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Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

"No gifts, please" on birthday invite




We recently received a birthday party invitation that included a plea of "No gifts, please, your presence is present enough." I was delighted, but a friend of mine who got the same invitation thought it was rude. She also thinks gift registries are rude because that's like begging for a gift, so she thinks the opposite is also true. A gift is voluntary and to even make a plea for or against them is rude, she maintains.

I just do not agree. I have tried and failed to have no gifts at our birthday parties. My point of view is that my son's birthday comes only a few months after Christmas, and he wanted to invite his whole preschool class to a park or something and I'm fine with inviting everyone. But then I envision 15 presents from those kids, plus the ones from my parents and the aunts and it's just overwhelming and feels grotesquely out of order. The kid has everything he needs, why not just have a day where we can play, have some cake, play some games and the parents don't have to feel obligated to come with a gift?

A friend of mine tried a "No gifts" invite when her son was 3 and was ignored by most of the party goers. The few that respected her wishes felt bad. So at my son's 5th birthday, I suggested "instead of a gift, please bring a donation of books or art supplies that will be donated to the United Way day care center." That worked because some people brought both a gift and a donation, but the folks that honored my request didn't feel bad.

I really hope my kids don't end up the materialistic sort. My son loved bringing that big bunch of art supplies to the day care center, and they made a big deal about what a nice kid he was. That was the best present of all.

-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:03am]


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