Don’t Ask Me For Money For Your Kid’s Birthday Party

88879319I’ve heard of people requesting that guests don’t bring gifts to their child’s birthday party. I get it – your child has too many toys. Why bring anymore crap into an overcrowded kid’s room – even though kids love presents and you are ruining everything? But I just can’t get behind the idea of asking for “college fund” money in lieu of gifts, like one father did this week:

This year I want to tell people that they do not need to bring a gift. But if they absolutely must bring something, then to please add to their college fund. My wife doesn’t want us to write this on the cards, but to tell people if they ask. I think this will lead to people still bringing gifts to the party if it’s not spelled out.

I actually think both ideas are pretty terrible. Skipping gifts is such a bummer for your child; it’s his birthday, not yours. But to ask your guests to contribute to a college fund instead? When did gifts for children become something that has to be practical? This isn’t a baby shower and it’s not a wedding registry – it’s a birthday. Also – how much is this really going to help your kid’s college fund? Not enough to excuse the awkwardness of the whole idea.

The thing about monetary gifts is, they put a tremendous amount of pressure on the giver, don’t they? I mean, what if you only had ten bucks to spend and planned on putting together something thoughtful and crafty? The ceremony around birthday parties is supposed to be festive and fun. There’s also the small but important fact that kids love opening presents. If I got an invitation to a party that said “in lieu of gifts, you can donate to Junior’s college fund,” I have to admit I would be pretty eye-role-y.

Maybe it’s actually a great idea – maybe I’m too married to the birthday parties that I grew up with. My kids are young enough that I have yet to experience the competitive nature of gift-giving that I hear some parents complain about. I just think it’s best to not mention gifts at all. Let your guests do whatever they feel comfortable doing – and return or give away whatever gifts your kid doesn’t want. That’s how we all grew up doing it and I don’t remember there being any major disasters that transpired because of it.

(photo: Getty Images)

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    • melena gasper

      There’s an easy solution to the “my kid has so many toys” problem: stop buying your kid so many gifts and donate the shit they don’t play with. GOD DAMN PARENTS RUINING BIRTHDAYS.

      • Carolina

        It’s birthdays, Christmas, and grandparent gifts that add to the clutter in our house. I really don’t buy anything other than books and art supplies. It’s also a touchy subject to donate gifts that the giver will look for (and my MIL will look). But sure, blame the parents for the materialism. Certainly couldn’t be anyone else causing the problem.

      • Guest

        If MIL is so concerned that the kids use these toys and always have them she should keep them at her house.

      • Amanda

        This isn’t always practical when grandparents live 1000 miles away. What good is a toy at grandma’s house when her grandchildren are only able to visit once or twice a year?

      • Guest

        Why on Earth would someone keep a toy just so MIL can visit it once or twice a year? She is an adult, she’ll get over it.

      • Pzonks

        It’s about keeping the peace and it being easier to just keep it than deal with someone who make snarky comments. My Stepmom is like that. She gave my brother and sister in law glasses maybe 8 years ago now, might even be longer than that. They weren’t to their taste so they exchanged them for something else. My Stepmom makes a snarky passive aggressive comment about the glasses EVERY time she is at their house. Every. Single. Time.

        I’m in the camp of once I give it to you it’s yours to do with as you please but Stepmom is, very firmly, in the camp of you keep every gift FOREVER. No matter if you dislike it or don’t need it.

      • Guest

        I can see how people like to keep the peace. I personally would just never tolerate someone making snarky comments about some stupid thing every time they saw me. They wouldn’t see me again. Some people just need firm boundaries. Or for fun you can give them really weird/ugly gifts then when you’re visiting be sure to throw it in their face that they don’t have it on/out. :)

      • erica

        LOVE that idea. I don’t know anyone who does that but would definitely start giving them weird gifts and ask about them later.

      • Emily A

        Dude, whatever. My kids recently said, “I wish we could go to a toy store, some day!” We don’t buy them toys. But other people sure do! We don’t need another thing.

        So when my son was turning 4, and wanted to invite 20+ friends to his birthday party, I said sure – as long as people did not have to bring gifts. He was fine with this, and is still (5 months later) talking about how much fun he had at his party. A few close friends did bring gifts, despite the invitation; grandparents sent gifts; we gave him one to open. No gifts were opened at the party, so people who did not bring anything did not feel poorly (nor should they have!) Nothing was ruined.

