38 answers

Bday Party for Kid - Okay to Say No Gifts please....or Make a Donation in Lieu

We are having a bday party for our 6 y.o. son....and I am wanting to have attendees just come and not bring a gift. Just come and enjoy the party. Having about 12-15 kids at the party. We don't want everyone to go out and get a gift - he really has all the toys he needs. We have a small house and can't store a bizillion toys that don't get used. So thinking of asking people not to bring a gift. Is this okay? Also considering asking those that really want to - to make a donation to a charity that supports kids....any ideas on this? Want to teach him to be generous to others who are less fortunate....What do you think of this....anyone done this?

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we have some friends (the children were in 4th grade though) who asked for donations to the local food pantry. That way everyone gets to bring something (and even watch the child open it) then helped load them in the car to take over there after the party. Gave the birthday kids great satisfaction to give the food to those who needed it and it was all tangible goods

2 moms found this helpful

I think it's ok to say no gifts please, but some kids will probably bring a gift anyway. I wouldn't ask for a donation to charity, that's a little awkward and at six years old they don't really get the concept of giving to charity, that's a little abstract IMO.

2 moms found this helpful

I would thinking asking people to make a cash donation would make people feel odd...a lot of people like bringing an actual present...maybe you could say instead of gifts we're collecting (toys for tots presents early, food for a food bank, books for kids at the orphanage...) idk I would tlak it over with yuor son and see what he would like to collect and really make it a lesson on giving and all of the kids coming would be able to participate and learn as well....

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Awesome idea!
"Your present is your presence! We will be accepting donations for the local food bank at the party, as well."

3 moms found this helpful

i don't think it's rude in the least to have a no-present party, so long as the kid is okay with it. i love the 'your presence is the present!' wording that's been suggested!
i also like the idea of donations as a present. opening gifts of toys for tots or animal shelter goodies would fulfill the need to bring something and open something, if such a need exists.
but i don't think it's necessary. a party that provides a fun experience is really and truly a gift for all concerned, and i really love that this trend is taking off.
khairete
S.

3 moms found this helpful

I think it's a nice idea if he's already got a zillion toys, but really make sure he is on board with it. A birthday, IMO, should be one of the rare times we spoil them. If you and your son can find a charity he is truly excited about donating money to, I think it's a great idea.

If he's not on board with the idea, then the donations are really all about you, and will be irrelevant to your son's birthday, and you're not teaching him anything, except to be annoyed that his gifts all went to someone else.

Maybe an animal-related charity will interest a boy?

Also, at 6, kids really like giving gifts to their friends. So it's usually not fun for little Jimmy to donate to breast cancer in the name of little Bobby. Maybe one of those charities that "adopts" animals, so little Jimmy can adopt a zebra or a sloth or something.

3 moms found this helpful

We have gone to several "no gifts" parties and are throwing one for our son next month! We're having his party at a zoo and put on the invitation "Your presence is your present!" For those who called and asked, we suggested a donation to the zoo in our son's name... meaning he'll have his name on the "donor" list which is pretty funny considering he'll be 3.

The last party we went to asked for dontations to the SPCA and I didn't think it was rude to have a specific request. My son liked picking out "presents" for the "poor kitties and puppies" for his friend to take to the local shelter.

3 moms found this helpful

Asking "no gifts" is fine.

Dictating what gift to give your child, even if it is a donation to charity, is not good etiquette, but most people tend to ignore etiquette in these times so...

3 moms found this helpful

I LOVE this idea!!

One thing that we'll be doing with our kids as they get older is to pick a local charity and ask for gifts for that. For example - the local aminal shelter. WE'll call up and ask what they need (food, treats, toys, beds,etc.) and then on the invite we'll say something like:

"For his birthday Joey has chosen to support XYZ kennel this year so no gifts for him! But, if you'd like to bring something for the animals (list what the shelter told us they need) we will happily deliver them next week!

