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Why My Five-Year-Old Had No Toys at His Birthday Party

Parenting a five year old has it’s joys and challenges. We’ve explored what a 5 year old can help with in the kitchen. Today, we’ll cover how a 5 year old can learn to give back. 

What five-year-old doesn’t love toys?

My son is no exception, but he made us burst with pride when he accepted service over self-indulgence for his own birthday.

We actually told other kids not to bring presents.

For my son’s fifth birthday, we wanted to give him a “kids” party but didn’t want to deal with all the toys he didn’t need. He decided it would be okay to forego the toys and ask his friends to bring donations to a local organization, Kids Food Basket. I used to work with KFB back when I taught third grade, and they’ve been providing sack dinners for schoolchildren who might not otherwise have their third square meal of the day for almost 20 years.

The guests at the party brought cards for my son instead, and most of them went all out creating handmade masterpieces.

RELATED: Non Toy Kids Gifts & School Birthday Treats

birthday party opening cards
birthday party sharing cards

I don’t think anyone missed the presents…

birthday party kids have fun

…and yes, most of my son’s friends are girls. He happens to like older women! (Most of my friends happened to have girls that year.)

Aren’t birthday parties mostly about the playtime and the CAKE anyway?

singing happy birthday
blowing out the candles

Those cupcakes are part whole wheat and made with fancy organic sugar…I’ll post about them later along with an incredible giveaway from Wholesome Sweeteners. 🙂

Paul with food to donate

Here’s his birthday “loot”. We took him down to Kids Food Basket to donate the food himself, and we volunteered to help make sandwiches and pack some bags while we were there. It was the best thing I did all week!

This is DEFinitely a “Finer Thing.”  See more at The Finer Things in Life.

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Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

49 thoughts on “Why My Five-Year-Old Had No Toys at His Birthday Party”

  1. I’m years late, but I agree with Chris. I could get my 5 year old son to agree to anything and feel good about it – he is a child and wants to please his parents. But he’s a kid and getting some birthday presents at his party is not going to somehow teach him bad values. I want him to be a kid and enjoy his youth while it lasts. He can still give things to charity and volunteer, and also receive birthday presents and toys. Kids should be allowed to be kids while they have the chance.

  2. Wow, Chris, that was uncalled for. It’s one thing to disagree, but quite another to attack a mom for her personal convictions and desire to instill character into her son. What even brought you here to read the story if you’re so opposed to the things promoted here?

  3. Pingback: Childhood Simplicity “Little House Style” « Practical Pages

  4. Uh, I don’t know how to follow that previous comment, but I’ve been meaning to tell you since you inspired me [I’m still looking forward to doing the messy party next year!]

    We also requested no presents for DS’ 2yr party [he was still overwhelmed 6 months after the Christmas gifts!] We collected 100 pounds of food for the local County Food Bank! As I was sorting and repacking into sturdier giftbags, I was moved by the thoughtfulness of the donations… formula, baby food, and even organics! One guest couldn’t attend, so she sent a $10 grocery gift card. We were also impressed by the homemade cards and “eco-themed” books and other little supplementary toys tucked in with the canned goods. Needless to say, from the grandparents DS received a plastic front loader [with almost as much plastic and screws in the packaging as the actual toy, grrr]. So you win some, you lose some… and then you trade it in a few weeks later to the consignment shop for the next size of shoes or other classic/educational toys [We love our local consignment shop because it gives DS a chance to try the toys and I can see what he’s naturally drawn to].

    Anyway, the generosity of our guests [people we barely knew from daycare and the neighborhood] was more than we expected. At least 4 parents told me in the following weeks how inspired they were to do something similar giving back to the community. That is the best gift of all!

    1. Our “thank you for coming” gifts were handmade felt crayon things, inspired by http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/12/18/felt-crayon-holder/
      I made 2 each of a flower, princess crown, hybrid car, football, goldfish and frog [complete with a tiny bug shaped button!]. I still get thankyou’s from the parents saying how they use them on summer car trips!

