Wednesday, May 02, 2007

WFMW - Birthday Edition

Today is a special WFMW. Shannon is asking for birthday ideas..."any pointers for making birthdays special? Time savers? Money savers?"

I shared this re-gifting idea back at Christmas but since we do a similar thing at birthday times, I'll share it again here.

We have five kids - two girls and three boys, ranging in age from 5 up to 14. We have a veritable plethora of toys and games and stuffed animals and gadgets and clothes, etc. etc. (You get the picture.) There are regular times throughout the year we go through things together and give things away or donate them to charity or throw things away. And we still have A LOT of stuff. As birthdays approach naturally, the kids all want to give each other gifts. Isn’t that sweet?! Here’s the dilemma - most of them don’t have jobs and honesty they have so much stuff already. They're going to get gifts from friends, aunts and uncles and grandparents and us. So, we encourage re-gifting. Just before a birthday, we encourage each of the kids to look closely at all his/her stuff to see if there is something that he/she already has that isn’t played with much anymore or is outgrown and can be given to the birthday girl or boy. Something NICE, which isn't hard because we really encourage our kids to take good care of their things. Inevitably, I hear something like this, “Joe Cool has always liked this (fill-in-the-blank) and I don’t play with it much anymore (or didn’t ever), I think I’ll give that to him.” And I have NEVER EVER heard from the receiver of such a gift, “What?! This old thing? I don’t want your used-up old (fill-in-the-blank)!” More often, it’s, “I have always liked/wanted this! Thanks you so much!”

We've also been know to put aside a several of the MOUNTAIN of presents from aunts & uncles, friends & grandparents that our January birthday boy was going to get for Christmas, for him to open as birthday presents a month later. I know, I know, we're bad.

Re-gifting. In our home, it works for us!

Can't think of a theme? Try a "Decorate-Your-Own Cupcake" party. Bake enough cupcakes for each party attender to have two but leave them unfrosted. Buy several tubs of frosting and a bunch of decorations like sprinkles, colored sugars, candies & chocolate chips, etc. Then at cake time, let each girl/boy have two cupcakes to decorate anyway he/she wants. When it's time to sing "Happy Birthday" stick candles or one of those number-shaped cancles in the Birthday Boy's or Girl's cupcake and you're all set.

More great Birthday WFMW helps.


The Preacher's Wife said...

Loved your re-gifting idea...I'm going to try that with my boys!! We need every opportunity available to encourage civility between them..:))

kris said...

I stumbled upon your blog. I read your most recent posts. I laughed and I smiled and I felt better knowing there are other moms out there kinda like me...I'm a homescooling mom of 4 (5 on his/her way) and we try to encourage our kids to be less materialistic. Often our kids "make" a gift for their siblings. Either that or they are just totally involved in the party planning. It's a good lesson to learn that loving somebody is more about what you do and not what you buy. Thanks for you blog again! - Kris

sara - The Estrogen Files said...

Isn't it so so nice when they are so willing to share like that? I really love hearing them come to me in "secret" to wrap up something they treasure for their big sister. Good tip!

SeaBird said...

I like the decorate-your-own-cupcake idea... great for playgroups, too!

Gina said...

We re-gift at home also, or go to the dollar store. In fact, my four-year-old daughter was going to BUY a toy from her brother for $3, I later told him to wrap it up and give it to her for her birthday party which is tomorrow!