Gimme Pig Wannabe Saved From The Fires Of Ehell!

by admin on September 29, 2011

I wrote a submission a few weeks ago regarding my daughter’s birthday party  and how to ask for money as a gift.

Well, the party has come and gone, and it was a great time! We ended up requesting that people bring a children’s book with an inscription from them on the inside cover, and that’s exactly what we got! My daughter now has a very nice library of personalized books that have already been carried around the living room and thumbed through at bedtime. She also received a few toys, all of which are designed to be educational and are not obnoxious in the least.

The thank-you notes for the books and toys have been written and sent, and I thought my list of thank-you’s couldn’t be considered finished without sending one to you and the wonderful commenters who snatched me back from the brink of gimme pig-ness. So, thank you for reminding me that all gifts should be appreciated, and thanks to the commenters who suggested the inscribed books. :)      0928-11

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Hemi Halliwell September 29, 2011 at 9:40 am

So glad it worked out for the best! Thanks for the update.

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Ruby September 29, 2011 at 9:49 am

Well, I have to say that requesting specific types of gifts from your guests is really bad etiquette.

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Serenity S September 29, 2011 at 9:49 am

I am happy your daughter’s party turned out well! Thanks for the ‘thank you note.’

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Rose September 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

But… You still requested they bring a certain kind of gift? A gift should be just that – something given freely, without being asked, IMO.

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Sabrina September 29, 2011 at 10:42 am

I’m glad this all worked out. I don’t know why some people still think it’s bad etiquette. They made it clear in the original that the child already had plenty of gifts and they have a small apartment with not a lot of space. The gift of books is a wonderful idea. It will foster a love of reading for the child. Someday they may even keep these same books for when they have children. I have a box of books from my childhood that my parents saved for me for when I have kids one day. I don’t have kids yet but I already have a wonderful collection of books to get them started!

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Margaret September 29, 2011 at 10:47 am

I would love to have someone request a children’s book for a birthday — it would be fun to pick a favourite to pass along, it is less expensive than many other things, and usually I WANT to know what would be appreciated.

I also think a request is different than a demand.

My four children have celebrated a total of 17 birthdays. People ALWAYS ask for gift suggestions.

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Kitten September 29, 2011 at 10:57 am

Oh, I kind of love the idea of being asked for a book for a first birthday. I guess though it might be an etiquette mistake, it is one I think is charming.

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sj September 29, 2011 at 11:13 am

I’ll give the OP the benefit of the doubt that IF someone asked what would be a good gift, she said this as a suggestion.

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Another Laura September 29, 2011 at 11:54 am

I saw an invitation to a baby shower that asked the attendees for a copy of their favorite kids book in lieu of cards (which can almost cost as much and aren’t really very useful, but just become clutter) I wasn’t sure how ettiquettely sound it was, but I thought it was a neat idea.

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Maitri September 29, 2011 at 11:54 am

@ Sabrina – if they don’t want gifts at all, they don’t *have* to throw the child a birthday party. They could just have close family over for dinner and cake. Close family would know what the birthday girl wants or needs.

I think it’s kind of ironic that someone feels like they *have* to throw a huge birthday party and thus feels the need to request any certain kind of gift. I would be irked by asked to provide a specific kind of gift.

My kids’ birthday parties are just dinner out with the in-laws and they do get gifts, but my in-laws always ask what they want/need. I just give them a list of ideas. The most we’ve ever done for one of the kids for a birthday is to have one of their friends go to the water park with them for a day of fun.

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Zhoen September 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Suggesting a gift (I’m assuming this is what LW meant, not “asking” really) that is relatively inexpensive is a great idea. Presumably, everyone who came will continue the tradition with their own children. At a party, it’s fine to ask people to “bring a dish” so why not “bring a book?” If she’d left off the inscribed part, it could be the beginning of a mutual children’s library, unless each one just adds their note, and the books continue to be passed around.

So, yes, teetering on the edge of gimme-dom, but a judgement call, nothing flagrant.

Still, even as is, it’s much better than asking for cash.

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The Elf September 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm

How the request for books (and I agree this is a lovely gift) was made was left out of the submission. Put in an invite = bad. Word of mouth = good. How it was asked would be useful too. The more of an informal suggestion it was the better it is.

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Jenna September 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I think asking for a book is a huge improvement from asking for money, but I thought requesting a gift is still poor etiquette.

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Kat September 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I agree with SJ – let’s give the benefit of the doubt here. Sounds like a great birthday!

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Clair Seulement September 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm

The admin’s advice in the original post was that the OP could only suggest a type of gift if people asked what she would like. Since she claims to have followed the admin’s advice, we should therefore assume that that’s what transpired.

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Josie James September 29, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Even though I know it’s bad etiquette to specify a gift, I don’t think it’s a big deal to suggest it to close family and friends. I would have absolutely no problem with letting my close family and friends who I know are going to give my son a gift what type of gift he would prefer.

