Q&A: Etiquette for setting limits on birthday gifts for 3-year-old’s party?

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Question by Matti: Etiquette for setting limits on birthday gifts for 3-year-old's party?
My kid is turning three, and is having his first "real" party. We expect about 15-20 other toddlers. My real goal with this is for him to have a day that's all about him. Lots of kids coming to HIS event, to play with HIM, and eat HIS cake, and give HIM presents. He is helping pick out the invitations, decorations, and goodies for gift bags, and is very excited already.

At the last party he attended, he gave a nice $ 15 board game that he had helped pick out. Most of the other birthday boy's gifts were pricey gizmos that I'd passed over as far too pricey ($ 40+) for a three-year-old! I am not interested in getting lots of new toys (frankly, he's got too much stuff anyways) -- but at the same time, I think he should get SOME things.

How can I strike a balance between letting people give my child fun, nice gifts, but requesting they avoid the expensive crap my kid doesn't need (or want) anyway? Preferably while still sounding like a nice person, not a prim uptight twit...
For reference, we're talking about lower middle class families here (same as I am) -- lots of minimum wage incomes, single moms, recently laid off parents.... None of us are "high rollers" 🙂

Best answer:

Answer by Jessica
I have requested on the birthday invitation that people stick to gifts under a certain amount before. No one got offended. And in fact, several felt relieved because they no longer felt obligated to buy an expensive gift. I just add it at the bottom of the invitation. I have also done no gift parties for my kids at time because I'm tired of all the junk piling up in their room.

What do you think? Answer below!

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4 Responses to Q&A: Etiquette for setting limits on birthday gifts for 3-year-old’s party?

  1. Karen B says:

    You cannot request anything. Just say “thank you” for whatever they bring for your child and hope it’s not all crap. $ 15. is plenty for a gift for a 3 year old.

  2. Christabelle says:

    A nice little message at the bottom of the invitation would be acceptable such as “Please don’t feel obligated to break the bank on toys, Jimmy has enough” or else return all the gifts he does get and use the cash to put into a high interest bank account for future use.

  3. madeyouuptohurtmyself says:

    I think setting a price limit is a nice idea. I’ve also heard of people who do a book or gift swap, so everyone gets a gift, but he may be a little young for that. You can always put “no gift required” on the invitation too. Someone will ignore it, guaranteed, so he’ll get some presents to open.

  4. everythingszenidontthinkso says:

    It is up to your guest to get what they want. Some people are just trying to show off. Some people buy what they can afford. They is no nice way to put it so don’t expect anything. He is young and will not remember everything anyways. It is a good idea not to have a schedule for the day either because that will only make you frustrated.

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