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????????’s Birthday List

A LOT of people submitted this “baby’s birthday demand letter” for inclusion on the blog which has gone viral worldwide.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dominic April 21, 2015, 6:27 am

    If “baby” has so many things waiting in storage for him, it doesn’t sound like he needs any presents. Instead, I think I’ll bring along a nice “Donation has been made in your name” card to the party, once I get my formal invitation, of course.

    When did gifts become a commodity to be ordered and traded and cashed in? Although this message is eminently practical, it is sickeningly crass.

  • Tracy P April 21, 2015, 6:36 am

    Wow. There are no other words. I’m trying to come up with any sort of rationalization that would make this less horrible, but I’ve got nothing.

    This family would not have to worry about the burden of receiving another gift from me ever again.

  • UKHelen April 21, 2015, 7:01 am

    I may be in a minority of one, but I don’t see what’s so wrong about this. I checked the IKEA items and they’re cheap, so it’s not like the parents are asking for anything outrageous (and believe me, I was offended many years ago when I asked what someone’s child would like for Christmas and they gave me just one, horrendously expensive option which I then felt I couldn’t refuse). The other points in the letter seem quite sensible.

    • Wild Irish Rose April 21, 2015, 8:53 am

      What’s wrong is telling people, unsolicited, what to get your kid for his birthday. In fact, telling people to get your kid ANYTHING for ANY REASON is wrong. You wait until people ask you what your kid would like.

      This child is learning an early lesson in begging and extortion. If I received an e-mail like this, it would be very tempting to get something “forbidden” just to spite the gimme pig mom.

      • TightlyKnit April 21, 2015, 3:31 pm

        Agreed! Especially since the invitation hadn’t actually arrived yet!

        The Gimme Pigs are at it again!

      • Ee April 23, 2015, 9:26 pm

        Maybe they had asked and we are only seeing the response.

    • Dominic April 21, 2015, 9:21 am

      I also noted that the items requested did not seem expensive, which is at least comforting, but the overall tone of this communication from the parents suggests that the gift-givers are to be treated as a source of income and/or support for their precious child.

      As for the “horrendously expensive option which I then felt I couldn’t refuse,” in your situation, the words, “I’m sorry, but that is not in my budget,” come to mind. Just because someone wants something, does not entitle them to receive it, especially if it would be a hardship to the giver.

      • UKHelen April 22, 2015, 8:15 am

        Thanks for the suggestion. Although I agree in principle, and I wish that I could gracefully say what you suggest, I think I would find it hard to say that even today. When it happened, I was young and I had only just joined this family, and I found it totally impossible to conceive of saying no to the request.

    • JAN April 21, 2015, 9:51 am

      They’re not offering guidelines upon request, they’re submitting a purchase order specific to each side of the family and even saying who needs to make purchases (grandlarents and aunts/uncles). Their rationale may be sensible but it’s still not polite to expect presents, to order specific presents, to tell who must purchase presents, etc.

    • silverpixiefly April 21, 2015, 10:15 am

      From the look of the letter, it appears to give out unsolicited suggestions. It then goes on the rub in everyone’s face that their gifts have more than likely been returned for cash in the past. To me, it comes across as very ungrateful. Typically, you keep it to yourself if you return or donate gifts.

    • lakey April 21, 2015, 11:02 am

      “I may be in a minority of one, but I don’t see what’s so wrong about this. ”

      Because it comes from the attitude that when someone gives you a gift they SHOULD give you what you’ve already decided you want. Or in this case people should give the baby what the parents want the baby to receive. If people are unsure of what they can get they can always ask the parents for suggestions, but when the parents start out telling people what to give, it is not practical it is entitled. Gifts are freely given. You don’t start out with the expectation that people owe you specific items. If receiving clothing, books, or multiples of certain items is such an inconvenience, don’t have a party where gifts are expected.

    • Ashley April 21, 2015, 11:06 am

      I knew I’d wind up seeing this letter here.

      While I know parents will ask for specific items, the tone of this letter bothers me. It all comes across as “Don’t buy anything we haven’t told you about or you’re an awful person and don’t deserve the honor of giving my little angel gifts.”

      Because honestly here, I’ve got three nieces and I actually really appreciate it when one of my sisters in law says “Oh, she had so much fun with this toy at her friends house, we’re thinking of putting it on her birthday list” because they are little and they are growing so I don’t always know what they are into at any given moment or what size they are in or anything like that, so the heads up on specific items and sizes IS helpful.

      But if the requests came with a tone of “Buy this and nothing else or we’ll hate you forever” then I’d be very upset.

      I’d also like to know their sources on the kidnapping thing…

      • Ashley April 21, 2015, 11:08 am

        This was supposed to end up as it’s own post, I’m not sure how it ended up as a reply. Sorry.

        But I did actually want to reply to the poster it ended up under. Do you honestly see nothing wrong with the tone of the letter? Even if asking for very specific items were 100% okay, it’s HOW they are asked for and the fact that the writer comes straight out and says “Bring gift receipts because we’re probably going to return it” that is wrong.

      • Anonyous April 22, 2015, 1:05 pm

        Maybe if the OP gave Junior a backpack or a sweater or whatever with his name on it, he’d get kidnapped by someone with better manners than his mother.

    • DanaJ April 21, 2015, 12:37 pm

      No, it’s not sensible. A good example is the kidnapping hogwash. Family custody disputes is the #1 thing that leads to kidnapping, not a name on a shirt.

      The real reason they probably don’t want any clothes with a name on it because it’s easier to return for the cash value if it’s not been personalized (like having it embroidered).

      • Daphne April 23, 2015, 1:39 pm

        Exactly. And they can’t re-gift it easily either.

    • Kat April 21, 2015, 1:21 pm

      I’m actually with you. I think the viral shaming of this person is a LOT more horrible the the fact that they wrote an email to their relatives (I mean, it says in the email that that’s who they sent it to) with their kid’s wish list. How do we know this wasn’t requested? It’s a little tacky, okay, but publicly shaming someone over the contents of a private message is so much worse.

      • admin April 21, 2015, 2:33 pm

        How can someone be shamed when all identifying information has been removed from the document? Those who received this letter will know but no one else.

        • Dublin April 22, 2015, 7:47 am

          This is a public shaming, lets not kid ourselves there. First it took me all of ten minutes to google who this person is so identifying information is not tough to find. Its remarkable how many websites like this are commenting on this letter and its all pretty harsh. Regardless of whether or not we know who this women is, she knows who she is. As does her family and friends that this email was sent too. And considering that at least one of those people betrayed her and uploaded it on reddit, I’m guessing they also are spreading the story around her social group pretty quickly. The people in her life, know who she is and are most likely participating in this shaming as we are.
          We might be strangers to her, but she is a real person out there and will most likely be reading all of this. We may not be trying to publicly shame her, but she is experiencing a public shaming whether or not her identifying information is blocked out. Most of us are likely writing out our comments and walking away satisfied that we did some good telling this woman she made a faux pas. She will likely obsesses over it and read every nasty comment over and over. There are many down right mean comments about this women all over the internet right now attacking both her and her kid. (happily this site is fairly balanced and not one of those I am refering to).

