My daughters second birthday is coming up and it is family tradition to have big parties. I'm wondering if anyone has a tactful way to discourage people from buying toys and stuffed animals for her. I think she may have EVERYTHING that Toys R Us makes (we're a large family and she gets quite a few "just because" gifts from everyone). She doesn't really need clothes either....her closet is stuffed. Any suggestions?
I just spent the whole day shoveling out our playroom. I have to admit, I didn't throw as much away as I should have...but I tried. I did organize all the toys into themes...music, pretend play, etc...then boxed them up in storage boxes. We're keeping all the boxes in the garage and plan to rotate themes every week or so.
We did evites for the party and my wonderful sister responded with a "what does Brookie need?" question for everyone to see. I was then able to respond to everyone (via sis) that she didn't really NEED anything. I mentioned how active she is and suggested pitching in for Gymnastics and Swimming lessons. I also used some of the great advice I got here and hinted about playdates with Brookie at the zoo/park/chuck e cheese. We'l have to see what actually happens next week, but I'm very encouraged. THANKS!!!
I know exactly how you feel. Lately, I've been researching on 529 College Savings Plan. You can have friends and relatives deposit their "bday gift" into her account. You can even do it for Christmas or "just because". I asked a couple of friends how they felt about giving a gift this way and they totally love it. They too are considering this option. =)
I found this article online with really good information.
Is there anything big she wants? You can put that on the invitation - like one of those motorized VW pink bugs - or a new bed if you are moving her out of her crib...
You can put on the invitation - make her wishes come true she really wants a "_____________" anyone who would like to donate to this special gift and save themself a trip to the store - please let us know - she will be thrilled
A girlfriend of mine let her close family know that her daughter did not need toys or clothes but that they did want to sign her up for some different classes and if they would all like to give money to help pay for them. She was able to pay for a year of swim lessons for her daughter that way. You could us if for other types of classes to.
Hey A.! This may sound diferent but have you thought about asking family and friends to donate to a college savings plan for your daughter? I wish I had started that idea years ago, but we just did. What better gift could be given!?! :o) Good luck!
I have learned that there is no way to discourage gift giving. no matter what you try. You could put in the invitation that you would like to instill the gift of giving to your daughter and instead of gifts please make a charitable donation. You can choose the group and set up a donation page on the website. then you don't look like you don't appreciate the gifts. My son has rheumatoid Arthritis and we ask family members to make donations to the annual walk and have link to their web site set up. Or you can put on the invitations that all gifts will be donated to the local orphanage. (or you could put both on there) As long as they feel like they are giving something they will feel ok about it. You will have some people that won't listen to your requests and you will have to grin and bear it.
You've probably gotten lots of good advice on this one already, but just in case any of my ideas haven't already been covered:
1. Have the party guests bring something for the party instead of a gift- like food, drinks, reusable decorations, etc.
2. Pick a charity and find out what they need most (a crisis nursery, a children's hospital, a big brother/big sister program, etc.). Put the info on the invitation and welcome your family's generosity!
3. Ask for savings bonds or set up a college savings account for your relatives to deposit money into.
4. Set up a "fun fund" for things like athletic clubs, music lessons, art classes, acting classes- whatever she winds up being interested in. A friend of mine did this and was able to get her daughter (who LOVED ballet) into an elite ballet school she would never have been able to afford.
5. Have your guests write down something they love about your daughter, sign and date it, and bring it to the party. Pass around a book at for them to place their notes and look at what others wrote. Your daughter will love it when she's older.
I hope this is helpful!
I went through this as well. On the invitations I just put a little friendly note staying no gifts please, and if you insist on getting her something please buy her something educational. Then with the people I was most close to I just let them know up front, she has way too many toys please don't waste you money.
There are all lot of really great ideas here! Here's another. If you own a house with a yard everyone could pitch in money to buy a swingset or some other type of large outdoor play area. Kids love them, but they can get expensive really fast, so having everyone pitch in $10 - $20 would really cut down on the cost! Hope you have a great party!
