Mum asks for ideas to reduce the amount of gifts the kids receive on special occasions.

“Our babies first birthday is coming up in a few months. Half of our family is really into buying things. We got overwhelmed at Christmas, despite asking for books or one good present. How can we go about telling people no gifts or just good, memorable keep sakes?

“We don’t want our kids to grow up feeling a need for all the pointless stuff, but there’s a lot of family members who have that “buy all the things” mentality. I know our wishes won’t be respected, but I’d like to try and minimise it as much as possible.”

Some of the great suggestions include:

“Have the invite suggest that they buy their favorite book from their childhood to start your childs own library.”

“Ask everyone to write a letter stating who they are to the child and a photo. When the child turns 18 they get to open the box with lot’s of wonderful memories.”

“You could open a bank account for him (if you haven’t already) and ask them to put money in it instead of a present…. Asking them to invest in his future…. That’s what we did and our families were happy to.”

“Maybe you could go to a zoo/theme park or somthing for example and ask that people simply pay for their own entry rather then buy gifts memories are worth more then gifts.”

“Maybe try the group gift suggest a cubby, sandpit, water play set, swingset some kind of large (to do) item that will last and provide lots of happiness and memories.”

“Ask for money for swimming lessons or zoo pass, aquarium etc experiences rather than stuff. It’s lovely that you want to tech your kids lessons but remember some people love giving gifts and seeing the joy it brings others.”

“Donate to charity”

“You can always ask for donations for an animal rescue or children charity.”

Join our Facebook discussion below.

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  • Good luck with your idea! I have found that people buy things anyway, no matter what you say, but if there is something like a swing set or other expensive requirement, then I would mention that to your relatives and ask them to see if they could band together with the others to help you out. Put the idea back onto them – it might work.


  • Yes experiences are great presents and I like the group present idea. For my grand daughter we do get together and buy her a present together and also do the same for her parents, my 2nd son and his partner. This way we were able to get different art supplies last Christmas in a container to hold it all.


  • People will buy presents because they want to. I’m not sure how you fix this. You should be able to tell family, or if anyone asks, have some suggestions ready.


  • We don’t get enough toys and presents for our little one, happily have presents!


  • Putting o a invite no pressies doent work. I told family and friends i wa ted keepsakes. It was about 50/50 who listened. I buy keepsakes for my neices and nephews.


  • Unfortunately people are going to buy things whether you like it or not. You just need to let them know (quietly) a gift is not necessary


  • We’ve asked for no presents at our daughters (now 7 and 5) birthday parties for the last few years. We have a small house and don’t have the room to have a lot of extra space for a lot of toys that don’t get used regularly. Most people respect that, we have a few who still get them something.
    Books are always a great thing to buy in my opinion. I almost always buy books for my younger cousins for Christmas and try to get books for my kids friends when they have birthday parties to go to.


  • Don’t be so ungrateful, if you don’t like them donate them or regift them, some people can’t afford much but still like to give something


  • people feel the need to give something so I think all your ideas are great. when our kids were young a group of us always did a group gift for everyones else children and anyone was welcome to join and we would ask what does that child want or need and get them something they really wanted or needed as with a group we could afford a larger gift as often the things people want or need tend to be a bit more expensive, so we could afford it. it worked really well. especially if a child wants Lego as that is really expensive, however with a few of us we could afford to get a good set for them.


  • Or just accept the gifts graciously and then donate them if you don’t want them.


  • I really can not understand this phenomenon. Dont we have enough little bits of plastic going around? I have no doubt that a huge percentage of this promotion will end up in landfill, maybe not immediately but long term. To be honest these promotions are starting me to re think where I shop, I dont want to support a store that thinks this is a good environmentally friendly idea.


  • Activities and money in the bank are great if there’s nothing they need.


  • We never go overboard with gifts and this works in reverse too.


  • I like the idea of money for swimming lessons or a zoo pass !


  • It’s always a great idea to get experiences rather than toys


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