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Thread: Birthday Party Invitees

  1. #1

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    Let me start by saying that I am pretty, um, how shall I word it... Uncultured. Some girls dream about their wedding, and the big fancy dresses they'll wear, and the food they'll serve, and the songs they'll dance to... Me? My only cares about my wedding were that my dog could be there, and that I could invite EVERYONE. I just wanted to be able to have anyone and everyone be allowed. I've heard of many weddings that I wasn't invited to because "we couldn't afford it" or "there wasn't enough room", and I didn't want anyone feeling left out of mine. Plus, I thought it was a great reason to see family and friends that we hadn't seen in years.

    I don't throw parties. Other than my wedding and baby shower, I'm not sure I've ever thrown a real party in my life, at least before Maiya was born. But now that she is here, she is very social and loves parties, and I find myself with the same attitude towards her parties as I did my wedding. So, for her first two parties, I invited EVERYONE. I specifically have her parties out doors at a park, so that people are free to do as they want. Come when they want, leave when they want. Eat what they want when they want. Play any games they want (we try to have stuff like horse shoes or volleyball going on for the adults). And of course lots of picnic tables for easy mingling! I just see it as a great (and unfortunately VERY rare) opportunity to see people that we maybe wouldn't see otherwise. I mean, yeah, we see the "immediate" family members, like her grandparents, for Christmas and Thanksgiving, but I have a lot of cousins, aunts, uncles, old coworkers, old associates from my volunteer gigs that I've been seriously lax on since having her, and even some friends that our schedules don't match up and we almost never see each other.

    So, that tells you how I think, and you've probably guessed what my question is...

    I've been invting ALL of them, since I really do want to see them. And I figure, as she gets older, we will have more kid-oriented parties, that it wouldn't be very good to invite adults to. But for now, a kid and adult friendly picnic at a park is good for everyone. Or so I thought... Now, as I am planning her 3rd birthday party, I've been talking to people about it, and I've had some people mention, for example, "Maybe you shouldn't invite everyone from the theater."

    When I asked why, I was told it seems like I'm just trying to get more gifts. Honestly, that pretty much sucked to hear. I never, ever thought about that. It's just that I really like these people, and almost NEVER see them. Since a lot of them didn't come to her second birthday, that means it's been nearly two years since I've seen some of them. There are some I haven't seen since her baby shower, even! On the invites, I even say "We don't need gifts, we just want to see you!" And yet people still feel this way?

    I mean, if we got to see each other EVER I would understand. What kind of childless adult wants to go to a three year old's birthday party? But we don't. These are people that I was never friends with outside of whatever circle I knew them in, but I DO like them. I would really like if we could see them in person (some are on Facebook). Plus, I want them to know that, even if we don't see each other, and even if they don't come, I do still think about them. I just want them to come and have a little fun, even if it's just to sit in the sunshine and chat for an hour while eating the free food. And I say that on the invites! "We'll have games for the kids, and games for adults! Or just come and eat our food. We don't need gifts, we just want to see you!" (Well, I haven't written this party's invitation yet, so I may not go through the effort to provide adult games, if I don't invite any childless adults...) And this question applies to all people I don't see regularly, with and without kids.

    Anyway, all this long windedness just to ask... Would you be offended if you got an invitation to a party from someone that you hadn't seen in a while? Would you feel like that person was just trying to get more gifts EVEN IF THE INVITATION SAYS NO GIFTS NEEDED????

    I'm so sad (as you can probably tell since this is so long now!) that it seems as though I was offending some people by inviting them. Despite the explicit description on the invitation. I've been planning on inviting everyone all along again, but now I am having second thoughts.

    What do you all think? Should I continue to invite everyone, in hopes that maybe I can see some people I haven't seen in a while? And just to let them know I'm still thinking of them? Or is that insulting and just begging for gifts? Should I drop some of these people off my invite list? Honestly, that seems so insulting, in my opinion, and I hate to do it! But I want to be socially acceptable, ya know...