I also say donate. Before the party have her help you pick some of her toys and clothes she doesn't need anymore, and take her with you to donate them. Explain to her that some children aren't as fortunate as her. She will love helping, make this a tradition! :) Also we are going to start picking one NEW toy my son gets at Birthday's and Christmas, especially if he gets duplicate gifts or something like a toy he already has, and taking him to donate that as well.
As for requesting certain things I say just graciously accept the gifts she is given, or set up a charity fund in her name and request that quests donate to that.
Good luck and I hope she has a great b-day party! :)
In lieu of gifts, please donate to: then tell your favoirte charity, and info of how to donate. Anything else sounds kind of rude even though well meaning. A friend of mine had put "educational toys only please". I usually get those kind of gifts anyway, but I was taken aback all the same.
We had the same problem, plus we had recently moved to a smaller place.. She just got a TON of new stuff for christmas.. so when I sent out invites I told people that we were starting a college fund for our daughter and gave them the details for that. It went over GREAT, not many people did it on their own, but they put checks in the card, and gave her something small like play-doh or paint (those are always neede!)It went something like this...
A new tradition...
Hubby and I have recently started BLANK a college fund, so this year for her birthday we are hoping that it grows as much as she has! BLANK loves the toys she has now and at this age its easy to do since they don't know about presents. The details are below if you would like to contribute. Can't wait to see you at the celebration.
If you feel weird about that then you could just put in the invites that there really isn't much she needs, but that summer is coming and if people would like to pick a special outing for them and the baby it would make the summer much more special (pool day, zoo, park,). And it would be a great gift for you too! Basically you can just let them know, people understand!
Maybe suggest to family members to start a savings account for your child. My Mother did this for my son and now he gets deposits from different members of the family for his birthday. But there are still WAY too many toys bought for him.
I have been telling people to make a contribution towards a college fund. Since you have a big family, 10 or 20 dollars here and there from several people can add up nicely depending on what kind of account you have opened. It's a nice way to help get their future started.
If people insist upon buying a tangible gift for the now, then provide a list of things your child may need or want.
I make sure to go through the closet every three months or so to weed out stuff my kid can no longer wear or take things that are out of season out of the way too.
Some parents also like to go through the toys and donate the ones their child doesn't play with any more to charity. It's a nice way to teach your child about helping others early in life.
Another option is for people to make charitable contributions in your child's name. Make sure that you let people know what charities are important to you as I've had people do this for my child and they donated inappropriately according to my beliefs.
As for tactfully informing people, I have spoken to people in person, sent emails, included gift ideas in invitations...each way I did it, someone was offended. Don't worry about everyone else, you can only do what you think is best for your child. :)
I don't see a problem in actually telling your guests what exactly you need or want. For goodness sakes, when people get married or have a baby shower we all register right and we tell people exactly what to buy so why not for a bday part for the little ones. on my invites i always write gift cards welcome, but "Gunner" likes to unwrap a box, so just be creative with the boxes.
Just be honest with people. Smiles!!! Have fun have fun have fun have fun and don't stress over what people think.
Other moms might have suggested this already, but I think a great idea would be to have a charity party. Have everyone bring an unwrapped toy, stuffed animal, canned food, etc. You and your daughter can take them together to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. She gets a lesson in charity, everyone feels good about their gift going to a good cause, and the people receiving the gifts (or food) will be so grateful. It's a win-win-win situation! (And no more misc. toys you don't have room for!!)
I don't have time to read all the responses so this may be a repeat; I was having the same trouble with my son, people would send over "junk" that we didn't need just because they were trying to show him love....Christmas was ugly, we took home more than we brought over to my moms house....ugh....
If you send out invitations, write something like "we request your presence, not your presents".....that may cut it down a little bit.
You can tell people instead of bringing a gift for your daughter, they can bring a dog toy to be donated to the local shelter; or canned goods to donate....or even better, they can bring toys, then take your daughter to a foster home or homeless shelter and teach her the importance of sharing with those less fortunate....That's something I want to make a tradition of, take my kids every year (several times if we can) to donate our time and belongings.
