When my daughter had her 7th birthday party I was overwhelmed by the gifts. Not wanting to leave anyone out, we decided to invite the entire class, but as a consequence the amount of presents she received was out of control. After the guests had gone and we were left with this mountain of presents, I felt ill. I let my daughter pick three presents – one book, one art and craft activity, and one toy and packed all the rest away. I then let her pick one present each weekend to play with and this way I felt like each and every gift was appreciated.
Some parents are now choosing to use gift registries to curb the overwhelming gift giving for their kids’ birthday parties, so that guests can contribute to a bigger or more meaningful present like a holiday or school fees. Parents can now register their children and their birthday gift wish list on an app called Purposit, whereby guests can contribute cash to “channel the money that friends might spend on unnecessary gifts towards something more useful.”
Now, I’ve got my head around gift registries for weddings and baby showers but there is something that doesn’t sit right with having them for kids’ birthday parties. The idea of not wasting money is fantastic and I love the concept of contibuting to something bigger and more useful rather then toys that might never be played with… but what are we teaching our kids? That gifts are a transaction from the outset and that gift giving is about getting what you want rather than receiving.
I love watching my kids buying presents for their friends. When my daughter was younger she would buy what she liked for her friends but as she gets older I can see her think about what that person might really like. Kids parties have got so seriously over the top it’s scary. From invites to decorations to themes, every party gets bigger and better. I have been totally guilty of this as well, but as my kids have grown older I’ve come to realise what I really want from their birthday parties is for them to feel loved by spending time with those that love them. I would rather ban presents all together than teach my children to dictate to their friends what they can buy for them.
If someone asks me what my child would like for their birthday I’m more than happy to give them a point in the right direction, but I won’t be setting my children up a profile on a gift giving app anytime soon. I want them to appreciate what their family and friends choose for them. It’s an incredible feeling when someone cares about you and they spend time and effort to choose a gift you really love. I want my kids to know what that feels like.
Would you consider a gift register for your kids party ?