I think asking for an item is less stressful on people than asking them for money. Great idea... just tweek it for your beliefs/ needs. Another friend asks for food donations for the local food shelf ... she's done that ever since her child was born. Another great idea!

2 moms found this helpful

I think it's fine, if your boy understands that it's a no-present birthday. (Expect to get a few anyhow, though.) I like the donation idea, and it might make it easier for folks who can't wrap their minds around "birthday without gifts."

Wouldn't it be fun if, on our birthdays, we GAVE presents to the people who have done so much for us since we were born?

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Oh good luck!! I tried this several times-even posted this on here a few yrs ago. I had one mom tell me she was going to get my daughter a gift anyway because kids needed to have that experience!!
She is now 15 and most of those things have been added to our get rid of pile thru the years-some she kept one year, some went quicker.
Just don't understand that what I really wanted was for my daughter to just share the day with them-that was the gift!! I finally got so frustrated and as she got older, just quit having parties!! Now bdays are just one best friend todo something special!!

2 moms found this helpful

I would thinking asking people to make a cash donation would make people feel odd...a lot of people like bringing an actual present...maybe you could say instead of gifts we're collecting (toys for tots presents early, food for a food bank, books for kids at the orphanage...) idk I would tlak it over with yuor son and see what he would like to collect and really make it a lesson on giving and all of the kids coming would be able to participate and learn as well....

2 moms found this helpful

One of my children's friends had a party at some amusement place.--we could not attend so not sure how it went but found out it did have a good response. While putting down what people should buy is not a good idea, the mom did put on the invites that if they would like to purchase a gift, the giver should consider buying a children's book that would be donated. They had a great turnout with over 50 books that were donated to the Children's Hospital and another charity.

2 moms found this helpful

Simply put asking/telling people how to spend their money is rude. If you don't want people to bring gifts then don't have a party. The problem now a days that this issue keeps surfacing is that society in general thinks a "big shabang" needs to happen every year for kids birthdays. Less parties=Less gifts=more space and less clutter. Sorry to rant but I certainly would not like to be told or a strong suggestion made on how I should spend my $$. I will bring a gift regardless...if you chose to return it with the gift receipt or donate it that will be up to you. Accept the gifts and send thank yous and then do what you wish at your discretion.

2 moms found this helpful

I think it's ok to say no gifts please, but some kids will probably bring a gift anyway. I wouldn't ask for a donation to charity, that's a little awkward and at six years old they don't really get the concept of giving to charity, that's a little abstract IMO.

2 moms found this helpful

we have some friends (the children were in 4th grade though) who asked for donations to the local food pantry. That way everyone gets to bring something (and even watch the child open it) then helped load them in the car to take over there after the party. Gave the birthday kids great satisfaction to give the food to those who needed it and it was all tangible goods

2 moms found this helpful

Ask your son what he would like. It's really about him.

2 moms found this helpful

We have done a "donation in lieu of gifts" whenever we have a party for our kids (they still get gifts from family). We usually have people bring something that goes along with the theme of the party (ie- we had a pj party for my 6 year old--so guests brought pjs to donate to a local shelter). I usually choose a donation that keeps the cost around $5-10 (Books, DVDs, pjs, etc.) or you can also ask guests to bring gently used books and dvds to be donated.
It's a great idea--the guests love it and my kids are learning a valuable lesson.
On the invite we just write "In lieu of gifts for (kid's name) please bring (item) to be donated to (name of organization)"

1 mom found this helpful

How about making the toys donation for "Toys for Tots" if they decide to bring them instead of making a donation? Find a way to make it easy for them in the invitation. A website, a self-addressed envelope, a phone number, whatever. Some people don't know how to do it.

Have fun at the party!
D.

1 mom found this helpful

Never ever make reference to gifts on a party invitation unless you're stating, "No gifts, please. Your presence is present enough!"

