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To ask people not to bring gifts to my children's birthday party?

(57 Posts)
Mmmicecream Sat 12-Jul-14 10:22:59

My 2 DCs will be turning 3 and 1, and we're having a joint party for them and inviting a number of people. I am thinking of asking people not to bring presents for the following reasons:

1. I don't want the guests to think they have to buy 2 presents
2. The DCs already have a lot of toys
3. I've been to some kids' parties recently where I've found the gift-opening part of the party almost grotesque in terms of the children getting into a materialistic grabby frenzy

We don't want anything else instead, so won't be asking for cash or anything like that. And of course if someone does still bring something they will be thanked and not made to feel bad about it.

IABU? If you got this request, would you think the sender is:
1. Weird?
2. Brave?
3. Silly?
4. Mean?
5. All of the above?

And if IANBU, what's a nice way to say that on the invite without resorting to a cheesy 'your presence is a present' type line?

FatalCabbage Sat 12-Jul-14 10:27:18

I wish I had done this! It is obscene, and when they're very small they don't know to expect gifts.

Could you suggest donations to a children's charity in lieu of gifts? Maybe a local hospice, or Save The Children or similar.

"No gifts please. If you would like to mark the occasion by giving, we'd be delighted if you chose to donate to Local Hospice or your favourite charity in DCs' names."

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 12-Jul-14 10:27:44

YANBU but people will bring a present anyway! It's impossible for most people to turn up at a children's party empty handed.

It's possibly a little mean to the older one if he/she knows about birthday presents. If they have no idea, then they're not missing out.

Wetthemogwai Sat 12-Jul-14 10:28:33

I'd never ask that tbh. My 3 year old knows what birthdays and parties are all about and would be gutted if there wasn't any presents to open after. Speaking of which, no party I've ever been to involved the opening of presents DURING the party though I know it's a thing. Just put them away and save opening for later?

My mum always says that when I was little and got loads of presents she'd let me open them then put some away for a while and get them out one at a time through the year.

I wouldn't ban presents all together. HTH

MrsWinnibago Sat 12-Jul-14 10:28:44

I['ve never been to a children's party where the child opened the presents. They're usually put away and then a thank you note arrives later.

YANBU but you will find that people are outraged and some will bring gifts anyway.

ICanSeeTheSun Sat 12-Jul-14 10:29:45

If people ask what to get, then say gift vouchers for a day out to the farm ect.

Theodorous Sat 12-Jul-14 10:31:00

I don't wish to be snide but anyone who needs advice on:
Birthday presents at parties
Picking up dog shit
Cats in your garden
Whether to shave down there
Teachers gift
PTA seating at plays
Casting for reception plays

Can simply search because there will be a 300 plus post thread less than 12 minutes old because that is how tired this is.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 12-Jul-14 10:31:01

I've also never been to a party where the presents were opened then and there. It's always done after when everyone has gone.

(Unless it's a small party with only 2/3/4 friends and the children are older).

winnertakesitall Sat 12-Jul-14 10:31:40

I wouldn't bother. People will turn up with presents anyway. Just save them for opening after the party- and if there are loads then eek opening them up over several days.

Just remember thank you letters (I'm v. old fashioned and like a good thank you letter!)

Some (saddos) like me actually enjoy choosing presents!

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 12-Jul-14 10:33:47

Theo I don't think you've succeeded in your wish not to be snide.

My advice would be don't click on threads with those things in the title if you're bored of them. You won't get bored and we won't think you're snide. It's a win-win.

SaucyJack Sat 12-Jul-14 10:37:06

Yes, YABU. I don't think it's ok to decide on someone else's behalf that "they" don't want or need presents.

Chuck out some of your own stuff if you're concerned about space.

Mmmicecream Sat 12-Jul-14 10:37:53

Thanks for the advice. especially about presents being opened later, I've not been to a party where that's happened but like the idea as it's much nicer and less frenzied.