I just had my sons 2nd birthday in February and the only gifts brought in were a hand-made sign with his name carved in it, and a T-shirt with his name airbrushed on it. That's what I call a success!
Just a little suggestion but has worked well for us. We plan every holiday or birthday to donate a few of the items my son doesn't play with any more. We find the toys for tots or local donation center near by and we get a list of upcoming events or fundraisers and we donate to that. Lets say my son gets 30-40 dinosaurs( not kidding) for his birthday. I told him there are way to many kids with out toys so we then went thrugh all of his toys that were already openned and started packing things in a box and we dropped them off at the womens shelter nearby. Now he has room for his new favorite toys. He told me Mumma now those kids can play with them. That came right from him. I never once told him that. He was very happy and excited! It made me feel so good exspecially because he is 3 and he understood to some point that he was doing a very good deed. I did not come from money growing up so I know what it is like not to have a cool new toy or gifts for christmas.
Just try it if nothing else use it as a tax write off.
I completely understand where you are coming from. Last Christmas we had the same issue. I just politely ask everyone is they would purchase gift cards instead so that when new clothes or toys were needed, we would be able to get them. My excuse is that the girls and I live in a studio so we REALLY do not have the room. People were really understanding. Some ppl got gift cards and then a small things so the girls could open something at least.
How is her Library? I plan to have a "Book Party" for our sons 3rd birthday. We plan to ask everyone to give him a copy of whatever their favorite childhood book was, and to inscribe the inside cover with a special message to him. This will give him a VERY varied collection, and he’ll always know who gave him each one of them.
Another idea- PURGE! I know it’s hard to get rid of some of the stuff, but most kids don’t play with everything they own. My mom used to make us (brother, sister, & I) choose five toys to donate to the Good Will or something before Christmas and at the beginning of summer. This taught us to choose our favorites, and about Charity to those less fortunate.
I have the same problem and my daughter is 6. Her room is stuffed and she even has a play room filled with toys. Her birthday is on new years so she really does not need more toys right after x-mas. I just tell people "no toys", I know its hard to decide what people get but most mothers should/will understand. I know you said you have plenty of clothes as well, maybe they can get a bigger size to put away and wear later. Suggest books, movies or gift certificates to get a cute organizer for her toys.
Maybe suggest gift cards instead...Tell them, that is they get her gift cards instead, then she can pick her gifts, herself....Then you can set them aside, for things that she may need ;o) See, I have had this problem too, I finally got mad, LOL and told them, "I cant walk in my daughters room, you buy her toys, they are staying at your houses" LOL.. But I have a a relationship with the inlaws, that I dont really have to worry about being tact full, and as for my family, they rarely buy toys anyways LOL.. Good luck!
I think two is just an age where the toys have finally reached maximum capacity! my combat styrategy was to do lots of crafts with my daughter and instill that homemade is soo much better than the store bought...then for her B-day I insisted only handmade gifts be given...other parents loved the idea...older family memebers not so much...but i also told them that in the past they had given so many lovely toys and I couldn;t bear to toss any but the space was limited and she couldn't even play with them...she's four now and the tide has mercifully tapered off... the other thing is just to ask for things she needs like shoes...expensive as they are... or tell them a larger size so she'll have lots to grow into...around holidays you can actively begin to involve her in giving to charities and finally... put the toys in rotation... bag up some and every three months or so..rotate in new and out the old... then the toys will always hold fascination for her...
oooh... one last one is to get laundrty baskets at relatives houses and just leave toys there for her... then you don't have to cart them around and it's a constant reminder to the family that she "has enough toys!"
Or, ask them to bring a throw away toy, like from the dollar store. The kids will play with them for a few hours, will still have presents to open, and you will not feel guilty throwing them away in a day or so.
