For my daughter's 5th birthday, we did a book exchange. We didn't want more toys in our house, but felt like it would be pretentious of us to say "No gifts!" at a 5th birthday party. So, instead of birthday gifts, we requested that everyone bring a new, wrapped copy of a favorite book. Then, each kid chose a wrapped book, opened it, and got to take it home. It was a huge success! All the kids sat around reading their new books. And instead of 7 new toys to overwhelm my daughter with, my kids had one new book each.
Did my daughter mind? No! This may only work with younger kids, though. She said, "It's present time!" and we went into the living room, and everyone opened a new book. She didn't care at all that she only got one, and everyone else got one, too. The only problem she had was when I first suggested it and she thought she was going to have to give away her favorite book. When the new copy arrived, she was relieved.
Did the other moms think it was weird? I checked with two before doing this, and they both thought it was a great idea. I don't think anyone thought it was weird. Some of the comments I heard after the party were:
- "That was such a great idea!"
- "Who needs more toys?
- "Was the book ok? It wasn't too boy?"
If you're overwhelmed with the thought of new toys at the next birthday in your family, consider doing this. We're glad we did.