We try to limit those each year, but still manage to have a good showing with all the family in town. We’ve always had a no gift policy at our birthday parties. The party itself is the gift and the girls never minded (or noticed) as kids. It’s one less thing on the agenda, and everyone just gets to relax and eat and visit. Neither of my girls particularly love the spotlight, so blowing out the candles is just enough attention for their taste. Family time is different though. There’s always a special gift from each family, and some new books and new clothes. The new clothes are always exciting when you’re used to just getting the hand-me-downs from several girls ahead of you.
Limit as we may, it’s still hard to resist the gift giving when you have such a delighted receiver. This child can rock the gift opening. It’s completely authentic. A new Ladybug Girl book? Totally rad. A new shirt? Let me strip down now and put it on this instant. And what truly warms a mama’s heart? Opening that big, giant box with that homemade pouf, pulling it out with a gigantic smile on her face and burrowing into it with closed eyes and a sweet grin. Completely worth the work. I’d make another one in a heartbeat for that kind of reaction.