  2. #2

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    Hmmm, I'm probably not a very good person to ask, but since you're asking in general, here are my 2 cents. After the first Bday parties, where we invited a lot of people, since the first birthday party is really a party for the parents anyway, we've tended to keep it pretty low key. This has been for a variety of reasons. Mostly, I feel that it is family and the people that my kids see routinely that would mostly want to join in their celebration. So we invite grandparents, aunts, uncles, and 1 or 2 families that come over routinely for play dates. I also don't want to start setting a precedent of huge birthday parties when the kids are this young. Even though you state "no gifts" nobody wants to be the one to show up without a gift. So your daughter will leave with a truck load of gifts and people you haven't spoken to in years will likely feel the need to bring a gift. I don't want my kids to expect a truck load of gifts. I'm not saying people think you are asking for gifts. It's just human nature to not want the be THE person who shows up without a gift. You have to think, are you really inviting all of these people for your daughter's sake or are you looking for your own social outlet or want an excuse to throw a party for people with whom you would like to reconnect. I can't help thinking back to our wedding, where we invited "everyone" but then spoke to each guest for like 5 minutes even if they traveled for hours to get there. If you are hosting your daughter's party I'm sure that you won't really be able to relax to talk to all of your guests anyway. I get that we are all proud of our kids and want everyone to share the joy of each birthday celebration, because I feel that way too with my own kids. Maybe inviting some of your old long lost friends for various other occasions on a smaller scale (ie: throw a spring equinox party, here comes summer party, etc.) which might reconnect you to some of these people with whom you can spend more time. I would think to myself, if this isn't someone with whom I feel close enough to invite over for an hour or two of dinner conversation at my house, then I probably wouldn't invite them to a birthday party. Again, just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by suze001; 03-21-2013 at 01:07 AM.
    Me 38, DH 38, DS 5/28/08, DS 7/6/10

  3. #3

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    Hmm... Well, it's definitely because *I* want to see some of these people! Some of them she's never even met.

    Also, despite me having a long list, it's not that many people! I'd still get some time to socialize, and even though I, as the hostess, won't be able to talk to them much, my husband will, as will the other friends / family that we share.

    As for precedent, I don't mind that, because it's either a large, easy party at a park, or a small one at some specialty place, and it's her choice. I'm sure that even by next year, she will understand that, say, some people have their parties at the zoo, and she'll want to, too. I'll let her make that choice, which includes less guests.

    See, that's the thing. *IF* I did something like a spring equinox party, I wouldn't even think about inviting them to her birthday party. But I don't. And I know me- I won't. Which means that these people are going to be relegated to just FB friends, because if they're throwing parties, I'm not invited! Actually, that's not true. I know a few people have had parties that I've been invited to, and some I go to, and some I don't.

    I probably won't invite them... Ah well. I guess this is how people grow apart!

    Thanks for your input, I appreciate it!



  4. #4

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    If you said explicitly on the invite-no gifts, I don't get why people would think the opposite? Honestly sounds like the person you talked to is just a party pooper. If it was me getting the invite I'd think it's really nice to hear from an old friend and be grateful. My 1st thought would never be, "Oh she must want more gifts for her daughter." That's like the epitome of negativity!
    Candice, 28, STC 7+ years


  5. #5

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    I would not be offended but I would find it weird to get an invite your child's 3rd bday party of I hadn't seen you in years and/or never even met your child.

    I don't think I would assume it was because you wanted gifts though. A childless friend just might feel uncomfortable showing up to a child's bday party of she/he has never met the child.

    If you miss some of these folks and want to catch up, why not just call and ask to meet up for coffee or lunch or whatever?

  6. #6

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    you could always throw a get-together just for fun in a different month just to see and catch up with friends. and simplify the b-day party list.
    my sil throws a pool party luau just for fun and has her daughters birthday party the day before or the day after.



  7. #7

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    Well, I try not to get too worked about about people's comments or thoughts, so I would probably blow off whoever made a critical comment(s) to you. I know that's hard for a lot of people, but for whatever reason, I have thick skin in this area. To whoever made the specific looking for gifts statement, I would say so is that how you feel? I think it's a passive aggressive way of expressing their own opinion. The other option, if it really bothers you, is to just have a party and see your friends and not make it a birthday party.
    My 3 yo cuties!

