It seems to be birthday season around here. In the past four weeks my daughter has been invited to six birthday parties. SIX. Some of the parties even coincided on the same Saturday literally back to back. Most of the invites were from classmates. While I appreciate parents inviting "everyone in the class", sometimes I just think seriously everyone in the class?
It just so happens that for four of the parties, we were out of town. I declined the party invitations.
To be quite honest, my daughter doesn't really hang out with many of the kids in her class outside of school. They are school pals. I also agree parties can be a way to better get to know one another outside of school, but in general I think the all class invitations are just out of politeness. I believe in having parties with friends. My daughter is lucky enough to have good friends from a childhood playgroup and others that she's grown up with. We are still figuring out the balance of school friends and lifelong friends.
Which leads me to our recent dilemma. After declining the party invitations I wondered if I should give gifts to the kids or not give gifts. Due to the number of parties we declined, I decided to not send gifts to school for the kids we didn't attend their parties. I figured, no party no gift. I always buy gifts for Sj's friends even if we miss a party, but four gifts for classmates, I couldn't justify it. I didn't think much of it.
But then one day, Sj came home telling us of a problem that arose at school. I guess one of her classmates, "Greg" asked her where his gift was. Of course, Sj responded, "I didn't come to your party or buy you a gift. Didn't you get enough?". But the discussion at school escalated to a point where my daughter had to actually ask the teacher to have Greg leave her alone, as he wouldn't drop it. It made me sad to think that a six year old child would have a party with twenty some kids and still be asking for more gifts.
So did I make the right decision, decline an invitation and not buy a gift. Or would you have sent a gift to school for the four kids?