what to give to a no-gift party

As a parent, you will probably run into a no-gift party at some point and wonder "should I bring gifts or not?" On one hand, you want to show that you care for the child, but you also don't want to embarrass other parents who come empty-handed or make the host feel uncomfortable.

Here are 10 things to do when your child is invited to a no-gift party:

1. Consider experience gifts

One of the reasons that "no gift" parties become a trend is that there's not enough space for more toys. In that case, talk with the host and ask if it's okay to give a theme park pass or a museum ticket, which doesn't take up any room while giving the child an experience to remember.

2. Bring homemade desserts

Proud of your baking skills? You can offer to bake some desserts for the birthday party, which also takes some pressure off the host who's preparing everything. If you're afraid that you're not an amazing chef, fruit and veggie trays would work too.

3. Offer a gift card

Though some may think that giving a gift card shows a lack of thoughtfulness, it's probably what the host needs at that moment, especially new parents. If you want to make sure this doesn't go to another toy that takes space, you can buy the birthday child a gift card to a local restaurant or dessert place.

4. Be a helper

Another way to show your respect to the hosts is to help them set up the party or clean up the venue. Ask which one they prefer and be helpful. Throwing a party can be stressful for everyone, so it'd be great if somebody else is willing to share some of the responsibilities.

5. Donate to a charity

This is also a popular option for the host, who can send out email invitations that allow the guests to donate money to a charity. If you are not given this choice, you can donate to a charity in the birthday child's name.

6. Create a wishing tree

To create a wishing tree, you need to get a bunch of tags and write down a favorite memory or a wish for the birthday child on each of them. Then use a string to connect them and coil the whole thing around a twig. You can put the twig in a vase if you want to. Bring the wishing tree to the birthday party and see how they react to this surprise. It will surely make the birthday child feel loved.

7. Bring a card or write a letter

Bring a cool birthday card or write a letter to the birthday child can be a heartwarming surprise. There are many creative birthday cards on Amazon, such as this one that pops up like a bicycle. Other popular options include cards with the Chinese dragon, rose or cake pop-up. If your little one is close to the birthday child, let them write a letter about their friendship.

8. Do a book exchange

When two bookworms are friends, they'd love to share their favorite books. Ask your child to pick out what they would like the birthday child to read and bring it to the party. Since it's a book exchange, let the birthday child reciprocate. That way, both of them go home with something new and exciting.

9. Suggest a fiver party

Throwing a fiver party means that the host asks all the guests to buy a special gift for the birthday child together instead of giving separate gifts. If you are close enough to the hosts, you can talk to them about doing a fiver party.

10. Make crafts

DIY a craft for the birthday child would be something that the host appreciates. It can be a bracelet, an ornament for them to decorate their bedroom or a face mask. You can even use pictures of the two friends together to create something unique with your little ones.

This article was originally published on Partify and it has been republished with permission from the author.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

Keep reading Show less

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

Keep reading Show less