Oh JoyOh Joy

let's discuss: presents at kids' birthday parties...

Oh Joy! Gifts

I'm about to say something you might not agree with. I don't believe in kids getting presents at birthday parties. Eeeek...do you hate me? It's not that I don't LOVE giving presents (I do). And I will give a present to every birthday my kids are invited to unless they tell me not to. And it's not that I don't think kids should get something special for their birthday (I do). But, I have had a really hard time recently with the excess of presents that a kid gets at a birthday party. If you invite 10-30 kids to your birthday party, your child then gets 10-30 gifts. That's more gifts than they probably get for the holidays.

In my almost 7 years of of being a mom and throwing a birthday party every year for my kids, we have only accepted gifts once. Ruby turned 3 and we invited 5 friends to her party. I was 37 weeks pregnant, and I wanted to her to have a little party just for her before her world was about to be turned upside down by a little sister. So, I let her have 5 presents from 5 friends plus the couple presents we gave her as parents. 

I know not everyone has the means to buy birthday presents. My problem with gifts is for kids who already have plenty. They often have no appreciation for each gift when they get so many at one time. ONE gift or even a couple can feel SO special to them. But when they have 30, they go into hyper toy mode, hyperventilating to open them all back-to-back with no time spent appreciating each one.

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So what's a better solution? I can't say this is for everyone, but for every other party I have thrown my kids we have asked for "no gifts" OR book donations that we donate to children in need. The book donation has been my favorite because it satisfies a guest's desire to bring something, but the gift is going to other children who need the books more than my kids do. Plus, I get my kids involved in taking the books to the donation center and get them excited about seeing how many we collected to give. Last year, we collected over 100 at their joint birthday party because everyone ended up bringing more than one book!

Maybe you have a better way of handling a mass amount of presents or feel more sane about it then I do! I have some friends who hide some of the birthday gifts and bring them out at different times during the year. Or some friends let their kids keep a few and donate the rest. How do you guys handle gifts at birthdays? Do you accept them or not? 

P.S. I asked this question (before I knew my own feelings on it) six years ago as I was approaching Ruby's first birthday. It's interesting to see how my feelings have solidified since then.

{Photos by Casey Brodley}

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