  8. #8
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    I think that it would strike me as odd to go to a friends kid's b-day party being a childless person. I don't even go to my bff's kids parties. The only kid birthdays' I would attend at this point would be if my sister had a kid or maybe my cousins (they are 8 and 10....but at this point they are having parties with mostly their friends now). I would not assume that it was just because they wanted gifts though. But even if it said no gifts, I would feel strange showing up to a b-day party without something.

    It's her b-day so I would invite only people that she knows and likes. Have another picnic or get together with those other old friends of yours.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  9. #9

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    I am sort of in the same situation. Pre-kids, we routinely had a once a summer giant bbq at our house and invited everyone. Well, both my kids were born memorial day weekend (2 years apart, may 29 and may 31) so we have shifted it to a "kick off the summer and help us celebrate the kid's birthday's" kind of deal. The first year it was just M and it was her first Bday. The next year, we didn't do it, just did immediate family because I was 39 weeks pregnant (my water broke the next morning after the party). Then last year was A's first bday (and M's 3rd) so we did another big one. I'm on the fence about this year. I'm thinking we will do something sort of middle of the road. Not as big as the first bday's but not just immediate family either. It gets expensive feeding all those people and I certainly don't want people to feel obligated to come and bring not 1 but 2 gifts. So I guess I don't really have any advice, but just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone.
    AKA Lisa724

  10. #10
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    Hmmm, thinking I would do smaller family party for the kids. And maybe a big BBQ in June or July or even August. But make that more a potluck. That way others help out with the food/drinks but don't have to feel obligated to bring a gift. But you all still get together and have fun.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  11. #11
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    3andMe is offline Every day is a gift. It's just... does it have to be a pair of socks? Hopelessly Devoted
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    What a quandary. I might consider dropping the person who spoke to you about it off your invitation list. If this is your one big chance to get together with everyone from your past and have a big informal gathering, I would just rename the party. Make it the "Annual Re-connect with Friends and Have Fun in a Park" event or "Wear a Silly Hat in Public" event or whatever. Those who know will realize it's close to your daughter's birthday, and she will know it's her birthday party. You can state in the invitation that you will provide whatever. If you don't call it a birthday party, people won't feel like they need to bring presents. And I will totally respect the no present wish without feeling guilty for not bringing something. I assume I'm invited, right, if you're inviting everyone in the world?

    You could have a separate family dinner or small party on the actual day of her birthday.

    We don't have big parties, but we often have a small gathering at a beach or a park with more extended family, and a family dinner at home with cake and ice cream on a nearby weekend, so it's possible to have two celebrations without going totally crazy.

    So yeah, invite everyone except the annoying person who chastised you for having a big party.


  12. #12
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    I've had people like that (friend's I haven't seen in a long time/former coworkers) put out a general invitation on FB. I haven't attended, but maybe a more informal invitation on FB or an e-vite might make it more relaxed. I also wouldn't cater to one person that thinks it's wrong. I personally love the idea. I'm tempted to throw a fun summer kids party... minus the birthday... for our friends because both girls are in the fall and I think it would be fun to have a big get together in the summer.
    Growing fast... DD1 (6) & DD2 (4)
    Forever loved, forever missed... Twin Girls with us for 19w3d 6/12/06

  13. #13

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    We always have a HUGE party for the triplets, every year I swear I am going to cut the list...but every year I have a change of heart and invite the same people, who do show up. Nothing says thanks for coming to the party like, you won't be invited next year LOL.

    I do think in your case...with the childless friends I would make seeing them my reason to throw an additional "adult" party once in a while and not invite them to the kiddos party.

    So if I were in your shoes...I would probably not invite them to DD's party, but throw an adult party another time. It is so hard to chat, visit or catch up at a kids Bday anyway...at least it is for me, seems like I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off from start to finish.

    ~*~Katrina~*~ Momma to Xander, Hayden & Lily (6) and Jericho (3 1/2)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kylix View Post
    I would not be offended but I would find it weird to get an invite your child's 3rd bday party of I hadn't seen you in years and/or never even met your child.

    I don't think I would assume it was because you wanted gifts though. A childless friend just might feel uncomfortable showing up to a child's bday party of she/he has never met the child.

