The Birthday Gift Dilemma: An Alternate Perspective

We have written before about some of the newly fashionable trends in kids’ birthday party gifting, including collaborative websites that let you pool resources for one great gift, and charitable sites that forgo the classic clutter cascade in lieu of something meaningful.

But not all parents are on board with this attempt to upend generations of tradition, and some of their arguments may convince you as well.

This piece dismantles some of the biggest misconceptions about gift-free parties, including the common mythology that guests will try it at all:

“No one goes to a 1-year-old’s birthday party and doesn’t bring a gift,” your wise friend Ellen said at the festivities, as you both stared at the growing pile of wrapped presents . . . . You should have known that a simple request on an emailed invitation would be weak ammunition against the deeply-embedded social etiquette that commands us to bring wrapped presents to a birthday party, not to mention a first one.

There is also the very real possibility that sites which pool money for birthday parties can quickly devolve into a frenzy of one-upmanship which costs everyone and benefits almost nobody, resulting in “a new breed of competition over whose birthday raises the most dough.”

We here at Giggles birthday party HQ still believe that parties can be what you make of them, and that guests can be cajoled into trying something new given a little patience. But the article should stand as a practical warning for parents who think striking out alone will be easy. Not everyone has the, ahem, gift of restraint.