Birthdays are all about showering your littles with love, memories, fun and of course, gifts! But what if your kids start getting too caught up in the idea of gifts and start missing the point of a birthday celebration altogether.
It’s a dilemma that many parents face: should we allow gifts or forgo altogether? Sure who doesn’t love to get a birthday gift, but bedrooms and playrooms are littered with toys and it’s easy to wonder if more toys are really worth it. Besides, isn’t the friendship ‘gift’ enough?
A birthday can be a totally awesome, fun and joy-filled celebration, but it can also be a great learning opportunity to teach your littles gratitude, selflessness and the importance of giving back. After all, “the world doesn’t need any more kinder, considerate and socially conscious little humans”, said no one ever!
But is it possible to ‘get’ but also give back? A few entrepreneurial and selfless parents asked themselves that very same question. And they did something about it. Here are some ingenious gift idea solutions to help your family celebrate a birthday while giving back to the community at the same time. It’s a win-win. Or, as we like to say – a party-party.
Founded by two Toronto moms, EchoAge is a unique and effortless way to give and get! It’s an online invitation and guest list tracking system that lets guests contribute to a group gift, with a portion of the money going to your child’s charity of choice. You can determine how much to contribute – from 50% to 100%. And you receive a cheque for your portion that you can put towards a larger group gift for the birthday child. Simple, easy and so smart.
Julie LeJeune, a dedicated volunteer and busy mom, wanted to find an alternative way to help small, local charities who often struggle to raise funds. She also realized that busy parents want to volunteer and help local charities, but often struggle to find the time to do so. She solved both problems with Wish and Give, a site that lets Canadians sell tickets or send out invitations to events while fundraising for one of 86,000 small organizations across the country. Thanks to smart features like small and affordable donation amounts between $2-$10, Wish and Give provides guests with the option to donate to any local charity across Canada, no matter how small.
Birthday angels is a local, non-profit charitable organization that believes that every child deserves to celebrate their birthday, regardless of their circumstances. Thanks to donations and volunteers, they provide the joy and happiness of birthday celebrations to children living in shelters. You can make a donation directly on their site any time, ask guests to bring an unwrapped gift to drop off or provide a special donation link with your invitations so that guests can donate in the birthday child’s honour. If you have older children or a mom group looking for ways to help, you can also host a wrap party – Birthday Angels will send you all the gifts and loot bag items along with instructions, and all you need to do is assemble them for an upcoming child’s party.
The Northern Birthday Box Project is a novel national facebook group that was created to ship sprinkles, streamers and birthday fun to children living in remote areas of northern Canada. Run by three women who match southern Canadian sponsors with remote northern communities across the country. For those who live in the North, where the price of a carton of milk or a bag of sugar can be almost double what the rest of Canada pays, celebrating a birthday is a luxury many can’t afford – cake mix and icing alone can cost up to $15 dollars each! Why not help your child celebrate their birthday by sharing the joy with another child across the country?
The Children’s Book Bank collects gently used children’s books from families who have finished with them, as well as publishers and retailers who cannot use them, and distributes them through their storefront and across the city of Toronto to children in need. Why not ask guests attending your party to bring a gently used book to donate to the book bank? You can then have your child collect all the books and drop them off together. Alternatively, you can also send a donation link with your invitations!