My husband and I have savings accounts for our kids that we are using to start a college fund. You could put a note in the invitation that you're doing that instead of toys this year. Or you could ask that instead of a gift for your child they donate money to a childrens charity or hospital or tell them that you'll be donating the gifts to a childrens group for the kids who need them more in your daughters name. Make it a giving experience. Or you could give away some of the toys she doesn't use. That is what we do with our kids before a birthday or Christmas. They go through their toys and give the toys they don't want anymore to kids who need them.
you know, i have the first grandchild on either side of the family, so my kids are SPOILED. well, last christmas, my sister set up a college fund and now I ask family to donate to their fund instead of toys or clothes. so far, so good!
Just my idea: Ask all the very close famly, sister, brother ect. for an iten not including toys or clothes..you might say hey, "she has so many toys and clothes, but she does need______"
For the rest just take the gifts they lavish her with and plan a day to clean out her old toys for donations...I sometimes leave a few toys unopened to use at Christmas time for the childrens toy drives its a wonderful way to give back to the less fortunate. Your little one is extreamly blessed, give the glory to heaven...bless more childern. Hope it helps, Happy birthday to your daughter and God Bless you all.
My family is the same and my daughters' bedroom is was MESS with toys! No matter how often I had them tidy up their room, it always looked messy and cluttered with toys. Also, because they have so many, they did't appreciate any of them.
I recently purged TONS of toys from their room while they were playing at a friend's house and when they came home, they didn't even notice more than half of their toys were gone! I have noticed that now they spend a lot more time playing with each other and have both latched on to one or two toys that they really enjoy. And with those few toys they think up all sorts of games/activities to do! That's a huge change from playing with one thing for a few minutes, throwing it on the floor, then grabbing the next toy and doing the same thing.... and that would go on all day!
I now ask everyone for Christmas and Birthdays to get them books. My girls LOVE books and that's one thing I DON'T mind having lots of! If they don't feel like a book or several books are a decent present, they usually put $ in one of them and I put that in a savings account for the girls for when they are older.
I just had to explain to my family that I didn't want my girls thinking all there is to life is looking forward to the next present they get. If they are like that then NOTHING in life will satisfy them. I grew up that way (always anticipating the "next big thing") and have had a very hard time appreciating the things I have. It's been a very hard thing to change about myself and I have to work on it daily.
I would suggest not being rude for one and whatever she gets just take her old toys and cloths and take pics of them and sell them on craigs list not only can you get ride of the old but you can put a little extra cash in your pocket well good luck.
Hahaha! I'm dealing with exact same issue. Don't you just die when someone gives a stuffed animal. They should ban those things. Dust collectors is what I call them.
I just sent and evite invitation to the party. On the inivation I wrote:
Hi Guys and Dolls,
Jeff and I would be so honored if you would come help us celebrate Miranda's 2nd birthday. She is in love with Happy Feet right now. So in honor of her party, we are having a "casual" black tie event. Bow ties will be provided so need need to dress fancy...unless you want to.
It will be a backyard party with food, games and of course a bounce house.
Gift ideas: First of all...your attendance is gift enough. If you would like to bring a gift....She is in need of clothes. Gift cards to Target are perfect if you don't know what to get. She is wearing size 3T in shirts and dresses and 24M in pants. Her upcoming shoe size will be 6 toddler.
As for toys, eeek, I don't have much room in my apartment so keep in mind we just donated almost all of her old toys in our "home simplification" process. No stuffed animals please... unless it's a penguin of course.
I would definitely suggest any Disney DVD, especially Peter Pan Platinum Edition, Cars and The Tigger Movie. Also, any Winnie the Pooh DVD, Cinderella III, Emperers New Groove, Mickey and Minnie Movies, Atlantis, Treaure Planet, just to name a few.
Please include receipts for everything in case we need a different size or we get duplicates.
Thanks so much...See you there!
I'm sure most of my family will see it as rude...at least if my MIL has anything to say about it but if they don't want their toys returned or donated, they may want to pick from the recommended list.
I can think of two things that you might do. One of them is that you thin out the toys that she now has and make sure that they get to a place that would give them to children who do not have so much, like to a Homeless Shelter, but, then you have to make sure that they are clean and in good repair.