        We would never, however, dictate what gift someone should give, whether college-fund-cash or a weeble-wobble. Gifts are gifts; we are lucky when we receive them; we do not get to choose them.

      • courtneth

        Yeah,I don’t get it. We only get our son a few gifts because we know he’ll get more from family and friends. When your kid has a birthday, that probably means he has toys that he’s grown out of and could be donated or put in storage, making room for new toys that are appropriate for his new age.

    • Mystik Spiral

      First, the headline is very misleading.

      Second, I don’t see the problem. The father stated CLEARLY that they would only ask for college fund money if people (1) asked and (2) indicated that they would not come empty handed.

      We love to condemn the overshare parents who take pictures of their kids’ hauls, saying that the kids are SO spoiled, and it would be a good lesson for the kids to donate toys to charity, which is a great point. Why isn’t also a good idea to teach kids the value of education? I will admit I’m not an expert of the ins and outs of a college fund, but I’m smart enough to know that paying in $10 is better than paying in $0.

      My siblings always put college fund money on their kids’ lists. They know their kids have enough toys and will always get MORE toys for every birthday and Christmas. There’s nothing wrong with that option for someone who wants to give a gift.

      EDIT: OK, I reread and I see that the mom didn’t want the college fund request on the invites, the dad did. Putting it on the invitation IS tacky, I agree, but if someone asks, I think it’s perfectly OK to tell them what you’d like.

      • Smishsmash

        I honestly don’t get why so many Americans are so weird about gift giving. You don’t want to give a gift, don’t give a gift. No biggie. But why everyone here has to constantly get butt hurt over the concept that they might actually choose to give someone a gift that that person might actually want and appreciate is beyond me.

    • Lena

      I completely agree. I was recently invited to a toddler’s party and since guest were asked to bring the food (a topic for another day), the parents said no gifts. My first thought was, who’s going to show up to a kid’s b-day party without a gift?

      • CortCab

        Ugh! I was invited to two different baby showers this year where I was asked to bring food, in addition to my actual shower gift. I was pretty irritated.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      I get where this comes from – we live in a large apartment, but it’s still an apartment – we have an itty bitty storage unit, absolutely zero closets (it’s a 102 year old building, it’s got some quirks), and my kid has more than enough toys (mostly hand-me-downs from our neighbours – we don’t actually buy her much ourselves).
      I wouldn’t actually be offended by this, but I wouldn’t do it myself either. We had friends who asked for money for their kid’s dance classes on the invite, so we gave them money….no more than we would’ve spent on a gift though (like $20 I think). If someone is upset I gave them too little money, they’re not someone I’m interested in being friends with anyway.
      But yeah, I wouldn’t do it myself because I hear my mom’s voice in my head about the etiquette around any mention of gifts on an invitation. If people ask what my kid wants, we say books. They don’t take up much room and they’re her favourite thing anyway. And if our parents or close family members ask, we usually say practical stuff (i.e. carseat, membership at a museum, swimming lessons) which they are all happy to buy (as long as they can also get a cute outfit along with the practical stuff) and we hardly buy her anything at all from us, mostly just small things that we probably would’ve bought her anyway (stickers, underwear, stuff for her room).

    • Picklejar

      Let me tell you – when i was turning 8, “Bibles to China” was not on my wish list, and I certainly I was not thinking about “College.” My biggest birthday wish was to have a backyard sleepover, in a tent… in March… in Minnesota. In lieu of that, I wanted presents that I could open, and immediately play with. I didn’t need a million, but there are better times to teach a kid about minimalism and saving for the future than a birthday party. Furthermore, I think it’s important to teach kids about *giving* gifts, as well as gracefully receiving. Have the kid think about what his/her friend likes, and pick out the present for their friend. Now, if an 8 year old genuinely wants to contribute to their friend’s college fund, there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

      • Picklejar

        Let me add – that these thoughts apply to a reasonably sized guest list, for a reasonably aged birthday kid. There should be limits to the “haul.”

    • SA

      I wouldn’t dream of suggesting it to my friends/party guests….but if family members who were planning on spending a bit of $$ on the kid were asking, I would probably throw it in as an idea.

