Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No Birthday Gifts, Please

I was reading the comments on this post, and it struck me as amusing that some people literally get offended at the thought of parents asking a child not to bring presents to a birthday party. My theory is either the invited child's parent wants to bring a gift because s/he (1) doesn't want to come empty handed, or (2) wants to go shopping. If it's the first, bring something that's useful or biodegradable. I'm thinking a donation to something, a savings bond (ya, I said it), or a small but really thoughtful gift. If it's the latter, get over it. You probably need to shop less in general, anyway.

I'm defensive about this because I intend to request "no presents" for MetaToddler's birthdays. Why is it so unreasonable to ask for no presents at a kid's party? The party isn't about the presents, it's an occasion to celebrate and have fun with friends. We went to a birthday party last weekend at a park, and we didn't sit around watching the birthday boy open his presents. Would that have been more fun for him and the other toddlers than running around and eating cake?

I think we need to remember the intention of the birthday party. And we need to remind our kids that life isn't about getting stuff. I don't know how successful we'll be at that because after all, we do have our materialistic tendencies. I love my computer, Tivo and stand mixer. MetaDaddy loves all things geeky, including his family ;-)

But I digress. Personally, I don't want presents for his birthday because:
  1. He has enough toys to keep him happy
  2. I'm rather particular about the toys he plays with (first time mommy). That is, has the manufacturer had recalls on other toys? Is the toy plastic? Does it ding, bing, and make all sorts of other unpleasant musical sounds?
  3. Cheap plastic toys just end up in a landfill. That makes me sad.
Is that so wrong? Before you answer that, remember that I'm a Virgo.