My Birthday Party Protest

First I should make clear that I’m not against Birthday parties. I like birthday parties. I like that my kids would rather have a birthday party than something material. And yes, at 14 & 17, my big kids still want the party! (my little one, who’s ever only had one birthday party [that I know of, but am pretty sure of!] wants parties too!)

My protest is against presents.

I first said “no presents” on an invitation when my 17 yr old was turning 4. Jasmine was 6 when she realized it, & she never had a problem with it. What she DID have a problem with, was when Ponyboy was turning 3 & I wrote “no presents” on his invitations. She was worried for him that he would be sad. And although at 3 he wasn’t aware, it’s been Ponyboy who’s been less enthusiastic about “no presents”.

In the early years of my policy, almost no one followed it. I think everyone is worried that they will be the Only One to show up without one. So after a few years, I started telling the parents “no presents please”. Still they brought presents. Finally, instead of just writing “no┬ápresents” on the invite, I had to change it to “please no presents, we will NOT be opening gifts”. That was more effective.

I don’t know about You, but when my kids get presents that they (or I) don’t appreciate I feel SO GUILTY! I’ll find it 6 months down the road, unopened, & feel bad that some mom had to take time out of her day to shop for a kid she barely knew & spend $$ on him, & he didn’t really appreciate it!! The other side of the coin is I don’t want to be the mom shopping for a kid who’s interests I don’t know & buy something (it feels like an Entrance Fee sometimes) so my kid can go to a party!

Instead of a pile of loot, I try to promote the concept of the Birthday child being the Host of a fun day. Ponyboy just turned 14 and had night games at the park with pizza & soda. They played football, frisbee, ect for 4 hours, everyone thought he was cool, & everyone had fun doing something they don’t usually do. And it’s because HE was the host. (still, about 3 kids brought a gift.)

When I talk to other moms, they often agree with me…but I can’t think if I ever have gotten an invite saying “no gifts”… So I would love to know what others REALLY think?