      • brebay

        I don’t know, half the fun of being a grandparent or aunt/uncle is getting to buy the fun stuff. If your kid gets too much, the parents should stop buying cheap plastic crap all year, put the money in the bank and let the grandparents enjoy the spoiling.

      • thefluter

        Sure, but a suggestion isn’t a decree. If family asks for ideas, mentioning a college fund doesn’t mean they can’t buy plastic crap — it’s just an idea.

      • brebay

        Yeah, I get it, I just think even the suggestion is tacky. If family wants to donate to a college fund, they can offer, or open their own, or give a savings bond or a 529.

    • Carolina

      I told people when the responded to my 3 year olds b-day party “no gifts please.” This did not detract at all from my child’s joy at opening the ba-zillion gifts she received from family/close friends once we got home (I did not want to waste time at the party opening presents). Now that my daughter is in school, it appears the trend is to invite everyone in afternoon pre-k (probably 30 over all the classes). WIth that volume, I love getting invitations to parties now that speciify no gifts – it’s much easier than buying/wrapping a gift for a child I barely know. And who needs to receive that many? Surely parents and family can supply the gifts.

    • Jamesmommy

      Lately, I’ve been hearing about the trend to ask guests to bring a specific monetary gift (like $5). It is ALWAYS less than what you’d pay for a store bought gift (less even then if you were to make something, possibly) and the idea is that all the guests bring this and the child then uses it to buy one (bigger) thing that they have their eye on. I think this is actually a great idea for many reasons (relieves the financial and imaginative burden on the giver, teaches the child about money, and totally sidesteps that whole gift opening business). BUT, I would still feel super tacky stating this on my kid’s invitation — I was just brought up to NEVER ask for money.

      • Rachel Sea

        I can’t imagine such an arrangement would teach a child anything besides that it’s fun to blow windfall money on toys.

      • Jamesmommy

        maybe. but the families i know who’ve done this have let the child select one specific item they were wanting but that were more expensive. the kids knew the cost of the item and contributed some themselves. i think that’s a lessen in the value of money and delayed gratification (they didn’t pick and get at the same time). delayed gratification is, of course, about more than money but i’ll tell you that 98% of my husband’s and my arguments about money could be eliminated if one of us had learned to delay gratification.

      • CortCab

        I may be stuck in old fashioned birthday land too, but I especially don’t like the idea of having a set amount requested as a monetary gift. Even if it is only $5. It starts to feel like an admission fee or cover charge.

      • brebay

        hmm, to me asking for any amount of cash is tacky.

    • TwentiSomething Mom

      I think its practical because a lot of people understand how expensive it is to raise children and pay for school. For someone like me who can’t afford to regularly contribute to my son’s fund I would appreciate it if others helped out but I wouldn’t suggest it to a regular friend, maybe just my parents and grandparents.

    • Rachel Sea

      If your kid has too many toys, make them help you pick out toys to give to charity. Asking for money in lieu of a gift is crass, and tells your guests that you don’t trust them to get your kid anything worthwhile.

    • JulySheWillFly

      My kid’s birthday is one month after Christmas. He is one and has no idea what
      Christmas is, what a birthday is, or what a present is. I didn’t even want to have a party but my husband really wanted one. I feel like the entire year has been a celebration of this baby’s existence with people pouring gifts on us. I didn’t want people to spend another dime on him. We compromised with a cute “no gifts” poem on the invitation.

      Most people gave us money anyway. I felt even worse. But it is less wasteful in the end than a bunch of plastic crap we neither want nor need nor have room for.

      • courtneth

        I think that, or asking for no gifts at a baby shower are one thing. But if the kid is old enough to open presents and know that presents usually happen at birthday parties but he doesn’t get any because his parents don’t think he needs more toys, well that’s just fucked up. Iif the kid agrees to it, fine. But otherwise let kids be kids, for crying out loud!

      • Sara610

        Agreed–I think it’s different with babies. But like you say, once a kid is old enough to get the birthday/present connection, don’t do something like “no gifts” unless he’s on board.

        I will say, I used to teach at a very ritzy private school, and you got all kinds–family who were greedy and materialistic, as well as those who were generous and giving. One dad sat his son down for his 8th birthday and they talked about how the son really already had everything that a boy his age could need or want, and they decided together to collect donations for a charity of the kid’s choice instead of presents. I thought that was a lovely gesture and would have no problem with it if I saw that on an invitation.