Or you could talk with the person in your large family that is a leader and ask her advice. She will be able to guide you about what the family might agree to do. Maybe they could give a book or money for a book to that fellow that was on Oprah's show two or three days ago. He is building libraries all over the world in countries that do not have schools and libraries. He went to Nepal, I believe, and found that the need was great for education for that country's children. Go to Oprah.com and there will be a lot of ideas about giving ...in your daughter's name. It would give her spirited self something special to do beyond her own family.
Ask them to bring socks for "Your Daughter's Friends" and then give them to the Homeless Shelters around your area. Socks, clothes, school supplies and new shoes, genes, sweaters, are things that they need just like our children do. I have been getting shoe gift certificates from Payless Shoe Stores and giving them to the homeless. They really can't use old shoes worn by someone else, you know.
I know how they feel, they just love her so much that they want to do something special to show that love. Maybe they could start a Coverdale-type education account for her. Ask any banker
or money person, and they can help you.
Happy Birthday to you all.
Take lots of pictures and put them into your computer so that they can show on your screen, you will love to see them now and forever. I really enjoy seeing scenes of my grgrandchildren's birthday parties flash across the screen daily. C. N.
My family do the same type of giving. I also have a large family.
I had the same problem so I explained to my son that there are children out there that don't get toys and clothes, so we started this thing where we went through all of the clothes and toys together. We would separate the keep toys, give toys, and dispose of the broken ones. We did the same thing with the clothes.
He enjoyed doing this so much, that before birthdays, and Christmas he would keep bugging me until we would get it done. This was also teaching him the meaning of giving, and also the feeling he got when he knew he was helping another child have something they otherwise wouldn't have.
My son is 16 years old and he still does this on his own now.
The only reason I am giving this suggestion is because I couldn't get my family to understand. They said I was trying to deprive them giving my son a gift, and would keep buying him more.
I hope this suggestion helps you out a little.
I totally understand. My Italian family was the same way. I finally just had to tell them that my daughter has too much and gift cards were best. It was hard for my family, but they are now used to it. I have bags of stuffed animals that she has never seen. I specified no stuffed animals unless they planned on keeping them at there houses. Be specific in what you think is best for your daughter. Family will respect your choices.
I have the same problem but don't have a very large family. The problem is my mother. She LOVES buying stuff for her first grandbaby. We've gotten in loud verbal fights over all the stuff that's spilling out of my small rented townhome yet she still sends us packages. In addition to not having any more space for stuff, I'm appalled at the sheer waste of money that occurs. My baby has clothing that she never got around to wearing, new with tags, that she just ended up outgrowing because she has so much stuff.
Finally I just took a deep breath and realized I'm making a big stink over what? Being blessed with too much? "It's better to have too much than too little", I had to tell myself every time another package showed up and we had to find room for it. And every time we get a package from "nana" in the mail we open it up and see if we want to replace anything she currently has with it, trying to keep an even balance in the house by passing along the good fortune to those less fortunate.
I get frustrated because my husband and I are struggling to scrape up money to put down on a house of our own and seeing all the wasted funds on duplicate outfits or ANOTHER crib toy makes me cry, but in the end, it's not my money to spend. I can't dictate how my family wants to spend their money.
After all, giving gifts is partly a selfish act as the giver wants the fun of shopping for the item and the perceived joy that it will bring when given.
It's easier to just take the items with a grateful smile and then deal with the excess discreetly. It’s improved our relationship tremendously now that I don’t get angry over stuff anymore. However, we hit one snag once when nana asked where such-n-such outfit was because she wanted to dress the baby in it for a picture.
I lied and said that the washing machine ate it rather than get into another tirade about how when that box showed up with fifteen new outfits we really didn’t have any more room in her dresser, her closet OR our closets for baby clothes so we picked out the outfits we’d never dress her in and gave them away.
