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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'd Like To "Ask The Audience" Please: It's A Celebration Situation!

I've been going back and forth about this for a while, so I thought I'd bring it to the blogosphere and see what everyone else thinks.  The girls birthdays are in October, November, and December.  Last year only Holly got a big party because it was her 1st birthday (and that's a pretty special day!), but this year we're having a combined party for all three girls in early November for our family and close friends.  We chose to go this route because inviting people over three months in a row for a party sounds a little excessive.  I know some people choose to only let one kid have a party each year in rotating fashion, but I got a party every year so I'd like to do the same for them (and besides, let's face it, I live to throw parties :).
Mud Pie Cupcake Birthday Hat
I have some questions about birthday etiquette and I'd love your thoughts.

Do we invite the girls' little friends to this party, which will be on a Saturday late afternoon, or plan separate, more casual get-togethers for their friends closer to their actual birthdays?  We have a lot of family close, so inviting only our closest friends and family still adds up to nearly 50 people (if everyone came, which they won't).  Tacking on additional kids' friends to this list boggles my mind--we simply don't have room for it.   However, the thought of this big party plus at least two little party-type-occasions is also mind-boggling. 

We want people to come celebrate birthdays with us, but if I got an invite to a party for three children, I'd feel obligated to bring three gifts and would probably feel burdened by this, given the current economic climate and the season of life we're in.  I don't want anyone to feel burdened!  So should I say "No Gifts Please"?  If I got an invitation to a kid's birthday that said "No Gifts" I'd bring one anyway.  Should the invite perhaps say "Gifts Optional"?  Well, really, gifts are always optional, so that sounds sort of rude.  So what I've been thinkin' is that I'll include a little note that spells the whole thing out and goes something like this:
"We are so excited to have everyone come celebrate with us. We will provide drinks and dessert, come ready to have a great time! We realize that celebrating 3 children at once is a little unorthodox, but their birthdays are so close together that it seemed like the easiest way to do things. Please don't feel obligated to bring three gifts. They like all the same things and are happy to share a gift between them, and mostly they'll just be happy to see all of their favorite people in the same room. Hope to see you there!" 
Is it presumptuous to assume anyone would even consider bringing three gifts?  Is saying nothing at all the best thing to do?  Any thoughts or advice would be fabulous.

I did find a couple of great websites for party etiquette, listed below.

Hosting A Birthday Party: Proper Etiquette and FAQs

Children's Birthday Party Etiquette from ModernMom.com


  1. I think a 3-in-1 joint family/ friends party is easier on you and your guests in terms of both scheduling and finances. Do not worry about the presents, people will spend what works for their budgets. If it were three seperate parties, each girl would get a gift. This gives you the opportunity to do bigger things as a group gift. As they get older, however, they will want to start inviting their friends; not just yours. ;)I have found it easier to split between the adult only party (grandparents and friends without kids)and the individual kid party (their friends and possibly yours with kids).
    Good Luck! Jennifer

  2. Thanks for the input Jenn! This might be our last year without the individual kids-only parties.

  3. Hi Sarah - We haven't met, but I know Lindsey from HS. This blog is so cute. I have the same issue with birthdays 1 month apart for my kiddos. We have tons of family in town and the gift thing gets complicated. We always end up inviting everybody. I've noticed a trend lately among my friends - they tend to do event celebrations like bounce parties, farm parties, etc but then say "No gifts please" on the invitation. The people who want to bring gifts still do (grandmas and bffs), but then the focus at the party is on fun, cake, & games. Gifts come later after most folks have gone home. Hope this helps.

  4. THANKS Emily! We've been bouncing around the idea of "No gifts please". So grateful for fresh ideas. Good luck with your parties this year! :)