    • Tara

      Anytime I get gift suggestions for a birthday party my kids are invited to I go out of my way to buy something completely not in line with the suggestions. Cause I’m a jerk like that, but seriously, people need to stop being so crass.

    • Andrea

      I would be SO ALL OVER just giving money. I’m actually STOKED that my kids are old enough now that most of their friends are happy with gift cards!

      • brebay

        Gift cards are the best, all the practicality of cash without the awkwardness. My pinterest-y friend gives wreaths made from gift cards and ribbon to her college-aged kids and their friends at Christmas, they’re adorable, but I’m not that crafty.

      • Sara610

        I know a lot of people say that gift cards are impersonal, but if you give someone a gift card for a store you KNOW they love, I don’t see how that’s impersonal.

        Sure, giving a gluten-and-lactose-intolerant seven-year-old a $25 gift card to the Olive Garden is impersonal. But giving a ten-year-old who loves soccer a gift card to a sporting-goods store? I don’t see the problem.

      • JenFizz

        Gift cards are so much worse than cash. They are a huge scam that end up taking money you spent on the person and shifting into the hands of the corporations through usage fees and “late” fees. They are a terrible idea.

      • brebay

        Loosen the foil hat a little. Someone paid $20 plus tax for it, I spent $20 at Starbucks, but you’d pay tax on a gift too. Never had a “usage fee” on a gift card. Never heard of a “late fee” on a gift card, but I always use mine within a few months, that’s kind of the point. Gift certificates have been around forever, it’s just plastic now. Maybe don’t buy your gift cards out of the back of some guy’s van and you’ll have better luck…

      • JenFizz

        Or you could just bother doing some very basic internet research…There have been dozens of major news stories and attempts at legislation to address the problem. there are all sorts of inactivity fees that get charged to most major gift cards. Cash or check is a much safer bet.

      • Vany

        That may be the case in your area, in Canada however there are laws that states that those fees you talk about are illegal. So they don’t expire, just like money, which makes them a great alternative

    • AP

      If your kid has too many toys, reconsider YOUR purchasing habits, not those of your guests.

      • CrazyFor Kate

        Not to mention they could easily, you know, donate some of the stuff that doesn’t get played with. Why can’t people think???

    • J

      We had 35 (don’t ask) kids for my daughter’s party. She already has an insane amount of toys. We asked for unwrapped toys.

      She enjoyed bringing them to the children’s hospital so much that she periodically asks to give away things she has outgrown.

      She received so many toys from relatives that she was still a little spoiled!

      There is so much entitlement from kids now – including her – that I feel like we have to fight the madness of gifting.

      • brebay

        But haven’t kids always gotten presents on their birthdays? The entitlement has to be coming from somewhere else. And 35 kids? I’m asking even though you said not to ;) Maybe you should limit your guest list rather than your gift list. My mom always said 8 kids only. Years later when I asked her why 8, she said “That’s how many invitations came in a pack.”

      • zeisel

        that’s rich… sigh.. you have to appreciate that way of thinking..

    • Momma425

      We always end up with way too many toys- so we divide them up and have some at my parent’s house so she has something to play with when visiting grandma and grandpa.

      I would never ever ask people for “college fund donations” for a birthday party unless the only people coming were my parents and my husband’s parents. Too awkward and tacky.

      I would, however, be okay with telling people to bring canned food to donate to the shelter or something like that.

    • Lala

      Hate this! 1) what if kid doesn’t go to college – do they not get that money? (I’m being facetious but why does it have to be college fund why not just savings fund – what happened to that!) 2) how can you my go to a kids birthday party without a gift. I dislike the reasoning “oh my house is too cluttered with toys”. So either weed them out or deal with it. Kids tend to have lots of stuff. So yeah maybe they don’t need mountains of toys but they are going to have some.

      • Emily A

        There are financial benefits to having an educational savings fund in lieu of a plain old savings account – like, at present, the latter is earning about 46%, and there are good tax deferments on an educational savings fund, like a 529. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have a plain old savings account, too, but it doesn’t make financial sense (ha! See what I did there?) to have all of the $ in one.

    • brebay

      Did that baby sell his gun?

      • Kat

        I don’t get it. Blonde moment?

      • brebay

        There was a post a few days ago about the 20/20 documentary about kids and guns that featured almost the exact same pic but there was a gun on the tray instead of cash. I haven’t been motivated to go look it up for sure, but at the least it’s very similar. Maybe more like a gray moment, though!

