Till our kids crossed 6, we used to sometimes cringe at their birthday parties.
A poor kid would land up empty handed and our son would ask him "where's my gift?". We'd duck for cover behind the nearest counter while the parent of the poor kid would out-cringe us and go to great lengths to explain that she'd forgotten the gift behind, and would get it when she came to pick her kid up.
93% of these poor parents probably didn't have the time to go pick up something, and were anyway planning to hit the nearest toy shop/book store/supermarket after dropping their kid off (45 minutes late, already).
Now both our kids are older, and they don't say W.M.G. anymore.
I think their eyes still say it, though.
Kids will be kids!
Heck, it's a known fact that adult pupils dilate (indicating joy) when they receive a gift. Everyone loves the idea of a gift (physical or otherwise). Why fight it?
This subject came up in a couple of our discussions on ShareMyCake with friends & parents. People asked "wouldn't it be inappropriate of me to suggest that invitees use ShareMyCake - isn't that a veiled request for a gift?". The answer, quite honestly, is "No".
Provided you do it nicely, of course.
Let's get real. When was the last time you sent your kid empty handed to a birthday?
(sending your kid empty handed and getting a gift later isn't the same as sending your kid 'empty handed'- that's just logistics)
So, considering that almost everyone is anyway going to get a gift, doesn't it make better sense to be pragmatic about it - and make a difference in the process?
Or you can be quiet and end up having Monopoly, Money Play, Cash, Business & Bizness on your toy shelf! Needless to say, except for the Monopoly, the rest will be dumped (or that amazing concept around a non-existent word - 'regifted' to another kid who doesn't want it).
Kinda pointless, don't you think?
Our world is changing...
We're comfortable (at least in some countries) putting up wedding registries - so we don't end up with the Western equivalents of 6 Sumeet mixies (a brand of blender). We call it 'being practical'
We're comfortable putting up wish lists on Amazon and letting people know what they can get us if they ever plan to get us something. It's called 'being pragmatic'
We're comfortable baring our lives on Facebook & Twitter. It's called 'being open'
And we still want to pretend that removing a price tag from a gift makes it 'priceless', and that our kids don't expect a gift (or that our guests won't get one)
Let's be practical/pragmatic/open...and make a difference. That's ShareMyCake's tagline, by the way:
Celebrate | Make a Difference
PS: we wrote about Arya's birthday some weeks ago. Here's the text of the mail we sent his friends / their parents. You might find it helpful.
Many parents said they loved the idea. Many even pre-registered with ShareMyCake.
When ShareMyCake launches, we'll have many such templates you can use to automatically manage your invitations & RSVPs...
Dear [parent of Arya's friend],
Arya will be 9 later this week, on Oct 3rd , 2009
We will be celebrating his birthday at home – the party is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on October 3rd (Saturday). We hope you can send [Arya's friend's name] for this as Arya wants to celebrate his birthday with a few ‘close friends’. Please confirm by replying to this email. A request…
Arya has more toys & books than he can play with & read. So, please don’t feel it necessary to send any gift with [Arya's friend's name]
However, if you absolutely insist on sending something, we’d prefer if you send a nominal amount by cheque (payable to ShareMyCake) or cash. Arya will be having the 1st ever ‘ShareMyCake Birthday’ whereby a portion of the money he receives will go towards helping a social organization of his choice. Arya will use the remaining amount to buy a gift of his choice. By the way, Arya has chosen to support Suyam. More on them and their Montessori school for under-privileged children at http://www.suyam.org/
Curious about ShareMyCake? Considering a similar celebration for your child – where he can ‘Make a Difference’? Please visit www.sharemycake.org . And don’t forget to pre-register and become a fan on FaceBook
Look forward to having [Arya's friend's name] at the party.
Tina & Lux