With spring in the air and summer around the corner, many a birthday party will be cropping up under the blue skies and sunshine. Which typically means, many a present will be purchased.
If your child's toy box is already jam packed with toys, or you are looking for ways to leave a lighter footprint on the earth after a birthday bash, check out these ideas, on the website "Birthdays Without Pressure." Among the alternatives to big boxes and wrapping paper are homemade gift certificates to be redeemed for the child's favorite activity or meal, donations to a child's 529 account, offerings for charity, and a book exchange. Most parents feel really awkward about listing special gift requests on invitations, but if you use the "excuse" that you are trying to have a "green" party that reduces waste and eliminates overflow, people will not only understand, they might use the idea themselves at their next fiesta.
Of course, there are times when we might want our child to experience an all out celebration, no holds barred. For those times, remember to recycle all paper and gift boxes, and try to reduce waste wherever possible. Provide re-usable cups decorated with each guest's name, give out miniature plants or seeds to grow in a garden as party favors. My sister made cupcakes for my nephew's recent third birthday party, and this cut out the need for many a paper plate and plastic fork. The little things add up!
Children are enchanted by the smallest of gestures, so don't go over the top planning a big blowout for their sake. Keep it simple and heartfelt. Happy Birthdays!