Have a Birthday ‘Giving’ Party this year!
For many of us, our children’s birthdays have inexplicably become occasions for endless waste and excess… instead of the simpler, less materialistic celebrations we wish they were and can remember them being when we were kids.
Whether as a guest or the birthday child, many of our children get too many presents and too many goody bags… with much of the “stuff” they receive ending up broken and forgotten… or simply thrown away.
We want so badly to give our children everything, but in the process, often neglect to give them what they really need… an understanding of empathy for others… a tradition of generosity… the desire to give to those who have much less.
As mothers working at Family-to-Family, we see such deprivation and poverty in the communities we serve… and sadly, children are the primary victims. So we thought, what better way to help our own children celebrate their birthdays than to have them help other, much poorer children to celebrate theirs?
With that in mind, Family-to-Family is offering an alternative to the traditional birthday party that we call the “Giving Party” – a party at which one of the activities is having each guest put together a “birthday box” …with a gift, goody bag, etc., so that impoverished children living in a local family shelter or in one of our receiving communities can have their own birthday celebrations. Instead of just taking things home, your kids will also give to someone else.
Our basic thought is that at a “giving” party, you still have your party theme…i.e. Superhero, Frozen, etc… and can include any other activities you’d like. In fact, any kind of party (Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc.) can also be a “giving” party; just add the birthday box activity to the party. At any occasion when children are gathered together the opportunity is there to enrich their lives by exposing them to the “giving” notion and show them how giving can be part of their every day.
Here’s how it works:
Moms or dads invite kids to the party (click here for printable invitation) and ask each child to bring:
- a book for a child approximately the same age as the birthday child (should fit into a shoe-box sized box)
• a box of cake mix
• a can of frosting
• a pack of birthday candles
• a gently used party outfit for any aged child (ONLY IF THEY HAVE IT!!)
The party hosts supply:
- One shoe-box sized craft box for each child (available at craft stores)
• Art supplies to decorate the box and card
• Paper for cards
• Empty goody bags
• Goody bag items
• Wrapping paper and ribbon
• Large box(es) to pack birthday boxes in for mailing
At the party, each child will be given a craft box to fill with birthday surprises for a needy child.
• Wrap the book they brought
• Make a birthday card for the child they are giving to
• Decorate and fill a goody bag (Instead of getting a fully loaded goody bag at the end of the party, the kids coming to the party will each make a goody bag for the needy child they are giving to. The moms/dads throwing the party will supply small bags and the toys, etc. needed to fill them)
• Pack the box with the wrapped book, goody bag, cake mix, frosting, candles and card
• Decorate or wrap the top and bottom of the box (wrap top and bottom separately so it can be easily opened), tie a ribbon around it and label who it is for (e.g. “7-year old girl”)
Of course, all kids need to leave with something……so we suggest the party guests take home small bags of candy, brownies or cookies…something edible and wonderful…and hopefully, a sense of having done something fun and meaningful.
We hope that with our help, children with “more” will “get” that they are actually, in a hands-on way, helping a child just like themselves celebrate… possibly for the first time…their special day!
Want to learn more?
Fill out the form below if you are planning a party… and we’ll email you contact information for either a local family shelter that serves children in need, or one of our community partner organizations, so you can drop off or ship your birthday boxes when they’re done. (We may wait until close to your party date before finding a shelter for you so the info is fresh in the mind of the shelter contact when they receive your boxes!)
Our hope is that with our help, children with “more” will “get” that they are actually, in a hands-on way, helping a child just like themselves celebrate… possibly for the first time…their special day!