21 answers

1St Birthday Invitaion Etiquette

For my son's 1st birthday I'd prefer for people not to bring a gift. I'm open to the idea of them bringing a book instead, but how do I word that on the invite? I don't want to sound rude, we would much appreciate a gift but it's just not neccesary.
Also does anyone have any fun activites they would like to share?
Thanks for any advice!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

How about making a donation in the child's name. If books are a favorite..maybe a local library or a charity you are very fond of. Just a thought..

More Answers

I felt the same way with my child's birthday, so I put on the invite "In lieu of gifts for Jane help us fill a basket for the local food bank by bringing a non-perishable item of your choice" I put out a basket with a big bow on it, and it got filled up! You could also check with the local animal shelters, they often need towels/other small items... I admire you, as I know it is not easy- I was really worried about sounding rude as well (I had been to their babies parties so I did not want to offend) I think that overall the response was extremely positive!

2 moms found this helpful

i did just the same for my sons 1st birthday and he got lots of nice books ~~!!
here are some of the ideas i found while searching for the words to put in the ivitations:

Although cards are nice they're only read once or twice. A book is a treasure forever and ever so instead of a card to be put aside, please bring (childs name) a book with your name inside.

I want to be a bright child as smart as I can be. That's why I am hoping if you plan to bring a card please take another look, I would like to learn my ABC's from your favorite storybook.

Instead of a card, we're inviting friends and family dear to choose a favorite story or fairy tale that you would like (childs name) to hear. It need not cost more than a card, just pick a favorite it shouldn't be hard.

have fun with them .. u can use your imagination and reword them if you want.

2 moms found this helpful

I concur! AND this is the perfect time to get a bunch of books. Our nearly 2-year old loves to sit at her bookcase.

I love this little poem - I put it in the invitations to a baby shower I hosted (but I stole it from someone else!) You could change "baby" to your child's name. "Dedicated" books are wonderful treasures...

"Although cards are nice
they're only read once or twice.
So, instead of bringing a card to be set aside,
bring a book for the baby with your name inside."

Happy Mom-day to you!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J., You could say "In leu of a present please bring a favorite book to add to ------'s collection." Or you could say "Please share your favorite childhood book with -----." You could even do a book themed party, with games like add a line to the story, & what's your favorite character. Think outside of the box and be prepared for people to bring gifts...they love to lavish presents on the first birthday! Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello... Yoou could say something like

Your 'prescence' is all we need if you feel you need to bring something consider a book or you could chose a food pantry or charity to have guests make a donation to.

Try www.birthdaypartyideas.com for great party ideas.

1 mom found this helpful

We were poor college students when we had my sons 3rd birthday party. All our friends were poor college students too. We did a gift exchange so that every child went home with a gift and my son only got one! This also replaced goody bags which by the time we'd bought, pizza, soda and cake we couldn't afford anything else. We played simple games and the kids had a blast!

1 mom found this helpful

Books ARE gifts--and the BEST kind of gift!!! No matter the age.
On the invitation for the subject line just put "Book Party for Joey" Give all the other particulars then write at the bottom; "Please build Joey's library by adding one of your favorite books!" People will definitely get it. Books are not necessarily a "cheap" gift as you know if you've book shopped lately, but the good news is that there are selections in every price range. Great idea!

1 mom found this helpful

It's perfectly fine to put your request for books on the invitation. I'm a mother of three boys, ages, 6,5,3. At some point, it's just too much stuff and it's not "needed". People also appreciate that they don't have to worry about "what" to buy for the birthday child. My youngest son just turned 3 and instead of a big birthday party and gifts, I sent emails out to request donations to AI Children's Hospital in lieu of gifts and still had a little party with pizza, cake and ice cream at my house. I kept it simple and my son had a fabulous time playing with the children and really didn't notice the lack of gifts. Mind you, some people brought a gift for my son so he did have something to open and I just graciously thanked the gift giver for being thoughtful and generous. Good luck with it! It'll all be just fine!

1 mom found this helpful

How about making a donation in the child's name. If books are a favorite..maybe a local library or a charity you are very fond of. Just a thought..

Just say "If you'd like to bring a gift, please bring a favorite book for so-and-so ". Short and sweet should do it. And if people don't comply, just don't sweat it. I'm sure they'll be thrilled to have an inexpensive idea.

