Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Better to Give Than to Receive...

...especially when your house is overflowing with stuff!

I need your help. Olivia's 5th birthday is coming up and I bet her relatives are going to start asking me for gift requests/suggestions. She has a lot of "stuff" and doesn't need any more. Some of it was cheaply made and broke quickly. A lot of it she just doesn't play with or use. I'd like to avoid these kinds of gifts.

I've got a few ideas but could use more. We like to go to the zoo, so I thought a zoo pass would make a good suggestion. If we had museums around here, passes to those would be nice, too. We've got a library card. I should find out what plays and/or musicals are coming up at our college and community theaters. Maybe ask for tickets to those?

Olivia loves to get mail. She has a subscription to Ranger Rick, but I thought about suggesting subscriptions to other children's magazines. When we get through with them we can donate them to the library or give them to another child (like my niece!).

Other ideas? I can't stop my family from bringing gifts, but maybe I can give them some carefully chosen ideas so we don't amass any more junk.


  1. Those are great ideas!
    How about a gift cert for going to a local paint pottery/ceramic place to paint something together.
    Here in Waco, we have "practically picasso." It's really popular & they fire your piece after it is painted.

    Another idea, as you suggested, is to encourage her to "gift" her unwanted goodies. Before her big day, give her a box that she can fill with the unwanted things. Once it is filled, allow her to wrap it like she would a present but with recycled newspaper or brown bags. Then allow her to creatively decorate the outside of the box with hand prints, letters, numbers, anything. On to the next box & so on.

    Computer games that are used for learning are always perfect. She'll love that & they don't take up much space. I know my nieces are think they are just playing a video game but turns out they are learning. At 3yo & 4yo, they can add, subtract, count, etc. They love playing! Amazon has reviews of books & I'm sure they will have reviews for games so that you can make an educated choice as to what is best for her.

  2. I love these suggestions! One of the things we do (we have "no present" birthdays) is to take donations for a local food pantry or shelter, and then the kids help take them up there. It really gives everyone a good feel to be helping out, and then the whole "gift giving" ritual is still in place ;)

    Another thing is to allow handmade gifts only ~ things that are easily recycled, composted, or even kept as artwork and such. This can even be built into the birthday party itself, as kids - and parents! - can enjoy the first half of the party crafting gifts for the birthday girl with stuff you provide, or they bring, like egg cartons, newspaper, and all kinds of "leftovers". :)