1 mom found this helpful

I really like the idea that Jen F suggested. Ask people to bring something tangible for charity, ie food donations or toys for tots gifts so that your son can see the actual contribution that his gererousity is making. I think this is a great idea and a fantastic way to teach your child about giving back
Cuddos to you
and Happy Birthday to your little guy

1 mom found this helpful

Ok, here is my experience with no present parties. A lot of people will still bring them. The first time I was invited to a no present party, I was the only one who "obeyed." I felt like such a jerk. So now, I ALWAYS bring a present. The only time I didn't was when the parents requested a donation to a charity, but some people don't like that. The other type of no present party I've seen is one where you have people bring a book for a book exchange for the guests.

1 mom found this helpful

We had a no present party when my dd was three (My kiddies are not really big on gifts). A couple still brought some.

The thing with charity is that everyone has their own opinion and favored ones and sometimes when kids are this young, third party charities seems so impersonal and the kid may not be able to relate.

My nephew who turned seven collected gift cards from bookstores in lieu of presents and then went shopping with the teacher for books to donate to his class and school library.

Love the animal shelter idea. It may not exactly be a less fortunate cause but then again, it would be nice to teach our children to give whether it is deserved or not.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that it is a fantastic idea! Let your son help pick the charitable organization that the donations will go to so he is more involved in the process.

Just don't be surprised if someone still shows up with a gift! There are always one or two guest who bring one! :)

I think it's perfectly fine to say no gifts but expect some/most people to bring a gift regardless. A friend of mine did this because when she was little she wouldn't go to birthday parties because she couldn't bring a gift.
I would leave it at that though and don't ask to donate to a cause.
Probably the only way to get no gifts is to set it up as a play party and not mention that it's a birthday until everyone is there.

I hear you! I have done that but I also ask for donations to his college fund and his savings account. Even my friends donate to it, it's great! He isn't even 3 and he has over $5,000

My daughter turned 4 on May 1. She has had a friend party every year since she was 2. For those 3 parties, we have requested no gifts on the invitation, however, I also noted that we would be making a donation in the birthday girl's name to 'x' charity. (We've had a different charity each year.) I included a wish list from the charity in the invitation also. And, I included the charity's website so that the parents could get more info if they wanted. I have had MANY compliments on this. My daughter still has a family party so she's not 'losing out' on gifts (even though she has plenty of toys, clothes, etc. anyway). Hope this helps.

I love the food bank donation idea! I am proud of your efforts. Just make sure that if someone does bring a gift anyway, don't be too hard on them. Some people just want to spoil kids. :)

I would put a little note on the invite that "gifts are not nessesary, but if you insist please consider a food pantry donation."

Be sure your son is on board, but yes I've been to a few where the family either says no gifts or picks a charity close to them.
You could say either no gift or if you must then charity gift.
Love the food bank idea, I have also been to a party where we brought a gift for Safe Families, but we were given a list of things they could use.

I'm ok with it because I planned on buying something anyways, so what do I care what it is on.

The college fund, I think is a little obnoxious because that is basically just asking for cash.
Come back and tell us what you decide & how it goes:)

Another fun thing is to ask kids to bring a gift to be donated to a family in need or a shelter or something like that. Your son can still open all of them, and it's a really tangible way for all the kids to feel they are helping someone.

My son has only been invited to one no gift party. Looking at it from the guest side, I wanted to do SOMEthing, but they requested no gifts. Going to parties I think it is a lesson for my kids to buy for others something THEY would enjoy as they are welcomed into the fun of the party. A lesson in doing something special for others. While it's great to want to teach your child that the fun with friends is more important I was afraid that imposing that teachable moment was more damaging than helpful considering gifts are brought to other parties for the particular party we went to. I LOVE the donation idea. Maybe the birthday child could visit a place they would enjoy weather it be a children's hospital, animal shelter or what not and then they could kinda choose the charitable cause with an attitude of I've been there and they could really use some help kinda thing. I think the no gift thing can only be beneficial if the kid's on board with it especially at that age when "fairness" is such an awareness.

