In early March, my son will be turning 8 years old (WTF?!?) -- and of course, we're throwing him a fun birthday party with his friends and classmates at a local indoor amusement center. There will be pizza and cake. And laser tag. And arcade fun. And a decent amount of time spent playing in bounce houses. But you know what there won't be? Gifts.
That's right ... I'm finally breaking down this year and writing, "No gifts, please" on the invitations in addition to the date, time, place, and RSVP stuff.
There are at least three reasons why I've decided celebrating his birthday with his friends is way better than getting a bunch of stuff.
First of all, the kid has enough toys, books, games, DVDs, and the like as it is. Seriously ... you should see our playroom. It's like a damn Toys R' Us up in there. And I'm over it. The last thing he needs is more stuff he'll play with once and promptly forget about to fill it up.
Second, I hate having to deal with writing thank-you notes. Or making him write them. It's not that I don't appreciate the gifts -- it's just such a pain in the ass to sit down and write out the notes, let alone carve out the time it takes to write them in our already hectic schedules. And then if too much time passes in between the party and when we send out the notes, we look like we're ungrateful, which is definitely not the case.
Lastly, I want him to get used to the idea of celebrating special occasions by having fun experiences in lieu of receiving gifts. Memories are worth so much more than material things, so it will do him good to learn that he doesn't need to be opening something to be happy.
The good news is that when I told him we were going to throw him a gift-free party? He looked at me and said, "That's ok, Mom. The gifts aren't that important anyway."
I may not be a perfect parent, but it looks like I must be doing something right. Now let's just hope people actually take me seriously as far as the "no gift" thing goes. If someone shows up with one, it will screw up my whole plan.
Have you had a gift-free party for your child?
Image via ND Strupler/Flickr