I Tell People What Gifts to Get My Kids


Before my kids’ birthdays and then again before the holidays, I purge our house to make room for the influx of new things we will get. Of course we appreciate everything our friends and families give. But we live in a small house, and sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in toys and plastic. Plus I want my kids to respect and value what they do have. 

For a few years, I told people no gifts were expected, but everyone brought gifts. When I really think about it, I am guilty of always bringing gifts to no-gifts-required parties. Then people started asking for gift suggestions.

So instead of of being polite and answering “don’t worry about it” or “whatever you give will be great,” I actually started giving them specific gift ideas. 

We included this or something like this with our kids’ birthday party invites last year. Then when Christmas came around, we gave out the same response. 

Our son/daughter doesn’t want or need for anything. We don’t expect gifts, but this year we are trying something new since people have asked for suggestions. We’ve got a list approved by the birthday boy/girl of gift ideas. Feel free to consider it, ignore it, bring a gift, don’t bring a gift. Heck, you can wrap up some toys you are trying to get rid of if you want. We would sincerely just love you at his/her party if you can make it.

Gifts We Love

1. Passes or memberships to take them to do some of their favorite things.

2. Subscriptions

3. Disposable or small things (not things with small parts)

  • Bubble bath
  • Bath tablets
  • Fun snacks
  • Hot Wheels cars
  • Fun hair accessories or play jewelry 

4.  Anything we can use to make stuff with

  • Since they love building and designing, Lego duplo bricks and magna tiles will always be played with. 
  • Any art supplies including different kinds of paper, tape, pencils, washable markers or batteries would be put to good use.

5. Books

  •  They love all books, especially Captain Underpants and Pinkalicious books.

The grandparents didn’t take the list into consideration, but I think that’s to be expected. Otherwise it seemed pretty well received. A lot of people listened to the suggestions, and nobody seemed to be offended. 

What about you? Have you ever done any special requests for your kids’ gifts?


  1. I love this so much! I feel like we constantly get bombarded with toys and things that are played with for a day and then never again (until I throw it away or give it away and they ask for it!). I did this for Christmas last year with my boys. We asked for experiences and annual passes for the kids. It has been perfect for us and we will continue to ask for these types of things. I never thought to ask for train rides or bubbles or snacks, but this list is awesome! I love it! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Thanks Allison! And YESSSS the toys that get played with for one day drives me bonkers (which is most of them, right?). Did people listen when you asked for passes and experiences?

  2. Great idea Lacey and I love how you prefaced the list with disclaimers– especially the part about recycling toys they were overstocked with! And I know art supplies are always well used at your house! Wonderful post!

    • Thanks Rhonda, I think part of the excitement might just be opening the gifts. So wrapping up used toys still gives them that. You are so right; art supplies will never go to waste at our house.

  3. We run an organization called the K Club, and many children have been using their birthday parties to collect items we need to spread kindness, courage, compassion, and care all across the country. It’s a great way to teach children about kindness and generosity and help a really great cause…because I feel the same way you do about “more toys!” For more info, visit kclubkidness.org or email us at [email protected]. It could make a huge difference for families in need.


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