I guess my point would be that trying to tell people you don’t want their gifts will come off a little rude and only frustrate you when they don’t appear to listen and bring gifts anyhow. You’ll have to just be “Zen” about it and take a deep breath and deal with the excess when you get home. Count up the new toys and say, “OK! We got 10 new toys today so we have to give 10 toys away!”
Have your daughter help pick out the toys to give away. Make sure to tell her that they can come from the pile of new stuff as well if she doesn’t want to get rid of something she already has.
I opened a UPromise college fund for both of my boys and I really encourage friends and family members to contribute to their college funds. I tell family if the "must" give a gift, please make it something small like a book (and a donation to the college fund is still encouraged!). My husband's family is good about it but so far my parents haven't come around. LOL
Check out www.upromise.com You can link your credit and debit cards to it (so where you would normally get cash back, you now get cash back bonuses credited to your college fund). Once you have the upromise account, you can follow the instructions to open a 529 college fund and link your upromise account to it.
I wish we had that problem! LOL. I think maybe the best thing to do on the invitations is to ask them to donate to some charity OR set up a college fund for your daughter and ask them to contribute towards that.
I tell my family that we would rather they contribute to her college fund. That works about 1/2 the time. We also have our daughter pick old toys or ones she doesn't use and give them to charity. It teachs her about helping others and giving.
A good idea for everyone to buy her is books. I know all about having too many toys, but my firm belief is that there can never be too many books for a child. Another way to avoid the toy trap is to start a college fund for her and ask everyone to donate to it instead of bringing a gift. Another idea; maybe they could give her new jewelry...a baby ring or necklace, or earrings if her ears are pierced. Or you could even start a collection of some type for her as she grows up. My daughter is only one year old, but I started collecting glass butterflies for her, and she will appreciate them when she gets older. Just let everyone know that she already has an overabundance of toys and stuffed animals...but you need to be prepared for them to buy her those things anyway. Just go through the stuff she already has and put the toys she doesn't play with anymore into a storage or yard sale pile. Keep in mind though, these people are her family and they are simply trying to make her smile. Thank them politely, and put up the stuff you don't want her to play with right now. :) Hope this helps.
We have the same problem at our house... and my son is just a year old. Before the holidays and his birthday (they are within a month of eachother) I sent an email to everyone thanking them for the generosity throughout the year. I then let them know that they have given us everything we could possibly need/want and I requested they keep the gifts to a minimum. I didn't want him to be so inandated with "material" things (i.e. TOYS) that he wouldn't appreciate the things he already has. Some kids have every toy invented and still walk around saying they're bored! They seem to take all that they have for granted. And to be honest I think that its probably a little overwhelming for them... too much stilmulation can be just as bad as not enough. If they really wanted to contribute something (as all family members do for a new baby) we would greatly appreciate their participation in his college fund or even savings bonds. We had some friends give him a savings bond earlier in the year and everyone thought that was a great idea. Between the holidays and his 1st birthday he recieved thousands of dollars... half in savings bonds and half in the college fund. I don't think that your family would be offended. I mean, they ask all the time what she needs, right? Well, she needs a good savings and a head start on her education. I think they'd understand. And be prepared for them to get her SOME gifts... because most people can't NOT buy at least a little something for such cute 'lil thing!! But hopefully they won't go overboard. Good luck!
Well, that's something me & my husband are worried about too. Right now our 6 mth old has just enough toys to rotate so she doesn't get bored. What we have done is asked everyone to donate what they would have spent on toys to her college fund. We opened up a Vangaurd 529. Our friends & family have responded nicely to that & none of them have gotten offended.
I've tried to ask for bonds or college fund money but no one ever listens. Finaly I just took all the toys from before his birthday and donated them. Everything but his fav truck. Don't be afraid to give stuff away it's just insane! My step dad is the worst! Ask for books can't have too many books, and art supplies like the color wonder stuff cause those get used up. Good luck. ~V
Just wanted you to know that you are not alone.
Sometimes I feel like I am being so ungrateful thinking these ways but I have some family members that think Bigger is better when it comes to gifts.
every one has posted some great suggestions I will use too.