          This site works because most of the time because the people in the stories will likely never know the story is about them and never feel any of the affects of a shaming. Its a good place to work as a sounding board for social scenarios we don’t know how to handle. In this case, the shamed is well aware of who she is and is going to feel the affects of it regardless of whether or not we know who she is. I have thoughts on this email and what this woman was likely trying to convey but I think maybe we should all think a bit about public shaming and etiquette. This whole story has me given me a lot to consider when it comes to etiquette boards and the expectations we have for people around us and the scope the internet has to shame people.

          • vjcole April 22, 2015, 2:15 pm

            You’re assuming this woman is capable of feeling shame. Judging by the general attitude shown in the email, I suspect that even if she saw all of the comments, on this and other sites, her reaction would be “How dare they try to tell me what to do – I know I’m right!”

          • Daphne April 23, 2015, 2:12 pm

            IMO, some behaviors deserve shaming. And adults demanding gifts for their children to this extent is one of them. So I don’t see a problem with this post.
            And Dublin, unless you research every letter how could you possibly know that “This site works because most of the time because the people in the stories will likely never know the story is about them and never feel any of the affects of a shaming.” ?
            I think this site is valuable for many reasons. One of them being that people DO recognize themselves in these posts, both directly and otherwise.

        • UKHelen April 22, 2015, 8:31 am

          If it goes viral, or if the recipient who leaked it boasts about what they’ve done, might not the original couple see it online and read all the comments on their letter/attitudes? That could be pretty shaming.

        • NicoleK April 22, 2015, 1:20 pm

          They’ll be ashamed because they’ll see the letter went viral and the comments are unflattering… but their names aren’t on it so they won’t be publicly ruined. It’s the best of both worlds.

      • iwadasn April 21, 2015, 7:42 pm

        It couldn’t possibly have been requested, because this gimme-pig demand list was sent out BEFORE anyone had even been invited to the baby’s birthday party.

        • UKHelen April 22, 2015, 8:28 am

          With respect, that’s not logically correct. Plenty of people ask what to get for a child long before the day, and with or without an invitation to any celebration.

    • K April 21, 2015, 2:33 pm

      Because it is highly controlling. It is rude to stipulate exactly what you want someone to give you, right down to the ‘don’t do this’ bit. It’s not about the money; these people’s attitude sucks.

    • Wildrose April 21, 2015, 4:36 pm

      In my opinion, the tone is what is wrong. A cute little missive saying, “HEY EVERYONE! Little Jo-Jo’s birthday is coming up and just wanted to let you know, we’re drowning in books! He’d really like such and such and such and such, though. Or just bring us your love and attention for our little boy!” That would be nice. And imo, there is NO gracious way to ask for receipts.

    • Tanz April 21, 2015, 9:05 pm

      There are… so many things wrong with this.

      Firstly, returning gifts for cash. Seriously?? Who *does* that? To be fair I don’t think you actually can do it in my country but even so – wow. Yes, sometimes you may get a double up or something that you don’t want your child to have, but that’s OK, that’s what charities are for. The idea that someone deserves a ‘usable’ or ‘wanted’ present from each person is greedy and just not OK.

      Secondly, specifying items *without having been asked* is presumptuous.

      And thirdly the tone is very, very materialistic.

      I have kids. And I know what it’s like to buy for other people’s kids when I have no idea what the child is into. When it’s my child, I wait until someone asks me for a suggestion and then give a vague answer that will suit all budgets (eg. “Well, kiddo is really into art and drawing at the moment and is a big favourite!”) If someone wants specifics (“Exactly what art supplies does she need?”) then I answer that question when it’s asked. And if *I* want specifics for someone else’s child, I ask.

      But telling someone what to buy, just off the bat? That’s rude.

      And another thing; it doesn’t say how old the child is, but they’re obviously under 3. At that age they’re just as interested in the packaging as the toy. So why care what people will buy him/her? The child won’t really know nor care.

      • Tanz April 21, 2015, 9:07 pm

        Sorry, I meant to say “… and ‘children’s TV character’ is a big favourite!”

  • JO April 21, 2015, 7:04 am

    There are no words.

  • Stephbwfern April 21, 2015, 7:10 am

    I’d like to know their source on the kidnapping thing.

    • PhDeath April 21, 2015, 10:06 am

      I thought the same thing! Please provide a link to these “statistics.”

    • Helen B April 21, 2015, 10:07 am

      More likely the mother knows that if something has her child’s name on it, she can’t take it back and get a refund.

      I can see the need to be cautious with an older child in avoiding something with their name on it ( although I doubt it’s the number one thing that leads to kidnapping) but when the little one is a year old he/she’s not likely to be lured away by a stranger claiming to be a friend. Can’t imagine this parent leaving her child unsupervised for long if she’s as into micro managing as the makes her seem.

    • clairedelune April 21, 2015, 11:11 am

      Isn’t “the #1 thing that leads to kidnapping” custody fights?

    • Calli Arcale April 21, 2015, 12:16 pm

      I don’t know how often it happens, but it is a piece of advice routinely given by police — don’t write your child’s name anyplace easily visible on the exterior of their clothing or backpack. The worry is that a predator might see it, and then use that information to lure the child. “Hey, Bobby, it’s Uncle Ray! Do you remember me? Gosh, you’ve gotten so much bigger since I last saw you. Anyway, I just got back into town and your mom asked me if I could give you a lift home from school.” Knowing the child’s name gives them means of appearing more legit to the child. Or, alternately, they could use the name to go collect other information — ask other kids, “hey, do you know Bobby? He’s my nephew, and I’m trying to figure out what to get him for his birthday — do you know what kind of stuff he likes?” Not many kids will see the danger in that.

      I don’t know how often that specific scenario actually happens, but it’s what they’re worried about.

      • TightlyKnit April 21, 2015, 6:44 pm

        The Kids Health Abduction Prevention website it is listed as a tip:

        “Avoid dressing your kids in clothing with their names on it — children tend to trust adults who know their names.”

        But again, this is meant for older children and unnecessary for a one year old.

      • JO April 21, 2015, 8:43 pm

        You make very good points here. However, they really only apply to older children. The parent writing this email refers to a child still young enough to be drinking formula – they are not (dear Lord, I hope) going to be left alone for a stranger to speak to. From the tone of the rest of this email, I can only perceive that the parent does not want personalized gifts because they are harder to return.

      • Cat April 22, 2015, 4:43 pm

        Another idea is to name the backpack. You can tell your child that the back pack’s name is, say, “Fred”. If anyone calls, “Fred! It’s Uncle Bobby! Your Mom sent me!”, that’s the clue to run.

