Kiddie Parties: No Clothes Allowed

I don’t know about your youngster, but when my preschooler sees a semi-flat box sitting on the gift table at her birthday party, it’s not the first one she reaches for.

No matter how fancy the wrapping, how big the bow, or how shiny the ribbon, the kid can smell new clothes from a mile away, and shirt boxes decked out in pretty paper don’t impress her.

We’re still working on the humility thing.

Bottom line: Kids don’t like getting clothes as gifts.
At least the ones I know.

So, what’s a parent to do? Send out party invitations with the disclaimer: “No Clothes Allowed as presents.”

To tell you the truth, I know a few moms who actually wouldn’t be offended by the request. Of course, they are the ones whose kids react similarly to mine when faced with a gift table stacked with robe and shirt boxes.

“You don’t get kids clothes for their birthday,” one of my mom friends noted at a recent birthday party we attended for another pal’s 5-year-old. “It’s an unwritten rule.”

It’s true; in that particular case our pal’s 5-year-old son was less than thrilled opening four gift boxes filled with new summer shorts and tees.

On the flipside his mother was ecstatic.

She loved the fact that she was freed from having to blow money purchasing her son a new summer wardrobe. What’s more, as she put it: “He has enough toys.”

Spoken like a true mom.

No parent wants to see his/her child unhappy, especially on his birthday, but be honest; hasn’t there been at least one time when you have secretly cheered inside when the contents of one of your kid’s presents included new underwear, socks, shirts or pants?

I happen to love people who gift my daughter with new clothes because:

A. She has way too many toys

B. They just saved me a ton of time and money shopping for cute outfits she wouldn’t have wanted to try on

C. She has way too many toys

D. Did I mention she has too many toys?

There’s also another plus to getting clothes as birthday gifts—-it provides the opportunity to teach your tykes a lesson in being grateful for everything they receive… even new underwear.

Practical gifts may not elicit the same response from a kid as a new monster truck or the latest Barbie accessory, but they do serve a purpose. If nothing else they allow kids to see the worth of every gift. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right?


Not so much to a 5-year-old, but give him time… in about 10 years he won’t care if the gift table is void of big boxes… as long as it’s covered with fat envelopes.

Do you give clothes as birthday gifts for kids?

Related Articles:

Kiddie Birthday Parties: What Happened to Gift Opening?

Parental Dilemma: Big Birthday Parties for Little Kids

The Power of Pink: Are You Raising a Princess?

Are You Talking to Your Kids About the Financial Crisis?

Birthday Pictures: What to Know Before They Blow

Charity and the Preschooler

Are you Raising a Mini Fashionista?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.