My son just went to a party where the mom said "in lieu of gifts, 'Jack' is making a donation to World Wildlife Organization, if you would like to help support his donation, $5 would be great."

Now, I didn't particularly care for there actually being a suggested amount in the invite, but I liked the idea of the boy actually choosing which charity to support since it really does help kids get out of their natural self-centeredness!

We just did a no gift party and my 4 yr old was so disappointed. He really has fun picking out the present. I talked him into a really cute card with sounds and a bag of goldfish.

I"m a little late w/my response here but I've been requesting no gifts for my daughter the past 2 yrs. Her b-day is in early Nov. and w/the holidays around the corner, it's just easier not have lots of "new gifts." And usually she's still received gift cards too - some even brought her a gift plus a donation item too! I've recommended that guests bring an unwrapped toy gift for the Toys For Tots donation bin/box @ our local Harris bank. Last yr I did Toys for Tots and also suggested bringing a new book for our local Library donation. Hope this helps and good luck!

A cute way to state that is similar to what others have said:
Please dont bring "presents", just your "Presence"... then ask for the donation in leiu of the gift...
Great job teaching kids the importance of the joy of giving, rather than receiving:-) way to go!

You can ask (I have done this in the past) but people still show up with gifts. then those that actually listened and didn't bring anything feel weird...so I wouldn't go that route.

We did have a book drive one year in lieu of gifts and that was really successful...also did a can food drive one year and that worked as well...people want to show up with SOMETHING ya know? good luck

You can say why you don't want gifts. Then maybe the guests can give a gift card if they feel uncomfortable coming to a party without a gift. You can then use the gift card on your son or take him shopping and let him choose a gift for someone less fortunate

Go for it!! We did this for my daughter's 5th birthday this past January and it was great! We asked for a small monetary donation in an envelop instead of a gift- and had a basket for people to put the envelops when they arrived. We then brought the donation to the charity (we did an animal haven b/c my daughter loves animals) and took pictures of her giving the donation- we included one of the pics in the thank you card and told everyone thank you so much for donating.....and how much we raised for the charity and what they would be able to do with the $. Of course- there were still a few people that still brought gifts in addition to the donation.

I felt the same way about a "kid party", I didn't want a bunch of little junk toys. SOOOO, after getting my daughter to buy in, we had it at the humane society, the kids were asked to bring gifts for the animals (and I printed off their wish list from their website), we got a tour, saw all the animals and they got to go to the visiting rooms and hold some kittens and some puppies. Then we ate treats and my daughter opened the gifts for the animals. My daughter was absolutly thrilled with the party and the idea that she was helping the animals. Other parents must have thought it was a great idea because we had a mountain of great things to give the humane society!! If your child has something he is interested in, maybe have it themed to that at your house, such as "help the kids who just went through the tornado's - bring a book or two and we will get them to Joplin, Oklahoma or TN...." And best of all = we didn't come home with a bunch of stuff she didn't need!

It's absolutely fine to say "no gifts please". We have hosted kids parties with optional book swaps in lieu of gifts. Parents are asked to bring an age appropriate book (one per child attending) if they would like to participate. The kids enjoy opening a gift together and parents always enjoy getting new books too.

Or, going along with the book theme, maybe you could ask parents to bring a gentle used book to the party with the intention of your son donating them to a local women's shelter. My son's class did this and I think it's a great idea.

We have gone with a couple different charities for birthday gifts for our now 7 year old and 4 year old. They understand that they will receive gifts from family (and my husband has a decent size extended family) and that what kids bring to the party is for charity. The donation that has worked the best was for the guests to bring school supplies for children at a nearby shelter. Then within a day or two of the party we take the items to the shelter so the children have a connection with the supplies that were received and where they are going to be of great use. Yes, some families include a little something for the birthday child (and one friend who doesn't get it and always sends a gift regardless) and that is fine since I understand why they do it and my house is still not full of the bizillion toys as S. mentions that would be received and mostly not used. I think the first year some families were confused but now they get it.

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