I have three elementary school age daughters. I know this is a first world problem, but they get invited to an overwhelming number of birthday parties.

Birthday parties are fine, it’s the gift giving that gets to be a problem. I think it is a problem on both sides. It’s expensive to give so many gifts and it’s problematic to get so many gifts. So here is my idea – evite should have an algorithm that assigns three people to give a gift for each birthday party. Since almost all of us use evite, it would make sure that you are only bringing a gift to every fifth or so birthday party. When you RSVP for a party, you get a message that either says, “Your turn to bring a gift” or one that says, “No need to bring a gift this time.” Because really, three is the optimal amount of gifts for a child to get at a birthday party. Everything after the fourth gift is just overwhelming. Also, as the gift giver, you can teach your child the grace of being generous, without needing to run to Fred Meyer for a $10 gift every weekend. And as the parent of the birthday child, your house doesn’t explode with cheap gifts at each birthday. An added bonus would be that the first people to RSVP are less likely to be assigned to bring a gift – giving parents an incentive to RSVP early, helping out the poor parents who are planning the party. On a related note – what is up with the tradition of giving goody bags? Where did that come from?! When we were kids, you went to a party, played, ate some cake and called it good. The amount of crap, yes, I said it, crap, that gets passed back and forth between kids’ birthday parties these days is just ridiculous. You give a cheap gift and you walk away with a little bag of even cheaper gifts. It litters up your house for awhile until you throw it all in the garbage. Oh, I really am an old humbug, aren’t I? What do you think about the modern day birthday party?

Shari Storm

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