Gift Giving Alternatives for Birthday Parties


Written by Lisa Kothari From Peppers & Pollywogs

How often have you opened a kid’s party invitation and the host parent has requested No Gifts Please?  It’s happening more and more these days and it often leaves the guests’ parents in an awkward position.  If you don’t bring a gift and do as you are asked, often you arrive to the others all having brought a gift anyway!

Alternatives to Requesting No Gifts at Kids’ Birthday Parties

To relieve the awkwardness of this situation for your guests, use one of these creative ideas as an alternative to requesting No Gifts:

  1. Host a book exchange and organize it in a few different ways:
    • Guests bring a wrapped gift and everyone takes one home.
    • Some open the books on the spot; others wait until the kids have gone home.
    1. Give your child an experience rather than a party. If you allow friends to be invited, let the experience be the celebration, not the stuff.
    2. Hold an inexpensive gift exchange (under $10) so that every child receives a gift.
    3. Request art supplies and donate them to a shelter.
    4. Hobbit Practice - Better to Give than to Receive! Each child receives a gift, although they do not bring one.
    5. Request a donation to a great organization like
    6. Contact a charity that is a favorite and ask for a Wish List, i.e. a list of stuff the organization really needs. As an example, the humane society may need leashes, collars, toys, etc. Request guests bring these items in lieu of birthday gifts to donate and make the wishes come true!
    7. Whatever donations are brought to the party for a favorite charity, have the birthday child deliver the donations to his chosen charity.

    This is a great round-up of ideas that are alternatives to traditional party gifts.  Also, keep in mind if you are concerned about the amount people will spend on a party gift for your child, it is appropriate to write in your invitation, Gifts under $__ would be appreciated.  Putting a price limit guideline on the invitation can help to keep gift-giving budget friendly.

    Happy Gifting ─ or not!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


    Submit a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Web Statistics