Birthday party- No gifts

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akhilsam
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Birthday party- No gifts

Post by akhilsam » Thu May 02, 2019 8:40 pm

When someone invites in a not too formal B'day part for kids and mentions "No gifts please".
Is it a good idea to give a gift or it may hurt some other guests who did not bring anything?
Thoughts?

sailaway
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by sailaway » Thu May 02, 2019 8:41 pm

I find it is generally best to do as the host requests.

6Pack
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by 6Pack » Thu May 02, 2019 8:58 pm

Honor the host’s request. It’s their party.

sksbog
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by sksbog » Thu May 02, 2019 9:15 pm

I usually take a gift and keep in car.
Have been to those parties where no gift has no meaning. Seen people still giving gifts and host accepting gifts without hesitation. I usually at that point bring my gift from car.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu May 02, 2019 9:17 pm

:oops:

Do what it says.
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TxAg
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by TxAg » Thu May 02, 2019 9:24 pm

We always ask for no gifts. People bring gifts anyways. The gifts are usually <$20 but I'd rather people save their money or use it for a charity.

runner3081
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by runner3081 » Thu May 02, 2019 10:25 pm

If we asked for no gifts and people didn't follow along, would be pretty frustrated.

If you somehow have to give something - How about waiting a few months and just giving them a random gift at that time?

surfstar
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by surfstar » Thu May 02, 2019 10:49 pm

akhilsam wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 8:40 pm
When someone invites in a not too formal B'day part for kids and mentions "No gifts please".
Is it a good idea to give a gift or it may hurt some other guests who did not bring anything?
Thoughts?
Seems like it would offend the host by not following their wishes, no matter what it does to any other guests.

Donate to a charity instead.

mega317
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by mega317 » Thu May 02, 2019 10:53 pm

I vote no gift. We just had a 4th birthday and were very clear about no gifts. If people wanted to get something they could bring food. We ended up with 3 cakes plus a whole pile of junk we don't want and can't fit in the house. Ugh. If you're the only one who doesn't bring a gift you'll probably be the favorite guest.

Fortunately a 4 year old will put people in their place by telling them exactly what he thinks of the gift.

stoptothink
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by stoptothink » Thu May 02, 2019 11:01 pm

I just had 2 child bday parties in the last month at my home, we requested no gifts. Only attendees who did not honor our request were grandma (both of them). Please, do not bring gifts, they made the request for a reason.

NOLA
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by NOLA » Thu May 02, 2019 11:10 pm

Too much plastic junk out there. About a year ago I started bringing a bottle of wine to the host family! No plastic crap and the parents seem to enjoy it! Now some families bring us wine and these gifts are definitely being used. Circle is complete!

Patzer
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by Patzer » Thu May 02, 2019 11:13 pm

I and most people in my social circle always say no gifts for parties. Even have been to some weddings that said that.
We are all doing well and don't need more stuff.
Also, we don't want it to be a challenge for anyone who might be short on cash.

I usually bring a bottle of wine, since it feels weird to come empty handed.

mega317
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by mega317 » Thu May 02, 2019 11:14 pm

NOLA wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 11:10 pm
Too much plastic junk out there. About a year ago I started bringing a bottle of wine to the host family! No plastic crap and the parents seem to enjoy it! Now some families bring us wine and these gifts are definitely being used. Circle is complete!
There's a good example. You spent money on wine they might not have liked and set up the expectation for reciprocity. No gifts!

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leeks
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by leeks » Thu May 02, 2019 11:30 pm

We say "gifts are not necessary" on our kids birthday invites and yes many people still bring them. But we appreciate those guests that honor our request! So many parents feel overwhelmed by the amount of toys their children have that usually they really mean it when they say they don't want more stuff. But when those that do bring a gift give it to our child, what are we supposed to do? There's no way to reject it really, so of course we are polite and say thank you. That doesn't mean we wanted it, but we don't want to offend guests.

