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Do you expect gifts if you throw a birthday party for your child?

One of the main reasons I avoid sending my kids to birthday parties...the whole expectation of gifts. It just seems so wrong to EXPECT guests to bring a gift. I don't usually throw birthday parties for my kids but when I do I invite my friends and their kids and make sure they know that gifts are NOT expected but always appreciated. I make sure my kids know that they may not get gifts from everyone, nor should they expect it...the presence of their friends is gift enough for them.
They have never expected to gifts from anyone--friends or family. They don't even expect them from us, but they appreciate them.


Asked by justanotherjen at 8:21 AM on Feb. 10, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (23)
  • I couldn't agree more! For the past couple b-day's I have been stating on the invitations that "gifts are not necessary". My kids have everything under the sun, what they don't get is to have all of their classmates come and celebrate the day with them. I think the "party" means more than the gifts.

    Answer by busybee68 at 8:40 AM on Feb. 10, 2009

  • Do I expect guests to bring gifts to birthday parties for my sons? No.

    Do I expect that they will bring gifts? Yes. It's what people do.

    Two different things.

    If guests bring a gift, great. If they don't bring one, great. Who cares? It's up to the guest...their money. Raising kids to not expect gifts, appreciating gifts when they are given is great! That's the way it should be in my book.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 10:48 AM on Feb. 10, 2009

  • Yes, I expect that people will brings gifts to a birthday party.


    Answer by Wimsey at 8:41 AM on Feb. 10, 2009

  • I swear to you every year I have said no gifts please and people STILL bring gifts! My DD's B-day is so close to X-mas that she already got everything her little heart could possibly imagine and then some. How do I make people NOT bring gifts??

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:41 AM on Feb. 10, 2009

  • I expect gifts for a child's birthday party. I think it would be rude to go to another child's birthday party and not bring a gift. It doesn't have to be anything big, but a little something. Gifts are part of a birthday, IMO.

    Answer by kboney29 at 8:55 AM on Feb. 10, 2009

  • I guess that's the difference. I don't think gifts are important. I make sure my kids know they may not get gifts each year. One year all they got were 2 books from us. We make a big deal about their day. We take them out to eat (their choice where we go), they get to pick the movie we watch and don't have to do chores all day. But gifts...they don't expect them. When my son turned 5 he got a $1 football, 6 army men (for about $5) and some kind of truck. It was all we could afford, We took him to Red Robin for lunch and that was it. He said it was the best birthday ever. He had more fun spending the day outside playing football with his sisters and the neighbor girl then getting gifts.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 9:07 AM on Feb. 10, 2009

  • If I am in the habit of bringing a gift to a party - why wouldn't I expect a gift in return?

    Your question was not "Are you raising your children to expect gifts..." - it was "Do you expect gifts...". Totally different.

    I think it's just the last sentence that got to me - when I read it, it seemed very defensive. The "gift" from a parent may be time, may be special day without chores, may be a sheet of stickers, may be a pony - to each their own. The birthday you had at the Red Robin sounds great - so why does it sound like you're putting it down because it's "all you could afford"? Spending wildly on birthdays is not good parenting !

    So - your children DO expects gifts on their birthday - the gift of a totally fun meal, a day w/out chores....see what I'm saying?


    Answer by Wimsey at 9:41 AM on Feb. 10, 2009

  • That's why my kids don't go to b-day parties. We do a little family party, me, the kids, and their grandparents. They get 3 gifts, one from me and their brother, one from their grandparents, and one from their great-grandparents. The gifts cost $20 each, max. They get a birthday dinner, at home, they pick what they want to eat. They get a cake, either an ice cream cake or one of their choice that I bake and decorate for them. No chores, and to stay up a little late. They enjoy the time spent with family and the dinner and cake more than the gifts. They feel they shouldn't have to take a gift to the party, b/c they understand what I've tried to teach them, that the gift is not what the day is about, like Christmas. But, I've also had to teach them that even though the gift is not what's important, it's bad manners not to take one (b/c everyone expects it), and right now, we don't have the extra $ to buy gifts for other people.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 10:23 AM on Feb. 10, 2009

  • My daughter's birthday is in January, so I sent out invites that told everyone please to not bring gifts and not to feel guilty about it because the kids had too many toys. She still got three or four presents from guests who felt they should bring one.

    If we go to a party, we definitely take a gift because I feel it would be rude not to. It doesn't have to be anything expensive. I think a $5 gift is perfectly fine, but I feel I should take one to someone else's party unless they ask us not to.

    I went to a cool birthday party last year. It was a book exchange for all the guests. Everyone brought a book and exchanged with someone else. I thought that was a great idea!

    Answer by flowrchild77 at 10:33 AM on Feb. 10, 2009

  • I do expect a gift for my children. We often do themed parties and I put alot of work into it. Not necessairly spending alot. There is always games and a craft to do, related to the theme. I will put a craft and a treat into the loot bags. I think it's fun and exciting for the kids to get and open new gifts. I don't think that it needs to be an expensive gift, it's truly the thought that counts! Ofcourse if there is a child that isn't able to bring something I don't care so long as they all have fun together.

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 10:55 AM on Feb. 10, 2009