Hi J.,
When my sisiter in law did this, she worded her invites as, " a book party" and her party was done in a library theme. It was done years ago so bear with me as I try to remember. She turned her diningroom into a library and had different "stations"to reflect different books and then activities that reflected each book. At each station they read a different book and did an activity.
Clifford the big red dog they played pin the tail on the dog.
Her invitations were worded to the effect that it would be a day of fun and activities at the library at Alex's house so bring your imagination and your appetite. To the Mom's and Dad's gifts are not necessary but if you feel that you would like to bring one, books would be appreciated.
I hope these ideas help you.

Play some games if there are kids of other ages - things like musical chairs, pin the tail on a favorite character (I did pin the smokestack on Thomas and the spot on Oddball), do a construction activity with Legos or something along those lines. Keep the older kids happy and the 1 yo will enjoy all the play!

As far as the invitation wording you can say something along the lines of "Books preferable, please" and that's not rude.. you're just stating your preference. My youngest did a 'shelter' party and asked for items to donate to the animal shelter instead of gifts. Most people brought the requested items, but a few brought gifts anyway.

You could do bring a book or may be if people wanted they could bring a gift card instead like to a book place like borders or barnes and noble. may be say on the invite read with me. it is hard when your child turns one because they do not understand everything. Do something may be with letters like spelling out names. may be ahead of time you can cut out some letter out of construction paper. I do not know if that will be too much for you. In any respect enjoy your son's first birthday.

I don't think it's rude at all! Put it right there on the invitation - in lieu of a gift, (insert your son's name) would love a copy of your favorite childrens book! A friend once told people to bring balloons to the birthday party in lieu of gifts. Her daughter had a blast and was so excited to see each person walk through the door with more balloons, just for her! Honestly, with a first birthday party it's so much easier on the guests if they know what you want/need. For my baby shower we asked people (on the invitation) to bring their favorite children's book with an inscription for the new baby, in lieu of a card. It's so great now to have a book case full of books and they all have little notes written inside from friends and family.

I have three children and the thought of more "stuff" in my house was really unappealing to me. We did want to have a party for her birthday to celeberate with our family and friends so we requested that instead of gifts for her, everyone either bring a book or check made out to a charity we chose. We did Children's Hospital but had the money desinated to a specific fund so that it did not go into the huge operating cost. We included information about the charity in the invitation and encouraged people to send the check directly there. Everyone who was invited particpated in one way or the other and they just gave my daughter cards which she loved.

"Gifts optional but not necessary."

You have every right to ask for specific presents. There are many ways you can go about it. I was pretty comfortable telling our friends that our girls had enough toys, but that a book would be appreciated. A friend of ours, who has extremely doting, gift-giving grandparents, said that her daughter was very blessed and that no gifts were necessary. Have fun!

I just had a joint birthday party for my 4 and 7 yr old children in July. We were inviting quite a few kids and we really didn't need gifts. I also didn't especially need books since my kids are older and we've established a pretty big library of books, so this may not work for you. On the invitation I asked the guests to perform an act of kindness for someone who needs it more than us, instead of bringing a gift. It could have been carrying an elderly persons groceries, spending time as a companion for someone, walking someone's dog, making dinner for someone in need, donating to a charity, anything to make someone's life a little brighter. Two guests did bring a gift anyway. but I tried to keep that low-key so the other guests didn't feel bad. The act of kindness did not have to cost money, so everyone could do something even if they didn't have money to spend. If anyone called to ask for ideas I told them these ideas, and also suggested a local cancer support center who helped me when I was undergoing treatments if they wanted to make a donation. One family made a donation to them in my daughter's name. My kids were totally cool with this, after explaining what it all meant (of course at first it was a little hard for them to imagine missing out on a lot of fun toys... but they both readily agreed to my idea). They had a super fun party and didn't miss the gifts at all. The one things I wish I had done was include on the invitation that we would be sharing our acts of kindness with each other at the party. I have a friend who did this and she said it was so cool to hear what everyone did.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a great time at the party! :)

For both my sons birthday's I included on the invite...no presents please just your presence. The other moms in my playgroup have also done this. I think we all appreciate celebrating with one another without all the added stress/financial concerns that gifts and goodie bags bring. To be honest the kids don't miss it!

Hey J.~
Happy birthday to the little one. For my shower, we had a card attached that asked people to bring a book to add to Baby's library - something along those lines would work. As far as activities go, depending on the age of the other children, I would not try to structure anything, but instead have out some activity "stations" - like bubbles, paints, etc.

Good luck!! :)

I would make the party a "book theme" to encourage the gift of books, or simply say at the bottom of the invitations that gifts are not preferred. If guests would like to donate $ or a gift to a local charity (____fill in the blank____) they are welcome to do so.

Good luck!

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