    • technobabble April 21, 2015, 12:44 pm

      I would imagine it comes from the reasoning that a child will be more likely to go with a stranger if he/she knows the child’s name? I agree, though, I have never seen a study or report claiming that a kid wearing a shirt with his name on it means that he’s more likely to get kidnapped 😛

    • A different Tracy April 21, 2015, 1:50 pm

      Urban legends and old wives.

    • Shyla April 21, 2015, 2:20 pm

      Yes. I’ve never heard that one.

    • Kendra April 21, 2015, 3:05 pm

      I don’t have statistics, but I do remember that sometime maybe in the 90’s or early 2000’s there were a lot of PSA’s in the media about not having your child’s name visible on their backpacks or clothing because it makes it easier for a stranger to approach the child and get the child to trust them. Also, those “Safe Kid” events usually put on by local law enforcement usually include an info sheet that lists ways to keep your kid safe and not having your child’s name visible is usually on that list.

      That said, the fact that the letter writer has books in storage for when the child turns 3 means that the child is too young for this to be an issue.

  • Kammy April 21, 2015, 7:27 am

    If I got a letter like this, I would not be getting this child anything. I am sorry to say, but telling my I can only buy certain things for a child would turn me off of getting him presents. When my son is invited to a party, when I RSV to it, I ask the parent what the child is interested in. Also, telling me you want the receipt if it isn’t something from the list to buy formula is just in bad taste. I wouldn’t buy anything for this child thanks to his parent.

  • NostalgicGal April 21, 2015, 7:27 am

    I can understand a sentiment about funneling funds where they’re needed, but this letter is a new height in TACK-EE.

    How about let’s set up a college fund if you can’t be bothered with someone picking out gifts or such for the little one, and contribute what you feel like when you feel like to that? Or let’s donate to a good cause in the little one’s name. Certainly if one is so worried about getting a gift that’s not wanted and needed, let’s not burden them with having to try to return something.


    If you want to know if the designated gimme (um, gift) isn’t being bought so you can get one right away, you can afford it in the first place, so just go get it already. Sheesh, again.

  • Kim April 21, 2015, 7:35 am

    I was one of them! And as I mentioned, as a parent (of 3 kids) I understand getting inundated with TONS of gifts from well-meaning people that turns into to a heck of a lot of clutter in my house and a ton of clutter in landfill. So I can understand these parents wanting to limit the gifts to exactly what they think would be best for their child according to likes and dislikes.


    This is rude. These parents go too far. Asking for a gift receipt is tantamount to requesting money instead of a gift which is an etiquette no-no. They should just say no gifts to all non-family and not-close-family and send a much shorter letter to grandparents/close family, that they would rather these people go in together on these particular toys/models of toys for such and such reasons. Leave it at that. Not that everyone would necessarily go by what is requested but it will cut the gifts in half and would be more likely for them to get what they want for their child.

    • Wild Irish Rose April 21, 2015, 8:56 am

      When you send an invitation to an event, it’s tacky to mention gifts at all, even to request “no gifts.” The implication is that if you say “no gifts,” you’re expecting gifts. Invitees usually know whether or not to bring a gift; the purpose of an invitation is to ask people to share an important event with you. The word “gift” should never appear in an invitation.

    • LonelyHound April 21, 2015, 9:02 am

      My parents had a good solution for this: about 6 months after Christmas or just before birthdays they would come with a garbage bag. We would sort through all the toys (toys, not accessories), and any that we did not play with were donated if they were in good shape.

    • Goldie April 21, 2015, 9:36 am

      Agree that asking for a gift receipt is tacky as all get out. Sometime towards the end of my marriage, my husband and I were invited to a relative’s baby’s first birthday party. Husband was a generous guy, so we gave a substantial amount of cash and a toy as well. Two days later, my mom comes around with the news that Relative is complaining about having received too many toys without gift receipts. She can’t return them and “she doesn’t know what to do with them”. It was early December… I said to my mom, “what does she mean she doesn’t know? It’s Christmas season. Drop them off at the first homeless shelter or children’s hospital and everyone will be happy. She knows damn well what to do with them, what she doesn’t know is how to return them for cash!” And you know what? I don’t think I ever gave this relative anything again. It just wasn’t in me anymore. We have some crazy family members, but up until that moment, I’d thought she was one of the normal ones.

    • April Obe April 21, 2015, 11:01 am

      I agree with everything. I’ve been watching my friends and family members have kids. A lot of them get loaded with gifts and junk that their kids don’t need/never play with as opposed to things that would actually be helpful. It’s kind of crazy how things accumulate. My best friend is constantly at odds with her mother in law because she is trying to give them XYZ and if she ever turns anything down, regardless of how she knows they will never use it, she becomes extremely offended.

      And even know I personally love registries (I like knowing what people want/need), but as you said… a little too far and a bit rude.

    • lakey April 21, 2015, 11:05 am

      Or if you have so many gifts that they are cluttering the house, just donate some to organizations for low income kids. There are children who don’t have this problem of too many books, clothes, and toys.

  • Huh April 21, 2015, 7:56 am

    I love how books are not needed. He has 32 books! And 25 in storage!

    Oh Emailer. Don’t come over to my house. You might have an episode if you see how many books there are between me and my kids. A lot more than 57.

    • LonelyHound April 21, 2015, 9:04 am

      Mine too!! Books are every where. My husband bought me a Kindle just to keep the books from piling up!! Now my kids are so into books that we have small piles all over the house!! 🙂

      • NostalgicGal April 22, 2015, 12:16 am

        Growing up, we had a kitchen table that could seat 8 if pulled out from the wall, rarely used that way… and at the back center was a runner that held the salt and pepper shakers, napkin holder, and whatever book was in process, you HAD to put reading material down for meals. It always had a collection of paperbacks face down open….

    • Goldie April 21, 2015, 9:37 am

      Yeah, somehow I was not surprised by the “no more books” piece either. Goes together with the rest of the letter really well.

      • AnaMaria April 22, 2015, 8:47 am

        Most of my mom friends have expressed that they would prefer books over toys (if and only if I’ve asked what they would like!) because 1) many books don’t last long with a baby- they get torn or chewed up or who knows what else and 2) toys become a huge source of clutter but books can easily be stored on a shelf. I have a feeling that books are just worth less cash when mom tries to return them.

      • NicoleK April 22, 2015, 1:22 pm

        Actually, it is what makes me wonder if it is a fake.

    • JAN April 21, 2015, 9:53 am

      I know what you mean. I just donated 62 books to our local library fundraiser and it didn’t even make a dent in our book inventory.

    • Mary April 21, 2015, 2:46 pm

      I think at our high point we had over 500 kids books in our house. Between gifts, Imagination Library, hand me downs, etc. Plus sometimes the ones that you think they will never go for are the ones they become obsessed with, and vice versa.

