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Gifts for Kids

How to Ask for Specific Gifts at a Child's Birthday

Published April 03, 2013        by Sarah

Image by Tammy McGary on FlickrHaving a birthday party can be overwhelming. You not only have to spend weeks planning the party and hours decorating and preparing, but then you have to worry about the kids birthday gifts individuals bring as well. Whether you already have plenty of clothes, too many toys, or a house filled with books, it would be nice to request specific gifts be brought to your child’s party. Some parents suggest money or savings bonds only. Others just need gifts that fall into a single category like clothes for the child. While asking for certain gifts may seem a little rude, there is a polite way to make certain your child only receives the perfect gifts this year.

Option 1: Charity Donations

Many parents opt to ask their guests make a donation to charity instead of actually giving a kids gift, and this is looked on as perfectly acceptable by party-goers and manners experts alike. You’d rather guests spend their money on something more than a simple gift for your child, so be bold on the invitation itself. You can simply say something like “We’ve been so blessed in the past four years. We’d love for you to attend the party, but instead of bringing a gift this year, please donate your money to the March of Dimes. A worthy organization, they need the gift far more than Anna does.” Your guests are likely to think this is a wonderful idea.

Option 2: Create a Registry

From Amazon wish lists to Toys R Us registries to free online services, there are lots of options out there to help you create a registry for your child. This is the perfect way to let people know what your child actually wants without coming straight out and asking party-goers to buy a specific gift. People will learn exactly what you’re looking for this year, whether it's clothes or learning toys, and you get the bonus of not having your house filled with plastic junk that won’t last a week after the party. It can also be fairly easy to inform guests about this option. Just include a note on the invitation like "Check out Shannon’s gift list at [URL of wishlist]."

Option 3: Just Ask

It’s also increasingly acceptable to simply ask for certain kinds of gifts at the party. For example, maybe your little one has plenty of clothes and toys, but he really needs books. Simply put something like “We’re having a books-only party for Chase. Instead of a traditional party gift, please bring a book to start Chase’s personal library.” The key with simply asking is to word things appropriately so that no one gets offended.

Remember, even if you ask that certain gifts be given to your child, you’re probably going to have a party guest who ignores your request and brings something entirely different. If that’s the case, be grateful and gracious, and take the opportunity to teach your child something about receiving gifts well instead of just asking for the ones they want the most.