Tuesday, April 07, 2009


    So i've made up the invitations for the soon-to-be 5yr old and have requested no presents.

    What do you think ?

    I'm a bit nervous - will it cause confusion ?
    Will people be able to come to a party for a child empty-handed?

    I mean, it's at a bike-park ( BYO bike/trike/scooter ) and the
    idea of the day is to have fun with your friends.
    Parents: welcome. Siblings: welcome.
    There will still be cake, and balloons and party food and fun. There will still be presents at home from parents and grandparents.

    I've been to parties before at Playcentres etc, and basically, the child involved doesn't even care you are there. They just want to go at a million miles an hr. Presents are piled under a table somewhere and then later into the back of a car, and you never see them again. Not ever.

    I can't tell you the amount of ( good! ) gifts i've given that i've wondered about ( what happened to it, I want to ask -was it crap?, did it break?, did said child like it? ).

    I have one friend, who, when I confided my plans, told me how she often goes out to the recycling bin to pop in an empty bottle, to find it loaded with toys. She has 3kids and a husband who cleans up by throwing everything in the bin.

    Ok then.

    These days there's so much STUFF. I never dreamed of so much stuff as a kid. And when you get it all en-masse on the one day, I just don't think it's appreciated. It's like 'wow, this is cool, what's next?'. There's so much stuff, nothing is *treasured*. Well, it is, but it isn't. Are you following me ? Am I making sense ?

    I'd prefer less toys, and more appreciation. Less is more.


    I'm not mean either. My boys? Want for nothing.

    Life's pretty good for them. I hope we're not spoiling them, but it's different now to when we were kids. That's pretty universal from what I can gather.

    So yeah, no gifts, just kids having fun. I hope it works out.
    And perhaps ?
    We might set a precedent.

    Because i'd like to go to more parties where we're there to have fun with the guest, and not add to his/her blasé collection of things destined for the bin.

    Less crap for kids.

    I'm on it.

    * photo totally unrelated, but how cute is he in his new Auskick gear ?! :D


    Uli said...

    I think it's a great idea, especially given the type of party it is. It will be very interesting to see whether people can actually comply with it though and show up empty-handed. I'll look forward to the report.

    Christie said...

    yep, love the no gifts

    our kids have enough & I am always sending stuff to vinnies

    plus they get enough from family etc...

    dancingmorganmouse said...

    So long as the kids don't mind, and I suspect they won't, then it's a great idea. Who really needs loads of plastic tat to clutter the place?

    Kirsty said...

    LOVE from me. I've done it a couple of times. Some ignore but that's to be expected. Good on you!

    Lin said...

    I think it's a great idea! I wish every parent would do it - wouldn't it make life easier? I have heard of parents donating all but one gift to charity, along the same vein I suppose, the kid gets to choose the favourite and the rest go to the needy. Love to hear the reaction!

    Fairlie said...

    My oldest daughter requested no gifts for her party last year, instead suggesting donations to an indigenous health research institute- which most did. At the end of the party the kids had all had a great time, and there wasn't a huge pile of 'stuff' to rehouse somewhere in her already full bedroom. I have found however, that when an invitation says no gifts but doesn't offer a charity option, people sometimes ignore it and say "but they didn't really mean it", or "it doesn't apply to me". I'll watch with interest your experience.

    Gina said...

    We requested no gifts for Leila's party but each and every person came with one. There were so many that she didn't remember them all the next day and we regifted most of them. I agree completely. I think that kids are not only NOT worse off with less but actually better off with less.(Wha...?) LCFK Hmmm...we'll have to tweek that just a bit but I like it.

    Melody said...

    Great idea - you hit the nail on the head. Kids have so much stuff these days, why add to the mass?

    Great pic of the boy. Look at him, all grown up. He can't decide between AFL and golf can he?

    Karen said...

    I'm soooo with you on this one.
    We end up with twice the amount of stuff when the older two have their birthday (being twins and all that!) and while there are lovely gifts among them there are some that I would rather not ever have in the house and there is just generally, too much.
    It's the sheer volume that kills me.

    I know also about the present abyss - particularly hard to handle when you've handmade a gift never to hear a word again.

    Hope the party goes well - the boy looks completely adorable in the outfit, even if I don't like his choice of team! :-)

    judi said...

    you're on to something good... so much stuff numbs everyone

    Louise said...

    Yes, yes, yes to it all. I must admit though my girls appreciate their gifts and have always opened them with their guests. But we are truly bursting at the seams!! How good looking is that boy of yours!!! Love the footy gear - my Lucinda has also signed on for Auskick - can't wait to see how that goes!

    Hoppo Bumpo said...

    Ah, yes. I never had a half (quarter or eighth!) of the toys my boys have, when I was a kid. Tomorrow our mothers' group is having a combined fourth bithday party for our kids & their little friends, cousins, etc and its "no presents by request". There will be cake, balloons, sweets and games and I'm sure they will remember having a fantastic time ... even without the pressies!

    Claire - Matching Pegs said...

    Kids birthdays are one of my ranty type issues (I tend to bang on about them a bit). Not only does the excess of all the presents bother me, but so do the party bags.

    So many party bags these days get crammed full with useless junk (because it is cheap) that breaks the minute you get it home. Most of it is destined straight for the bin. I am trying so hard to teach my kids the value of things and it is so hard to explain why someone has made something that it is not even made well enough to use for the purpose it was intended. It is also really hard to bin something straight away, when I have been teaching them about avoiding sending things to landfill. Bring back the lolly only party bag, or even no party bag (and lets burn the indoctrinating Mc Donald’s party bags which I hate the most).

