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Old 03-06-2007, 07:28 PM   #1
Katherine
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Birthday party etiquette

Okay, I need to brush up on my etiquette for the birthday parties of small children. I want to know - should I give a gift in this instance? One of the little boys at dd's sitter has just turned one. I work with his father and all his older sister's clothes have been handed down to my dd, which is a great help to us. DD was not invited to any party or anything, but, lo and behold, I discover a party favor baggie in her diaper bag this morning - put there the day before. Uh, what should I do? I asked the siiter today and she said they just put them in everyone's bags...of course, there wasn't a polite way for me to ask if everyone else got him presents...fwiw, we've never exchanged gifts before with their family on birthdays...

Of course, now I'm all insecure on this subject and realizing I know nothing about b-day etiquette - is it common now to GIVE gift bags to guests at children's parties? At what age do parties start? As in, dd is turning 2 this summer and I've toyed w/ the idea of inviting all her "baby friends" over for a party - is this done, or is it a bit early? How does one politely say "no gifts, please" in an invite...beyond the obvious, of course, which I am afraid presupposes the idea of a gift and is, therefore, rude? Do you send thank you notes after your kid has been to another kid's party to say thanks for a good time... any other stuff I've missed?

Sorry to sound so crazy, but I never had to deal with this as a kid - none of my friends could afford big parties, so party etiquette was never an issue. *sigh*

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Old 03-06-2007, 07:32 PM   #2
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Re: Birthday party etiquette

Ugh...first I would say that you should not be expected to give the kid a gift if you were not invited to the party.

As for the age that the parties start....I guess thats up to you. My twins just turned 4 and we have always had dh and I's friends and their kids. They all got the twins gifts (even though I wrote on the invite "no gifts please") I did discover that I should have let them pick out a couple of their own preschool friends (oops...didn't realize they were old enough for that). Since then I have been to like 10 preschool parties. The gifts we buy are equivalent to $10 from each invited kid ($10 if only one twin attends, $20 if both).
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Old 03-06-2007, 07:33 PM   #3
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Re: Birthday party etiquette

I did a joint birthday party with a little girl my dd age for here 2 birthday. We just had cake and ice cream and let the kids play on the toys in the back yard. We did give a little dollar toy for the kids to take with them as a "gift bag". I think next time I will wait untill ds is 3 or older since it was almost to much for dd. JMO
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Old 03-06-2007, 08:27 PM   #4
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Re: Birthday party etiquette

We just had a party for DD's 1st b-day. We invited all of our close friends and their kids as well as some family and other people important in DD's life (nanny, friends of the family who take special interest in her)--some of my co-workers too, whom have children (tho they're all infants.)
Now, I'm a event planner as a hobby and my MIL used to own a catering company, so parties are our deal. I worked on her party for months--I made nearly all of the decorations by hand and enlisted lots of WAHMs to make games, favors, etc. I made the party very earth-friendly and crunchy, if you will.
We served mini foods (mini organic turkey burgers, a fruit bouquet, organic fruit juice boxes, flower-shaped chix salad sandwiches, etc.)
I made favors for the kids to suit their age level--mushroom tic-tac-toe for the eldest, mushroom color match for the toddlers and playsilks for the babies.
Again, party planning makes me happy (except for those last few nights leading up to it) and DD got her naps in at the right times and had a ball playing w/ her friends. THe other kids enjoyed playing outside--that was really the point--to set groundwork for the parties she'll have in the future and the friends she'll share them with. Not sure how we'll go about deciding which school friends to invite once she's in school, tho. We had a guest list of 75 as it was (DH is still best friends w/ all of this buds from elementary school, high school, college...then THEY all have 1 or 2 kids. Sheesh!)
I guess if you didn't want presents you could say 'Your presence is present enough (and your parents' too, I guess)
As for giving presents (just as w/ the favors) I just really like giving things to people so I enjoy it and put a lot into them. I give presents at the parties we attend--usually something I've handmade (tho a savings bond at the 1st yr. party). For your situation, tho I'd prob. just give a card of Happy B-Day/thanks for the favor bag. IF you feel you 'owe' them something for all the clothes, maybe just a $5 savings bond (whose value will double down the road.)
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Old 03-06-2007, 10:11 PM   #5
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Re: Birthday party etiquette

You don't owe a gift in this instance. Lots of parents give out little favors for birthday parties. I personally have never sent a thank-you for being invited to a birthday party. You can start having birthday parties at whatever age you feel your child is emotionally able to handle a gathering like that. My DD had a ball at her first birthday party, but lots of kids get overstimulated by all the attention, and might not be able to handle it til age 2,3, or 4. And there is no polite way to say "please no gifts" in the invite. Now if people are polite enough to RSVP and ask what to bring, then you certainly can say that you'd prefer they just bring themselves.
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Old 03-06-2007, 10:22 PM   #6
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Re: Birthday party etiquette

It sounds just like what happens at my dd's preschool. The bday child brings goodie bags for the rest of the kids in the classroom and then they bring pizza and share for the entire class.

I don't give gifts for the bday child; but I do drop a quick note (nothing fancy by any means) that says hope you had a happy bday and thank you for the goodie bag. I usually hate getting goodie bags, as that usually means that when it's time for you child's bday....it's nice etiquette to give a goodie bag for the rest of the kids too, kwim?
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