    • MamaToreen April 21, 2015, 3:24 pm

      Too many books? We had a flood in our basement (broken pipe). we lost 997 books. This is less than 5% of our total library. What is this “too many books” of which you speak?

      • Marozia April 23, 2015, 5:18 am

        No such thing as ‘too many books’.
        Did anyone read the news report in Canada about the girl on school bus who was told to stop reading by the bus driver as it was subversive?

    • RooRoo April 21, 2015, 10:34 pm

      Who, me, literate?

      I have enough books to cover two walls in my small house. Occasionally, someone will see them and ask, “Do you really read all those books?” I’m always tempted to respond, “No. I just like insulation hat costs $125 per square foot!”

      My Kindle is getting pretty loaded, too. Love that thing.

      No, if I got something like that e-mail, I’d join the gang that will never give them a gift again. My method is to find something I think Kiddo would like, then call and ask if the parents would like it, too!

      My first experience Christmas shopping for my niece, I had no idea what to look for. So I stopped a lady with a toddler sitting in her cart, and asked her. I bought what she recommended, and, oh, my!
      Sitting in the middle of a pile of gifts, she played with mine for 3 hours. Pretty soon, I regretted buying it because it was so noisy! I hope that Bro and SIL didn’t hate me…

    • Lady Macbeth April 22, 2015, 12:03 am

      That astoundingly small number of books made me want to weep quite a bit. I think I’ve purchased or handed down somewhere near that number alone for my dear friend’s almost 3 year-old, whom I only see about twice a year. I always tell my friend that if I give her a duplicate, please give it to somebody else down the line or donate it to the library. I would never want a book to go to waste, and I know the books I give my friend and her child never do. 🙂

      (I have my own extensive collection of regular books as well, dotted with the occasional children’s book, including some treasured ones from my own childhood in addition to some more modern and exquisitely illustrated ones.)

      • Jazzgirl205 April 22, 2015, 8:41 am

        When I give the gift of a children’s book (which is often), I choose something with meaningful content and gorgeous artwork. I have found that many parents don’t use these beautiful books because they think they are “too nice” or are afraid the books will get messed up. Now, when I gift them, I say “use the book no matter what happens to it. It is meant for that.”

      • delislice April 24, 2015, 3:52 pm

        I agree, 57 children’s books barely made a dent when our kids were that age. I was also saddened by the offhand comment that “he doesn’t like it when we read to him.”

        Read when he’s sleepy, right before nap and bed. Read when he’s in his playseat. Put him in the carseat and read to him. Read aloud when you’re reading your own books. Read to him while he splashes in the tub – even if he appears to be ignoring you, it’s sinking in. Have books all over the house, let him see Mommy and Daddy reading, read read read to him…

        that’s how you raise a reader.

  • Shoegal April 21, 2015, 8:14 am

    Dear Blank & Blank:

    I really appreciate the time and effort you both put into organizing little blank’s birthday celebration. I just wanted you to know that I won’t be buying from the list, providing the receipt or getting any of the banned items you stipulated. Instead I will be giving you both an etiquette book that will come in handy when little blank needs a lesson in what not to do when planning a birthday party. Please find the etiquette book enclosed with my best wishes.


    • Wild Irish Rose April 21, 2015, 8:56 am


    • Goldie April 21, 2015, 10:20 am

      But they said no more books! Can you at least get them an etiquette DVD or something, so the poor dears don’t have to read?

      • Lady Macbeth April 22, 2015, 12:04 am

        Do books on tape still count as books?

    • NostalgicGal April 21, 2015, 10:48 am

      Tongue in cheek, possibly. Meow factor, some. Like–Absolutely!

    • bern821 April 21, 2015, 12:27 pm

      LOVE this comment. Thank you, Blank!

      • Ashley April 21, 2015, 3:04 pm

        Shoegal, I love it! And Goldie, you made me giggle too!

  • Shannan April 21, 2015, 8:21 am

    They would be getting a letter from me stating I am not buying anything on that list…..I would suspect they got a lot of those letters as a matter of fact.

  • Library Diva April 21, 2015, 8:23 am

    Reminds me of the mother who wrote in, angry that another mom had given her son “an item not easily identifiable as being sold at major stores” for his birthday, and then got annoyed when she basically demanded the receipt for it in front of all of her guests. People like this suck all the joy out of gift-giving. I understand the frustration at feeling drowned in clutter, but micromanaging the birthday list isn’t the way to resolve that. In addition, this demanding tone is incredibly off-putting.

    Also, “Clothing with names is the #1 thing that leads to kidnapping?” Where did they get this crazy idea? Media hysteria to the contrary, kidnapping by a stranger poses less of a threat to your child, statistically speaking, than lightning strikes or wild animal attacks. The vast majority of the kids on the “missing” list were “taken” by a non-custodial parent.

    • Cora April 21, 2015, 9:57 am

      Easy solution to this: go ahead and get a personalized jacket or sweater or whatever, but not with the kid’s real name — in this case, maybe something like “I’m Instructions McGrabby’s Kid! Yay!”

    • Goldie April 21, 2015, 10:20 am

      “Media hysteria to the contrary, kidnapping by a stranger poses less of a threat to your child, statistically speaking, than lightning strikes or wild animal attacks. The vast majority of the kids on the “missing” list were “taken” by a non-custodial parent.”

      This *1000. And then people’s neighbors call the police on them if their 10yo is outside unsupervised, because omg the danger of kidnapping. Something tells me most people wouldn’t want to spend an hour alone with our kids, much less steal them. When my sons were that age, we taught them to beware of nosy neighbors and CPS, not of the potential kidnappers that probably don’t exist.

    • NostalgicGal April 21, 2015, 10:58 am

      A variation of this shut down the Wishstar program here for Christmas for needy families. There was a ‘tree’ at each bank, one for minors, one for elders, that were on dole or otherwise needing assistance. WITH APPROVAL mind you, I lavished time and talent over making a doll playset with to scale furniture, a few free standing bits, and clothing, dolls and a playmat to use this with. Plus some gently owned (some still had sales tags on) from the thrift store, all spruced up and made as good as new (putting new buttons on, etc). Family that got it, went ‘what is this (deleted)’ and tossed it in the dumpster at the curb. It WASN’T brand new in box from big box store they could take back. (it was also found out they were from an adjoining county with relatives here, so they were signed up for our county dole under pretending to live at the in-county’s address) The gal that ran the bit, did go out and rescue the playset and clothes and she made sure they went to someone that wanted them. And that ended the program.

      I agree with you Diva, some of this is way too over a line. And yes, a large chunk of missing kids are taken by non custodial parents, or grandparents. We had one this way recently, the grandmother on the father’s side took the kid from the mother’s custody (walked in while she was busy and the kid was napping, and carried the kid out of the house) They found her and the toddler safe. Why was it child abduction? Dad didn’t have custody, grandma didn’t have visiting rights, and they found her with the kid states away….

