Birthday gift etiquette: Is it okay to ask for cash?

Filed under: Preschoolers, Big Kids, Holidays, Development/Milestones: Babies

My kids are going to four birthday parties this weekend, between the two of them. Just writing that sentence makes me feel like I need a nap. Today (because I like to leave things to the VERY LAST minute) we are going shopping for gifts for the birthday children. And that makes me even more tired. It's hard to know what to buy for my children's classmates; these are kids that they see every day, but they are not kids I know well, nor do I always know their parents. Because I'm often winging the gift and want to be sure to get something the child will like, I typically ask the host parents for gift suggestions when I call to RSVP.

For this batch of parties, though, one invitation came with a wish list, dictated by the birthday child and typed up by his loving mother. How do I know that the list was dictated by the child? Because there is a funny little introduction to the list which says precisely that. And also because the list has not been edited in any way, and includes the child's request that people give him money, because he really wants a trampoline and is saving up to buy it himself.

When I told my husband about the wish list, he said, "That's not a bad idea. It's helpful." But when I told him about the request for cash gifts, he said, "No, that's just wrong." And I agree. Actually, I would go a step further and say that the whole wish list is wrong, that party guests should never feel like they MUST bring a specific gift. My husband says that I'm just crabby because we have to go to four birthday parties in two days. And maybe he's right, but I don't think so.

What say you, Internet? Is it appropriate to include a wish list in a child's birthday party invitation? And what about asking for cash instead of a toy or book? Am I right, or am I just crabby?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.