      • brebay

        There he is. Pretty close, no?

      • brebay

        He’s got overalls on, but that’s totally him.

      • Tinyfaeri

        He found a REALLY good pawn shop.

      • Kat

        Oh, gotcha. Didn’t see that one. You’re right though!

      • brebay

        It may or may not be a sign that I spend way too much time procrastinating on this site when I ought to be working…

    • brebay

      I would maybe spend $10 – $20 on a gift for a baby at most. I’d feel really awkward giving that amount in cash. Did these people ever hear “It’s the thought that counts?”

    • brebay

      People are really over-thinking this. At any given time, I could walk into my sons’ rooms while they were gone and probably toss 20-30 things that they would NEVER even notice. You know what’s important to them and what’s not. Just get in there and clear brush.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      We have a rule for anyone who chooses to give the kids money.
      They get to use half and we save half.
      Whether it’s €50 or €5, that is the rule and the kids know it.

      It may seem heartless to take a €20 note off the 8 year old on her birthday but it means they can save for bigger things they want (the girls are saving to go to Eirtakon, the big Irish anime convention) They’re insisting they give me back the money I spent on their tickets because they “want to buy the tickets themselves”.

      I reckon it’s a good way to teach em how to save.

      • K.

        My parents did that too.

        it ended up not amounting to all that much (about $2500 USD, over the years), but it paid for my college books.

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        I think it teaches them how to spent and save wisely =)

      • Katherine Handcock

        The only problem I have with that idea is that the people who are giving the money in that circumstance intend for it to be a gift for the child, not for savings. I mean, if they had given the kids two action figures, you wouldn’t sell one and save the proceeds, right? So to me it seems weird to split money gifts, but not physical gifts.

        My kids are pretty little, so long-term savings is still a brain-bender for them, but my plan is to get them saving out of a small allowance I give (10% of whatever we give them to go to savings, just like they would be recommended to save 10% of their future income.) What I do with gift money is take them shopping, but remind them that, if they spend it all at once, they may find something they like later that they can’t buy. My son has already run into this face first once. There were a few tears, but he got the idea :-)

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        Believe it or not it was actually the kids who came up with the idea!
        The 13 year old got money for his birthday and asked me to hang on to half for him so he could save for a new phone.
        The girls saw him having more in his money box than them and wanted to do it too, it’s not like we’re money grabbing monsters ripping a note out of the child’s frantically grasping hand lol,

        ANYTIME they get spare money, be it the pocket money we give them or a surprise tenner in a card, it’s THEM who ask to save it.

        Please don’t think I’m forcing my kids to save, it’s always up to them.

        It IS a rule with large amounts like communions or confirmations, no way should a 9 year old be carrying around 150 euro in her pocket!

      • Katherine Handcock

        Now THAT’S a totally different deal! Where I grew up, it was very common for a parent to take all money gifts, basically from when the kid was born, and put them into savings. I knew so many people who would have happy, excited grandparents saying, “What did you get with the gift I sent you?” who would totally deflate when the kid had to reply, “Mom took it away….” So, while I don’t think those parents are money grabbing monsters – they were doing it for good reasons, after all – it’s still totally plausible to me that a parent would just say, “This is what we’re doing, like it or lump it” ;-)
        Sounds to me like you’ve got a money-smart son who’s setting a great example for his sisters!

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        lol that’s what I realised I sounded like JUST after I had posted.
        I had this image of torches and pitchforks coming my way haha!!

        He’s a good kid, t=and luckily the girls are learning from him. =)

    • personal

      Books! No kid ever had too many books. And, in a way, that could be contributing to their college fund…

      • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

        If people ask for ideas I always say: books, board games, card games, craft supplies. You can never have to many of those and those are things that I enjoy doing with my kids. If they don’t ask, we don’t suggest and thank for whatever the kid received and try to use it at least once.

      • practicallyperfectineveryway

        I always buy books for kids rather than toys. I don’t know what they like/what is popular (I don’t have a kid myself), but I do know that Brown Bear Brown Bear, Madeline, Eloise, etc (insert age appropriate equivalent) don’t go out of style.