    2. Johanna,
      Love, love, love that.

      And you are perhaps going to inspire me, as I talk big talk about hating the junk toys, but I don’t usually trade them in like that. Very, very wise.
      Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  5. SO, glad you weren’t my Mom !
    What a party pooper !
    I’m SURE this comment won’t be shown, but I just wanted to you know that deep down, you probably REALLY made your child a little sad, but he’s just sucking it up, so he doesn’t make YOU feel bad.
    This whole exercise screams….”LOOK AT ME , LOOK AT ME”….Seriously, that was about YOU and your guilt and NOT about what would make your child happy!
    But it made YOU “look good” and self scarficing, didn’t it?
    And the kids at the party looked miserable and the “whole wheat” and whatever, cup cakes..YIKES!
    Tisk, tisk……
    YOU should do YOUR give aways, or whatever and when your little one grows up, they can follow in their footsteps…. IF they choose too !
    My guess is that when your child grows up he’ll let his kids have a GREAT party (with Granny frowning in the corner, no doubt) with loads of fun and yes, silly,(Legos, toy trucks, etc.), brightly wrapped presents with strings and bows, etc., and a big WHITE SUGAR and FLOUR (OH….the “horror”) BIRTHDAY CAKE !
    I really hope someday you can put YOUR self interest aside and let this poor kid have some fun and be a normal kid…not the little freak with the Granola , hippy Mom…NO Wonder your son doesn’t have any male friends…I wouldn’t want my son, hang out with a kid whose parents feel it’s ok to make a quilt ridden, political statement out of their son’s FIFTH birthday party! Poor little guy!
    Again….tisk, tisk and shame on YOU!
    This article just broke my heart…and seeing your looking boy looking at his “gifts” of NAPKINS , etc….broke it even more !
    Damn…grow up Lady….it’s NOT all about YOU !
    Re-read what you wrote…it’s all ” I “, “my”, “we”…ahmmm…wasn’t this suppose your CHILD’S birthday ? Reminds my of those Mom’s who want an at home birth….All they say is “I don’t want to be in the hospital” , “I want to be comfortable” , etc….I,I,I,I,I,I,I,I,I,I,I !
    Maybe next year you can put YOUR self interest aside and let the kid have a REAL birthday…with lots of cheap, crappy, plastic gifts and all !

    PS: Next year, if you agree to let him have a normal party, I’LL even buy a REAL birthday cake (with lot of big, bright frosting ballons…the whole works..MY TREAT …you have my email..I’m good for it)

    1. Wow, Chris. I’m approving your comment because I don’t like the assumption that I would delete something I don’t agree with. Please, however, in future comments, keep the swear words out. I, too, am glad I’m not your mother. I’d be ashamed.

      I’d love you to talk to my son about his birthday party, and particularly about the trip to Kids Food Basket to volunteer, where he absolutely relished the time with both parents and really, truly, glowed with pride as he understood the magnitude of his help. He learned more than he would have by building with Legos, although I have no problem with Legos. More than one child at the party asked their parents if they could do something similar with gifts at their next birthday, and more than one went home saying they “had sooooo much fun!”

      Sometimes, children appreciate simplicity.

      When my son is old enough to respond, perhaps he can write you an email and plan a great birthday party with you. My prayer is that he’ll understand basic Christian values and the quality of his health that all Mom’s food “rules” afforded him and act accordingly.

      Katie

      1. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

        Katie, great reply! As I’m sure you agree, disagreeing with you is no biggy, but doing so with such an attack is just wrong.

        As bloggers, it’s not easy putting ourselves out there, and of course there are always those who will jump down our throats for this or that, but it still stinks!

        Kelly
        .-= Kelly the Kitchen Kop´s last blog ..What’s Ceviche! Wait ‘til you find out! =-.

