Sunday, September 4, 2011

Presents and Presence

I have thought about writing this post for a long time, but know it will bring out the negative comments, but after hearing Mini K and another little girl talking at the playground today I knew this post would be a reality.

I know many people have stopped sending out paper invitations for kid's ( and frankly any non-milestone birthdays), but it seems the new trend is to state NO GIFTS on the evite, email, etc.

Well, Mini K is 5, she will turn 6 right after Christmas and is joined in that week with my husband. My husband grew up thinking birthdays weren't special...his usually got lost in the bustle of getting out of town for New Year's and to this day can't really remember having a party with more than just family until he went to college. When we found out Mini K would be born in that same week, he had one demand: birthdays are special and are NOT to be combined with Christmas. I agreed.

I grew up thinking birthdays lasted a month and as an adult love to plan birthdays for my kids, my friends and yes even myself. For me it stems from one thing: CANCER. I grew up with a mom that had cancer, and is going through a round of radiation for yet another cancer right now. Birthdays were NOT a given and each year should be celebrated.

Celebrate and presents do not mean the same thing, but of course kids LOVE presents. I would also guess that most parents love a little surprise too....maybe it's a bonus at work, an unexpected gift from their husband, or flowers for no particular reason.

This brings me to the playground. Mini K was swinging and a girl we didn't know got on the swing next to her. She had a birthday party yesterday and proudly announced she just turned 4. Mini K immediately said Happy Birthday, what kind of cake did you have? Remember, Mini K dreams of going to camp at Food Network! The girl said she had cupcakes, but her party was ok. When Mini K asked her why just ok, the little girl said her best friend had told her that she wanted to give her a gift, but her mother wouldn't let her take it to the party, because she didn't want the other moms to get mad since they were supposed to bring gifts.


Here is my unsolicited opinion. If I get an invite to a party, I do NOT feel obligated to bring a gift. I personally think stating no gifts on the invite, means you were expecting one UNLESS you put that on the invite. I bring a gift, because it is a celebration. You, as the host, have gone to a lot of work, effort and expense to make the day special, for yourself, a child, etc and occaisions are worthy of remembering and celebrating. I CHOOSE to bring a gift, because if you matter enough to me, my child, that we want to come to your party, we want to celebrate you!

If you still desire to request NO GIFTS, here are some wording options:

Your presence is the perfect present!

Instead of presents, please plan on leaving with a piece of cake!

I also make Mini K write EVERYONE who comes to her party a thank you note, regardless of if they bring a gift or not, because they made an effort to celebrate with her and that in and of itself is a gift! Years down the road, she will realize this fully.

Here is the thing: a gift does NOT mean spending a ton of money! So here are some of my favorites to give, that won't cost more than $10-15, all of these I put in a cello bag (Michael's sells them and your purchase is 25% off through tomorrow) and tie with a big bow or curling ribbon, LOTS of ribbon as Mini K says.

For A Baby Boy or Girl:
A personalized sippy cup from etsy.
Card Note: Oh What Fun, INSERT NAME is ONE!

For Little Girl
A multi pack of Lip Smackers, opened with 3-5 ring pops. All of these tied in a cello bag and trust me, you will have a happy little girl.
Card Note: Thanks for Letting Me Ring In Your Birthday With You!

For Little Boy
A plastic sand pail, I stock up when they are $1 at CVS or Target, and I will it with a container of gummy worms in a small cell bag, some sidewalk chalk, a pair of wild shoe laces.
Card Note: I really DIG your birthday!

For Tween Girl
Hair ties (look for our new ones coming to the SHOP!), lip gloss (pick your favorite brand, or Justice has some mood changing colors), a nail file, and some fun bubble gum.
Card Note: I filed this day away, hope is shimmers! Happy Birthday

For Tween Boy
Target gift coin. Let me tell you, it doesn't matter how much it is worth, put the coin, in a bag, with cello and tie it with a ribbon and it will be the talk of the party. Presentation is everything.
Card Note: Treasure this year! Happy Birthday!

Grown Male Friend
This takes time, not money. Get matchbooks from all of their favorite bars, retaurants, etc, put them in a mason jar with a lid. Take the time to write them a note about your favorite night out with them or why they are special. If you want to add something else to it, tie a gift card to the jar, but trust me the thought of all of the matchbooks and a sincere note is priceless.
Card Note: Strike a match to another great year!

Grown Girl Friend
So many of my girl friends, don't splurge for themselves so think about what you don't buy yourself. I usually will go to Ulta and stock up on etsy when they are on sale. I do the same thing at CVS for when hair elastics are on sale. I get a couple boxes of their favorite movie candy (they are on sale this week at Target for $1 each!), a couple of Essie polishes, some ponytail holders all in a bag with ribbon and it has never failed.
Card Note: I am so thankful for a friend that I can hang out with and know I won't be judged! If you want to add a giftcard for movie tickets you can.

I promise the next time I give these gifts I will post photos!

I am not judging people who send out the NO GIFTS PLEASE, but know that Mini K's favorite part of going to a party is picking out the present and helping me wrap it.

I have also seen some invites worded that

1 comment:

M said...

I agree with you 100%, K.

I've noticed that "no presents" has become all the rage with parents these days. While I understand (and even applaud) the sentiment, I think that it places an unreasonable demand on their children. Presents shouldn't be the main emphasis of a party, but, when purchased and accepted graciously, they certainly bring pleasure to both the guest of honor and the participants.

Also, I'm all for letting kids be kids...