      • Lady Macbeth April 22, 2015, 12:18 am

        Wow. That’s terrible, NG. My parents hand-made a lovely dollhouse for me and my sister one Christmas when we were children. It wasn’t terribly elaborate (no electric lighting, running water, pictures on the wall, working elevator, wallpaper, etc. as I’d seen in some friends’ dollhouses), but we played with it all the time. It was the perfect scale for our Sylvanian families and their furniture, which made nice additions to the sparse furniture it was originally accessorized with.

        Probably one of my favorite Christmas gifts as a child was another handmade one. There was a large plush bear (I mean like 5 or more feet tall) that sat inside a local store’s front display window around the holiday time, and my sister and I always pointed out how much we’d love to have it (knowing, of course, we weren’t getting it out of sheer size and likely expense). My mom’s solution was to make us each a bear, probably about 3 feet tall, 5 feet wide, and 5 feet long, with glass eyes and a leather nose. Mine was a beautiful royal blue in color (my favorite color) while my sister’s was grey. I named mine “Queenie,” long before I’d ever seen “Blackadder!” Naturally, 30 years later, I still have her.

        • Library Diva April 22, 2015, 10:48 am

          Sorry to hijack, but you saw a dollhouse WITH RUNNING WATER? I still count my Fisher-Price electric dollhouse as one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten, probably second only to my engagement ring and tickets to the Metropolitan Opera. And I thought my dollhouse was incredibly fancy. I had no idea there were dollhouses with running water…must Google this…

          • just4kicks April 23, 2015, 1:30 am

            This reminded me of when I was six or so, and my Aunt’s husband, (a general all around SOB), up and quit his job (again!) to make furniture.
            He made a beautiful dollhouse for his daughters, and my folks contacted him about making one for my birthday.
            He said sure, he would, if my folks paid for all the materials and they agreed.
            They went to pick it up before my party, and was presented with a 250.00 bill.
            My folks had a hard time grasping that wood and paint cost that much, but, it was beautiful, and they had made the mistake of not asking how much up front.
            They paid him the 250.00, and he kind of stood there just blinking silently.
            He was waiting for a tip!
            My dad said materials, all told, couldn’t have been more than $50/75.00….So count the extra two hundred or so for “time and effort”, and they put the dollhouse in the car and said they would see him at my (family only) party.
            My folks had gotten me a few other things, books and clothes etc., but I knew they had asked (and paid) for Uncle to make me something that was my “big” (main) present.
            At the party, my uncle comes up and asks if I “like the present from him”???
            Umm, yes….very much! Thank you Uncle!
            I see my folks exchange “the look” with each other, and things got chilly rather fast.
            They were pissed that he took credit for the dollhouse (yes, he DID make it with his own two hands), that they had PAID him to make for me, which made it look like my parents had only got me a book and a sweater and socks for my birthday.

    • David April 21, 2015, 2:05 pm

      Kidnappers are actually the only thing that causes kidnapping.

      If I were giving a gift at this party, it would be a case of formula. Formula (and maybe diapers) would be about the most useful and needed items these people could get.

      Because the child is just turning one year old. I don’t remember what anyone gave me at my one year old birthday party – because I was basically still a baby and not really clued in on all the birthday jazz.

      • NicoleK April 22, 2015, 1:25 pm

        … a cardboard box

  • daisy April 21, 2015, 8:35 am

    If he is still on formula, I seriously doubt he is going to be in danger of kidnapping from a menacing stranger who learned his name from a personalized t-shirt.

    • A different Tracy April 21, 2015, 1:51 pm

      And how many one-year-olds are still using that much formula?

      • Mary April 21, 2015, 2:48 pm

        That was my first thought. Unless they have health issues, one year is usually when you start weaning off of formula.

  • VioletLynn April 21, 2015, 8:50 am

    Drums. I would ignore the list and buy the baby drums.

    • Kendra April 21, 2015, 3:22 pm

      Ooooh, or a xylophone, or the toy duck that quacks as he’s dragged across the room.

      • NostalgicGal April 22, 2015, 12:20 am

        The clicky draggy duck or the popcorn rollball lawnmower thingy. Another one that had powers of rendering a parent insane was a Simon Says.

        • delislice April 24, 2015, 3:56 pm

          Ooh, yeah! I loved the clicky draggy duck and the popcorn lawnmower.

          • just4kicks April 27, 2015, 2:46 am

            Oh….One of my son’s absolutely LOVED the popcorn lawnmower!!!
            We have really cute photos of him trailing behind his grandpa and dad “helping them” mow the lawn.

    • Goldie April 21, 2015, 3:25 pm

      Recorders work too! I vaguely remember sending in a giant bag of recorders from a dollar store as the newly required “non-edible treats” to share with my son’s elementary school class. He came home to tell me that all kids were super happy with his treats, but the teacher somehow was not. The first time little Blank has a kiddie party, I say let’s give small recorders to each guest and one large one to the birthday boy!

    • David April 22, 2015, 2:30 am

      Or a fingerpainting set. I remember that I really liked fingerpainting after I got mobile.

  • Christina April 21, 2015, 8:51 am

    No, no, no.

    Not only would they not be getting a gift of any sort from me, I’d probably have to say something about the letter. There is absolutely no excuse, not to mention the kidnapping thing just isn’t true. And the book thing? I get the impression that they are looking for toys that occupy the child’s time, that would allow them not to be bothered playing with the child themselves.

    Demanding gifts, then taking it a step further and demanding exactly what is allowed and isn’t, is beyond an etiquette faux-pas. This is selfish and entitled. I don’t really get how her logic can be defended, when all over the archives is examples about how you never expect gifts, let alone demand them.

    Gifts are gifts. They don’t come with conditions. If you receive a gift you don’t need or want, it is on you to return it or re gift it, or donate it, etc. you don’t get to demand the giver do it. You don’t get to demand a receipts with it, saying up front you don’t want what they are generously gifting.

    • MamaToreen April 21, 2015, 7:29 pm

      Good heavens! The only time we got gift receipts was with clothing, and we only used them if it didn’t fit

  • Mike April 21, 2015, 9:17 am

    I think the name on the t-shirt things comes from couples that need a very specific baby, and hire kidnappers to find a blond 3 year-old named “Austin”. If you bring them a baby that’s not on their list, be sure to bring a receipt so they can get full credit for it.

    • Shoegal April 21, 2015, 2:57 pm

      Yes, of course, be sure to include the receipt for the baby – it would be like throwing money away if you don’t.

    • Goldie April 21, 2015, 3:26 pm

      It’s times like this that I wish E-Hell comments had a Like button. That you could click multiple times. Awesome!

    • Yasuragi April 21, 2015, 6:53 pm

      But what if I stole the baby when it was on clearance? There are no returns on clearance items!

      • Lady Macbeth April 22, 2015, 12:20 am

        Now that depends on the store. But you still get the depreciated value – with or without a receipt.

