Social etiquette versus social responsibility
Have you thought about the amount of gifts children get on their birthday parties? Presents piled high in the corner of a party room, parents dragging home giant bags of gifts only to watch their child unwrap present after present, always asking for the next one. The party aftermaths is inevitably lots of plastic tat, duplicates and wrapping paper scattered all over the place.
Too many presents, it feels wasteful and wrong, but what are the alternatives? After trying the no gifts party, the charity box and the group gift collection, an enterpreneurial mum from London set out to create a one-stop online invitation platform Kindergifts to make gifting easy and meaningful; allowing parents to club together for a dream gift and, at the same time, donate a portion of the gift fund to a good cause – be it their school charity or any other cause close to heart.
Kids in state schools are often raising funds for school improvements – like a new playground, musical instruments, sports equipment, books, etc., whereas most private school communities support local charities. So, when a child receives a Charity Certificate at school recognising their charitable efforts – that’s a way more meaningful and memorable reward than unwrapping the nth birthday present. It’s an opportunity for the parent to engage with their child about being fortunate, sharing and helping others. After all, aren’t those the very first values we want to teach our children?
The school communities that have embraced the Kindergifts sharing concept are already making a difference. Such is the Chepstow House School where parents and children have donated well over £10,000 to charity in this effortless way. The platform is gaining traction at schools in the country, and could prove invaluable in supporting the local community and planting the seed of giving at an early childhood age.
Social etiquette vs social responsibility
It all makes sense, but the “Brit” in me feels uncomfortable suggesting gifts or money. What about good manners and social etiquette? Well, here is the other side of the coin. By remaining silent, how comfortable do we feel about letting our children receive so many things they don’t need when there are so many other kids who’s basic needs aren’t met? What’s more important, looking good or doing good? There is a fine balance in doing things the right way. That’s why I’d never think any less of my friends for chosing to do either way. Would you think any less of your friends for choosing this kinder way to celebrate?
Celebrating for a good cause
The platform offers a great variety of good causes that children can relate to. So far, kids tend to pick charities providing basic necessities, educational opportunities and joy to disadvantaged children such as the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Stand by Me, Magic Breakfast, COSMIC, The Trussell Trust and many others. A typical charity donation from a Kindergifts party is around £100-£200 which over time can make a real difference to those local charities.
How the platform works
The parent and child create an online party invitation with gift and charity details which is then sent to the guests. When the guests RSVP to the invitation, it’s easy for them to contribute online what they would normally spend on a gift. In the end, the parent buys the dream gift and brings it to the party, and the charity gets a donation. The child learns about giving back. It saves time, reduces waste and does good in its own right.
Here is what the birthday boys and girls say about why they had a Kindergifts party:
“I want to help hungry children have breakfast at school”, Sammy & Ethan, age 7
“I feel sorry for the children who are poor and don’t have a warm house to sleep in the winter”, Christopher, 8 years old
“I am fortunate to receive many presents and I wanted to share my gifts with children who don’t get presents at all”, Nikole 9 years old.
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