We suggest our guests bring a card or drawing if desired (I don't mean a "gift card" or that there should be money in it, I just mean a greeting card). Often our children's friends will draw something or make a simple crafty thing and those are really perfect for our child to recieve. We hang a string across a wall with clothespins and pin up all the birthday cards and drawings received. Our children love reading them all and keeping those up for a while after their birthdays - and then it can all get recycled.

So I would say a greeting card or small drawing (adults can do that too) is always acceptable if you don't want to be completely empty handed. If you aren't sure whether a gift is really wanted or not, a book is usually a reasonable gift for a child that won't annoy the parents too much. Don't forget to inscribe it with a brief note.

Afty
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by Afty » Thu May 02, 2019 11:43 pm

We say no gifts at our kids' parties and mean it. People still bring gifts though. We’ve also tried having a book exchange (bring a book and take a book). That seems to work better.

Starfish
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by Starfish » Fri May 03, 2019 12:13 am

I am not sure I get it. Is the question about ignoring completely what the host wants?
If they wanted gifts why would they bother to write on the invitation at all?

Shallowpockets
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by Shallowpockets » Fri May 03, 2019 7:43 am

How many times do you ignore a host request? Do you wear jeans when the wedding is "black tie"?
I think your reasoning is that you will feel small if you show up without a gift and other attendees ignore the host and do show up with gifts. So it is not about the party and the host, but about you.
Were I the host, my request for no gifts would be suffixed by saying that all gifts will be refused. How straightforward does one need to be to get a message across? Apparently in this society you would have to be very explicit.

student
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by student » Fri May 03, 2019 7:49 am

sksbog wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 9:15 pm
I usually take a gift and keep in car.
Have been to those parties where no gift has no meaning. Seen people still giving gifts and host accepting gifts without hesitation. I usually at that point bring my gift from car.
Smart.

McDougal
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by McDougal » Fri May 03, 2019 7:52 am

mega317 wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 10:53 pm
If you're the only one who doesn't bring a gift you'll probably be the favorite guest.
+1

Doohop65
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by Doohop65 » Fri May 03, 2019 8:01 am

DW and I have asked for no presents and it is rarely respected. I get it, people feel obligated but we usually end up throwing most of the junk away.

On the flip side we have started buying movie theater gift cards from our church’s script program. They are well liked and easy to conceal should your child be the only one to respect the no gift request. We try to respect wishes but we don’t want to have our children ostracized by friends for being the only outsider.

The gift cards work well, are useful and have had many thanks for not bringing another disposable piece of junk.

onourway
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by onourway » Fri May 03, 2019 8:03 am

Respect the host's wishes.

We say no gifts for our children's parties. Most people oblige I suspect because they feel the same way we do - kids have more stuff than they could ever possibly need today, most likely any party gift will get used for 10-20 minutes before being set aside and cluttering up the house, and what parent wants to go shopping for another kid's birthday anyhow?

anhonymous
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by anhonymous » Fri May 03, 2019 8:04 am

We used to go without gifts honoring the host request. Alas, at the party, everyone still got one and the hosts accepted them.
Especially when it is a drop off my kids came back asking why they did not carry gifts when others did. I now do the "play it by ear" thing and keep one in car just in case. But if someone has a witty way to manage this situation, would be good to know.

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HueyLD
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by HueyLD » Fri May 03, 2019 8:05 am

Shallowpockets wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 7:43 am
How many times do you ignore a host request? Do you wear jeans when the wedding is "black tie"?
I think your reasoning is that you will feel small if you show up without a gift and other attendees ignore the host and do show up with gifts. So it is not about the party and the host, but about you.
Were I the host, my request for no gifts would be suffixed by saying that all gifts will be refused. How straightforward does one need to be to get a message across? Apparently in this society you would have to be very explicit.
Even being very explicit does not work all the time.

