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No more toys please! childs birthday party invitations

(17 Posts)
bacon Wed 07-Oct-09 14:18:04

Lets face it our children have enough tat and for my sons 4th birthday he is having his first party. How do I go about on the invitations stating that really we dont need anymore plastic crap (probably get enough from grandparents etc). I have no idea how to word it? Its nice for him to receive gifts but vouchers/clothes much more appealing. Dont get me wrong he'll have lovely tractors etc from us but no more bits that have been shipped half way across the world to be eventually binned...anyone done this, whats wrong with savings??

paranoidmother Wed 07-Oct-09 14:37:25

I think you'll find that a lot of parents might take their dc's shopping for your ds's present so it's more that the kids like to find something, wrap it up and give the present.

How about choosing a theme or a suggestion of what type if things he might like.

How about saying he really enjoys wooden trains and swimming at the moment, if you put that on the invite people may look towards both of those for inspiration. Is there anything that he collects that you could suggest?

It might be worth speaking to the parents in a one to one situation and explaining that if they wanted to give a present that you are trying to cut back on plastic presents, you might find some don't mind but some might take offence.

ttcagain Wed 07-Oct-09 14:40:56

i buy clothes now
i do agree with you waste of money plastic tat
some friends write 'sophie would really love a scooter £5 donation towards her savings would be great'

daisydancer Wed 07-Oct-09 15:26:04

Really difficult. I find any directing of how I should spend my money in relation to friends' children's birthday presents really, really annoying. However, I find the plastic rubbish we receive as presents almost as annoying. A dilemma.

I know someone who sensitively suggested they didn't want any plastic gifts in the interests of the environment. I found the fact she was trying to guide the gift giving irritating but went along with it of course. We arrived at her house to discover a huge array of platic garden play equipment. Even more annoying.

I've come to the conclusion that I shall smile sweetly and comply with with instructions regarding gift giving on other people's invitations but won't issue instructions myself until my DSs are old enough not to miss receiving gifts from friends. At this point it would be nice if they could choose a charity to support where friends can make annonymous donations into a box as they arrive at the party if they wish.

Until that point I shall put up with the plastic rubbish and will continue to teach my children about the joy of giving a gift you have chosen and about the grace required to receive gifts sensitively that you don't neccessarily want!

daisydancer Wed 07-Oct-09 15:27:35

Spelling apologies! Just received a ball in the back from DS1 and was shocked into posting without checking!

peanutbutterkid Wed 07-Oct-09 18:46:15

You run a big risk of appearing to be a precious snob.

What about putting a positive spin on it:
ie, if books are okay by you:
"Jared is trying hard to build up his book collection, so book-related gifts would be the most appreciated"

Else, on the basis that no matter what some people will ignore your request, and some will be offended, just go for explicit and blunt:

"Please no plastic toys, but Marissa would love vouchers, cash or items made from natural materials"

Miggsie Wed 07-Oct-09 18:48:46

There is also a website where you can get people to donate in your child's name to a chosen cause rather than buy presents. I can't remember the name of it unfortunately!

It's like a wedding list, but for a birthday and you get a certificate saying how much you raised for the charity you chose.

crokky Wed 07-Oct-09 18:54:05

I don't think you can specify without upsetting some people for various reasons.

The most ethical and polite thing to do (IMO) is to not specify anything, accept everything given with thanks and then donate anything unwanted to christmas present appeals for children who are not going to get a christmas present otherwise. I'm sure my local church collects up stuff like this.

My DS is 3.6 - if he was one of the invitees, he would love to attend the party and would enjoy giving a present (and enjoy helping me wrap it as well).

Hulababy Wed 07-Oct-09 18:57:40

I would hate to get a party invite for DD that asked for vouchers. DD loves going and actually chosing a present for her friends.

And wheher we as parents like it or not children actually quite like the plastic tat they get from parties!

The vouchers and clothes are probably more appealing to you - but honestly, will they be to your little one?

Hulababy Wed 07-Oct-09 18:59:12

Also bear in mind that really no reference to presents should go out with any invite. It is not polite to hint that any form of present is expected when inviting people.