    If you miss some of these folks and want to catch up, why not just call and ask to meet up for coffee or lunch or whatever?
    I agree with this. I would find it odd too but I don't think I would be offended....just wonder why I was invited and why not hold a separate gathering for those you want to see. If I were childless I would not really want to go to a 3rd bday for someone I was not close to to be honest.
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

  15. #15
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    I would think it is a little odd to be invited to a 3rd birthday party for a child my kids do not know or if I did not have kids at all. But I certainly would not be offended and would not jump to a conclusion that you are just looking to get a bunch of presents ... just that it is odd. I was actually invited by someone from my MOPS group that I do not know very well, my kids have seen her kid a couple of times but really have no idea who he is ... yet she invited us to the 3rd b-day party. I thought it was odd to invite kids who her son did not know - because I feel that kids' parties are just that - kids' parties. The adults are there pretty much by default because at this age they are too young to be without their parents.

    But with that said, if your goal is to invite people you have not seen in a while and you are incorporating the "get together party" with your DD's birthday party, I would still include the info about the birthday party on the invitation. A few years ago, we went to a family reunion and DH's niece was there with her twins who just turned 1. DH and I have not been together very long then and I had no idea that they were including a birthday party with the reuinion (I have never met the mom or the twins before - or most of the family for that matter). I do not know if DH ever made the connection himself (guys do not think about that kind of stuff) but I felt I cr*p because we did not bring anything for the twins. I wish I had known about it and could have brought a present.

    Whatever you do, I hope you have a great time

  16. #16

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    Thanks all! I'm glad to hear that most people wouldn't be offended. The main reason I don't want to throw a separate party or get together just for the "other" people is that, well, I don't expect them to come. If I threw something just for the groups of them, I would be disappointed if they didn't show up. But I like inviting them to something I'm doing anyway, just to let them know I'm thinking about them.

    BUT, I think I have a solution. When I ask Maiya, she still tells me that what she wants is a party at the park. However, she also tells me that she wants to go camping with EVERYONE.

    So, maybe I will have a small "Maiya's friends only" party on one of the yucky weekends close to her birthday, as many of you suggested. Maybe have it at my parents' house, which is much bigger and nicer than mine, and has a big back yard and a park nearby in case the weather lets up. Then when the weather is nicer, maybe near the end of May, set up a camping trip. Invite everyone to come spend the afternoon / evening at a potluck style picnic dinner, and then whoever wants to camp with us can, or if it's just our little family that camps, that will still make Maiya happy. I still expect that if anyone shows up to the picnic / camping trip, it will only be the same people as show up at her small party, but still, at least if Maiya got to go camping as she so badly wants, then it wouldn't be a waste!

    Is it crazy to set up a situation where potentially 10 toddlers might be camping in the same area??? I doubt many would actually camp, but it will be fun for us at least!

    And, yes, L, OF COURSE you will be invited! To the "everyone in the world" one and the "Maiya's friend's only" one! You available 4/6...?? But, to be honest, some of the people I was getting concerned about were G and M, too... Don't see you guys hardly ever, don't want you to think that I'd only invite you because I want gifts!!! I really want you to come, even though you haven't seen Maiya since before she was a year old...

    Oh, but want to know something funny? This morning, I received an evite to "A"'s birthday party. "A" being the child of one of my old search and rescue teammates, that I haven't seen in nearly 3 years. They only met Maiya once when she was maybe 4 months old. I was invited to A's 3rd birthday party, and none since. Haven't talked to them, even online, in probably over a year. And here, right as I was debating inviting them (this family specifically is one I was debating inviting), they invited us to one! Love the timing. My first thought was "Wonder if they forgot to take me off the invite list??", but I was very happy to hear from them, glad they haven't forgotten us or written us off completely. And THAT is EXACTLY why I wanted to invite everyone.
    Last edited by Krystal5; 03-21-2013 at 11:36 PM.



