Has your child been invited to a giftless birthday party? Have you held a giftless party for your kids? Recently the momstown Oakville message board was joining in on the conversation about this new trend. A member was thinking of going this route for her child’s upcoming birthday and was wondering how people felt about it.
For those who haven’t heard about a giftless birthday party, the idea is that invited guests are asked to make a charitable donation instead of bringing a gift. A popular tool to use is Echoage.com where you can make a donation and half of the money goes to a charity of choice and the other half goes towards buying one larger gift for the birthday boy or girl. If not using that tool, you can simply direct people to a charitable organization’s website. Another option is to do a giftless birthday where you don’t ask for donations either but just let guests know that gifts are not necessary.
The overall feedback on the message board was that the concept is a great idea. There are some other references out there that indicate otherwise stating that it is only a privileged family that could even consider doing one in the first place and that people don’t like being told to make a charitable donation that they may not be interested in making. And the final argument against giftless birthday parties is along the lines of just letting kids be kids and opening presents on their birthday.
I do like the idea of less stuff overall and speaking from experience, it can be hard to choose a gift for a child you don’t know all that well (a friend from daycare or kindergarten) and I don’t want to add to someone else’s clutter. But on the other side of the coin, people who say “my 2 year old wanted to do it this way” don’t have me convinced. A 6 or 7 year old? Maybe. At the early age of two though, that child is already being directed towards giving back to others and you can’t fault parents for that.
In my opinion, if you are invited to a birthday party, you should support whatever way the family has chosen to celebrate (unless maybe they are asking you to join them in for a quick trip to Paris at your expense!) I certainly don’t think its a bad thing to educate children about philanthropy, empathy towards others and being kind. The world could use more of that, always.
This is the first year we are doing a ‘real’ birthday party for my son, inviting friends from his daycare and having it outside of our home. Up until this year it has just been a family affair. I didn’t make this party a giftless party but I can see doing something different for next year more along those lines as I already feel like his party is quite a big affair and will probably tone it back next year. Interestingly enough, a few moms on the message board said they had done a party where they invited their kid’s whole class and both could agree that they would never do that again! Perhaps the giftless party trend (the overall message being less is more) will also lead us back towards simpler and smaller parties like when I was a kid where you play the ‘pass the present’ game and eat homemade birthday cake (hopefully with a few quarters baked in it)!
What are your thoughts on a giftless party?