I've seen "your presence is presents enough!" on invitations. I've seen requests for a toonie (Canadian $2 coin) in place of a present so the birthday kid can buy a birthday item. I've seen people take the direct route of "no presents please!" I've seen requests for specific items like books. And I've seen the reverse - people insulted or annoyed by the mention of presents on party invitations.
I'm putting together Grady's 1st birthday party invitation and I'm stuck. Do I risk offending people by asking them not to bring presents? Do I say nothing and just donate everything Grady doesn't need? You guys, Grady was spoiled at Christmas. I didn't write about it because I didn't want to sound like an ungrateful cow but Christmas was ridiculous. Don't believe me? Here's a photo of my 5-month old baby riding the pedal tractor (with attached trailer!) he was given by a grandparent.
But I am fretting. I'm fretting because I know money is tight for some people and I don't want them to feel like they have to buy Grady a birthday gift. We're having a big party for Grady's first birthday because we want to celebrate and say thank you to the many people who helped us through this first, difficult year. There are some weird competey family dynamics we have to contend with and I really don't want them to come out in the form of my child being lavished with expensive things. I want to nip this in the bud before he's old enough to recognize who is buying what for him (just like I don't want Shawn and I to be the "fun" parent and the "strict" parent the way I viewed my parents when I was a kid, I don't want Grady to view one grandparent as the "indulgent" grandparent and one as the "frugal" grandparent.)
So what do I do? How have you dealt with this?