The No-Gift Birthday Party
The No-Gift Birthday Party
By Kerrie McLoughlin
Chances are your kid will attend dozens of birthday parties over the course of the next few years. Instead of worrying about what to buy so many kids, wouldn’t it be great to
skip the gifts?
I’m proposing a radical idea: the No-Gift Birthday Party.
You’ll have a lot less clean-up; parents will thank you,
and the kids will have opportunities that are priceless.
Here are just a few ideas to get you going:
Consider giving a child an experience rather than a particular gift. Try a trip to an indoor or outdoor amusement park, a water park, swimming, indoor ice skating, miniature golf, bowling, or an indoor entertainment destination.
Have a birthday party at the zoo. Then encourage guests to bring a donation for the World WIldlife fund (worldwildlife.org) or the National WIldlife Federation (nwf.org). The kids can pick an animal to adopt. Adoptable animals include: elephants, penguins, tigers, pandas, wolves, harp seals, and great horned owls--to name a few. Kids will love it.
Have a party with the theme of farm animals. Ask guests to bring a donation for the Heifer Organization (heifer.org) which provides animals to needy family in third world countries. Let the kids pick from a gift of goats, pigs, or other animals they find on the website.
Ask guests to bring canned goods for a local food bank to the party. After cake, depending on the ages of the kids, caravan to the food bank so the kids and adults can help out for a couple of hours.
Cook up some fun at a place where kids can cook. Businesses like this often offer birthday parties where kids can make their own pizza or decorate their own little cake.
Have a party at a nature center and suggest donations to it in place of gifts.Jaime Perreca, mom of four, says, “More parents than ever are saying ‘No gifts, please’ and the kids don't even miss them. We went to a party last month at a nature center that asks for donations. Most families put in $10-20. The nature center was SO happy to have our donation.”
Go to a shop where the kids can paint their own pottery creation, which is super fun. Then have cake and ice cream bars.
Have a short and simple party at your house. All the kids can decorate their own mini cake or cupcake with all the fixin’s (colored frostings, sprinkles, candied toppings) after playing a variety of party games.
Throw a party with an animal theme. Shari Fresorger, mom of Hunter, says, “We have had two “no -gift parties” because my son has a December birthday. The first time we did animal-themed Christmas ornaments and donated supplies to the local animal shelter instead of giving gifts. I ended up with a large SUV packed with lots of large bags of dog food, blankets, toys, and even checks to be donated in my son’s name.”
Have a charitable birthday party by asking guests to bring an item from home such as a new book, toy, or donation for a local charity.Your child will love taking donations to a local center that helps those in need.
If the kids are old enough (and you’re brave enough), give a sleep-over a try.The kids can watch a movie, have some pizza, popcorn, cake and ice cream. A shaving-cream fight is always a hit during warmer months. Just keep the numbers small and be ready to supervise all night.
Host a Happy Doll party! Happydoll.org provides dolls and all the materials needed so your guests can decorate a doll for a needy child. Each guest gets a cloth doll and non-toxic pens to design their own unique doll. Each doll has a specific tracking code so you can track where each decorated doll has traveled. Dolls are shipped to needy children throughout the U.S., and throughout the world.