        1. I think the point of a party like this is that it reminds our children to appreciate the “little things” in life. Letting a child have an extravagant, unnecessary party or Christmas just reinforces the idea that gifts buy happiness and that happiness comes with extravagance and “things”. Not to mention that they make the “things” less enjoyable, because they just breed desire for more “things”.
          At my son’s first birthday party, I requested “no gifts”. I don’t care if anyone thinks I am a scrooge. My invites simply stated “No gifts, thank you, just the pleasure of your company”. And I meant it! Birthday parties should be about family (and/or friends) getting together and having fun! THAT should be the joy of a birthday party (and even better if there are other rewards/”gifts” involved- like the pride in helping others!), NOT presents. The happiness that comes from material gifts is fleeting, but relationships and love are forever. I want my child to know that!!
          We also donated a few of his used toys after Christmas and a few after his birthday. I hope to make this a tradition so that he can learn the *joy of giving* is sometimes greater than the *joy of receiving* when he’s older, and he can choose a few to donate. Sometimes, it’s harder to appreciate things when you have too much. Heck, my toddler forgets about a lot of his toys when he’s overloaded.
          FWIW, I was the oldest of 4 children growing up. By the time I turned 8, we had WAY too many toys in the house. So, for my 8th birthday, my mom did a “no gifts” party for me, and asked that I give each attendant a “gift”. I made “gifts” for all of them. It was so much fun! And, wouldn’t you know, that is the ONLY party I can vividly remember from my childhood. And, according to the photos, my mom threw us extravagant parties on a regular basis! So, I wouldn’t have any guilt over the great party you’ve thrown for your son, you did the right thing
          🙂
          I also want to comment on the healthy cake…a LOT of things we do as parents, our children don’t appreciate. But most of the things they like the least, they will come to realize were our ways of showing them we love them and want the best for them (like healthy foods, discipline, etc)! Sometimes the hardest things to do are the right things to do. Keep up the good work!

          1. Oh, I also want to add that my son is not lacking in material things. His grandmothers and I buy him gifts all year, and I hope that there will be even more enjoyable because they aren’t ever “expected”. I also bake him lots of goodies (whole wheat and low/no sugar, but still!) and we do activities together, so he knows he is loved. He is not wanting 🙂

          2. Aw, thank you, Leah! (my daughter’s name!)

            Excellent point on the healthy food. Good roots doth a strong child make. 🙂 Katie

  6. We do something similar. Starting in preschool, we decided that he has more than enough toys to begin with, so I asked how he would feel about not getting toys from friends for his birthday. He was actually fine with it, although he does get gifts from immediate family, but that’s it. We donate to a group home for foster kids in our area. These are children who have often been taken from their home because they are abused or neglected, and they usually only arrive at the home with nothing but what they brought with them to school the day they are picked up. Since my son’s birthday is in early December, we are able to collect toys that will be given to them at Christmas. Parents are told what we are doing, and I haven’t had too many problems as they can still bring something, but I just collect them and put them in a big bin away from everything, and none of the kids really notice. We collect at my son’s school as well, and this past year we received so many huge bags of items that we had to make several trips to get everything to the foster home.
    .-= Lacie´s last blog ..Meat Free Monday =-.

  7. Every time our children have a birthday party we request on the invitation that in lieu of a gift each guest should please bring a small new toy, school or art supply item, or practical item (like toothbrush, hairbrush, bar soap. etc) for a child the same age and gender as the birthday child. Then we have a bog shoebox on the table wrapped with colorful paper, and the kids all get to put their items into the shoebox (and I have a tub of things I have collected over time so that any child who did not bring an item to share can still put something in). I then save it until November and we donate it to the Operation Christmas Child project run by Samaritan’s Purse, which gives them to children in poverty all over the world. (And I have seen the shoeboxes in an orphanage in India much appreciated!)

    So there is another variation for the party gifts for those who are interested. : )
    .-= Blessed´s last blog ..Recipe: Shera’s Simple and Savory Black Bean Soup =-.

    1. We did this for our foster son’s first birthday with us, which was just a few days shy of a year in our home. OCC promotion had already started at our church and we live in such a small house that more toys were a bigger pain than they were blessing (for us as parents, anyway!). We asked people to simply bring a gift for the shoebox, pack their own and bring it, or write a check to help cover the shipping costs. Hardly anyone cooperated!
      That was two years ago and our son is OBSESSED with toys. His birthday was a few weeks ago and one family that moved to another state sent him a card. He has asked me at least a dozen times what toy they gave him. I can’t think of any other way of saying NONE. They simply sent you a card to wish you happy birthday and NOONE is require to give you a toy for your birthday. This is something we’re trying to overcome and in the future I am using your method of stating that gifts will be donated unwrapped. We do have FUN parties though-we have a hill in our backyard and buy 20 by 50 ft plastic to make a GIANT water slide and the kids have a blast. Some of the parents do to!

      Thanks for letting me share!

      1. Kelly,
        Welcome aboard! Sounds like your son is a normal kid…mine has pushed my buttons with questions like that, too! GREAT party idea…did you see this crazy party I threw? You sound like one who might tackle a messy party yourself! 😉 Katie

  8. Greta @ Mom Living Healthy

    What an inspirational idea and I love how proud he looks in the picture to be donating so many items 🙂 Good for you!
    .-= Greta @ Mom Living Healthy´s last blog ..Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins =-.

