Can I Ask People to Not Buy My Kids Toys?

boy sitting on floor with toys kids toys

A mom of twins asks, “My twins just turned 11 months old, so their 1st birthday is next month! Naturally, since it was their first, they’re the first grandkids on both sides, and there are of course two babies, they got a TON OF TOYS for Christmas! I really, really don’t need more toys for them for their birthday. Would it be a jerk move to ask that people NOT get them toys but instead get other, more useful stuff for them?”

Here’s what our Twiniversity community had to say…


Can I Ask People to Not Buy My Kids Toys?

I did a wish list of the things I thought they needed/wanted. It’s both easier on the person buying for them and for the parents. Yes it’s a new thing, yes to some it comes off as “rude,” but in reality, everyone loved it because it was easier for them and for me so I don’t have to return anything. I think most people would understand since it’s multiples that you really don’t have extra time, especially if you don’t have any support. This was the case with me, so it worked for me. As for clothes I didn’t put that on the wish list and if people asked I would tell them a size bigger or a gift card to make their lives as well as mine easier. Hope this helps! 🤗 Happy first birthday to your twins! -JB

We did a wish list at Pottery Barn for their school bags, lunch boxes, etc as we get ready to start school this year!!! These are nice things we would never buy the kids ourselves that people can indulge in if they please. – Stephanie C.

I made a wish list on Amazon — my twins just turned one in September, so I put stuff on there like portable high chairs, room decorations (for the future when they have their own rooms), an outdoor picnic table, water table, things like that that they’ll get good use out of for years. – RM

I saw a line once that said, “my child has toys galore, all we want to see is you at the door.” – Margo L.

My girls are only 8 months, but we plan asking people to bring nothing or make donations to a charity. We will be encouraging people to bring a donation to a local animal shelter! – Kelley A.

baby playing with toys kids toys

This is a gift that keeps on giving. Suggest they adopt an animal or a flock of chickens in the twins name. Then people in deleveloping countries get help with their needs also. I’ve done this instead of funeral flowers before: https://www.heifer.org – Michelle K.

For our twins 1st birthday we asked for gift cards so we could buy them new car seats since they were outgrowing their infant ones! Nobody had an issue with it and we were able to get the car seats we wanted for both at no cost to us! – Brenda H.

Khole Pirpinias My girls spent 11 weeks in the NICU so we put together a list of things people could get so we could make baskets for NICU moms and dads. We ended up making almost 30 baskets and 10 for moms admitted for observation (I spent two weeks admitted before they were taken). Because of donations we also got a ton of gift cards for the coffee shop in the lobby for parents and for NICU staff. It was an awesome day!! – Khole P.

It is their birthday and they deserve to get at least one toy each for their birthday from the attending family and friends. If they already have too many toys get rid of old ones they no longer play with, need, or are broken. I go through and clean out toys all year round but more so before their birthday and Christmas. Their birthday should not be used to buy you what they need as far caring for them. – Brittany T.

For kids old enough to understand presents and parties, I would agree with the previous poster. For one-year-old babies who have no idea what is going on, they may as well get useful stuff. Mom could hide a few toys for the next month and they could have “new” toys on their birthday. – Karen H.

We asked for diapers. Regardless, someone will bring a toy and they’ll be fine. But we did end up with enough diapers to last a few weeks. It was wonderful. Win, win for both babies and parents. – Jennifer B.

I can understand the mindset that parents shouldn’t ask for presents they want (which is very different than saying kids deserve toys on their birthday). Although I think it’s worse to say you only expect people to bring one gift each. I don’t expect anyone to give my kids gifts ever. Some people like to buy things and it’s a cultural norm to bring a present to birthday parties though. If people are going to bring something then it may as well be something that will be used by the child (even if that’s a useful item like diapers or cups). In my area, diapers are a common present for first birthdays because people realize that the kid is going to play with the box or the bow as much as a toy and parents need community support. – Karen H.

boy looking at fish tank aquarium kids toys

We have truly asked our family to stop buying toys. We have a large family (5 kids – 6y, twin 3y, twin 9m). We love experience gifts. Maybe ask instead of toys or baby essentials ask for experience gifts like a day at the zoo, gymboree, stuff like that. Our family has come to love this instead of toys. “We love to get out of the house and learn knew things. So instead of toys this birthday here’s a list of places we would love to visit this next year.” – Kat C.

