Any ideas for birthday donation?

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2001 - 4:53am
julieb's picture
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My son's birthday is a few days before Halloween. He will be 2 years old. All our relatives live out-of-state so whenever we have any kind of party, it's invites to friends.

Would it be socially tacky to request that in lieu of birthday gifts, that we would appreciate a donation made to such-n-such?

My boys are the only grandchildren on either side of the family. My cousins, brother, sister-in-law are so into their careers and lifestyles that some of them don't want kids. So you can imagine how my boys get overwhelmed with gifts. I could never ask the donation idea to relatives...they like giving an actual item and seeing the kids with their toy, outfit, etc. when they visit. But I figure that my friends wouldn't be offended. My six year old has even said that he has been blessed with a lot of stuff and for his birthday, he would rather help his brother with donations than to get gifts.

Has anyone done anything like this before and if so, how did you word it? I would like donations given to some cause or organization that would help my son and others with their peanut allergy (such as research for a "cure", etc). Any suggestions would be great.

Thanks for your advice! Warmly, Julie B.

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2001 - 5:41am
SF's picture
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Julieb: I have thought about doing something like this too; its a great idea and a valuable lesson for our children. How about putting on the invitation: instead of gifts, please bring a book that will be donated to (our school, library, hospital etc.) It would be wonderful to donate books like "No Nuts For Me" or Allie The Allergic Elephant" to help spread awareness about PA. This way if you do not feel comfortable asking for cash donations, books are a great way to help others. Let me know what you think and how it all works out so that I can plan something for my kids to do in the future.

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2001 - 9:56am
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I do as well feel a donation is a great idea. The only thing i worry that your sons will feel as if they have done something wrong to all of sudden stop getting gifts. I am not disagreeing but how will they feel? Let me know how they understand this please. As i said I am not disagreeing in any way I just wonder. claire

Posted on: Sun, 08/26/2001 - 1:11am
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Just a thought about a place that would greatly appreciate a donation, (maybe aunts uncles grandparents etc could for Bday holidays etc) make it to Peanut Allergy.Com!?

Posted on: Sun, 08/26/2001 - 6:26am
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I believe in the adage that good begets good. Every year my eldest son goes through his toys and we collect the toys he feels that another child would enjoy more than he does. We then give those toys to local residents who are less fortunate than us. My sons also go with me to our local food pantry and the six year old understands the need to help others. I try to raise my boys to be sensitive to others.
I give my boys toys throughout the year that they've "earned" by being good or doing something good. So when it's their birthdays, it's already been a year's worth of getting gifts.
So, I don't fear that they will feel different for not getting gifts if I did a donation idea. Plus, my eldest thinks it's a great idea and willingly prefers to help others than to get gifts on his birthday. So, I guess this long explaination goes to explain that I would not feel bad about doing a donation idea. It's just one more way that I can show my boys how to be unselfish.
Thank you to those who've responded and hopefully more people will help respond to this brainstorming session. Grin. Warmly, Julie.

Posted on: Sun, 08/26/2001 - 10:41am
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I hate to be the voice of dissent, but I don't think it is reasonable to ask people to make a donation, especially if you are choosing the charity. People may not want to give money to that particular charity. It sounds like a good idea on the surface, but I wouldn't do it. If your children have too many toys, continue your practice of having them clear them out and donating them. Also, stop giving them gifts for good behavior. They should behave and do good because that's how they're supposed to act--not to get a gift. But that's another topic.... I buy my children toys when I feel they are developmentally ready for something new, and there is no birthday or holiday in sight.
Julie, I am not knocking your intentions. I think it is a wonderful gesture to want to give to others. But I don't think it's right to ask other people to give to others on your behalf. That is a gift that they have to choose to do, not be asked to do.

Posted on: Tue, 08/28/2001 - 3:06pm
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Bensmom, thank you for your honesty. Many of my friends are into charity work or into giving donations but I did wonder if people would feel weird about a charity I specified. So along that thinking, I thought that maybe a gift certificate to buy my son's special foods (he's allergic to a lot of things) at one of the speciality grocery stores or something like that would also be a good idea. That way, our friends would still be helping him without the toys.
As for the toys, my boys do behave because they know they're supposed to behave and not for the toys. My boys have truly not asked me for a toy as a reward. And no tantrums have been thrown. It's a choice that I make because I enjoy giving them gifts.
So when we are out and about, if they have behaved while I have dragged them clothes shopping or etc., I have no problem giving them a gift under $5 at Wal-mart, Toys R Us, or Kaybee toys to thank them for their good behavior. They usually pick out something as simple as an action figurine, a Matchbox car, a ball, or a book. And it's not just toys...I do verbally praise my boys for their behavior often.
I have received so many compliments from neighbors, strangers, and family about how polite, patient, and good my boys are.
I feel no guilt or bad parenting vibes by doing this practice because it's worked well for our family.
I'm just sorry that my gift giving to my boys offended you. I was only trying to explain "why" to a previous post that my kids wouldn't feel weird about not getting gifts on their b-day. Warmly, Julie.

