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No Gifts Request for Birthday Party

ChasingButterflies's picture

No Gifts Request for Birthday Party

Mon 5 Jun 2017 8:23am

Hello everyone - my son is turning six next month and we are having a birthday party at home for him. 

We had a party for his brother a couple months ago when he turned three and politely requested no gifts. We have enough toys and books as it is, we don't really have space for more and we're also quite particular about what we allow the boys to have. All they really want is to be surrounded by their friends on their special day. And cake! lol. 

Anyway, all but one guest ignored this and brought gifts because they felt bad not doing so. Sadly, only one gift was kept (bunny handmade by friend and I bought a second one from her for my eldest). Everything else was either unsuitable (e.g. designed for older children, or branded with characters my son didn't know or have an interest in) or we had it already and is therefore in the loft for re-gifting. 

In addition to our above reasons for saying no gifts, our autistic son has delayed play skills and becomes frustrated/anxious resulting in meltdowns easily if, for example, he can not play appropriately with a specific toy. The 'no gift' request is even more important for hm as we really need to monitor what toys he has as we know what he can handle and what he can't.

So my question: how can I word the invitation so people will actually respect our wishes on this matter without feeling guilty about not bringing something to the party and without me coming across as ungrateful? I am honestly delighted that he has some friends - this is a huge gift for him, and having them celebrate his birthday is beyond wonderful. Better than any present. Any ideas would be welcome! 

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  • ChasingButterflies's picture

    Should add - last time we went with 'please no gifts - your presence is present enough'

  • SherpaMum's picture


    i would explain everything you have said above. Say that for your son to have friends is the best present he could have and that presents often cause him anxiety. You want him to enjoy his special day without him being upset. 

    You could always say if they want to give something that they could instead invite him for an afternoon play date, which would make him happy.

    how would you feel about them giving money to go towards something special?  That may be middle ground?

    honesty is the best approach and explain your reasons, so that people understand. If you give alternatives then people won't feel so bad. Presents are a normal part of a party, which is why people think they should take something.

    hope that helps.

  • ChasingButterflies's picture

    Thanks Sherpamum! Your advice is very helpful Smile Will consider a middle ground option also x 


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