Alternative Birthday Gift Ideas for your Child’s Birthday Party


Maybe this isn’t the case in your house, but in ours, we seem to have an abundance of kid “stuff.” Toys, dolls, doll houses, games, musical instruments and more. And, truly and honestly, most of them aren’t from us and haven’t been purchased by us!

There is just too much! We’ve cleaned. We’ve decluttered. We’ve donated and it still feels like there is too much.

Alternative Birthday Gift Ideas for your Child's Birthday Party

Part of our solution came to me earlier this year, when we suggested a small donation (like $1-$2) for the Make-A-Wish foundation in lieu of gifts for E’s first birthday. We were hoping that putting it as a suggestion wouldn’t make people feel obligated to bring anything, but if they wanted to bring something, a donation would be a fabulous way to celebrate her birthday and help somebody in need more.

Non-gift ideas for kids parties

So, this year, when it came to the older two girls’ birthdays, we decided to do the same thing. It seemed to be very well received by people attending the party and many people even said they thought it was a great alterative to the stuff people feel obligated to bring to a kid’s party.

I mentioned that the Make-A-Wish Foundation was our choice, in honor of our guardian angels, but since it was so well praised, I put together a list of some other ideas for alternative gifts for kids parties.

Alternative gift ideas for kid’s parties

  • Suggest a donation to a charity for something you or your children support
    • Make-A-Wish Foundation
    • Ronald McDonald House
    • March of Dimes
  • Collect canned goods/non-perisabhles for a local food bank.
    • Food banks are always in need of food and will gladly take non-perishable items. Canned goods, tuna, peanut butter, rice, beans and more.
  • Collect donations for a pet shelter
    • Monetary donations
    • Pet food
  • Donations to the local hospital
    • Check with local hospitals or kids hospitals and check to see what they are in need of. It could be something simple like crayons and coloring books, small toys, stuffed animals or something like collecting money for a bigger purchase.
  • Donations for Toys for Tots
    • Collect toys for toys for Tots, or collect money to purchase toys if it’s not close to a Toys for Tots pick up.
  • Collect stuffed animals
    • Fire departments, police officers and even social workers often need them on hand to pass out to kids that are scared, alone or have been separated from them families.

We made sure to discuss this with the girls first, too. We also got them gifts from us and family members sent gifts, too. We aren’t saying that they shouldn’t receive anything. Just trying to cut down on the amount of excess received and in our home. We also had a really fun party with a bouncy castle, a pinata, and of course, their friends, which is what they wanted.

We also reminded them of just how blessed we are and how we really don’t need anything else. And, there are so many people that are either in need, or very sick and can use some help with their families. They didn’t even hesitate or get upset at all. They were very happy to be helping somebody in need instead of getting things themselves. They even apologized when one person accidentally forgot and brought them a gift.

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  1. I prefer no gift parties for my own children, but my best friend, who also happens to be my children’s God mother, thinks no gift parties are horrible. I always like to say something like “the gift of your friendship is the greatest gift of all” to discourage gift giving but I think people out here really like to give children gifts. It’s hard.

  2. grandma pat says:

    I think this is a great idea. I know they will still get some gifts but not getting a ton junk is great.

  3. grandma pat says:

    I am also very proud of them not getting upset and knowing the importance of helping out others.

  4. I LOVE this gift giving idea. It works great for grown ups, too 🙂 I actually did a donation for a few birthdays last year and the donation was made in the name of the birthday person. They all enjoyed it as well. It is very sweet the girls are so supportive of giving to others.

  5. Those are some good ideas. We have too much, too. I look forward to living a more simplistic lifestyle. My children need to learn how now so that they don’t end up accumulating too much as well.

  6. Absolutely wonderful idea. I love what it teaches our children. I need to do this for birthday parties as well. And of course you want them to get some gifts but they do not need so many!!

  7. I like those ideas as a matter of fact we are going to a party on Sunday and the parents asked us to bring toys for toys for tots and I thought how great I normally donate to them anyway but this year I get to give extra.

  8. What a great idea! I love that your girls wanted to donate rather than receive gifts. How thoughtful!!

  9. GREAT idea! We have too much stuff too. Can’t wait to see you again at the next Graco event! I just RSVP’d. 😀

  10. I love the idea of donating to a foundation that helps kids! This is such a great way to teach children generosity and giving.

  11. I love these ideas! What a great way to do something good while teaching your kiddos to be generous to others. It’s a win/win!

  12. Love the idea of teaching kids to give back when they attend a birthday party. I know that I always buy my boys too much so would love to have guests make a donation.

  13. This is such a great idea. I’ve been thinking about doing this for my son because he has so much. I’d love to help kids in need.

  14. Hi
    I appreciate all your ideas for birthday party gift.Specially I like idea about Donations to the local hospital.I will definitely try to do on son’s birthday.

  15. Michele P says:

    what a great idea to give back on your birthday… my daughter isn’t really into presents that much, so this would be something she would love to do, say for the local humane society as she loves animals….her bday is in Dec. and I will have to remember that!

  16. Great ideas, I love the idea about donating to a local hospital. i’ve had guests bring canned food to donate to a local food bank, that worked out great

  17. your girls are so sweet… what a great idea

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