  9. I LOVE this! What a beautiful idea. Pure genius! I’m stealing this idea for when I have kids!
    .-= kanmuri´s last blog ..Plasticless life =-.

  10. Starving Student Survivor

    I love this! I read in a magazine a year or two ago about a child who asked his friends to bring school supplies in place of gifts, and the supplies were donated to children in other countries. I will definitely do something like this when my kids are a little bit older.
    .-= Starving Student Survivor´s last blog ..Homecoming! =-.

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  12. Amy @ Finer Things

    What a great party! We have yet to do kids’ birthday parties with anyone but family, but this is a fantastic idea.

  13. We’ve done this every year since my oldest, now 9, was 2. We’ve collected food and toys for an animal shelter, stuffed animals for the fire dept, books for a therapeutic preschool for abused children and for a library in Mississippi after Katrina, as well as food for the local food pantry. In the beginning, we picked a charity based on what the boys loved at the time (books, stuffed animals, animals), but now they choose their own birthday charity. They know other kids get toys at their parties – they’ve been to enough of them – but truthfully, they don’t miss them!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Out of the Mouths of Babes: That Good, Mommy? =-.

  14. We did this for my daughter’s 5th birthday also. We gave our guests’ donations to Right To Play, and had an old fashioned traditional play-themed party. All the kids loved it and my daughter was thrilled to mail the donation off to the charity of her choice. (We gave her a choice of four charities to choose from). My kids have a lot of toys, partly due to the fact that I have a family daycare, and there was nothing she needed or wanted. Plus, in doing a party like this we generated little to no waste and didn’t have to worry about receiving the types of toys we don’t like to buy and would have given away anyway.
    .-= Melodie´s last blog ..Vegetarian Foodie Fridays: Lotus Land Linguine =-.

  15. Great ideas! I love the pet themed party with donations. We’ve done this for my daughter as well. I always have a local charity link on the evite that connects with the theme of the party and encourage them to donate in her name, but include that if they are the type that can’t go to a party without bringing gifts (we have a lot of Southern friends=)), she likes books or art supplies. Then when we open the gifts at home (never at the party!), we decide what we’re going to keep, return, or put into the re-gift box in the closet. Yes, I am shameless! But there are parents out there that do expect the $20 gift and we don’t have the money to give one. So we reach into our regift box, pack it into a cute reused gift bag with matching reused tissue paper and voila! Just keep in mind that you don’t regift to the same person!

    And in regards to grandparents and gift giving, there was a wonderful article on this in Mothering a while back that actually had a template of a letter that you could send to the grandparents stating your convictions and giving them alternative ideas. I found the article, but don’t see the letter: http://www.mothering.com/green-living/no-more-junk-toys-rethinking-childrens-gifts

    Thanks for all the info and ideas!
    .-= melanie´s last blog ..Is there a magnet in his head? =-.

  16. This story seriously made my day! What a great thing to teach your child! I’m sure he’ll grow up with a better sense of service along with not needing all the “stuff” that just clutters our life.

    Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..What are your thoughts about Sunscreen? =-.

  17. so did you & your husband get him a gift, or his only gift was giving to the food bank?

    are you okay w/ donating non real food?

    &, are whole grain goldfish a real food?

    1. Tonya,
      Grandparents and parents totally got him gifts. I’m not THAT crazy and mean! 😉

      I will talk next week on my thoughts on “not real food” …but I’ll say here that it’s pretty complicated!

      re: goldfish – we have them on hand for emergencies only, but there’s MSG in them, which ticks me off.

      1. I don’t think you’re crazy or mean…well, not crazier than me, at least.

        I remember one bday as a preteen where my mom told me she would buy me chaps for riding my horse. She had me fill out the catalog order form & give it to her to order. The chaps never came. She told me they were on back order. A year later, still no chaps. There never were any chaps. 🙁 I’m not sure what made me more sad, not having a bday gift or the realization as the days drug on that my mom had lied to me.

        that experience makes me think that a truly giftless bday would be rather sad for a child. practicality & service are fine, but at least a gift from the parent(s)& grandparent(s).