A great tradition to start, especially with grandparents, is money towards a membership – zoos, children’s museum, or class – gym, music, swimming.
After a few years with twins, and other kids you add on, you can only take in so many “things” for birthdays and holidays! – Karen A.

Ask if they can donate for a shelter…. my twins are 12 and they have collected for our local animal shelter 4 years in a row because they thought it was too hard to manage all the gifts “fairly”. Every guest expressed how much fun it was to shop for the shelter. Maybe there’s a women’s shelter or foster care agency in your area you can donate to? Keep the cream and pass on the excess? First grandbabies are tough not to shop for since baby stuff is cute. I’d just be upfront about it. The appreciation as well as the overwhelming stuff. It’s not that you don’t care, it’s that you don’t want to drown in stuff and it’s actually healthier to have less choices. Rotate your stock and let go of the excess. Good Luck. – Traci R.

I put a note in the invitation that said, “Gifts are not necessary but if you prefer, we’d love diapers, books, or Target gift cards.” We still got some toys but nearly everybody also gifted one or more of the items that we asked for. I haven’t needed to buy diapers for almost 5 months! 😄 – Trisha E.

What about books or something the twins can grow “into”.? My twins had a water table and loved it for a few summers. Cozy coup cars are fun toys for the kids to grow into. – Amy D.

Mine have their birthday even closer to Christmas so we get the same thing. I have made a list and asked for things they will need 6 months from now as they will outgrow some of the stuff quickly. I also put in the list more educational items. – Calico M.

I’ve sent pictures to family showing the excessive toy situation at our house. Despite giving toys away they just accumulate too quickly. This Christmas many members gave the kids $10-$30 each towards swim lessons (which I’m gonna sign them up for next week) and a few Groupons to kid play places. I appreciate other stuff like art projects but even that we have tons of at this point and my hands are just too full to spend hours every weekend doing them. – Weand G.

piggy bank college fund kids toys

We did a wishlist for Christmas, it was stuff they she needed (step stool for the bathrooms, kitchen helper, a little table and chairs, books, specific toys and clothes) and just told everyone no toys except what was on the list cause she has way too many and I hate to get rid of good toys when she’s only a year old. Everyone was really great about it! I think when they turn a year diapers and such are totally acceptable too. It’s your house your kids so you can ask for whatever, we returned a ton of toys after our kids first birthday, stuff I honestly just didn’t want in my house. lol. ) – Kristyn C.

I am a grandmother who chooses to gift my grandchildren things that are important to me. This may be unpopular, but isn’t gifting supposed to be done with love and from the giver’s heart? If I want suggestions, I ask. Ultimately, a gift is just that. It should never be returned to a store and exchanged for something else, unless it does not fit, or you already have the same thing. When I give a gift to my grandchildren, I don’t do it out of obligation. It is something that I contemplate deeply and really want the perfect gift that “I” choose. – Cindy S.

I usually tell family that they have given them so many great yoys, we just don’t have room for more. Then give suggestions in different price ranges. They’d love a zoo pass, socks, shoes, a trampoline. My kids still get a few toys, but it helps if people have ideas. Also, think ahead. They might want a sandbox next summer. – Amber D.

Ask them to provide a favorite book and write a note inside, something your kids can look back on later in life and enjoy 🙂 and you can ask them to contribute to their college fund. Our kids have tons of toys, so they usually get a couple of items and the rest goes towards their college fund. – Melissa V.

Ask for experiences/classes/passes. With twins, it gets expensive. An annual membership to the local zoo, weekly kids gym class, music class, tickets to Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live, etc. We also always ask for a contribution to the kids’ college fund in lieu of toys. The next size in clothes is always another good one. – Ashely J.

I put a line at the bottom of our birthday invitations that says, “likes: Spider-Man, legos, and hot wheels. Wears 4T and size 7 shoes” – Christie A.

We have the Christmas/birthday combo too and had no problem asking for things they NEED like diapers, money for next level car seats, silly cups and socks lol cause they’ve outgrown theirs. I think people will appreciate the direction cause they know they aren’t wasting their money on things they don’t really need. – Veronica N.

We said no gifts but if they insisted, we asked for a copy of the guest’s favourite childhood book, or a new favourite, to build their library. Our kids were so excited! They were gifted so many books, that we switch out their “library” every month or so. Our kids are book-a-holics! #teacherskids #earlyliteracywin – Mel S.

With our kids we add to the invite and say “no presents please. If you are inclined to give, please put towards their college fund or donate on their behalf”. We typically pick a non-profit organization to donate for all our kids birthdays. – Karen S.


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