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
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
Say No Gifts on a Kid's Birthday Invitation
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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