        1. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

          Tonya, your story is so sad, did you ever ask your Mom about it? Because I just wonder if they never came for some fluke reason and then she really forgot?? I hope??

          Kelly
          .-= Kelly the Kitchen Kop´s last blog ..Natural Pest Control for Apples and More =-.

          1. No I haven’t, but considering this is the first lie I recall of many lies she’s told me, I am not surprised & I do not think it was an oversight. I no longer have a relationship with my mother because I don’t wish to have a pathological liar in my life. Lying is just one of her problems. Substance abuse, partying, mental health issues, losing custody of her youngest child (my bro), etc etc etc. She’s a trainwreck & until she takes responsibility for herself & her actions & acts like an adult, I don’t need her in my life, even if she is my biological parent.

            1. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

              Tonya,

              As you’ve obviously learned, sometimes the most healthy thing is stepping away from a relationship, it’s good that you know where to put up the necessary boundaries.

              All that must be a tough thing to come to terms with, though, and to still try and forgive… You’re super strong, though (I’ve seen your many comments and feel like I know you a little), and God will help, as I’m sure He has already. 🙂

              Kelly
              .-= Kelly the Kitchen Kop´s last blog ..What are your kitchen goals for June? (Plus something gross I have to show you…) =-.

              1. Thank you. Yes, this has given me strength & tenacity. As for forgiveness, that puzzles me. my aunt has asked me to forgive my mom, but I don’t feel as though there is anything to forgive. The ball is in her court & she is the one making the choice that keeps me out of her life. Since I can’t control her actions, her choice doesn’t worry me that much. Act your age & manage your responsibilities & we’re cool. Choose not to, then stay out of my life.

                1. Sustainable Eats

                  Tonya, I am just now reading this thread for the first time – I think we are twins separated at birth! I’ll fill you in on my mother’s story when we meet, very similar, lying, dementia, substance abuse, serial mother putting kids up for adoption or losing custody of some or all of us eventually. I hated birthdays as a kid and still dread them wondering what ways I’ll be disappointed. I can’t think of 1 good birthday memory before I was 19 and out of the house for good.

                  The sad thing is my mother died right after my oldest was born and even though we were estranged I feel a deep hole inside from never forgiving her while she was living. I still have dreams 6 years after her death that I forgive her while she is still alive. It’s a tough thing to regret.
                  .-= Sustainable Eats´s last blog ..Guest Post: Dairy Goats – the Animal Husbandry Side =-.

  18. How cool! Thank you so much to you and the proud five year old. We appreciate your support and the wish list items you brought in. I work here at Kids’ Food Basket and am constantly amazed by all the incredible individuals that participate in our mission; from young to wise and everything in between! Please let your son know how awesome we think he is. Again thank you so much!

  19. My two daughters are adopted and tend to get easily over stimulated.

    So for their 1st b-days with use (turned 4 and 5) we did no gifts. I just told the parents (right on the invite) that and gifts brought would be unopened and donated- and no one brought them.

    I think the charity spin is a great one. I have heard of kids who love animals having their friends bring pet food and stuff that could be donated to a local animal shelter. I think it would be cool to have a pet themed party and then do this- maybe every one brings a favorite stuffed animal to play with.

    I think we will be doing a charity thing this year.

    -jen
    .-= [email protected]reebiesandDeals´s last blog ..Printable Coupon forHUGGIES® Pure & Natural- Save $2.50 (May 2010) =-.

    1. I love the idea of having it pet themed and then having a stuffed animal party! My ds loves his animals. He’s recently been talking about his birthday (coming up in August) and what we were going to do for it. I think I’ll see if this sounds like a good idea (since I already told him no to a big party with lots of presents).

      We stopped doing the big birthday party thing, but he’s being to his friend’s parties so he really wants one. My friend has 4 kiddos and a couple times a year just throws a ‘kid’s party’ so her children can have the excitement of a party without it being tied to a birthday.
      .-= Diana´s last blog ..Thursday Cooking Club ~ Tomato, Avocado and Chevre Toast =-.

  20. I second Stephanie’s question: how’d you get it to work?? My husband and I have tried that several times (“No toys”, “Only useful things”, “Clothes only”, etc.) Every time it’s either been turned against us (thank you, grandparents…), or just been ignored. We were contemplating just skipping parties in general because it was getting out of control!