The request for a specific present ought to only come if someone asks you for ideas.

bacon Thu 08-Oct-09 10:48:29

I totally agree with you Hulababy that presents shouldnt be expected and I'm one who is fed up with the present culture - ie gift lists for baby showers, for birth, for christening etc etc. But I was trying to be a bit ethical and hate the thought of my toys that my child does not need or want we've become such a consumer generation where toys are no longer given at special times but are bought at the supermarket on a quick shop (I have done this!) and by the time you've got home it thrown in the back of the car and forgotten about. Isnt it a fact that children only have a handful of favorite toys and the rest are cast aside? Mass produced in China probably child labour used somewhere along the time...shipped across the world (god knows the pollution) and sold so cheap, it seems ok to just chunk it out if its not wanted.

I may have come across snobbish when I say plastic toys but what I mean is any toy really (especially more cuddly toys). By the time he receives gifts off us, grandparents and other relations isnt this enough????

I wouldnt be bothered if he didnt get presents just enjoyed himself but its not about me its my sons natural expectations.

I dont think he is old enough to stipulate a hobby or interest yet, which is a great idea peanutbutterkid, probably when 8 yrs plus.

Charity idea is great but my experience people dont give.

I think on this occassion I'm just going to have to keep my mouth shut.

Fennel Thu 08-Oct-09 13:26:36

We tried suggesting no presents (when dd1 was 2 and had a big party) but people brought them anyway, but what worked better was asking for "small presents only". e.g. dd3 was 5 this year and had a party with a friend, most of the guests knew them both so we put "small presents only please as it's a joint party".

it may be officially bad form to hint on the invitation about presents but in reality everyone expects to give presents at a child's birthday party, there's no getting round it.

i do know one child whose mother insisted on no presents and each person put a stick and a stone into a basket, saying what they appreciated about the 4yo as they went. not sure the 4yo really got the point though.

Bucharest Thu 08-Oct-09 13:32:13

I've handed out the invites today for dd's party, and although I know I'm going to be inundated with pink plastic come Tuesday, I'm afraid for a 6yr old's sensibilities I wouldn't dream of having it any other way...Luckily, at least one big group of Mums are now putting together for one big present (so I get one ginormous piece of pink plastic tat) If you feel you can ask for vouchers, then go ahead....but I do think some people might think it cheeky....(unless they specifically ask- one Mum came up to me today and said "I like to buy useful presents, not toys" but dd would be miffed to glory if she opened presents and there were "boring" clothes inside. (I also remember the disappointment at getting squashy birthday presents with clothes inside)

You could maybe hint at books? (dd would love books, but everyone here (Italy) thinks books are boring....shock

You could always ebay them and buy something more worthy afterwards?

CocoK Thu 08-Oct-09 13:45:39

It's really tricky - I couldn't bring myself to put anything on the invites re. presents we don't want, although I really wanted to. It just feels rude.

But when people asked I gave some concrete suggestions, ie. arts and crafts, diving sticks, their child's favourite book.

I try not to spend more than £5 on a child's present, which has been a challenge as friends sometimes spend around £15 on us. But we just can't afford it and it seems like such a waste to shower children who have everything with even more expensive, unwanted stuff. So I'm hoping they'll slowly follow suit in terms of what they give us.

As for plastic tat - I cunningly confiscated a few highly unsuitable/unwanted (by me) presents last time. There were so many it went completely unnoticed. I recycled some as presents to other children we don't know very well (naughty, I know, but hey! they might like the plastic battery operated chain saw with sound effects) and sold others on Amazon/eBay and put the cash towards things the kids really need.

If you feel bad doing this, you can always donate stuff to charity or a refuge/children's hospice - that way something good comes out of it eventually for somebody, somewhere.

overthemill Tue 20-Oct-09 12:43:30

i'm late to this thread but thought i'd add my bit. in the past i've found one mum would go around all the others and collect a small amount eg £3 and put it all together and tehn buy one present from all invitees. worked well but she was a bit smug!

also my sil always asks for cash (max of £3) on the invite - saying that x would really love to go to the toy shop and choose something for himself. that worked for her too
good luck, we have over 100 cuddly toys and oodles of polly pocket.....

allaboutme Tue 20-Oct-09 13:01:07

Problem is that if there are a lot of parties at school then it is cheaper for parents to buy something plastic that the child will love than it is to buy something tasteful, ethical etc
If someone said 'vouchers or ethical, non plastic presents only' on an invitation I would end up spending a lot more than I would otherwise, which would be a pain as I cant really afford to!

SCARYspicemonster Tue 20-Oct-09 13:06:42

I think you either say no presents or put up with plastic tat. It's nice to buy books but often I've bought them one they've already got whereas you can never have too many fire engineswink

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