Before I go any further with this I’ll give my disclaimer. To each their own and you can go on with your bad self if you disagree. I ain’t mad at cha!
This past year as we were preparing for my son and daughter’s 3rd and 5th birthdays, I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to do a “no gifts” party. Let me add that we combine their birthday parties in January because my daughter is about 12 days shy of Christmas and my son is less than 6 weeks after Christmas. So the hustle of the holidays adds to the madness. He responded like all husbands do with the “sure honey whatever you think is best,” reply. I for sure thought he’d come back at me telling me that I was robbing my kids of their childhood, just like when I told him I didn’t allow the kids to eat any fast food (story for another day) but he didn’t.
I decided to talk with him further, even though I received his blessing making sure that I wasn’t the “crazy mom.” After a good conversation weighing out our reasons why, we came to a few conclusions that left us feeling more than satisfied with our decision and some hopes for our kids as we shared with them this idea…
- Find the “gift” in time with a friend.
We want our kids to foster and appreciate friendships that will last them throughout their lifetime. Sure friends may come and go, but learning to genuinely appreciate time with someone special is a valuable lesson we want our kids to know.
- Find value in giving instead of receiving.
We want our kids to value giving to others first. Opening our home, sharing our food, laughter, smiles, and all the messy things in between. We’d like our kids to see the invitation to our home to celebrate as a gift in itself. That we value that persons friendship so much that we genuinely want to spend the day with them.
- Memories can’t be bought.
We would like our children to find value in the memory over the stuff. Yes, I know gadgets and toys and all those “things” are nice. They occupy the kids and teach them so many things. BUT we can’t buy memories that can be made with friends and family. We can’t buy the smiles and laughter while taking our friends bowling, swimming in the pool, playing a game of pickup baseball in the backyard, or just running around playing pretend until dark. This one stuck with me the most because I can think back on my childhood birthdays and not once can I recall a special gift. I can however recall that party where my friends showed up in frilly dresses, we had a piñata, and in the middle of April it started to blizzard like crazy. And then another time when we went bowling, or the time we got locked in a freezer at McDonald’s for their famous birthday tour. We want our kids to remember the memories because those gifts are priceless.
Now don’t get me wrong…we (mom & dad) bought each child a few gifts for their birthdays. We also knew that grandparents and some friends would end up buying gifts anyways. We truly wanted to set the tone for our kids and our birthday guests that gifts were NOT necessary or required. Rather their gift was their time spent with us at the birthday party.
And if you’re wondering what we did for their birthday, it was a repeat of the year before because the kids had so much fun. A giant bounce house setup in our yard with homemade food and ice cream cake to top everything off!!!