    I have also had too many disappointing non-responses to a handmade gift – I feel your pain.
    Here ends the rant ☺
    Good Luck with your party – a great way to teach your kids to value the important thing about birthdays – spending time with your family and friends.

    crafty said...

    Ha ha. You'll still get presents. Nice idea though, totally agree with your thinking.
    We once went to a party that specified no presents. I was the ONLY ONE THAT complied. Because I totally understood, but I felt like a cheap dill anyway.

    (I have one of those tidy up by by putting things in the bin husbands too)

    M said...

    Great idea. Love the casual no presents approach. It'll freak some people out but perhaps you'll start a trend.

    Kids just do have too much stuff.

    So do adults.

    Alby Mangroves said...

    I always put this on the invites: "The Ratbag has loads of toys and doesn't need any more, but books or small donations to his piggy bank are welcome". And every year, he still gets presents, because sometimes his little friends like to choose something for him anyway. Sometimes perplexed parents ring me to find out what the hell I'm up to. It shouldn't be that hard to convince people not to buy more crap, but it is!

    leslie said...

    i'm with you 100%.

    MsCellania said...

    Hello, here from Bec's old site (now featuring only The Punisher, sadly).
    I agree - we all have Too Much Stuff. What we have done is to combine our sons' birthdays (born 11 months apart, so birthdays a month apart in summer) and have a fund-raising bowling event with 40 children and as many parents and hangers on, usually. The bowling alley will give a great rate during the week to help, parents love it, and a less-fortunate group (my boys picked a local school that has high needs, and directed the funds raised at their event to be used in the 1st and 2nd grade classrooms) gets the benefit of some much-needed cash. I even found a site in the US called Adopt-A-Classroom at which teachers can register, and the parents can then donate tax-deductible dollars. It was so much fun, and a kids-helping-kids event is good for their hearts and souls.
    I'm with you on the Holy Cow our kids have so so so much stuff! But HOLY COW so do we.
    I will also tell you that the boys were a little disappointed at first to hear that they weren't going to get 40 gifts, but got over it really quickly and had so much fun at their party.

    Anonymous said...

    Hello, been reading for a little while, enjoying the posts and the photos.

    I think it's a fantastic idea, especially when doing the "invite the whole class to the park" type party.

    My friend never has party bags at her kid's birthdays and while there have been a couple of tantrums from kids who have been disappointed, most don't actually care.

    Providing an option to donate to a charity is an excellent idea. Maybe we need to work on the competitive side of parenting that makes so many parents spend up big on both presents and party bags and encourage competitive charity giving... "Johnny's party raised $X, sooo much better than Billy's party". Doesn't deprive "those" parents of their chance to be bitchy, but at least the charities would be benefitting. **only half joking**

    Damselfly said...

    Less crap. One can dream. We requested no gifts for the last birthday party for our son, and everyone who attended still came with something. Ah well. Maybe you'll have better luck ... or your guests will be better at following directions. ;)

    Keryn said...

    Love the idea, tried it once with an option of a collectin for the RCH as birthday boy spent so much time there with asthma. Still got gifts, some donated. I completely agree less is more. Last party I spent the whole time consoling son #2 because he wasn't getting any presents!! aarrgghh, sibiling rivialry!

    Shelly/Michelle said...

    Fabulous!! Thumbs up from me too. Maybe include a letter with your reasons behind decision and that should have more of an impact??

    meggie said...

    Good luck with it. I think it is a great idea, no gifts. Also, this party bag for the guests?grrrrr.

    victoria said...

    I think it's a great idea, hope it works out!! Also, it seems to me that people are paying far too much for presents for their kids to take to parties - it's gotten out of control that's for sure.

    Toby said...

    Great idea - how about suggeting an alternative though - we went to a party recently where the parents asked us to bring a used book which they then boxed up and sent to bali ? africa ?? somewhere ...... Tori

    surfingfree said...

    We've done no present parties before and it's surprising the number of people who still bring presents! It's like they don't believe me or can't help themselves ... but I think it teaches the child that parties are NOT about presents.
    Good luck and have fun :)

    Stomper Girl said...

    I love this idea and totally endorse your ideology. I haven't done it ourselves because we are basically low-income spectrum-end and I don't want the kids feeling left out if you know what I mean. But I hear ya on the stuff.

    Leisl said...

    I try and minimise the amount of stuff we give to Grumbles i.e. only presents for Christmas and birthdays, but am still amazed at the amount of toys we have amassed courtesy of family etc. And you can totally pick who has given her what: high quality, durable toys from sustainable sources that can be passed on in excellent condition when she's outgrown it = her parents. Cheap plastic crap from the Vic market that breaks in a matter of days = everybody else. I regularly clear out, yet still consider we have way too much crap.

    Then I go visit friends with kids and walk around with mouth agape at the amount of stuff they have. It's incredible! And as you say, it gets played with for five seconds, then forgotten about.

    It's so hard to teach the little ones the value of things with this disposable, cheap mentality that surrounds us. Sigh.

    My float said...

    I agree with you. I've tried this approach with my own family, but no one plays along.
    In the end, Master A ends up with a tonne of things he plays with once. (I have trouble throwing things out so I end up passing a lot of toys to a friend with a new baby.)

    So now I ask for books. At least he'll read those, and whatever he doesn't, goes to the library as a donation or to friends with littlies.
    Good luck!!

    Stacey said...

    I think it's a great idea.

    The amount of plasticky crap that comes into the house when a child has a party is unbelievable.

    I must admit our kids don't have many toys. I do, but they don't ;) We don't really go overboard at Christmas or birthdays, or in between times either.

    Even when they do get something they pretty much have a quick play and then go back to their books or footies.

    I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    Post a Comment

    Hey, You just read me, and this is crazy,
    But here's my Blogger, Comment maybe <3