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Thel September 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

The OP answered the original thread, and suggested to include the following in the invitation: “No gifts necessary, but if you feel the need to get her something, she’d love a book with a message from you inside.” (post 84). From this, I understand that she actually requested a specific type of gift. While I’m sure that she graciously received and thanked the people that brought her toys, and books are indeed a lovely gift, I would abstain from mentioning them at all in future invitations, even to say that they are not required.

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Kelly September 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm

When my daughter was young and she attended birthday parties, I always asked what the child might like to receive or if the parents had any preferences. I am sure that is the case here although I would have been thrilled if there was a note inside the invitation suggesting books. Of course, I am also one of those people who don’t mind registries for weddings and showers. I’m not a shopper, and I love it when I am pointed in the right direction for gift ideas. Does this mean I have bad etiquitte?

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Sharon September 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm

**sigh** No matter what you do there are always those who say, that you did something wrong.

The OP did just fine.

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shari September 29, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I think it was nice to let them know if they wish to bring a gift a book would be appreciated.

It’s a great way to foster reading habits (and I still have some of my golden books from maaaaany years ago).

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Serenity S September 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I would just like to say that the OP was acting on advice from the original post, where posters advised her to have a ‘book party.’ So I don’t think that she did anything wrong.

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Lou September 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I think that asking for a type of gift is fine – asking people to contribute to a college fund might seem a little more like it was a plea to help the parents pay less for their own kid, but the books are most definitely for the child herself, and also more enjoyable for the gift giver.

The request for a tangible present like this also takes into account the giver’s interest in seeing what the recipient thinks of their gift, what they like to do with it, etc. The college fund might have a socially important return, but there’s no way to communicate how well the recipient appreciates the specific cash gift and its uniqueness, and there is a wait of ~18 years before the gift will be put to use and the recipient can appreciate it at all. Asking for something inherently worthwhile and beneficial for everyone involved seems to hold more courtesy than selfishness, so while normally asking wouldn’t be done, I think this can be one of those wonderful exceptions.

I applaud the OP’s choice, it was clearly effective and good for everyone, and I’m glad that it assuaged any worry about the gift dilemma and the etiquette.

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Allison September 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Books are the presents I give to babies all the time. I am at the age where all my friends are starting to have babies, in the last3 years i have been to 4 showers, and have given books to all the babies. I feel books are timeless, wonderful and a great way to bond with your baby. Being an Aussie I always give Possum Magic as a gift, as i think its a book every aussie kid should read. Where the Wild things are, Goodnight Moon and Guess How Much I love you are timeless favourites. I also have begun a collection for when I ahve kids, so far I have a lot of Goosebumps, Babysitters Club and Paul Jennings books to my collection :)

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koolchicken September 30, 2011 at 6:01 am

I’m guessing the OP comes from a family where gifts are constantly streaming in. My father’s side of the family was like that, there were plenty of “just because” gifts. But even in a family where gifts are always given asking for cash isn’t okay, and neither is printing “appropriate” gift suggestions on the invite. Next time she should get the word out through the grandparents. I will say though the book idea is a good one. They often don’t cost very much and a hand-me-down book costs nothing, plus it’s extra special if it’s coming pre-loved from a special relative.

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The Elf September 30, 2011 at 8:12 am

Thanks for the link-back, Thel! I find that wording to be just fine. It is a gift suggestion, but the way it is worded leaves the option of not giving a gift either. I’m okay with that. It’s a gentle suggestion, not a demand. The OP did great, and I’m so glad the party was a lot of fun.

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Hanna September 30, 2011 at 11:25 am

We recently had a birthday and because our child really didn’t need anything we simply said “if you really want to bring something, make it something small.” Maybe that wasn’t a good idea either?

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Echo September 30, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Cut and paste from the original post: Gifts are not a mandatory element of a birthday and you should really scale back your expectations that your child deserves gifts and that somehow you can have any control over the generosity of your guests…

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babs September 30, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Asking for money in any way shape or form, of course, is very very bad. That was quickly established on the last thread. But I would be THRILLED if I got a request for a book for a child’s birthday party. I would look at it as the mom doing me a favor by not having me waste my money on an expensive toy that would be forgotten as soon as the wrapping paper is ripped off. I would love to be a part of that, and the inscription is a very nice touch. I think the mom did everyone a favor, and her child got gifts she’ll enjoy for years to come, and great mementos as well.

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Enna October 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I don’t think suggesting a type of gift or asking is rude, providing it is not money. Demarnding would be rude. The book idea was a great one because that is within everyone’s price range and easy to get hold of. Books are good they help with the child’s cognitive development and are pro-social. Toys can be educational too depending on what the toy is. This is a lot better then asking for money, the OP’s Child adores them so it was a great choice.

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Shiksagoddess October 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Excellent! Thank you for your update; we rarely get an update here.

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