A new birthday party trend aims to remove one of those to-dos from the festive equation.
Some parents are opting for no-gift parties from a very early age for a bunch of reasons.
Perhaps they’re hoping to remove the sometimes transactional nature of celebrations. Or save other parents the trouble of shelling out for a present. Many are simply keen to stop the clutter-y flow of unwanted or unneeded toys into their home (hello Marie Kondo!)
Melanie Okadigwe is one such parent. Melanie recently told the New York Post that her daughter didn’t need anything, and that’s why she threw her little girl a play centre party … without presents.
“We just have a lot of stuff,” she said, noting that Twyla – who is two years old – “wasn’t playing with a lot of toys” yet anyway.
Switching it up
While some “no gifts please” parties are simply that – a fun party with no prezzies required, others switch the gifts out for other things.
Donations to favourite charities or money (a la the famous Fiver Party) are other substitutes.
Melanie was in the charity-helping camp, requesting no gifts and suggesting two non-profits that her family were keen to support, should party guests choose to make a donation.
That said, apparently, only a quarter of guests complied with this request. The rest turned up with the usual party gifts.
It’s hard to know if this was because they were very pro-present or simply too busy to read the invitation properly. According to Melanie, it was the former.
“Some people told me that they gave to charity, too,” Melanie said. “But they just felt like they couldn’t come without bringing something. They’d be like, ‘We just couldn’t help it!’ ”
“It was really dramatic”
Another mum who opted for the no-gift party said other parents were actually pretty angry about it. They accused her of depriving her daughter of what was rightfully hers.
“It was really dramatic!” mum Dori Kavanagh said. “I couldn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t be like, ‘That’s amazing, totally no problem,’ but it caused a lot of friction.”
“I think people don’t like being told what to do,” she theorised.