Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tradition of No Gifts {Moira Kicking It Off}

Leading up to Moira’s birthday, I thought a lot about presents.
What should we get her?
I kept coming back to one thing – nothing.
No birthday gift.

Scott & I talked about it.
We decided to start a new tradition in our family.
No birthday gifts.

We’ve been trying to lessen the amount of stuff we have around the house.
If we keep getting gifts at every birthday,
even when there is nothing needed or particularly special,
than we are our own worst enemy in the decluttering department.

It takes a lot of stress & pressure off, to eliminate most of the gift giving days.
I like gift giving.  A lot.
But, as our family grows, 
it gets hard for me to keep gift giving what I think it should be.

I feel like my mom did well in teaching us to give thoughtfully.
To plan & be purposed.
To give within your ability, & yet to be generous.
I never felt like gift giving, in my childhood, was a materialistic thing.

Gift giving can be great.
Or not so great.
It can just be motions.
It can be an expectation that puts pressure on the giver.
It can be a waste of money.

Now it seems, as life gets busy
& there are a lot of birthdays & a lot of gifts to give,
gift giving is becoming what I don’t want it to be.

So we are cutting back.
(We will focus on Christmas for the tradition of gift giving.
That’ll give me a whole year to plan for the one day!)

We still celebrate.
We still try to make the birthday person feel special.
We make it their day.
Just not with a new thing to open.

Ways to celebrate without gifts?
·         Birthday person choosing meals
·         Special  cake or treats
·         An outing
·         A celebration place setting for the honored person
(We haven’t done this one yet, but I want to.)
·         Balloons &/or other decorations
·         Party Hats or a birthday crown

How about you?  
How do you make the birthday person feel special & honored?


Stef said...

I'm so glad another family does this stuff besides us!! I get tired of hearing "wow... you guys are so odd. Your kids will think you were SO mean and have horrible birthday memories."
I disagree completely, because without typical gifts, you get very creative, like the ending of this post :)

We do treasure hunt gifts but those are super practical. Ethan got a new toothbrush and his own toothpaste, some wash for the shower, some new undies :) and I think a few other practical things that he needed but were still fun to hunt for and open.
And I don't know about your kids, but ours get tons of gifts from extended family. Not sure they notice the lack of gifts from immediate members.

Moira sure looks like she didn't mind! :)

Stef said...

also, Moira is a blonde version of you and Josh! I can totally see the two of you in her. Since you're brother and sister, not because I'm a sicko :)

Nessa said...

This is the best idea ever! Our daughter's birthday falls so close to Christmas that we didn't get her anything this year. Sounds good to me. I think that special dinners and outings are better than presents anyway.

Charlotte said...

We don't make a big deal about gifts in our family at all. Since extended family give gifts at Christmas, James and I tend to give the kids all one gift, like a nature video they have wanted or a craft they can all do. And birthdays are very low key too. We try not to spend more than $5-10 on a birthday gift. Instead, that person gets to decide what we eat that day and their siblings do little jobs for them all day.

It is smart to make this change early on like you are doing. :-)

Nicola S. said...

Erin, I love the pictures of Moria! I agree with Stef, she looks so much like you and Josh.

As to special birthdays, I let the girls pick out what kind of cake and whatever breakfast, lunch and dinner they want. They pick out the theme for the day and I plan accordingly. We do practical gifts as well. Maybe one or two.

Melissa Joy said...

We do smallish gifts, generally fairly practical (and often homemade, except for this year's birthday, for various reasons). This year he's getting one of those Teach Me Time clocks (and I did pick up a cheap little cubby to put next to his bed for it to sit on so it won't have to be on the floor) and a train for his wooden train set. I also got him a new shirt that has a "3" on it. That's it. Being the oldest kid/cousin though, he doesn't get any hand-me-downs (clothes, toys, etc), and we pretty much never buy things except for Christmas or birthday, so to a certain extent we're in the phase where we've almost *got* to get things at this point. ;)
As far as what we do to make him feel really special though... yep, food is the big one. And doing something particularly fun that day, like going to the park or library or McDonald's playland or something. We also have a tradition of doing a "family party" where we have over the local relatives for food and games and music and playtime.
In fact, you could see pictures of some of this next week, as our boy's #3 is on Monday. :)
Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts here about this. Have fun being creative!

Erin said...

Thanks for all the ideas! I so want to do the practical item gift hunt, Stef! (I love wrapping gifts.)