Birthday invites - Is it rude to ask for specific gift?
Next month is my daughters fifth birthday and we're having a small party for a few of her friends and some of the kids from daycare. I'm really keen to make the party as low waste as possible (I'll share a blog on this closer to the time) and although there are lots of ways I can reduce waste at the party I'm also keen to avoid a lot of gifts that we don't need. We have three young kids so we are already overwhelmed with toys and really want to avoid getting more things just for the sake of it.
While I'm comfortable giving family ideas or asking them for specific presents for the kids I'm not sure how to approach this for her friends. My dilemma is that line between whether it is rude to ask for specific gifts and being grateful for anything given? On the one hand my daughter would be thrilled with any present she was given, however my concern is that often birthday presents are exciting for a few minutes until the next one is opened and they're soon forgotten. If people are spending their hard earned money on my daughter to give a gift I'd really like it to be something that she will enjoy for a long time. This ensures their money isn't wasted and their gift is appreciated and useful.
I know the parents of her friends outside of daycare reasonably well so I'm comfortable having a conversation with them about what kind of gifts she might like. However, with her daycare friends I don't know the parents and so I do feel a little awkward about asking them to her party and being specific about the type of present they might like to get.
I've come to the conclusion that I need to put my awkwardness aside. As a parent I know I always prefer to give a gift that will be useful or something that the child has an interest in so I'm hoping others feel the same. Also if I'm serious about reducing our impact on the environment then sometimes awkward conversations need to be had. I'd be super keen to avoid gifts altogether but my almost five year old would probably be pretty disappointed. I'd also love it if people contributed a small amount towards a larger gift that she really wanted or needed however I'm a bit uneasy about asking for money as a gift. So as a balance I sat down with my daughter and asked her about the things she really wanted for her birthday so that we could make useful suggestions.
Now that the decision is made comes the hard part. How do I convey this message to our guests in a way that doesn't cause offence or sound rude? I've come up with the following message that I've included on the invite. I'm hoping it's the right balance of gratitude for any gift that is given but provides some direction of items that would be really useful.
"Your presence is all we want but if you would like to give a gift Charlotte would love a small plant or art supplies".
I'm giving out the invites next week so we'll see how they are received. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you've dealt with your own kids parties or ones that you've been to where they successfully tackled this situation.