    • JNC

      we have used this from time to time: http://www.echoage.com if the kids are into it. Basically guests give however much they want to a fund, which is split 50/50 between the kid for a special gift and a reputable charity. But we only do it if the kids are into it.

    • K.

      Honestly, if I called up a parent to ask for advice on what kind of gift the kid might enjoy (which I never do, but let’s play along) and the parent answered, “Oh, a contribution to his college fund would be great,” my response would be:

      “…No, I mean something that’s not already your responsibility as a parent.”

    • whiteroses

      I’ll be honest. When people asked me what my son wanted for his birthday, I asked them to give him books. He has enough plastic crap that I can’t find room for anyway. People still got him plastic crap, but I didn’t take them back and we made a huge fuss over everything my son got.
      Teaching him to be grateful for any present he receives? Definitely on my parenting to-do list.

    • Sam Inoue

      Ugh this is awful. People can be so entitled, its a kids bday just let them get presents no one should have to pay for your kid to go to college.

      It may be the snow apocalypse going on here, but everything is frustrating me today, and stupid people are no exception.

    • Sara610

      When I was a kid, every time we got money for a birthday, Hanukkah, whatever, we were allowed to keep half to do whatever we wanted with, and the other half went into the college fund. But my parents didn’t tell people to give us money instead of toys–that’s just entitled and tacky.

      On the other hand, I get the concern about a ton of toys every birthday. We live in a pretty small apartment, and we have to be REALLY careful about not buying our daughter new toys all the time because it will get overloaded really fast. (Doesn’t help that she’s two, so she’s at the age where a lot of toys are both large and loud.)

      I like the idea of asking for books–I’ve had a couple of friends do this and I always think it’s a great idea. Or, after the birthday, choosing some toys to give to charity to both make room for the new ones and teach the kidlet about sharing with others when we have more than we need.

    • AugustW

      My nephews have lots of living grandparents and aunts and uncles and the like, so on birthdays and for Christmas, they usually get a couple checks. The rule is that if “college fund” is written in the “for” section, they have to hand it over to the parents. If not, it’s theirs to cash and spend.

      This has been going on for years, and the three kids have pretty substantial savings accounts. I think it’s impressive. I wish my parents had me keep my Grandma checks when I was a kid, instead of letting me spend them.

    • AugustW

      Additionally, when asked what my 3 year old needed for her recent birthday, I told in town family and close friends that she would rather have a day with them, ice skating, or skiing, or getting ice cream, than the new Dora doll. It worked out fabulously. My social butterfly got to spend time with awesome people, and my tiny apartment didn’t get stuffed with new toys she doesn’t need.

      That said, some people gave presents, and in those instances we did what every adult is supposed to do. We said thank you.

    • thefluter

      I get the idea behind this, especially for family members. I think grandparents and adults wouldn’t mind contributing to a college fund, but no way would I encourage this for the birthday child’s peers.

    • ted3553

      my sister always used to tell us not to get my niece and nephew toys-they had enough. The problem is then that the rest of us get them crappy presents like clothes or books while their parents get to buy them the awesome toys. Kids like toys (they may also like books or clothes but toys are awesome!). There are also ways to deal like one comes in, 1 gets donated. I hate giving money because I feel like people are judging-oh, only $20 hmmm.

    • Chichi

      Donate to college fund? What if the kid decides not to go to college? Or what if the kid gets a full scholarship? Then what? The way I see it, it looks like these parents just want to line their pockets. Kids love toys. I mean, all the little kids I’ve ever seen scoff at receiving clothing for their birthday. WTF are they going to do with college fund money? What drab parents.

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    • Lee33Lam

      I would have no issue with this whatsoever! Everyone is so uptight as to how they think these things ‘should’ be done. As one person put it, why get our panties in a bunch over giving something they may actually benefit from? and if I read correctly? the person stated NO GIFT but if you INSIST then please consider contributing to this college fund. They give the families a complete way-out. I can tell you that giving $20 is a lot cheaper then the cost of a reasonable present, card and wrap. Also, it seems that the cost of most parties (my daughter’s bday is in the winter) far outweighs any presents given. (as we cannot have a lovely picnic, or yard party and have to go somewhere with the group and then there is food and gift bag) None of this is a complaint, mind you. Today? my daughter is going to a party and I, after reading this? have decided she will give $$ and a note letting the little girl buy what SHE wants or the choice to save it for her education. Each to their own.