Kids birthday parties sure seem to have become quite the “thing”. Planning a kid’s birthday party is like planning a mini-wedding. When did it become so complicated and expensive?

I’ve gone to parties where the parents are flustered but suck it up and drop well over $1,000 on the whole event. It’s quite impressive but who are we trying to please? The parents of the children, or the whiny child who probably will grow up being completely unappreciative because they’ve been given everything?

From clowns to face-painters, trampoline parties to indoor playgrounds… from princess themed to pirates… one mom will attempt to outdo the next in hosting these birthday extravaganza-paloozas! And that’s not even the gifts!

Asking your guests to purchase a gift for a young child from a gift list seems a little over the top. A birthday gift registry for a child?!  I mean, I can understand a wedding or a baby shower so that the new bride or mom-to-be isn’t stuck with 12 coffee makers and 15 baby blankets. But a birthday registry for little Bobby or young Suzie?

A woman was left outraged after her brother presented her with a birthday list for her two-year-old niece, AND demanded to know how much she was willing to spend on the toddler. She wrote in the now-deleted thread that both her brother and sister-in-law asked her to stick to a list of approved presents for their little girl.

An “approved” list… like a wedding registry. When did a birthday gift registry become a thing?! Should kids have a gift registry for their birthday?

The brother had told her that if she wasn’t going to buy off the list then she didn’t need to bother buying anything! To make matters ickier, the woman who posted, named “Underthemoonlight” revealed that her children receive only a birthday card “with a tenner” for their gift (tenner is a ten-dollar bill). It appears to be quite selfish to give a gift of cash, but demand that guests purchase gifts from a curated list, and how much the guest would be spending. How rude!

Should Parents Have a Gift Registry for Their Kids' Birthday?

“She asked me how much I was spending so she could organize what to pick out of her list from me that covered how much I would be spending,” the woman wrote, according to the Daily Mail. “I was a bit taken back. We have very minimal contact, they don’t ask about the kids and have very little interaction with us. All our children have all had tenner in the birthday card, which is fair enough.”

What do you think about having a birthday list/registry for a young child’s birthday party? Smart or silly?


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.


  1. This is a terrible story on how a gift registry can be abused, but this is the exception and not the norm. At we have tens of thousands of people using us for their child’s birthday or for their Christmas Wish List, because it is easy and fun. A registry is a win win situation for everyone, because children are not going to get duplicate gifts, parents can screen the kinds of gifts/toys that they want in their home, and most of all, it is easier for the people invited to get something that the child really wants.

    But like anything else, there is etiquette involved in using one. If you plan to create a registry for your child, be sure that you put items in every price range, because you do not know what people want to spend. If all of the inexpensive items are purchased, be sure to add more. Never make your guests feel that selecting something from your child’s registry is an obligation, but only a list of suggestions to make it easier for them. Gift registries are convenient for busy moms who have no time to select gifts for the dozens of birthday parties they bring their child too. There are far more positive stories than negative.

  2. I’d agree in that this is more the exception than the norm.

    As a mom of a 2.5 year old I do see a place for gift registries, but not necessary for the action figure or doll house, rather for experiences.

    This past year I created a site focused on gifting experiences to kids over the traditional toy or boxed gift. Fynches is an online application where parents can create an experience gift page for their child, add curated or custom activities (swim lessons, baseball camp, hiking trip – the options are endless!). Parents can then share the page with friends and family who can sponsor a portion or all of the gift. The great thing about our platform is you can contribute whatever is within your budget. Parents can then use the funds towards experiences for their child.

    I truly believe we need to change the paradigm around children’s gifts and look forward support parents who are on the same mission as I am!

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