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American Girl Party. We all want fun parties for our kids, and we don’t want to arrive empty-handed at somebody else’s. But, personally, I have a toy room full of toys that my kids don’t play with. Toys eventually break and, because most are non-recyclable, end up in the landfills. This is why I have started insisting that no gifts be brought to my own kids’ birthday parties. It can be tricky to sell your child on this, especially if they are used to getting gifts at their parties. But with a little encouragement you might be surprised as how well it goes over. If you feel more comfortable, let the kids who are coming choose if they would like to bring a small donation to a charity, such as an animal shelter. Why not try it at your next party? Who knows, you might just start a trend in your neighborhood.

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  1. i love this idea, i totally agree – i was at a friend’s 1 year old’s party last weekend and the entire living room floor was covered in gifts and I couldn’t help but think "this one year old has no idea or could care how many gifts he’s getting" and also "where the heck are they going to find the room for all this STUFF!’. I’ve decided to start bringing cash in a card for their education funds!

    Lyndsay    Monday, August 17, 2009
  2. i agree. just this weekend my husband and i cleaned out our kids’ bedrooms and realized how much toys they have and how blessed they are to have these. we talked to them about this and how other children are not as blessed with boxes overflowing with toys. our 9-year old understands and we gave her the choice. our 4-year old another story :-) thanks for the inspiration.

    ann    Monday, August 17, 2009
  3. I agree! My son is only 7 months old but I’m already preparing my family for a "no gifts please" first birthday party. We want their presence, not their presents. :)

    Tegan and Tage    Monday, August 17, 2009
  4. Wonderful idea! My daughter’s birthday is three weeks after Christmas, so you can imagine all the toys she received as an infant and toddler. There were gifts that went unwrapped for weeks after her birthday was over…..she had a thing about opening one gift, then playing with it, then moving on to the next, so it took a very long time!!! Now, at 14, she’s into gift cards from her favorite clothing stores, which is fine by me. Family members still get to send a gift to her, and she gets to buy clothes, etc. that she really likes (she usually saves the gift cards to use on Spring items or Fall/Winter things that have gone on sale). It’s all good! We always recycle her older clothes by donating them to our local Goodwill Center. We do the same thing for DVDs, Video Games, etc. If I had younger children now, I would DEFINITELY do the "no presents" birthday parties. Thanks, Brittany…..

    Karen Wilson, Owner, lillybelle Custom Designs    Monday, August 17, 2009
  5. My son did this for his eighth birthday. He chose Make a Wish as his charity and raised over 250 dollars.

    Heather Toller    Tuesday, August 18, 2009
  6. Great idea! We usually give $, a gift card or something they need (clothes, shoes, etc.). Also, the goody bags full of cheap toys and trinkets, what a waste!

    Amy    Thursday, August 20, 2009
  7. For my daughter’s 8th bday we were inviting lots of friends (~15) and besides not wanting all the junk kids get for presents, it also seemed just rediculous to have so many presents with so many people going without these days. We saw a charity on the Today show called the Pajama Program that raises money to buy new pajamas for kids who are in state custody and awaiting adoption, many of whom have never had a real pair of pajamas before (just sleeping in t-shirts or their clothes). We decided to have each guest bring a new pair of pajamas in their own size to be donated. Some people even brought two pairs of pajamas. We ended up having 22 pajama outfits to donate. We contacted our local chapter, and my daughter presented them with the pajamas. This was a great experience for my daughter and she said it meant much more to her than getting presents at her party. I highly encourage others to try it! You would be surprised at how charitable children can be if given the opportunity!

    Lauren Moulton    Saturday, September 18, 2010

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