I hate stuff.
(Don’t get me wrong. I love beautiful things. But if your house is like mine, there is a lot more stuff than beautiful things between the four walls.)
I’ve written about my hatred of stuff on many occasions. (Here, here, here or here.)
But I’ve struggled with how to teach my kids to not love stuff … especially when it comes to their birthday, and more specifically, their birthday party.
(Because let’s be honest, while we want to instill certain values in our children, we don’t want to turn into “that parent” either. The one that doesn’t do gifts, doesn’t let them eat sugar, doesn’t allow television and hand-sews all their clothes. There has to be a balance!)
My daughter turned eleven a couple of weeks ago and we had a conversation about having a great evening with a couple of friends, but encouraging those friends to buy gifts for children who need it more. And the charity we choose was Children’s Mercy Hospital.
(Disclosure: Children’s Mercy Hospital is a partner of Redefined Mom. But any children’s charity would have been a great choice.)
The good news? Children’s Mercy Hospital made it EASY for this time-strapped mom to communicate to her friends that our plan was to give-forward instead of receiving. Don’t believe me? Here’s how easy it was:
Hosting a Birthday Party With Children’s Mercy Hospital
1. Go HERE. You can either log-in to your current party or create a new party. If this is your first rodeo, click “create your party.”
2. You’ll follow some very simple steps to set up your party – choose a theme, invite your guests and set your fundraising goal. Then create your account or use your Facebook/Twitter credentials.
3. Next, you will create a “wish list” of gifts you’d like to be donated to the hospital using the gift gallery. Items vary from video games to art supplies to treats for therapy dogs. All donations go to the Child Life department, which uses these items to help make hospital experiences easier for patients and their families.
4. Finally, you are done. You will have a birthday party public page that you can share, as well as invite friends and track your progress. (The whole process probably takes around 7 minutes and if you use social media (aka Facebook) to create an event and share information, even better.)
5. My only advice, create the birthday party at least two weeks in advance because Children’s Mercy Hospital sends you a care package that has a CMH Small Change, Big Difference Piggy Bank, permanent markers (so the kids can sign it) and tattoos for the kiddos.
Was the Birthday Party A Success?
I’d say so. My daughter had a great time hanging out with her girlfriends. They got to play at the house, go eat dinner and have ice cream at Dairy Queen and see a movie in reclinable seats.
As I was tucking in her that night, I asked her …
Was your party okay? Did you miss getting presents?
Her answer, “No. I just wanted to hang out with my friends and so something fun. I have a hard time remembering stuff, but I’ll never forget the way Lucy snorted the whole way home from the movie theater.”
Yep. It isn’t about stuff. It’s about who you get to experience life with.
What about you? Have you attended a birthday party that asked for donations in lieu of gifts (or hosted one yourself)? What did you and your kids learn from the experience?
Go HERE more information about Children’s Mercy Hospital Birthday Party Program..
Make sure to follow Children’s Mercy Mom’s Page on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more everyday parenting tips.
Disclosure: Children’s Mercy is a partner of RedefinedMom. However, the written remarks and opinions are entirely my own. Want more information – check out my full disclosure statement.
Breanne C says
This is awesome! Who knew such a great thing existed. I am that mom the few times I have given in to birthday parties we are the no gift please party. Love this idea, thanks for sharing.
I love that you have “no-gift” parties!! To me, it’s such a relief as a parent who has a kiddo going to a party or when we host one ourselves.
Stephanie M. says
I just found it today!
I love this idea of giving back to the community. I always do “no gift please” parties for my son. Instead, I started having birthday sleepovers with his 3 best friends every year & they all have a great time & never want to go home the next day. (I usually do a themed cake, make a “boot-legged-image-downloaded from google for an iron-on” themed t-shirts for the boys and they love it!)
However, I think I am going to try this idea for Christmas from family members. I have noticed that even if I give the ideas of what to get my son to the relatives, the “stuff” still has only been played with a few times so far this year. 🙁 I know he is 10 yrs old & loves Christmas. We donate his older toys to charities, but I want to step up the game. As the saying goes, “it is better to give than receive”. (OH, I just had another idea for the relatives to give: By having them make a “gift certificate” to have lunch or dinner with just that family member(s). The gift will be their”time”. To me time is WAY more valuable than money.
These are GREAT ideas!!!