    Kudos for you for getting it to work! It looks like they all had so much fun! 🙂

    1. Meg,
      I did nothing fancy! This was all I wrote on the half-page printed invite:
      Please bring food for Kids’ Food Basket instead of a gift. Paul would love to open your cards or drawings, though.
      ???

      The other trick? Grandparents came to his “family” party. I never can keep them under control w/buying stuff! 😉

      My friends are all a bit conservative or crunchy, too, so that probably helped.

      Good luck next time!
      🙂 Katie

  21. Jen @ BigBinder

    Katie that is so cool! Your son is a cutie – and a ladies’ man 🙂 What a great lesson for all of those kids.
    .-= Jen @ BigBinder´s last blog ..Well, Michigan Week Isn’t Going To Celebrate Itself, So… =-.

  22. I LOVE THIS and want to do it w/my daughter! FUN.
    .-= oh amanda´s last blog ..Gardening Newbie =-.

  23. Fruitful Harvest

    What a great idea…..we don’t have big birthday parties because with 6 kids we don’t need anymore toys!
    My daughter just turned 5 a few weeks ago…I did through her a tea party…we only invited 5 kids and 4 made it.
    Most bought her paint or marker projects….as she is my buding artist! One gal gave her an outfit with flip flops!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUR LITTLE GUY!

    Peace and Love,
    Georgiann
    .-= Fruitful Harvest´s last blog ..Through Daddy’s Eyes~ =-.

  24. I love this idea. At what point did parties become bring a $20 or more gift? And, the host supplies goodie bags for the kids that come to the party. Is cake & ice cream not enough – why is a goodie bag needed? The bags are such a waste of money for the parents buying the ‘filler’ for the bags & also for the moms like me who ‘disappear’ those treasures into the trash. Really, is it all necessary? Can’t kids just play, celebrate w/ dessert and have fun:) I know a lot of people will disagree with me; but, oh well. I love the fact that people donated for your cause instead of purchasing gifts that were not necessarily needed. Kudos to your son for showing such character in his decision to make that choice:)

    1. Michelle,
      I didn’t do goodie bags, either. Such a non-conformist! Luckily, the kiddos were so young that they haven’t yet been taught to “expect” one. My son went to his first “kids’ party” for a friend the very next week, and on the way home, he asked, “So, if it was my friend’s birthday…why do I get a present?” He gets it! 😉 Katie

    2. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

      Michelle,
      I totally agree and the other thing that irritates me is people throwing huge kids parties every single year. We do it every 5 years or so and then ask everyone to bring one boy or girl gift and then exchange. But I like your idea better, Katie!

      Katie, I won’t blow next week’s story but from our experience helping at God’s Kitchen I’m pretty sure I know what was “almost unethical” for you at Kids Food Basket!! 🙂

      Kelly
      .-= Kelly the Kitchen Kop´s last blog ..Natural Pest Control for Apples and More =-.

  25. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

    I love that! I really hate my kids getting swamped with gifts at their birthday parties. I’m amazed, though… did everyone really obey the “no present” rule? Last year I tried saying in the invite no presents except very small or practical things (some markers, a few hair clips, etc.). No one obeyed me and they all brought regular, expensive, unnecessary presents. How did you communicate it so that the other parents/kids went along with it?
    .-= Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home´s last blog ..Cook More Real Food: Take Inventory of Your Freezer =-.

    1. stephanie-

      I replied below, too- but to make this work (and let people know you mean business) put right on the invite that any gifts will be unopened and given to charity.

      If you have grandmas who are dieing to bring something tell them they can do it at another time- just not at the party.

      -jen
      .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Printable Coupon forHUGGIES® Pure & Natural- Save $2.50 (May 2010) =-.

  26. Katie, I love it! What a wonderful way to teach your son the joy of giving. My daughter’s birthday is very close to Christmas and every year our house is taken over by toys (most of them from Grandma and Grandpa). I may have to steal this idea.

    It looks like everyone had a great time and I love seeing the whole grain Golfish on your table 🙂
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..The one where I close the book on my nonexistent running career =-.

    1. Heather,
      Heh,heh – I didn’t even notice that there. I do keep a few around, as I mentioned in another comment, “for emergencies” if I don’t have homemade crackers made, but also for other kids who simply won’t eat my food. There was a veggie tray and pineapple, too, but guess what was eaten the most?!
      🙂 Katie

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