There are plenty of people who insist on giving gifts. So, just accept the gifts graciously and let the gifters know that you plan to donate their gifts to charities.

onourway
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by onourway » Fri May 03, 2019 8:07 am

anhonymous wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 8:04 am
We used to go without gifts honoring the host request. Alas, at the party, everyone still got one and the hosts accepted them.
Especially when it is a drop off my kids came back asking why they did not carry gifts when others did. I now do the "play it by ear" thing and keep one in car just in case. But if someone has a witty way to manage this situation, would be good to know.
As a host, I'm not sure there is an elegant way to handle the situation if someone brings a gift, especially as you are descended on by a mass of children wired for a party. Of course they are going to accept it rather than make their guest feel uncomfortable! I just tell our kids when we go to other parties that 'Joey's mom asked that we not bring a gift so we are respecting that.' The birthday kids are generally going to be far too occupied to notice who brings a gift and who doesn't. And it's their parents' responsibility to manage it were they to make a scene.

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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by Shallowpockets » Fri May 03, 2019 8:16 am

anhonymous wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 8:04 am
We used to go without gifts honoring the host request. Alas, at the party, everyone still got one and the hosts accepted them.
Especially when it is a drop off my kids came back asking why they did not carry gifts when others did. I now do the "play it by ear" thing and keep one in car just in case. But if someone has a witty way to manage this situation, would be good to know.
If I were the host, I would put out a large by by the front door. Labeled, GIFTS, GOODWILL.
People do no understand no gifts until they see an action that enforces the meaning clearly. It is the same when the question is one of family/friend gift exchange that no one wants. It takes at least one birthday, Xmas to get the point across. You have to be bold. Sure, it seems like you may be the only one without a gift, but in essence, you create the climate by which others now can unbind themselves from this obligation. You can free them by your actions. Someone needs to take the lead.

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8foot7
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by 8foot7 » Fri May 03, 2019 8:19 am

I say "no gifts" on my kids' invitations to parties because I want people and their children to feel invited to party, not to burden them by having to pick up some meaningless toy at Target on the way to the party. Some people ignore this request and we accept their gift with a grateful heart but honestly we put this on the invitation to signal to our dear friends we want their presence during a celebration, not to obligate them into buying something.

fasteddie911
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by fasteddie911 » Sat May 04, 2019 4:51 am

Not for a kids bday, but I've been the one to ask for no gifts before and found it a bit annoying when people still brought a gift. I've also been to no-gift parties empty-handed only to see other people bringing gifts and it felt awkward, but I wouldn't have done anything differently. I say respect the parents wishes.

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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by RobLyons » Sat May 04, 2019 4:58 am

I would ask if they need us to bring anything.. drinks, snacks, desserts, adult beverages if not frowned upon.. besides that, honor the host's request.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat May 04, 2019 5:14 am

If you don't want gifts, you say "no gifts". If you say "gifts aren't necessary", that's not "no gifts".

I would simply hand back any gift brought.

We had friends bringing wine when they visited. We finally said "we don't drink wine". They stopped.
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by HomeStretch » Sat May 04, 2019 5:38 am

We requested no gifts at child’s birthday party but some attendees brought gifts anyways which made others who didn’t uncomfortable.

The next year we made it known that any gifts received would be donated in December to the local family shelter/transition housing program which always requests donations of new children’s clothes and toys.

This was very well received, others began doing this at their parties as well, and the local program was thrilled with the donations that we (including child) brought in.