Posted on: Tue, 08/28/2001 - 9:43pm
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Julieb, I am also a mother that has the kids clean out the toys and donate to the less fortunate. My daughter has gotten to be a very giving child and my oldest as well. Hopefully my 3 year old is learning to do so as well. It doesn't hurt them to learn at a young age to respect the less fortunate.
As for buying toys when good behavior is happening I am guilty as well. I also have always been told how well behaved my children are so apparently they are not spoiled brats. The other day we went to the races and my 3 year old was rewarded with ice cream for his good behavior. You know what he enjoyed every bite and when it was gone he was just as good as before he got it. I bought the ice cream earlier in the day because it was so hot he deserved it. With my 10 year old I told her that she was getting ice cream because I wanted her to have it. Not because of behavior. I told her at 10 behaving is of course just expected.
I don't think anyone has a right to tell you how to raise your children and if giving them a little toy makes a happy and well behaved child then so be it. It is amazing when we are mothers and everyone thinks they are better than us. We all raise our children the way that is best for our situation.
Also I don't remember you asking anyone for advise on when you should buy you children toys did You? You take care and enjoy doing what your doing claire

Posted on: Tue, 08/28/2001 - 11:35pm
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Julie, I re-read my post and see that my response (the part about giving your kids toys for good behavior) was a bit abrupt. I'm sorry--I didn't mean it that way and I'm certainly not offended that you choose to do that. I have done the same thing as you--small treats as an unexpected reward, not as a bribe. I think that's fine, but whether I think it's fine or not doesn't matter. I didn't mean to accuse you of anything or hurt your feelings. I guess I was just trying to find another solution for too many toys. Also, Ben is just starting kindergarten and I have a problem with all the rewarding they do to try to motivate the kids. As far as I'm concerned, 5 yr olds are already motivated to learn by nature, and coupons for pizza aren't needed. So I was probably having a bad day thinking about that! And THAT really is another topic!
I'm glad you weren't offended by the rest of my post. Good luck with the party!

Posted on: Wed, 08/29/2001 - 7:36am
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Claire -- You made me laugh. You have the same spirit as my best friend. Thank you for the support. It's funny, though. My best friend often tells me I'm whacked 'cus I buy these little treats for my kids. So here we were at the mall today and what do you think she did? Yep. She went into Kaybee Toys and bought her first grader a Jessie doll. Why? Because her daughter had made her bed, had listened to her for a week, had cleaned her room...and as she was telling me "why" she laughed 'cus she knew she was just as guilty as me. I guess as a parent it's hard not to be guilty of that behavior. And like you, I am very careful not to raise spoiled brats. Take care, Claire. Warmly, Julie.
Bensmom -- Thank you for the apology. I wasn't quite sure how to read your original post. When it's the written word it's often difficult to know how someone is going to read what you've written and the tone the reader is going to take. And I'm glad you weren't offended. And again, I always favor honesty over a stab-in-the-back so I truly meant it when I said that I appreciated your honesty. Warmly, Julie.
TO ANYONE -- So what do you think of the gift certificate idea to a speciality food store? Does anyone have any other gift certificate ideas? I liked the book idea. I was thinking of a gift certificate to Borders or Barnes&Noble since I'm always on the find for speciality cookbooks for my son's challenging diet.
Also, Bensmom brought up an interesting point about being presented with a charity donation. Personally, I wouldn't mind being asked by a friend for a donation in lieu of a gift since to me, that's no-fuss-shopping. Grin. But, I do wonder how others would take it. Warmly, Julie.
(Had to edit 'cus I can't spell. Duh. Also, had to delete a comment that I was worried would be misinterpreted. It's kinda tough to write up responses in-between my kids' quiet times and my husband wanting his computer back! Grin. So sorry for having to edit.)
[This message has been edited by julieb (edited August 29, 2001).]

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