  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krystal5 View Post
    Thanks all! I'm glad to hear that most people wouldn't be offended. The main reason I don't want to throw a separate party or get together just for the "other" people is that, well, I don't expect them to come. If I threw something just for the groups of them, I would be disappointed if they didn't show up. But I like inviting them to something I'm doing anyway, just to let them know I'm thinking about them.
    This was what I kind of meant in my original post when I talk about kids parties being your social outlet, etc. I got the feeling that you really want to see these people but you're using your daughter's B-day as a platform for reconnecting without running the risk of getting your feelings hurt. If a lot of people show up you can feel really good, but are you really getting to reconnect with these people under the auspices of a 3 yo Bday party? The byproduct of this plan is all of the stress that you're currently going through. I would be willing to bet that you are hugely underestimating how many people would love to come to a party or even would like to come over for dinner if you hosted a smaller group. Also, for me, I would still be uncomfortable with the potential for all of the gifts from people I haven't seen in a while. I was thinking about this today and thought wouldn't it be totally cool if it were acceptable to write on an invitation "We would appreciate no gifts please. All well intentioned gifts will be happily donated to XYZ after the party" to really drive the message home.
    Last edited by suze001; 03-22-2013 at 04:49 AM.
    Me 38, DH 38, DS 5/28/08, DS 7/6/10

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krystal5 View Post
    Oh, but want to know something funny? This morning, I received an evite to "A"'s birthday party. "A" being the child of one of my old search and rescue teammates, that I haven't seen in nearly 3 years. They only met Maiya once when she was maybe 4 months old. I was invited to A's 3rd birthday party, and none since. Haven't talked to them, even online, in probably over a year. And here, right as I was debating inviting them (this family specifically is one I was debating inviting), they invited us to one! Love the timing. My first thought was "Wonder if they forgot to take me off the invite list??", but I was very happy to hear from them, glad they haven't forgotten us or written us off completely. And THAT is EXACTLY why I wanted to invite everyone.
    Also, this part totally. I would feel really great to have gotten invited, but in the end either I might not go or would feel badly if I went and got to speak to the host for only 5 minutes.
    Me 38, DH 38, DS 5/28/08, DS 7/6/10

  19. #19

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    Thanks a lot, now I want to have a camping birthday party!! LOL. That sounds so fun!!
    AKA Lisa724

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by froggie83 View Post
    you could always throw a get-together just for fun in a different month just to see and catch up with friends. and simplify the b-day party list. .
    I was thinking something like this too. I would find it odd to be invited to a birthday party for a kid I did not know. If you had a smaller party for her birthday, but had a big picnic/barbecue where you invited EVERYONE, and bill it as a time to reconnect with old friends. Also, at 1 and 2, my DD didn't care about her birthday parties too much. Let me tell you, by 3, she had definite ideas about what she wanted, and who she wanted there. That may be because we had been to several kids' birthday parties over the last 6 months or so. She knew she wanted a bunch of her friends to come and to have a big cake, birthday hats, etc.

    As for the gift aspect, since your invitation specifically says you do not need gifts, I would not think you had invited so many people in order to get a boatload of gifts! I wouldn't be offended by the invite, but like I said before, I would find it odd to be invited to a party for a kid I did not know.


  21. #21
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    I think the camping trip idea is AWESOME!!! I need to remember that

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by suze001 View Post
    This was what I kind of meant in my original post when I talk about kids parties being your social outlet, etc. I got the feeling that you really want to see these people but you're using your daughter's B-day as a platform for reconnecting without running the risk of getting your feelings hurt. If a lot of people show up you can feel really good, but are you really getting to reconnect with these people under the auspices of a 3 yo Bday party? The byproduct of this plan is all of the stress that you're currently going through. I would be willing to bet that you are hugely underestimating how many people would love to come to a party or even would like to come over for dinner if you hosted a smaller group. Also, for me, I would still be uncomfortable with the potential for all of the gifts from people I haven't seen in a while. I was thinking about this today and thought wouldn't it be totally cool if it were acceptable to write on an invitation "We would appreciate no gifts please. All well intentioned gifts will be happily donated to XYZ after the party" to really drive the message home.
    Well, it's not so much my feelings being hurt, as just I don't like wasting time and money on setting something up and having only a few people show. With the camping thing, I wouldn't be wasting anything, even if no one else showed up, because it's something that Maiya's been wanting to do for months now. Which is also why I like to wrap it in with her birthday party- even if these "long lost" people don't show up, having a birthday party for her won't be a waste of anything!