And Theodorus your search engine must be better than mine, as I didn't find any threads about this from the last 12 mins grin although I did find one from january

ThrowAChickenInTheAir Sat 12-Jul-14 10:38:09

I've also never seen gifts opened at the party either. Most dc we've given presents to over many years of parties have been gracious recipients and not in the least grabby or materialistic.

Sorry but I would find being told not to bring a birthday present to a birthday party 1,3 and 4 on the list. It would also make me feel awkward about asking you back to dcs parties because I'd not be putting that request on their invitations.

WeeClype Sat 12-Jul-14 10:38:29

I'd think you were mean but having 4 DC's myself I understand why you don't want a load of stuff that will prob never be played with!

wrap the extra presents up for Christmas

redandyellowbits Sat 12-Jul-14 10:42:42


A friend of mine did this and instead of having a house full of unwanted/ignored gifts at the end of the party they had instead raised over £100 for their chosen charity.

I also feel really uncomfortable about seeing young children being very grabby and, as you say, almost grotesque in thier behaviour when receiving or opening presents.

I think a party should focus on bringing people together to celebrate an important day. Your children won't notice the lack of presents at all.

I think it's a great idea.

creampie Sat 12-Jul-14 10:46:26

I would pick a local attraction and ask for gift vouchers, or charity donations.

People feel awkward turning up empty handed

Theodorous Sat 12-Jul-14 10:50:12

Wow thanks for the advice. You must be so clever to have come up with that. It's Aibu so it is fair game to point out yaw some and smuggery threads.

Nanny0gg Sat 12-Jul-14 10:55:00

On previous threads the overwhelming opinion is that it is not for someone else to decide whether or not a child is given presents for their birthday.

And people feel that they want to give the child something so they bring presents anyway.

ICanSeeTheSun Sat 12-Jul-14 10:55:12

Why does aibu turn into a bitch fest over the weekend.

Theodorous are you MNHQ, do you have the power to move or delete threads. If not then I suggest you read the rules and if you feel the op has broken the rules then report to MN.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 12-Jul-14 10:56:28

You're welcome.

It seems I am certainly cleverer than people who click on threads that they are tried of, only to offer a snide comment, whilst trying not to be snide! grinwink

mustbetimeforacreamtea Sat 12-Jul-14 10:56:53

Never known a party where a child physically able to open their own presents did so at the event. Open them afterwards so you are able to write down what people gave for the thank you letters. There will always be a couple of presents the dc gravitates to so let them play with those. The rest put away to bring out periodically to relieve boredom on rainy days. Failing that regift or use for tombola donations.

Mmmicecream Sat 12-Jul-14 11:02:26

I'm afraid the talk guidelines don't seem to say anything about starting a boring thread that's been done before either

shoofly Sat 12-Jul-14 11:04:06

We had this request recently for a 3 year olds birthday. Birthday child didn't seem bothered in the slightest but my two boys 8 & 3 were totally horrified.

We made 3 shaped biscuits (Nigella recipe) & I made bunting with Happy Birthday and childs name.

Saved burdening them with more molded plastic crap. Biscuits got eaten, bunting hung up and can be put up every year and I've been told the string with his name is now on his bedroom wall. Everyone happy

ArcheryAnnie Sat 12-Jul-14 11:05:15

I'd let people bring presents if they want (don't mention it either way), DO NOT open anything at the party itself, but later at home, when there's a slightly better chance of you being able to match the giver to the present, for thanking purposes afterwards.

My DS got a ton of stuff on his 1st he didn't really need, and which we didn't have room for in our tiny flat. We thanked everyone, and then gave most of it (still boxed and unopened, though with the wrapping paper off!) to a local family refugee project, as it was just before xmas. DS never noticed, being tiny. Everyone was happy.

andsmile Sat 12-Jul-14 11:07:21

i think its a sensible idea OP - ive often thought about this but dont wish to offend. When friends asked what I preferred I was straight about sayign clothes for DD - and she got some lovely lovely clothes.

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