REALLY awful. I wasn't doing it so she could get stuff. I was doing it so she could play with some kids, have some cake and swat at a pinata. I'm not going to force no gifts as described in the OP, but the invites will say "gift optional". I don't think kids should expect gifts from the guests at their birthday parties.
I agree with this.
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  #18  
December 8th, 2009, 12:02 PM
picklesmama's Avatar <;,><
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tammyjh View Post
I think its a good idea. My kids have recieved a lot of bday invitations like this except they were not asked to donate to anything. Many families are doing this in our area because the economy is pretty bad and if your children are invited to more than a few bday parties, even if you pick and choose which parties they go to, you can still spend a lot in present $$.
Tell me about it! I have 4 kids getting invitations to parties (eventaully 5) and it seems like we have at least 3, sometimes more, to go to a month! We had 5 parties our kids went to in October, and they were not the present-free kind. It adds up!

Here is an excerpt from article about the trend, what do you think about what it says?
Quote:
A no-present order issued without the child's blessing can make him or her feel "jilted," says John Dacey, a Boston College emeritus professor of developmental psychology. "It's not a wonderful thing to force them to do it. All they learn is that you're doing what you want to do as a parent and not what they want to do on their birthday."

Madeline Levine, a psychologist in Marin County, Calif., and author of "The Price of Privilege," calls the present-free trend a "childish solution" to the problem of parents who reward their kids simply for behaving themselves. "Kids now get gifts for everything," she said. " 'You got an A: Let me get you something. You woke up this morning: You want something, you can have it.' " After that, taking a public "no-gift" stand on a child's birthday strikes Levine as "almost self-righteous."

Others think it's ironic that many of the same parents refusing gifts for social or environmental reasons are spending hundreds of dollars on a cake, entertainment, and party favors.

"It seems funny that parents today will make this option/request to 'humble' their child," Katie Tagliavia, owner of maternity boutique 9 Months, said in an email.
Birthday presents get a timeout from parents - The Boston Globe
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  #19  
December 8th, 2009, 12:03 PM
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Bella's first birthday was gift-free. We just asked people to bring toiletries to donate to a nursing home. I think it's a great idea. However, now that she is older and has attended birthday parties, she has seen kids open tons of presents. I think she would be really upset not to get presents at her party. Maybe when she's a little older I could offer to spend more money on her present from us if she asked friends to bring can goods or something for charity in lieu of presents. Not sure if she will go for it since my family doesn't do a lot of presents - I guess that's a good thing LOL
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  #20  
December 8th, 2009, 12:12 PM
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I just wanted to add (not completely related to the debate question) I try to make presents for birthday parties Bella attends. I can sew, therefore there are lots of simple things I can make. My dh has made wooden tree bark blocks like these Tree Blocks (with Bark) - Buy Online at Escapade Direct and also simple wooden tea sets. I have even made homemade playdoh (with kool-aide so the color was very bright) and the kids (and parents) really love these gifts. It makes parties so much more affordable.
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