    And, yes, that would be great! But, for us, it's not that gifts aren't welcome, just not necessary. Since I'm now doing a smaller birthday party for her, I said something along the lines of "gifts are not needed, but if you want to, here are some ideas!" Did I mention that I'm uncultured?? I might get a few eye rolls, but I've said NO GIFTS every party, and every party we get gifts anyway. So I figure, may as well give some ideas for gifts she'll actually use!



    Quote Originally Posted by MashedUp View Post
    Thanks a lot, now I want to have a camping birthday party!! LOL. That sounds so fun!!
    Aw... I'll let you know how it goes! I hope it is fun, she's been dying to go camping all winter.



    Quote Originally Posted by NHKate View Post
    I was thinking something like this too. I would find it odd to be invited to a birthday party for a kid I did not know. If you had a smaller party for her birthday, but had a big picnic/barbecue where you invited EVERYONE, and bill it as a time to reconnect with old friends. Also, at 1 and 2, my DD didn't care about her birthday parties too much. Let me tell you, by 3, she had definite ideas about what she wanted, and who she wanted there. That may be because we had been to several kids' birthday parties over the last 6 months or so. She knew she wanted a bunch of her friends to come and to have a big cake, birthday hats, etc.

    As for the gift aspect, since your invitation specifically says you do not need gifts, I would not think you had invited so many people in order to get a boatload of gifts! I wouldn't be offended by the invite, but like I said before, I would find it odd to be invited to a party for a kid I did not know.
    So far, Maiya is not really giving me much feedback for her party, even though she's been counting down the days for the last few months! She has been saying that it will be at the park, but when I asked about changing it to my parents house, and then doing camping later, she was fine with it. By next year, I'm sure that will be different!


    Quote Originally Posted by impatient View Post
    I think the camping trip idea is AWESOME!!! I need to remember that
    Thanks!! I hope it turns out well. I'm very excited now, though!



  23. #23
    3andMe's Avatar
    3andMe is offline Every day is a gift. It's just... does it have to be a pair of socks? Hopelessly Devoted
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    We are totally looking forward to celebrating with you. Can't guarantee anything about the camping party, though. It is a HUGE pain to go camping for us. We don't undertake the venture lightly, and we have a couple of planned camping trips scheduled this year already.

    My parents used to do spur-of-the-moment camping trips when I was little, leaving in the middle of the night after chucking a couple of sleeping bags and a small tent in the back of the car and some dried fruit and jerky. We'd get to our camping spot at 6 AM and hike in for miles and set up camp. Of course, when I was little they were in their 20's and perfectly able to sleep on the ground all night. I was able to sleep just about anywhere when I was in my 20's also. I relish comfort so much more now. I'm sometimes feel guilty for being way more of a wuss than they were, but on the other hand, my sister blames those rugged trips for her tendency to break out into a rash anytime she is exposed to the "outdoor lifestyle" now.

    See you soon!


  24. #24

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    Do whatever you want! Your life, your family, you make the call. You are not responsible for what anyone else thinks. (I am "uncultured" too. Don't have time for that BS!)

  25. #25

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    L, we're excited, too! Maiya has a hard time comprehending "2 more weeks"... As for camping, it's going to be a potluck dinner, then you can stay as long as you want- through dinner, through the bonfire, or even over night. So even if you don't want to camp, you guys can just come to the dinner. Should be tons of fun! We can drive pretty much right up to it, it's not "real" camping. You could bring a mattress if you want. ;)

    Tapir, thank you! Good to know I'm not alone.



  26. #26
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    We tend to invite a lot but, I am tired of people not showing up so we are cutting down the invites. I personally would not be offended if a friend from years ago invited us to a birthday party. I would be flattered honestly. I would think "wow they remembered me!". Even if there was gifts I love giving gifts when having a chance. The one thing that did upset me with Cody's cousin's party is we were told not to bring a gift but, almost everyone else did and they invited us at the last minute that bugged me. I understand why in a way they said no gifts because this kid has everything but, I sort of felt like they singled us out in way. That was the only time I was uncomfortable.



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