Friday, January 31, 2014

Day 1579 - No Gifts Please

Have you ever been to a "no gifts" child's birthday party?

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It's been almost three weeks since his birthday, but Darby's birthday party has finally come around.  He's having a paintball party tomorrow at our local paintball centre.  I had wanted to hold it a couple of weeks ago, but they were unable to accommodate us mid week (require minimum numbers to open the joint) which is why it's taken until now.  So today I will be whipping up a paintball birthday cake and getting prepared for a bunch of extremely excited youngsters who will land on my doorstep tomorrow.


So this paintball things is all new to us (and to most of Darby's friends) because the minimum age is usually 16.  But recently in the ACT they created a Mini Ball arena for kids aged 10-16 years.  It uses different equipment and ammo making it easier and safer for the littlies. This is very exciting stuff for Darby and his mates.

The problem with paintball though, is that it's ridiculously expensive.  You've got to pay for the tickets for each child, then in addition to that you have to purchase the ammunition.  For the mini ball kids that is $25 each which only gives them 45 shots.

45 shots!

These kids will be done within 10 minutes of starting.

So anyway, in order to help with the costs Darby and I decided that perhaps he didn't need birthday presents this year. Perhaps instead the kids could bring money to pay for their own paintballs.  He agreed he had everything he needed in life.  He was happy with this scenario.

So I thought about it.  How would parents respond if I were to have a clause on the invitation that said "instead of giving Darby gifts for his birthday, we ask that you bring $25 for the cost of paintball ammunition".  They do it for weddings all the time.  You know, asking to pay for your meal instead of bringing gifts.  Surely I could get away with it for a kids party too?

Hmmm.

I got a mixed reaction when I mentioned it to people.  Some were shocked and a tad speechless (not sure if it was in a bad "who the hell does she think she is" kind of way or whether they were simply absorbing the information).  Others were like "brilliant", "great idea" and one even said "Thank you!" (apparently she finds it hard to buy gifts for 10 year old boys).

So I was just wondering, do you think I've made a social faux pas?

Is this perhaps already common practise?

Have you ever been to a "no gifts" child's birthday party?


PS I did a dance of joy and relief last night when we received another invite in the mail for a paintball party and that parent had followed my lead.  She too asked for $25 rather than presents.  Maybe I'm not a social pariah after all ... or if I am ... I now have a mate. 

PPS I am off to make a paintball cake.  I am hoping it will look something like this ...


Image Source

14 comments :

  1. We have had 2 no gift parties - one was when my son was in daycare, and we didn't know everyone's financial situation, so didn't want anyone obliged to spend money, and one was when when we were moving house, and didn't want more stuff to pack, and I was really embarrassed because some people gave money (I had meant no gifts at all, I felt they thought I was angling for money).
    My only problem with your plan is you are requiring a certain amount to be spent - if you know the people well, it's fine, if you don't, they may not normally spend that much on a gift, and that could be an issue.

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  2. The paintball party looks fun! My little girl turns 3 on Sunday. I have told everyone NO presents! To be honest, I am over picking up toys. Although daddy bought her a bike, I'm giving her an experience and taking her to a blueberry farm. :) x

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  3. I agree. They do it for weddings, engagement parties evening christening so why not birthday parties. I would welcome not to have and think for a present. Not sure if parents would think $25 is too steep but the ones that want to go will go anyway and celebrate with you

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  4. I would happily pay the $25 rather than getting a gift.
    Hope it turns out to be a great day. Like the look of the cake.

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  5. I like the idea! Am planning a birthday party this year for my boy, and thinking that we ask for no pressies, he already has too much stuff and doesn't need more.

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  6. Dyllan just got an invite in the mail and it if for a no invite party. I think it's a great idea. I'm such a practical person and find it hard to buy presents for other peoples kids because a lot of it I would absolutely hate if someone bought the same for Dyllan. A couple of friends have started doing experience gifts (one gave Dyllan a gift voucher for the local indoor play centre) and they have been great.

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  7. Great idea Leanne, sometimes it's really hard to buy for kids you don't know very well, anyway.
    We actually did this for our wedding and nobody had a problem with it.
    Enjoy the party, and good luck with the cake x

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  8. Who cares if it's a social faux pas! Good on you for being realistic. It wouldn't worry me and it's better than wasting money on toys your son probably has or doesn't want anyway.

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  9. Exactly what Pinky said! Birthday parties are such a political minefield. With having twins I struggle when they both get invited to a birthday party co z I never know whether to take one or two presents!

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  10. Even if it's a social faux pas, it's about time something like this became a trend. Birthday parties are exxy! Even with the "low-key" one I'm trying to organise!
    If you explain it to parents, I'm sure they'll understand.
    Love the cake!

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  11. Maybe those who were against it had already planned on giving your son a present one of their son's got for Xmas and already had one of!!! hee hee. Great idea - I'd SO do that too. xx

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  12. It sounds good in theory.

    However I hate going to weddings that ask for money rather than a present - it sounds greedy, or you don't appreciate the gift people buy because you may not like what they bought.

    Personally I thin]nk if you can't afford to pay (and at $25 /head I can understand why) then you should find another venue, that or reduce to just a few close friends.

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  13. I wouldn't spend $25 on a gift for my child's friend, so I would find it a little steep, but them again, I also think it's a great idea, cause I hate getting something that you think might not ever be used. And it also means you avoid shopping so that's a plus. I think I'm more in favour of the idea than against :)

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