We’re heading to a kid’s birthday party almost every weekend. At least, it feels like that, anyway. My body has begun to crave a weekly infusion of icing, and we have enough goodie bag trinkets to stock our sleep pass reward drawer for the next month.
My kids are two and three years old, so I typically accompany them to these soirees. Luckily, I’m one of those parents who really likes going to kids’ parties. My children have a ball, and then they sleep like the dead. The one aspect I’ve never been crazy about (particularly when we are invited to toddler parties for kids that I don’t know well) is the gift-giving part. More often than not, I wind up mindlessly zipping into Target to get “something” for the kid – and then feeling guilty for adding to the pile of stuff that will likely be forgotten within weeks (days?) of being opened. And, not that everything needs to be a life lesson, but what is this teaching my kids?
It’s the same problem when we’re on the receiving end. Even if we specify that gifts aren’t needed, our well-intentioned friends still like to bring a little something (not that our kids complain). However, we definitely don’t need twenty Melissa & Doug stamp sets threatening the sanctity of every flat surface in my house, and we have more Hot Wheels and Legos than I care to admit. Don’t get me wrong – we could not be more grateful for our sweet friends and family, but, to be honest, we usually wind up tossing presents into our overstuffed play room bins, or we return, donate, and re-gift items that just won’t see the light of day.
The whole process seems so wasteful and indulgent! I started looking for a way to diplomatically focus our generous friends’ and family members’ gifting efforts, so that they might better spend their money on non-cluttering items that would truly excite my kids.
Enter my latest obsession, GiftAround. It’s a revelation that addresses all the problems I have with both ends of gifting, and has an added bonus of helping raise money for a great charitable cause. Creating a registry on GiftAround is free, secure, and easy. As a host, you register for a handful of gifts on Amazon that your kid will actually love. The idea is that you can cut down on clutter by selecting a few coveted items… this isn’t a baby registry! You also choose a charity to help and select a percentage of each guest’s contribution that will go towards that organization.
GiftAround creates an easy, navigable list for your guests to see, where they can contribute as little or as much as they like towards the items you’ve chosen. The goal amount for each gift takes everything into account, including the price of the item, taxes, shipping, and the charitable donation. As the host, you won’t see how much each guest has contributed individually, just the total amount. At the end of the process, you get a link to an Amazon gift card, and the charity of your choice gets a donation in your kid’s name. That’s a win-win!
My daughter is soon turning four, and she is desperate for her own bike. She also has her eye on a huge Magna-Tiles set ($$$), and a little ant farm. She doesn’t really want or need anything else. When we put together our GiftAround registry, my daughter was beyond thrilled to choose her own presents. She also decided to donate to PBS, the home of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Dinosaur Train (a.k.a. my cheapest babysitters). I could not believe how excited she was about donating to charity. My heart swooned! GiftAround generated a link to include in our invitations, and I know our guests are happy to know they’re not just throwing their money into the abyss.
This site has me so excited – it’s just what busy parents need, especially when our space is limited, our kids already have much of what they want and need, and so many of us want to be better about giving back. Let’s bring gifting into the 21st century! If you have questions about how it all works, leave them in the comments!