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Families with several kids, is it OK to not give them gifts for birthdays?

I have 6 kids- and make a big deal out of birthday parties. We only invite close friends and family members and there is typically 25-30 people total who show up. I always provide a meal, goody bags for the kids, games, adult beverages (not a ton, but pitchers in the winter parties at pizza place and a couple 6 packs for adults for the summer cookout parties). Anyway, last night my sister said that it's not fair for me to expect people to give my kids a gift on their birthday. I explained that I understand the gifts are usually closer to $10 for each kid, but added that when I attend THEIR childrens parties, I always make sure I spend $25ish on each gift. (My friends and family all have 2-3 kids).
I was actually SHOCKED that she expected my kids to go without gifts because there are 6 of them compared to the typical 2-3 kids in other families. While gifts are never required, it's a common tradition to bring SOMETHING. My que-

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Asked by Anonymous at 2:19 PM on May. 15, 2010 in Just for Fun

Answers (32)
  • If they bring gifts, fantastic. If not, your kids should enjoy the party and company instead. Gifts are nice but should not run a party.

    Answer by Aqua_Jen at 2:22 PM on May. 15, 2010

  • (continued)
    My question is, is it unreasonable to expect a small gift from friends and family members attending a birthday party? I cannot even imagine the disappointment I would feel if *I* were a child and I wasn't given a gift because I have 5 siblings. It simply doesn't make sense to me. It costs more than that to feed friends and family and decorate for the parties.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:22 PM on May. 15, 2010

  • I have 4 kids and do not make a big deal of birthday PARTIES. I DO make a big to-do about a cake (I make it myself, I go all out but not humongous, just really really good and something they'll love) for each one, and we do get them all a gift (we determine how much to spend after Christmas, since their birthdays are from Jan-June). Their grandparents get them a gift (my mom spends more than my MIL, but # of grandkids has a lot to do with that). Even if we do have the occasional party I do not expect a gift from everyone - but then again, the extent of our parties is both sets of parents, my bro's family, and maybe a friend of the birthday child.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:24 PM on May. 15, 2010

  • Aqua- I agree in theory, but etiquette wise I am kind of shocked. I would never show up to someone elses party without at least a small gift, especially after they spend so much time and effort to put a party together. Each party costs $300 or so in food and decor and that's IF we have it at a venue we don't have to rent. I know my friends spend the same amount on their kids parties. I would never show up empty handed and just tell their kid, "oh happy birthday." Birthdays are a very special time of year- afterall, you only get one a year.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:28 PM on May. 15, 2010

  • OMG--THEY SHOULD BRING GIFTS, espically if you buy for their kids, if they can't afford a gift don't go to the party---tell them to say they are sick and or cheap and stay home!!!

    Answer by blue_glass_mama at 2:30 PM on May. 15, 2010

  • My friend has 4 kids one birthday for four months straight. I ALWAYZ bring a gift even if it is just a couple of dollar things from Target. And if i couldn't i would make something for them.

    Answer by lendales_mommi at 2:31 PM on May. 15, 2010

  • Growing up, we always had big birthday parties but we NEVER expected our guests to bring anything. It was just a fun gathering for everyone!

    Answer by Aqua_Jen at 2:32 PM on May. 15, 2010

  • Grrrr........ That makes me angry! I wonder if she realizes how mean she is being to which ever kids birthday party it is?
    I used to throw big parites when my kids (and myself) were younger. Gifts were never an issue, but pulling off big parties are a lot of work and I was tired of doing them.I started giving my kids a choice between having a party or doing something else. They've all chose to do something else for the last few years. We've gone bowling, skating, the waterpark, the zoo, and camping and fishing instead of parties. My kids like it better. They still get gifts from family members and from us so they're not missing anything.
    Just an idea if you want to try it. It's also cheaper then throwing a party so that will leave you more money for gifts too.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:37 PM on May. 15, 2010

  • I don't expect gifts for my kids birthdays. Everyone brings one, but If they didn't I wouldn't care. There are children in third world countries that are starving and living in poverty. My kids have a lot to be thankful for and want for absolutely nothing. I don't place emphasis on material things but rather on spending quality time together in this short life that we have together. I understand where you are coming from, absolutely, but if it were me, I wouldn't care especially if someone doesn't have the money.

    Answer by lowencope at 2:58 PM on May. 15, 2010

  • On my daughters birthday (she is just 3 now) but i always make her a cake and she gets 2-3 gifts from us, and a couple from each grandma. we never make a huge deal. as in renting out a place etc. i do think its unfair to not give your kids a gift just because they're six of them, your sister iswrong in that, howver if she just got them something cheap like say a coupletoys from the dollar store would you be upset?to me it sounds like you;re more upset over the quality of the gifts?. i am expecting twins and i will have 3 kids, and 2 of them will share the same birthday,i dont expect people to get them each something, they can share the gift. i think birthdays are more overrun by gifts then what the actual day is about.

    Answer by mywonderyears at 2:59 PM on May. 15, 2010

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