Last year, my daughter Olive turned seven. It’d been a few years since she had a party so we teamed up with a classmate who was born on the same day and invited the whole class to the movies. It was easy to organise and not too over the top, except for one thing – inviting every single classmate meant she received 25 presents. Holy moly, when she spread them over her bed to open them she was sick with excitement and I just…felt sick.
Our house was overcome with art and crafts, books, toys and shopkin dolls, SO much stuff. Not only do we not have the space in our house to fit all these gifts, but there was no way a 7-year-old could properly appreciate all of them, so I made a very unpopular decision. I told her she could pick one toy, one book, and one arts and craft activity and everything else would be packed away for a rainy day. Cue sad ‘my mum’s a cow’ face.
I wonder what the reaction would have been if I had followed the new kids party trend of ‘no gifts’. Yes that’s right….no presents. It’s a complete reversal from the recent years where kid’s parties have become a competitive sport. It seems we have hit the kid’s party recession we had to have and are now stripping back to complete minimalism where shock horror – a party is all about hanging out with your guests.
There’s something I really love about this no presents idea and what it would teach my kids but part of me also remembers being 7-years-old and how cool presents were and I’m not sure I’m game enough to scrap the whole present idea. On the weekend my daughter asked if she could take a present from the packed away gifts and when I said yes her face lit up like it was her birthday again. She carefully went through the stash and chose an arts and craft activity which she spent the whole day working on. I felt like she really appreciated that one present, plus she was entertained ALL day, so it was definitely a win win!
If I could do it all again, (oh the beauty of hindsight) I might make the first and second birthday a great opportunity to call ‘no presents’ because let’s be honest the kids have no idea what’s going on anyway. But, now that they are a bit older it feels a little bit cruel, I mean don’t we all love a good pressie on our birthday?
Would you hold a ‘no gifts’ kids birthday?