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Unique and Meaningful Ways to Skip Gifts at Your Childs Birthday Party

Unique and Meaningful Ways to Skip Gifts at Your Childs Birthday Party

I know, I know, it’s near heresy to suggest not having gifts at your child’s birthday party.

Don’t even let her see you reading this article.

But let’s get real, who enjoys the gift part of a birthday party?

When you get an invite to a child’s birthday party, is figuring out what to get the child that he’ll actually use and doesn’t already have, and finding time to go purchase it, ever high on your list of things to do?

When you’re the party giver, is figuring out what to do with all those gifts, at least half of which your child will play with once, at most, ever a fun and satisfying task?

Both the giving and the receiving of gifts at a child’s birthday party are a hassle, if we’ll just allow ourselves to be honest for a minute.

Yes, I hear your objection, “But the gifts are the thing my child looks forward to more than anything on his birthday!”

We certainly don’t want to ruin Johnny’s birthday and set him up for a life of therapy to get over your selfish decisions.

But again, let’s be real.

How many gifts does Johnny get each year that he’s not really interested in?

And even out of those that seem “cool,” after one month or even one week, how many of them is he still playing with?

Fact is, what he really wants is usually purchased for him by you or other family members or close friends.

So let’s at least seriously consider going with some version of a “your presence is the present” at your child’s next birthday party.

How to Talk to Your Child About Going the “No Gifts” Route

You may want to begin this delicate conversation by reassuring your child that you (and other family/friends) will be getting your child gifts for her birthday.

How it goes from there will depend somewhat on your child’s age and maturity level.

Focus on the positive, the fun things you are going to do for your child’s party, like letting her invite her favorite character from!

Talk to her about the overflowing number of toys she has in her room or toy room, and the fact that your gifts will in fact add to that collection.

Ask her if she remembers what she got for her birthday last year, and where those things are now.

Depending on who her guests will be and how well you know each family, talk to her about the possibility that gifting may be a burden on some of the families, and how you don’t want to put an additional pressure on the family by making them feel like they have to bring a gift.

If she's old enough to be a fan of the recent royal wedding, remind her that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose seven of their favorite charities and asked guests to make a donation to one of these rather than sending a gift.

And in the spirit of keeping things positive, let her help you come up with an alternative to gifting that can be more fun than a straight “no gifts, please” party.

Ideas That Still Have Your Guest Bringing a Gift

We’re all in the habit of bringing something to a birthday party, and despite the drawbacks to this that we’ve discussed, giving and receiving is fun and does teach kids lessons about grace and kindness.

If you want your guests to still show up with something in hand, consider these options:

- Have each guest bring a pet related item from a list of needs your local shelter likely has and have your child deliver the donations to the shelter.

- Have a book exchange and ask each child to bring a new or used book they’ve enjoyed and do a swap at the party. This way everyone goes home with a gift and you can ditch those cheesy gift bags.

- Ask everyone to bring a box of cereal and take the donations up to the local food pantry.

- Find an organization that helps kids in need and ask each child to bring a used item to donate to this organization. Ask that the child put some thought into what another child might really enjoy or benefit from.

This can open a really meaningful discussion at home or even at the party about how grateful we should be for what we have and how good it feels to help kids who don’t have as much.

If you go the donation route, make a thing out of having your child take the lead in delivering the donations.

Take pictures and include one with your thank you note to the party guests.

You can also spend five minutes at the party talking about what the charity does that specifically helps people or animals, showing the children pictures if you can, so that they get a true sense of how their actions are making a difference.

“Giftless” Donation Ideas

If your child wants to have something in common with the royal family, or if you want to go the part donation, part gift route, consider setting your party up through one of the online services that takes all of the work out of it.

Basically how these services work is that each guest donates online to a charity you have chosen from those available on the website, and the company then takes care of delivering the money you’ve collected to the charity.

These sites are nice because you set everything up right on the website, from designing and delivering the invitations explaining the process, to collecting the money, to getting it to the charity.

These services also provide for your child to keep some of the money, and receive his share in a gift card that allows him to purchase what he wants.

At Kids Can Give Too, the child automatically receives 50% of the donations, and the charity gets the other 50% (with a 10% fee going to the website).

At Echoage, the default split is 50/50, but you can adjust it up to giving the charity 100% of the donations if you want.

The obvious advantage of this is the charitable contribution, but it also helps avoid amassing a room full of worthless $20 toys.

This is a nice option if, for example, your child wants a new bike.

On the invitation you can say Sally’s been wanting this new bike and you can all help her get it while also donating to this awesome charity.

Throw a Party that Doesn’t Need Gifts

Yes, there are social lessons that come with the gift-giving ritual.

But an even more important lesson is showing your children that life is about creating magical experiences not accumulating more things.

The experience will always leave your child with more long-term satisfaction than any gift could.

Start making her party an experience she’ll never forget by letting handle all the entertainment.

With over 200 characters to choose from, your child will have a memorable experience simply choosing which one(s) to invite as her special guest.

We also have the extras to make your child’s party the most talked about event of the year such as cotton candy, vending machines, balloon twisting and face painting.

Simply head over to and choose the right package for your child’s big day. We guarantee to deliver a show that will make gifts the farthest thing from your child’s mind.

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