To Give Or Not To Give


My daughter is a January birthday.  Every year when we send out her birthday invitations, I am careful to add, “No gifts, please!”  

Frankly, my daughter has all she could ever need, too much in fact.  And add in the fact that her birthday is right after Christmas, well I’m sure you understand my point.  So, I have a confession to make:  A lot of time, I don’t bring gifts to a birthday party.


My daughter will always make a card, and we’ll always thank you for the invitation.  But do you really need me to go spend $15-$20 on something that is really just unnecessary clutter?  Now, don’t think I go super scrooge here! My brother and his family live an hour away, and on my niece’s birthday, I’ll drive up and deliver a bouquet of balloons.  This is something that brings her great joy, and after a week or so, can be thrown away.  And there is one exception. If  I know your child so well, that I know “just the thing” that he/she would love, then yes, I’ll bring a gift.  

My girlfriend, who has 3 kids, however, is the opposite.  She always brings a gift.  Sometimes she’ll bring more than one because more than one of her children have been invited to the party!  She likes to tell me, someone is spending a lot of time and energy (and money) to basically babysit my kids for a few hours.  How could I not bring their kid something to express my gratitude?!  

Well, I understand that, too.  

When my brothers and brothers-in-law ask me, what can we get your kids? I tell them, a day out at the movies, or take her to lunch, just the two of you.  We’ve even gotten an IOU from one brother promising a sleepover.  I love that!  And my daughter talks about the one time Uncle Jack took her to the movies much more than any toy she’s ever received.  I really think that if you want to shower my kids with something, let it be attention and time.  

So what do YOU do about gifts and birthdays?  And how do YOU handle your own kids’ birthday parties?  



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