    • Lynne April 21, 2015, 8:20 pm

      lol, Mike. Thanks for the comic relief among the comments.

      • just4kicks April 24, 2015, 8:47 am

        @Mike: very funny!
        My dad once handed one of my then toddlers to me when he “exploded” in his pull up diaper, saying, “oh…crap. I hugged him too hard and broke him!!!”

  • Elizabeth April 21, 2015, 9:23 am

    It really seems that these people have a child that they cannot afford if they are trading in gifts to buy formula; perhaps a night job to supplement the household income is in order. There is an expectation of gifts, demands of control and a storage of yet-to-be-used items? How sad for the kid that anyone with half a brain that receives the invitation to the blessed birthday event would even show up.

    No congratulations on the up-bringing of these parents and now what are they creating for the rest of us to tolerate?

  • mark2 April 21, 2015, 9:31 am

    I saw this on a post on facebook, and most of the people who responded agreed with this moms letter.

  • Charliesmum April 21, 2015, 9:33 am

    Firstly – you can never have too many books. And what kind of voices do these parents have if the kid ‘doesn’t like’ them reading to them. At that age, the point is mostly that the child hears your voice. They’re not quite up to critiquing the books at that age.

    Secondly, if by chance there was a logical reason for this letter – maybe people over-buy for the child, they don’t have space, etc. there are a million billion ways to say ‘please don’t buy Junior stuff’ without dictating what MUST be purchased. ‘No gifts necessary’ is all that need be said.

    Most people I know include a gift receipt just as a courtsey anyway.

    I hope everyone ignore the give list and gives them formula. Because that’s obviously what they need the most, and it would be a thoughtful gift. Save them $80 a week. I’d have been quite grateful for that, when my young’un was small.

    • Kendra April 21, 2015, 3:33 pm

      Yeah, but then the parents would be ticked because you didn’t get them the “right” formula and returning food is even harder than returning “stuff”.

    • Jazzgirl205 April 22, 2015, 8:49 am

      That was my thought. How are reading to that child if he hates it when they read to him? I’ve never known a child who hates being read to. They must be doing it wrong. But how does one read to a child wrong?

      • Dee April 22, 2015, 11:52 am

        My kids didn’t like begin read to – we started when they were two years of age, each, because that’s the earliest that they would settle down enough to sit at all – but they learned to tolerate it with much persistence. Don’t know if they ever really liked it, though. So, yeah, I can understand a child who really does not like books, at least when very little. But the letter is still beyond the pale.

    • delislice April 24, 2015, 3:59 pm

      Meh… I was disturbed by the hungry little caterpillar’s gluttony, and I found the metamorphosis at the end a little too deus ex machina for my taste… 1 1.2 stars.

  • TaterTot April 21, 2015, 9:42 am

    Seriously tacky. I understand the sentiment of not wanting to be drowned in tons of stuff, but there are other ways of handling that instead of dictating your gift list. It’s called donating to charities. There are so many other less fortunate kids who would love to have that book/puzzle/game/doll/truck that your child already has or doesn’t like.

  • Saucygirl April 21, 2015, 9:45 am

    I agree this letter is way to blunt. But, based on the first paragraph and the line about “birthday list for side of family”, I think this letter was only sent to grandparents and the parents siblings. It wasn’t sent to friends, cousins, neighbors, etc.

    Again, I think this letter is very blunt and the line about returning items for formula is totally unnecessary, but I know I have said things along these lines to my mom and my inlaws. I know I gave my mil “instructions” to stop buying stuffed animals when I felt we had to many. I hope that I am a little more tactful then this letter writer and I try not to hurt their feelings, but when my mil asks if she can give my daughter one gift cause she won an award, and then she comes over with 5 books, a backpack, a dress, three toys and an archery set that are all part of the brave line and then says it is one gift, the gift of brave, sometimes you need to give clear restrictions and guidelines so as not to end up with a house full of crap and a spoiled brat of a kid.

  • Abby April 21, 2015, 9:49 am

    I agree with the sentiment that lots of parents of young children receive tons of presents that go unused, or get played with once or twice then thrown in the toy bin, and that the total retail value of of toys that relatives carefully picked out, paid for and wrapped that are subsequently forgotten about immediately probably is in the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars range, but come on.

    The parents are basically saying, this is what WE want to buy for our child for his birthday, if we can outsource the funding to close relatives then we can spend our own money on formula and other necessities, so, win-win for our family. Our baby gets what we think he’ll get use out of, we save our own money, and we don’t have much clutter. Like another poster said, very practical, but extremely rude to the well meaning relatives.

    While I understand saying “no gifts” is still an etiquette blunder, I think if the parents were to explain their child is too young to appreciate most gifts and their space is small, people would understand. This letter basically says, please buy my selected gift for me so I can use my own money to buy formula, or, if you insist on picking out your own gift, please include a receipt so I can grudgingly exchange it for formula since I have to now use my own money to purchase my preferred gift since you didn’t follow my instructions. It’s an extra step for me, but I guess I’ll manage.

  • Michelle April 21, 2015, 9:51 am

    Personalized t-shirt/gifts = kidnapping. WHAT? I would love to know where they came up with that one from. When I was invited to baby showers, I always bought a personalized diaper cover and t-shirt (if the gender and name was known, otherwise it was a gift card for the items). As a matter of fact, the parents-to-be loved them and when invited to such parties, the hosts would send me the correct spelling of the baby’s name so I could purchase the items.

    If these parents think 57 books is a big deal, they would stroke out if they ever came to my house. 4 bookcases in the family/living room, 2 in my bedroom, 1 in each son’s room and even 1 in the dining room. That’s 9 big bookcases, full of books.

    If I received such a letter, the parents would not ever have to worry about being bothered by a gift from me. Never.

  • Mal April 21, 2015, 9:59 am

    Even though I know a mother who does her best to micromanage her son’s gifts (and does not shy away from calling out any – in her opinion – unfit present to the respective gift-giver…), I call troll on this one. It’s just too carefully designed to push every button of tackyness imaginable.

  • Betsy April 21, 2015, 9:59 am

    This showed up on my FB page… Normally a very appreciative young person, so I am hoping this is just being totally unaware of how it looks to someone who doesn’t even know her. “So if your going to be at **** 1 st birthday party please just comment yes on this post remember no toys only clothes 18-24 months or size 6 diapers it is a pot luck so big some kinda drink or food we are bringing cake hamburgers hotdogs an potato salad its at April 25 from 1pm to 5 pm.”

  • Annie April 21, 2015, 10:23 am

    My brother and sister-in-law felt like they were starting to drown in a clutter of toys for their little ones. They politely asked that we not give gifts for a few years. If only they had known they could shake us down for formula money instead.

  • PatGreen April 21, 2015, 10:28 am

    I do agree on the name thing. That is something my mom would mention any time someone asked her about gifts.