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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by BarbBrooklyn » Sat May 04, 2019 6:04 am

Rather than simply say " no gifts", how about requesting a donation to a kid's charity in a nominal amount that you match?
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by JonnyDVM » Sat May 04, 2019 6:22 am

NOLA wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 11:10 pm
Too much plastic junk out there. About a year ago I started bringing a bottle of wine to the host family! No plastic crap and the parents seem to enjoy it! Now some families bring us wine and these gifts are definitely being used. Circle is complete!
Agree. My kids do not need any more cheap plastic garbage. That’s probably what the host feels as well. Wine is appreciated though.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

JediMisty
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by JediMisty » Sat May 04, 2019 6:41 am

At a young age, my son requested that he receive no gifts at his birthday party. When asked, he explained that some of his school friends were in families that it would cause a burden. His friends presence was the gift, he reasoned. Many parents phoned me, frustrated by the invite. I warmly, but firmly insisted. Our school system includes folks of modest means and more upscale homes. The parents who weren't staying for the party double checked at drop off. The whole gift situation hasn't gotten out of control

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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by stoptothink » Sat May 04, 2019 10:19 am

Starfish wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 12:13 am
I am not sure I get it. Is the question about ignoring completely what the host wants?
If they wanted gifts why would they bother to write on the invitation at all?
Because the gifting (and tipping) culture in this country is INSANE. My wife buys pretty much everybody she has ever met gifts for their birthday and Xmas. I hate it because it sets an expectation of reciprocation, and then she is always hurt when these people don't give her useless garbage for her bday or Xmas. I can expect her to be bugged a bit around those two times of year. My MIL is the exact same way.

If someone takes the time to specifically request "no gifts" on the invitation, they really don't want more junk. Especially with kids, 90% of the time it it useless plastic garbage that almost immediately goes in the trash anyway. IMO, it is rude to bring it.

mega317
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by mega317 » Sat May 04, 2019 11:23 am

Notice not one person has responded to say when we ask for no gifts we don't really mean it.
JediMisty wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 6:41 am
Many parents phoned me, frustrated by the invite.
People really called you because they didn't want to be told not to bring a gift??

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leeks
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by leeks » Sat May 04, 2019 11:45 am

It can be hard when your children want to give gifts to their friends, and they observe the everyone else doing it. We often let them draw or make something using materials we already have at home, so it is about being thoughtful and creative but not about spending money.

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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat May 04, 2019 12:15 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 10:19 am
Starfish wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 12:13 am
I am not sure I get it. Is the question about ignoring completely what the host wants?
If they wanted gifts why would they bother to write on the invitation at all?
Because the gifting (and tipping) culture in this country is INSANE. My wife buys pretty much everybody she has ever met gifts for their birthday and Xmas. I hate it because it sets an expectation of reciprocation, and then she is always hurt when these people don't give her useless garbage for her bday or Xmas. I can expect her to be bugged a bit around those two times of year. My MIL is the exact same way.

If someone takes the time to specifically request "no gifts" on the invitation, they really don't want more junk. Especially with kids, 90% of the time it it useless plastic garbage that almost immediately goes in the trash anyway. IMO, it is rude to bring it.
I know someone like your wife and MIL. Went on a vacation with them once. The whole time was about shopping. Shopping for gifts. But since she had to buy EVERYONE a gift it was either expensive, complicated, or cheap junk. She went the cheap junk route. And I mean the cheap junk. For the 5 year old nephew, her aunt, a grandchild, a sister, a grown nephew, on and on. Because she was buying for so many she would buy 2-3 dozen of the same thing. Unfortunately, we had to be a part of the shopping, either actively or waiting, waiting. First day she could have bought it all from the first vendor. But, Noooo, she had to "go back" after viewing things over several days. She was obsessed with the gift giving. Absolutely no realization that a 21 year old nephew might not want a small plastic imitation of the Vatican.
It is a neurosis. It is the same thing with this birthday party scenario.

