Third birthday parties can be overwhelming for all involved. We’re all still recovering here from the fun and frenzy of Henry’s birthday weekend.
Unlike the last two years we celebrated this milestone with what is for us a large party. Almost 40 of our friends and their children helped us mark the day with a class of singing and games, including all of us joining in on the hokie pokie, and finished it off with lunch and cupcakes. I chopped a lot of vegetables and fruit the day before and Henry helped me make train cookies as treats for his friends to take home. Yep, I didn’t succumb to loot bag pressure.
While it required more time, energy and dollars than our previous birthday celebrations, I’m very happy that we did a big birthday party.
Why? It was fun! Our son really enjoyed it. So did we. So did our friends (I think).
Simple and small and slow is great but there is also a time and place to go big. All things in moderation – even minimalism.
Many of you had great comments and suggestions when I confessed that I had requested on the invitations that people not bring gifts. Some of you even warned me that people would bring gifts anyways. You were right. A handful of our friends brought sweet and thoughtful gifts for our boy. A few people said they felt weird not bringing a gift. I reassured everyone that whatever their response was it was appreciated.
Is it rude to ask people not to give you gifts?
I’ve had a few emails recently from people already feeling anxious over holiday gift giving and how to manage both their children’s expectations and the generosity of friends and relatives.
First, Kristen had a great post up last week about ways to lower children’s Christmas present expectations. Lots of practical suggestions and tips in her post and the comments section. I’ll have more posts next months on how we are managing holiday giving this year.
Second, I don’t think it’s rude to ask people not to give you gifts. As long as you word it gently I think it is reasonable to ask people not bring gifts on an occasion where it is normal to do so.
It is, however, rude to make people feel awkward or bad about a gift they do or do not give you.
There should be only one response upon receiving a gift: thank you. It’s the same for commenting on a pregnant woman’s appearance. The only appropriate thing to say to a pregnant woman is you look fantastic. Not huge or too small or way bigger than last time.
At the end of the day friends and family are far more important to me than our efforts to have fewer things in the home. Gifts that we don’t need can be easily re-gifted or donated or returned. Hurt feelings aren’t nearly as simple or easy to deal with.
Do you think it is rude to ask for no gifts on an occasion where gifts are usually given?