  • VM April 21, 2015, 10:38 am

    I’m still too slack-jawed at the exquisite anal-retentiveness to register disgust. (They know how many books are…in STORAGE…) At least they’re not completely consumed by greed, with their efforts of trying to limit to two gifts per household (“similar to Christmas”– OMG!) But my oh my, these are going to be the Black Hawks of helicopter parents.

    • TaterTot April 22, 2015, 10:31 am

      Liking for the “Black Hawks of helicopter parents!”

  • Comradde PhysioProffe April 21, 2015, 10:44 am

    Can you imagine how horrible it must be to be those parents who wrote the letter? To be so woefully impervious to reality cannot make life easy.

    • TaterTot April 22, 2015, 10:33 am

      Since the email has gone viral on social media, I’m guessing that they’ve received a wake up call.

  • Skaramouche April 21, 2015, 10:51 am

    I’m divided on this one. Do I find it horrendously rude and tacky? Yes. Would I ever do anything like this? No, absolutely not. I would never ASK for gifts for my child from anyone, even grandparents or an aunt/uncle. Also, this is not a business letter. I get enough of this at work and will not tolerate it from family. There’s no touch of the personal and emails like this are directed straight to my trash :).

    Having said all of this though, I believe the letter was only intended for the grandparents and aunts/uncles. There’s no context around it and we have not seen other emails in the thread or from past threads. Perhaps this is how this family communicates. All I’m saying is that I’ve seen much worse.

  • clairedelune April 21, 2015, 11:10 am

    “…please let us know so we can buy them right away for him.” Because Baby is having a WATER TABLE EMERGENCY!

  • JD April 21, 2015, 11:36 am

    “If you are unable to get these items, please let us know so that we can buy them right away for him .”

    Because an infant still on formula will be REALLY upset if his gift list isn’t fulfilled RIGHT NOW! Hey, go buy ’em, parents. Saves me the trouble of picking out and paying for the incredibly specific items you demand, excuse me, want. And what’s this about stuff in storage? You have so much for the baby already, it’s in storage, but he needs more?

    I know lots of parents politely (and personally, not in blanket email) tell immediate family that they are overwhelmed with gifts so please don’t get anything at all, or at least anything that is big, for an infant. I find that reasonable. What I find unreasonable is the entitled tone of this letter, and demanding attitude. Rude. It’s just rude.

  • CW April 21, 2015, 11:46 am

    I sat staring at this for a while before I could even think of a response that wasn’t “Are you kidding me?!?” This is just ridiculous. Baby no-name wouldn’t be getting a single thing from me!

  • Dee April 21, 2015, 11:47 am

    Well, why not? We have wedding gift registries, bridal shower registries, demands from the bride of her attendants to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars just to participate in her wedding, so why not continue the greed with the next generation? Baby shower gift registries aren’t unknown, either. It’s all over the line so why not go whole hog and do it up real good?

    And it makes it easy to spot those people you don’t need to worry about ever buying a gift for again. Real friends do not expect gifts from others. Any mention of gifts in any way is a breach of etiquette. That’s the line that gets crossed, it’s just this letter does it so spectacularly.

  • Anonymous April 21, 2015, 11:47 am

    If I was invited to that birthday party, and I wanted to go (for example, if the letter writer was, say, my brother’s hypothetical future wife, or my best friend), then I’d do what I did when a good friend of mine held a first birthday party for her son–she requested books for him, with gift receipts, but I didn’t like the idea. I thought it was kind of tacky, and I didn’t want to take time picking out a favourite childhood book for Friend’s Son, only to find that someone else had given him the same one. So, instead, I wrote a poem about how he’d made it through the first year of his life, and telling him about what was to come, and I put in pictures of my friend and me when we were kids, and pictures of Friend’s Son and both of his families (long story; Friend and Ex-Partner didn’t live together at the time, and they’ve since broken up). This went over really well, and my friend plans to fill the remaining blank pages of the scrapbook with more memories.

    However, if I received an invitation to a first birthday party like this from someone I knew, but wasn’t really close with, but “everyone else” from work, steel band, the YMCA, et cetera, was going, then I’d probably just wrap up a can of Similac and be done with it. I mean, if there’s a chance of gifts being exchanged to buy formula, why not just eliminate the middle man, and buy formula to begin with? If enough people did that, then this mother would probably get the message, and stop trying to dictate gift-giving, and the sooner she learns that, the better. A one-year-old isn’t going to care if he got the specific play tent or water table his mother requested, but an older child can absolutely develop an entitlement mentality if he’s taught to do so–or, more realistically, unless he’s taught NOT to do so. Toddlers are inherently self-centred. They want what they want when they want it, and they want it now. They see other people only as a means of, or a hindrance to, getting what they want, so they’ll demand the red cup for their juice, and ONLY the red cup, and if it’s in the dishwasher, well, that’s just cause for a meltdown, even if the blue cup (which they demanded at breakfast) is available. That’s exactly what this mother is doing–she wants THIS water table, and THAT play tent, and NO books, and gift receipts with EVERYTHING, regardless of whether or not people are able to fulfill her requests. So, when toddlerhood comes (soon), and it’s time to teach the child that he can’t always get what he wants, the moment he wants it, his mother might be able to tell him that, but she’s already demonstrated that she’s not able to walk her talk.

    When the child gets older, and sees his mother routinely exchanging disliked gifts, he’ll see fit to throw an Eric Cartman-esque tantrum at his birthday party, because Kyle got him a board game instead of a Red Mega Man, and now he can’t build the Ultra Mega Mega Man. In the best-case scenario, the boy will have other positive role models, and he’ll grow up to be a decent and polite person, but he’ll be embarrassed by his mother’s behaviour. That was the reality for my dad and his two brothers, because their mother had been given everything she wanted growing up, and had no idea how to politely interact with the world.

  • Shoebox April 21, 2015, 11:54 am

    Why do I have the feeling little Whatstheirname is going to grow up to be one of those kids whose mothers write their college applications and join them for job interviews? Sheeze, lady, get a hobby, and let your friends interact pleasantly with Junior in peace.

    • Ergala April 21, 2015, 4:06 pm

      Something tells me this is their first child and they went a little nuts….they have a stuff for when he is older in STORAGE! That much stuff….holy cow! When our oldest was a baby I think toys and clothes reproduced overnight. Then our youngest came along….you’d be amazed at the fun a homemade sock pocket can produce when you are folding laundry hehe….

  • vjcole April 21, 2015, 11:57 am

    I saw this last week on STFU Parents’ Facebook page and was horrified. There is SO much wrong with this. Just the general tone of “you can ONLY buy certain things, and if you don’t want to play by our rules, make sure you give us receipts so we can get the cash” is WAY out of line. I’m also curious as to why a year old child is still using $80 a week worth of formula. Last but not least – not buying books because he already has 32 on the shelf, and 25 more waiting for him to use in two years? This woman would have had a stroke if she’d seen my son’s room when he was little – I had a six foot high bookcase filled with books for him! (And most of those books went to a younger friend for her daughter.)

