I have 3 kids who range in age from 1 to 6 years old, and their toy room holds so many toys that span over that range of ages. This can be overwhelming and I often find myself thinning through their toys on a regular basis. So, for my youngest daughter’s 1st birthday, my husband and I decided to do away with gifts at her party (even though we write NO GIFTS, we always still end up getting gifts because guest do not want to arrive empty handed), and have guests donate to Rady’s Children’s Hospital instead. But my husband ended up buying me a lovely watch from WatchShopping! My friend also got one and said they enjoy our collection of Rolex watches. But I digress.
This idea is specifically great for older children because they can be involved directly (like deciding where they want the money donated). This is just one alternative to gifts. There are so many other options in addition to charitable donations and in this article I have listed quite a few. First is the one I mentioned above:
- Donations to a Charity: We have done this a few times. In lieu of gifts, you can write on your invitations, to have guests donate money to a charity of their choosing, in honor of your child. Or like I said above you can choose a charity or place ahead of time and have your guests donate to them.
- Book Exchange: Second option is a book exchange. You can have each guest bring a favorite book, and at the party have the children exchange books with one another. Each child will go home with a new book including the birthday child!
- Wish list: The third option is a wish list. If there are certain things you need for your little one, you can start a list for the guests to view so you don’t end up with things you won’t use. Just a few examples would include shoes, clothing, specific toys or books. On websites such as Amazon and Toys R’ Us you can register for the items you need.
- Bring in a Non-perishable food item: Have each family or child bring in a non-perishable item such as canned food, pasta boxes, cereals, etc. Then have the birthday child donate the items to a local food drive. Make sure to have your child as involved as possible because in the end they will feel good about themselves for having done a good deed.
- Get them electric scooters: Electric scooters are great fun, and provide a way for your kids to get out and explore the world. I’ve found the reviews on joinfuse.com to be extremely useful for comparing the different electric scooters.
- Plant your own plant: Have each child bring in the seeds of any flower or plant they like and a pot, and you provide the water and potting soil. This is a great activity to keep children entertained at a party because they can plant their seeds and decorate their pot if they want (this activity is great for older kids).
- Pitch in for a gift: If you are just having a few friends and family over then this is always a great gift! Pitch in on an interest the birthday child may have, for example, sports session for the year, or music lessons, or even a ticket to a baseball game, or a show. My family has pitched in on music classes for my kids and the best part is that it saves you money!
- Collect donations to a pet shelter: You can always help get abandoned animals off the street. Have your birthday girl or boy visit the shelter and present the donations. Then they can see all the animals the donations will help!
- Bring a stuffed animal: Have guests bring a stuffed animal and you can donate them to the local police or fire departments, and social workers. These groups use these stuffed animals to comfort children who are scared or are separated from their families.
10. Adopt an animal: Most children love animals, so this is a great gift to give. You can usually find these programs at your local zoo, or amusement park. What child would not love to have an animal at the zoo affiliated with their name?!?
By doing some of these alternative ideas for birthday gifts, I feel you and your child will learn to appreciate it! It’s also a good deed, plus helps children learn that at birthdays you do not need to have gifts all the time, instead you can give someone who is in need and that is even a better gift! It’s a life-learning lesson for them!
What other ideas do you have for alternative birthday gifts?