Our daughter's sixth birthday was in April. She began talking about her birthday in January. In fact, she talked about it so much that she had invited her entire class without us knowing and before we had even decided what type of party she would have! With her classmates, friends, neighbours and some family, we had 24 children enjoy the magician party we hosted at a local recreation centre. It was crazy, hectic, fun, chaotic, and amazing.
That rush wore off quickly though when we got home, sat down to recover, and watched my daughter unwrap A LOT of presents.
My heart sank. I felt such guilt over the excessive pile of stuff growing with each gift she opened. She just didn't need them all. I wanted to kick myself for not suggesting charitable donations for gift ideas, as I had with the parties in previous years.
I felt embarrassed because I hadn't thought of it earlier, and during the party-planning phase I hadn't realized that Plan Canada has an amazing Plan Canada Gifts of Hope Birthday Registry. I kicked myself, especially considering I wrote a post last Christmas about how Plan Canada's Gifts of Hope made perfect Christmas gifts for those who have everything! It made me think that if even *I* hadn't considered this ethical gift-giving program, then most likely the average parent who hasn't written about it might not be familiar with the program and wouldn't necessarily think about it either.
Check out this video about the incredible impact of Plan Canada's Gifts of Hope:
There IS a birthday party gift-giving alternative that is much more meaningful than all of those toys your child doesn't need. This program gives your child a far more important gift — that amazing feeling of knowing you're giving hope and sustainability to a child or family who has so much less than you do.
You can create a learning opportunity with your child as you browse online from over 40 gift ideas (starting at $10) supporting education, literacy, health aid, clean water, or girls' rights. You simply register for life-changing gifts, then invite your guests to shop online and purchase one or more of these gifts in lieu of — or in addition to — a small gift for your child. Guests can even choose to have a free card sent to your child!
While you're on the website, you can buy party favours to thank to your guests. There is a great selection of other merchandise that make meaningful loot bag presents to continue the theme of giving hope.
I have certainly learned my lesson — there are still new toys and games littering my family room because we can't find a spot for them in my daughter's already-full toy cupboards. Never again! I am fully committed that from now on, my daughter's birthday parties will have meaning and give hope and support to those who need it far more than my daughter needs more toys and clothes.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one feeling guilty about getting so much when others have so little. As my daughter completed her gift-unwrapping carnival, she told me she didn't need all of those things and suggested that maybe we could give some of them to boys and girls who have less. It was the perfect opportunity to talk about Plan Canada's Birthday Registry, and I know my daughter will love using the registry to share the fun of her future parties with those who need it most.
Do you love the idea of throwing a birthday party that gives back? Read these articles and learn how you can throw a birthday party that will make a difference in the life of a child.
Then make your next birthday one to remember by registering for Plan Canada’s Gifts of Hope: Birthday Registry.
Simply invite your friends to purchase that are meaningful to you, then enjoy your special day knowing that your birthday gifts will make a lasting difference in the lives of children.