Parenting Tips Why I banned presents at my kids' birthday parties

Published on May 24th, 2014 | by Bright Kids Books

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Why I banned presents at my kids’ birthday parties

Alison Bradshaw  |  Essential Kids

Three of my four children have birthdays very close together so “birthday week” is usually a fiesta of presents, parties and treats.

This year their birthdays fell in the school holidays and as we were going to be away, I deluded myself into believing I could get away with no parties. The boys had other ideas and were so earnest and enthusiastic in their pleadings that I couldn’t refuse, especially the petitions of the soon-to-be-six year old who hasn’t yet had a party for his whole class. I finally capitulated on the proviso that I would give them a budget and they would have to plan and organise the party themselves. I naively assumed that the burden of organisation would prove a disincentive and they would content themselves instead to celebrating with fish and chips on a beach during our camping trip. I was still delusional. Within an hour of the challenge being set, to their credit, the computer savvy five and nine year olds had found a jumping castle that could be hired for 24 hours, leaving enough money in their budget for food and balloons. They had devised a plan for one party each – three parties at staggered intervals in one day – and each created their own menu, made and printed invitations and even prepared a shopping list. I had been outwitted by my three enterprising sons and had no choice but to acquiesce.

I made only one tiny adjustment to their plans – a caveat on the invitations; “Strictly no cards or gifts please. Just come along and enjoy the fun.”

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