New Age Birthday Etiquette

Updated on June 06, 2007
J.S. asks from Denton, TX
10 answers

Hey Mama's,

I have birthday question for y'all. My son will be turning 1 in August and I'm getting the party planning underway now. We decided on where were having the party, food, and invitations. But I'm having a problem with what people should get him, I was thinking about doing a gift registry at like Target or Toys R Us for books, wooden puzzles, cars, and outside sports toys. Is this distasteful? I was just thinking that if I specify what he would like and what he will be able to use in the coming months that it would be nice. He already has quite the collection of toys and I really don't want to have to many in our house. I know when I go birthday shopping for someone I like to have a list of the things they like, but that might be the OC side of me.

What can I do next?

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answers from Dallas on

The Learning Center (I think it is) or Learning Express maybe has a registry with all the kids stuff set aside. I personally love this as a parent, but it may take a few years for it catch on. The stores would be the ones to market it up...

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answers from Richmond on

I think you and your son should be thankful for the presents he receives. I think if there is a present that is unsuitable, lets hope that the present giver gave you a gift receipt. He's only turning one year old! Enjoy the day.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would suggest "In lieu of presents, please contribute to XXX’s college fund. You can make the checks out to 'Name of college fund'"

My son's bday is 1 month after Christmas, so he doesn't need more toys and it's too early for spring clothes. Contributions to a college fund is perfect for the first couple of years...

ETA: To the person who thinks giving money to a college fund is tacky... I've actually found the exact opposite. 1) a BABY isn't going to know how many presents they get 2) This idea is best used for FAMILY and in my family, they tend to give savings bonds or something else practical anyway 3) Most babies don't need a ton of toys, especially when you live in a small house 4) there is nothing tacky about showing that you think college is important!

I have been giving college fund money as presents for years now. Now that my best friend's son is almost 6, I also give him a small toy, but almost everyone in that family gives the kids college money and then the grandparents match whatever is given. Saving for college is never tacky.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hi J.,

With all due respect, registering for gifts for anyone's birthday would be tacky at best....especially a one year old who can't verbalize his desires. Just enjoy the day and gracefully receive any gifts you are given....what you do with them afterwards is your business. Mostly be thankful that someone thought enough of your child to either come to a party or purchase a gift or both.

Please please don't ask anyone for money for a college fund....that's worst than a gift registry. Keep in mind, these registries are made by companies that are trying to sell their products. They aren't thinking of tact and decorum.

Ammended: To the person that thinks it's ok to ask for money for your child's college fund: Of course, saving for college isn't tacky. I do it every month for my children. My husband and I contribute to their college funds....we don't ask others to help educate our children...that's our responsibility. Asking others to contribute to your child's college fund is quite tacky. Now, if family members CHOOSE to give savings bonds, stocks, checks or cash, then that is long as you didn't ASK.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I can see both sides of this.. but it seems a little WAYYY over the top for a 1 year old to do this... I can understand stuff like that and would appreciate it for preteens and teenagers b/c no one knows what to get them anyway other than gift cards. I think I'd be kind of offended for someone to give me an invitation with a "registered at" list for toys for the kids first birthday. People like to shop for those kinds of stuff because it's easy and fun... it's an age when your really don't need advice for waht to get them... I think I'd just hold off and let people get what they want... if they ASK what he'd like, then offer up some suggestions, but otherwise, I'd leave it at their discretion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Here's what I did:

I, too thought it was too forward to send a gift registry for birthdays. Fine for weddings and baby showers, but I felt funny about it with a kid's birthday! So, I went to ToysRUs and made a Wish List. I put everything on there my girls needed or wanted...OK, the stuff I wanted them to have! LOL!

Then, when people would ask me for ideas of what to get, I would direct them to my wish list. That way, there was a list somewhere they could consult, but I didn't feel to pushy about it. Some people looked at it and purchased from it, others did their own thing. Both were appreciated! I don't know about you, but my family always wants lists for birthdays and Christmas, so this saved me from having to type it or write it 50 times for each person!

Hope this helps!!



answers from Dallas on

The request for money to the college fund seems just as tacky as the gift registry. It is not guests' responsibility to pay for someone else's child's college tuition. Plus, it's not very fun for the kid when he has no presents to open because mama wanted money. If I was told what to bring as a gift, I would probably not go to that party. "Guidelines" should not be given to your guests. Just be grateful for what you get. Or, just say "no gifts, please." You can donate to charity what you cannot use.
If someone asks what your child would like, then you can politely give that person some ideas.
Plus, it was really actually very helpful when my daughter did get lots of toys at her birthday. That way, we can rotate them every couple of weeks so she always has something "new" to play with.
Hope your son has fun at his first birthday!



answers from Dallas on

Your conundrum would be one of the reasons I didn't do B-day party for my really little ones- and once they got older it is only every other year :-)
Yes, we celebrate, but it is at home w/ family.
Anyway, IMHO, I feel a registry is tacky. If someone asks you can say "Oh he loves books right now" Or "Anything he can play with outside would be wonderful"....

You can always give the overage to charity.



answers from Dallas on

I felt the same way. My son turned 1 a month after Christmas and so he was well stocked on toys. I actually put "No gifts" on the invites, but not a single person listened.

You can register all you want, but most people will just get what is convienant for them at the time.

I think it's a good idea, but off-putting at the same time, so I would never have a registry for a birthday.

You could try a theme party instead, like puzzles, or favorite childhood books or something, some people may get the idea.



answers from Dallas on

If people want to buy something YOU WANT for your child, they will ask you, "Do you have any suggestions for a gift?"

Take it easy, he's only one.....

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