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DanMahowny
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by DanMahowny » Sat May 04, 2019 1:01 pm

If I specified, "no gifts" and someone brought a gift, that'll be the last party they're invited to, no doubt.
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z91
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by z91 » Sat May 04, 2019 1:42 pm

Last time I went to a party that said no gifts, the other parents brought greeting cards with cash :annoyed

It wasn't clear if they were expecting cash instead of gifts, but those that didn't bring cards felt pretty darn frustrated and offended. Sorry that doesn't help you OP. I'd personally bring nothing though.

stoptothink
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by stoptothink » Sat May 04, 2019 2:37 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 12:15 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 10:19 am
Starfish wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 12:13 am
I am not sure I get it. Is the question about ignoring completely what the host wants?
If they wanted gifts why would they bother to write on the invitation at all?
Because the gifting (and tipping) culture in this country is INSANE. My wife buys pretty much everybody she has ever met gifts for their birthday and Xmas. I hate it because it sets an expectation of reciprocation, and then she is always hurt when these people don't give her useless garbage for her bday or Xmas. I can expect her to be bugged a bit around those two times of year. My MIL is the exact same way.

If someone takes the time to specifically request "no gifts" on the invitation, they really don't want more junk. Especially with kids, 90% of the time it it useless plastic garbage that almost immediately goes in the trash anyway. IMO, it is rude to bring it.
I know someone like your wife and MIL. Went on a vacation with them once. The whole time was about shopping. Shopping for gifts. But since she had to buy EVERYONE a gift it was either expensive, complicated, or cheap junk. She went the cheap junk route. And I mean the cheap junk. For the 5 year old nephew, her aunt, a grandchild, a sister, a grown nephew, on and on. Because she was buying for so many she would buy 2-3 dozen of the same thing. Unfortunately, we had to be a part of the shopping, either actively or waiting, waiting. First day she could have bought it all from the first vendor. But, Noooo, she had to "go back" after viewing things over several days. She was obsessed with the gift giving. Absolutely no realization that a 21 year old nephew might not want a small plastic imitation of the Vatican.
It is a neurosis. It is the same thing with this birthday party scenario.
It was a real problem in our marriage early on since I was earning 3x-4x what she was and I grew up in a family/culture where gifting isn't expected at all, for really any occasions. Her income has quadrupled and now she has a side hustle which we agreed is where all the gifts come from. What she makes is put in a separate account and I don't have a clue how much she earns until tax time. I kid you not, there is a random package in the mail (bought for someone else) at least 3x/week. We can't go to a friend's house or even visit family on vacation without her bringing a bag full of gifts (which I assume, usually get tossed). She really likes to shop and I think part of it is because we are significantly more financially stable than any of our family members or friends. But, we've established some boundaries and she is great about sticking to them so I gave up trying to convince her it's a problem.

She just returned from a work convention in Vegas Friday night. She had to pay for another checked bag because she bought so many random gifts.

fru-gal
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by fru-gal » Sat May 04, 2019 3:39 pm

Around where I live, for birthday parties people suggest if you want to bring a gift, bring stuff the local animal shelter needs, and they point them at a list of the foods, litter, cleaning supplies.

Church Lady
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by Church Lady » Sat May 04, 2019 10:44 pm

Ah, this brings back memories.

MANY DECADES AGO, I received an invitation to a birthday party. It said, "Please, no gifts!"

Immediately my Mom started planning what gift I should bring.

Me: "But Mom, the invitation says no gifts!"

Mom (eyes rolling): "She only wrote that to be polite. Everyone will bring a gift.".

And Mom was right! Every single guest brought a gift. Some spent quite a bit, I'd say. The birthday girl seemed pretty pleased! No gifts were refused!

So my advice is to have your kid bring a gift. You don't want your kid to be embarrassed because everyone else brought a gift.
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

Scotttheking
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Re: Birthday party- No gifts

Post by Scotttheking » Sun May 05, 2019 7:51 am

No gifts means no gifts. People’s inability to respect other’s wishes is sad. For our next event, I’m tempted to put something to the effect of “no gifts. If you want to bring a gift, don’t come. If you bring a gift, you’ll be asked to leave”. But what we’ll end up doing is “any gifts will be for charity X”. For kid’s first birthday party, we asked for donations to an age appropriate charity.

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