No Gifts Please


no giftsI am the parent that puts “No Gifts Please” on my children’s birthday invitations!

My husband and I talked about it at length and how we thought it could cause confusion, strife, and mild trauma. But what it simply came down to is…we have a lot of stuff, and it would be better to have less of it, and VIOLA we did it. We have had two successful “NO GIFT” parties, and let me tell you, we are NEVER going back!

The AHA Moment

Last year, I found myself running around like a mad woman trying to obtain birthday presents, and then I would go to these fabulous Pinterest perfect parties and place said gift that I shelled out “blood, sweat, tears, and money ” next to 20 other gifts! Here’s the thing NO CHILD needs 20 brand new gifts. Even if the gifts are all books, arts & crafts kits, and puzzles (which they are not). NO ONE needs that much stuff!

The Focus Became the Party

I know what you are all thinking… “I could never do that; my child expects gifts.” Our children are not altruistic saints that donate all their toys. They want gifts. They enjoy opening presents. But we explained that they would receive “A GIFT” from us and that the party would be their present as well. And much to my husband’s shock, it worked. The focus truly became the party and not about all the useless plastic that would be added to our already cluttered playroom.

“My family members would never go for these No Gift Shenanigans.”

Well, neither did ours. We are blessed to have two sets of wonderful local grandparents and a pair of fabulously generous aunts. And guess what? They brought gifts. Grandparents and Aunts can do that because that is what they do best; spoil your children. And you know what is better? My girls truly appreciated what they received from them.

Thank You Cards

If you didn’t already think I was the meanest mom ever for doing “No gift” birthdays…wait for it. I still make them write Thank You Cards. I am old school when it comes to the art of a handwritten thank you note, and I truly believe that children need to be taught this important life skill. So, we sit down and write thank you cards to our guests for attending our party. It is actually so much easier because we are thanking our friends for taking their time to spend the day celebrating with us and not thanking them for what they bought mindlessly on Amazon.

Instead of a Gift, Please Donate

I tried that… guess what? The only people that donated were the fabulously generous previously mentioned aunts. Everyone STILL brought a gift. But I do like this idea if people would do it.

When it says, “NO GIFT,” please respect that.

At our first “NO GIFT” birthday party, I received a flurry of text messages…”are you sure?” “Can I bring something small?” If it makes you truly uncomfortable to show up empty-handed, then fine, but I mean it… “NO GIFTS.”

This is also meant to help you.

To my fellow overscheduled parents, do any of you enjoy purchasing all these gifts? I am not talking about buying presents for your beloved nephew or your best friend’s daughter, since you know the perfect doll to get her. I am talking about your kid’s friend from soccer who you meet three times, and now you find yourself driving to Target on the way to My Gym to buy little Johnnie some Star Wars Lego thing because that is what your kid tells you he wants. Have you heard that fewer toys to choose from helps kids play more creatively? It’s incredible what young brains can do when left to their imaginations?

Join me, friends! It’s the way of the future. No gifts for all! What do you think?

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Nikki has called wonderful Fairfield County her home, her entire life. Growing up on a campus of a private school in Greenwich, CT Nikki swore to her educator parents that she would never be a teacher. Well life has a way of repeating itself and now Nikki and her amazingly supportive husband are happily working at a different independent school in Greenwich. A recovering “type a” perfectionist she is learning to let go of her color coding, alphabetizing ways and embrace the mess. Helping her enjoy life’s everyday messes are her two precocious girls Sofie (11/15/11) and Keira (9/7/13). Nikki loves all things mommy cliché including but not limited to walks on the beach, running, reality TV, organizing closets, wine, chocolate and having her kids help her out in the kitchen.


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