    On a side note: he “hates when we try reading to him”? How do you even figure that out with a baby? Have they thought about other factors that might be affecting him? I’ve NEVER seen a young child that didn’t enjoy being read to – especially at bedtime.

    • Ashley April 21, 2015, 3:09 pm

      I don’t have kids so I’m not well versed on how much formula you get for $80, or how close to being OFF of formula a 1 year old should be. I feel like that’s about when my nieces were VERY close to done with formula, so is formula really that expensive? How much does $80 get you?

    • Tracy W April 22, 2015, 7:46 am

      Both of mine went through a stage where charging around like a lunatic was much more fun. It was a nice break from re-reading “We’re Not Sleepy” and “That’s Not My Donkey.”

  • Barbarian April 21, 2015, 12:01 pm

    I do not like the idea of shaming people on the Internet. Yet this may be the only way to expose the gimme pigs where they live and to discourage others from following their example. On the other hand, most gimme pigs are so bold they will continue with their outrageous requests as long as they can get way with it.

    if I got an invite like this, I would just ignore it. The parents who sent it are probably missing the point that as this child grows up, it could easily receive fewer gifts anyway as family and friends shift their gifts to younger kids in the family.

    Overall, it is drilled into us to give generously and graciously, but there needs to be more emphasis on how to be a cheerful and gracious recipient.

  • ColoradoCloudy April 21, 2015, 12:13 pm

    The effrontery!

  • girl_with_all_the_yarn April 21, 2015, 12:13 pm

    If I was their friend, I’d hand make a lot of things they couldn’t return, just to make them mad. But then, I’ve very carefully cultivated my persona as a horrible person.

    • cattlekid April 21, 2015, 4:09 pm

      I’m a knitter and my greatest fear would be that something I would knit for Precious would go into the trash bin.

  • JesBelle April 21, 2015, 12:21 pm

    To me this read more as part of an ongoing conversation between the parents and members of the extended family. I’m sure if people just saw an email I sent to my sister outlining the things my kid needs/wants for a gift-giving occasion and never heard the conversations leading up to that, they’d be shocked by my “demanding” attitude. Nobody ever starts an email with “Since you’ve begged me to list things little Jr. needs so that he doesn’t end up with 5 play mats again…”

    I notice that Mom subscribes to every wacky stranger danger theory to come through her Facebook feed, though.

  • Lo April 21, 2015, 12:31 pm

    Nothing about this letter would encourage me to stay friends with these people.

  • Minnie April 21, 2015, 12:37 pm

    How about a nice card stating that a generous amount was donated in the Birthday child’s name to the Make A Wish Foundation,

  • Angel April 21, 2015, 1:19 pm

    I literally could not stop laughing for several minutes after I read this letter. If you really read into it carefully though, this mom is serious. Ugh. If I had the misfortune to be invited to this party, I probably would be tempted to give a card with “Dear Baby, a donation has been made in your name to The Human Fund. Happy Birthday!” Also, $80/week on formula?? And after age 1 they can actually drink whole milk. Where I’m at it’s about $4/gallon. The list she provides those are pretty big ticket items, which leads me to believe probably the party will be comprised mostly of family and close friends. Which leads to another question: does she really not trust family and close friends to buy gifts on their own? If they even choose to buy gifts I mean. To me this is 20 x worse than a registry or even one of those “wish lists.” This is a list of explicit instructions. Pretty insulting to your party guests I would say!

    • Lady Macbeth April 22, 2015, 12:25 am

      Thank you for the “Seinfeld” reference!

      • Angel April 22, 2015, 11:53 pm

        You’re welcome! I have found that at least half the time, when I read submissions on e-hell there is a Seinfeld reference that can be used in a response. It’s crazy how that happens!

  • Lyn April 21, 2015, 1:38 pm

    Listing certain items for gift giving doesn’t bother me nearly as much as clearly implying they will be returning anything not on the list by requesting a receipt be included. Rude.

  • just4kicks April 21, 2015, 2:15 pm

    My birthday was last week, guess I forgot to get on Facebook and beg for gifts.
    Can’t wait for the “guess who is turning 16?!?” post….”any upscale auto is fine, as long as it comes equipped with the leather seats and upgraded stereo system!

    • just4kicks April 21, 2015, 2:17 pm

      ….And, nothing with their names printed on it, due to kidnappers, but apparently posting all personal and pertinent info on FACEBOOK for gift begging is perfectly fine!

      • Ashley April 21, 2015, 3:11 pm

        I’m turning 29 soon, I should start listing all the costume making related items I want, lol!

        In all seriousness though, if you are 16 and you already see what’s wrong with this letter, good for you. You’re well ahead of some people I grew up with!

        • just4kicks April 23, 2015, 6:06 pm

          @Ashley: Oh, Bless you, but I turned 45 last week.
          I WISH I was 16 and know what I know NOW!!! 🙂

          • delislice April 24, 2015, 4:05 pm


            I very nearly forgot my birthday (48). Until I got an email from my parents asking for gift ideas. And I couldn’t think of any. I finally suggested a houseplant and a KnitPicks gift card.

            (Guess who got to get a hank of the new Preciosa yarn?)

  • Shyla April 21, 2015, 2:22 pm

    I saw this on Facebook. I can’t tell if I think it’s real or made up. It could be real. The part I like best is about the books. If he hates when you read to him, you’re doing it wrong.

    • just4kicks April 21, 2015, 6:23 pm

      @Shyla: …Agree completely with you on the reading thing…..
      My youngest daughter is 11 and of course can read by herself, but she had a tough time this winter coming down with one bug after the other. When she was really feeling yucky, or throwing up at 3am, she loved when I read to her.

  • Jays April 21, 2015, 2:35 pm

    I can, sort of, sympathize with this parent. Our kids are inundated with gifts from family members, many/most of which they’re not interested in or are far belong their age range. (They know to thank the giver politely and never say this, however.) If we kept everything, our home would be full of this stuff, so we have a bag in the closet that unopened toys they wouldn’t really play with go into, to be donated to a holiday toy drive in December. I feel bad that they’re sort of throwing their money away (although someone, somewhere will really appreciate it!).

    But I would never, ever write this sort of letter! The most we do is gently steer the grandparents/aunts/uncles in the direction of the boys’ actual interests if they ask.

  • Denise April 21, 2015, 2:40 pm

    My first thought when I saw it was that it just went out to family. Likely, family who is in no way surprised by this email and it solicited eye rolling and phone calls between family members to exclaim “Can you believe?!?” and the likes.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some family members regularly gave in and contributed to her finding this socially acceptable.

  • Marozia April 21, 2015, 3:26 pm

    How about a book on etiquette for the mother as a present?