How to say no gifts on a kid's birthday invitation

Written by jasmine haryana
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Because of an overflow of toys and clothing, some parents don't want their child to receive birthday gifts. Careful wording and creative options for guests send the message--without offending--that presents are neither desired nor required at your next child's birthday party.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Say No Gifts on a Kid's Birthday Invitation

  1. 1

    Include a playful pun on your invitations. Write a lighthearted note such as, "Your presence is the only present required!" or "We desire your presence instead of presents."

  2. 2

    Offer those intent on gift giving other options. Request that they offer small donations to a charity of the child's choosing, or suggest any presents be dropped off at the local children's charity. Say: "We are blessed to have all we need. In lieu of gifts, please make a small donation of a toy or funds to the Children's Hospital."

  3. 3

    Allow those who feel uncomfortable appearing without gifts the option to bring a food item. Write a short note in the invitations, stating, "Please bring a potluck item to share instead of gifts."

  4. 4

    Offer a group activity that requires a homemade gift. Put together a child's memory book or posterboards to hold pictures and cards as guests arrive and present it to the child in the guests' presence. Ask each guest to bring a piece of wisdom written down for the child and read them aloud. State in the invitations, "Instead of gifts, we request that you bring a memento to share with Susan on her birthday. No further presents are required."

  5. 5

    Word your request for no gifts with a "thank you" instead of a "please" to accentuate gratitude and grace. Write a statement such as, "No gifts, thank you," instead of "No gifts, please."

Tips and warnings

  • If guests bring gifts, set them aside in a back room so you don't embarrass those who followed the invitation's instructions.
  • Graciously accept any gifts that have been brought to the birthday party. Write thank-you notes for them.
  • Requests of any kind regarding gifts (even the request not to give them) are a breach of formal etiquette.

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