20 Apr
Not-So-Sweet Charity

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My daughter recently got invited to a birthday party where, instead of gifts, they want a donation to a specific charity. Unfortunately, they didn’t choose a nice, noncontroversial charity like books for disadvantaged kids, rather they chose one with more of a political leaning. I’m not comfortable donating to this cause, but I hate to ignore the host’s wishes. I don’t know the mother well enough to feel comfortable discussing it with her, so what should I do?


Donation Debra


Dear Donation Debra,

First of all, let’s agree that asking for a charitable donation in lieu of yet another Polly Frickin’ PickPocket that’s just going to be thrown on the ground and stepped on until you finally toss her in the trash in a fit of Mommy rage is actually a good thing. Yes? We’re all on board here? Good.

Now exactly how controversial is the organization she’s asking you to support? Is it something like Citizens Against Global Warming, or is it something even more exciting like the Spencer Pratt for President Fund? (And not to get too political here, but I think he could totally win if he formed the Douchebag Political Action Committee and enlisted the help of Jon Gosselin, Charlie Sheen, Larry King, Jesse James and The Situation. I mean, that’s a lotta d-bag bang for your buck right there, my friend.) (Possible campaign slogan: “Vote For Pratt, The Jerk In The Ed Hardy Hat.”)

Now, I could advise you to just go along with the donation, then make a donation to a polar opposite organization—thereby they’d cancel each other out—but the fact of the matter is, if the charity is one you’d rather not support, then by all means don’t. Since you say you’re not comfortable talking to the mother about the issue, just tell her that your daughter can’t make it to the party and you’ll be off the hook for a gift. Yes, this is totally the wussy way out, but I really think it’s the least sticky thing to do. The bad news is that your daughter will be missing out on a party, but the good news is you’ll avoid what could be an uncomfortable situation.

And I don’t know about you, but I’ll take my integrity over a crap goodie bag any day.


Wendi, TMH

14 Responses to “Not-So-Sweet Charity”


Comment by seekingelevation.

Hey! We do this for our kids’ birthdays, too. We choose orphans in Africa, which I hope everyone can get on board with. But in the case of a stickier situation, I vote for combining your solutions–decline the invite but still make a donation in the opposite direction. You’ll need to undo some of that evil. Damn kids.


Comment by Marinka.

Or have your kid go to the party, and bring a small gift–a book for example.


Comment by shopinmom514.

I would not have my child miss a party over differences with the mom. I would send my child and if she asked for no gifts dont send a gift. Whether you donate to her charity is up to you. The party is so the children can have fun and be together. If this mom is trying to make a point to her child like no gifts you have too much.. we need to give to others… I really think the child is going to turn out resenting her mom in the long run. I feel what is a birthday for but to open gifts and make you feel special for the moment.. who cares what the gift is?? I think unpacking the unknown is exciting for anyone . Giving to charity is very important and should not be confused with celebrating a childs special day.
I think a child should know to give share and be generous.. but I think this mom needs to know a time and place.. Its your childs special day….
Its a day to make that child feel special. I say to that mom.. YOur confused!!!


Comment by Cheryl.

Whoa Nelly! A kid’s birthday party with a political theme? How cute is that?! I’ll bet the kid just begged for that organization as her charity of choice.

I wish there was an age stated here. If your daughter is old enough to understand charity, I’d talk to her about where she’d like her gift to go (give her a couple of age appropriate choices that she thinks her friend might want to support, like an animal shelter or library or Special Olympics). I’d have her be part of the process including sending a letter with the donation. You mail it.

Show up at the party and explain that your daughter wanted to honor her friend with a donation to said charity.

This the most wacky thing I’ve heard an adult do to celebrate a child’s birthday. Totally self-centered.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

Put a $20 in the card. What they do with it is up to them.


Comment by Charity.

I agree with Cheryl. Let your daughter help pick a charity that is fairly neutral politically and that her friend would be interested in as well.

Really, unless you tell her, is she even going to know who donated what where at the party?


Comment by Erin at Im Gonna Kill Him.

As an 8 year old who got a little too deep with PETA because of a few anti-fur letters written with crayons, I think it’s best to keep kids out of charities. I was nearly taken out of school and forced to swim with a pod of dolphins for a year. And I’m not even a good swimmer.

Just fill the goodie bags with public option and anti-abortion pamphlets. Much more personalized.

I kid. Don’t dontate. That’s your right.


Comment by MommyTime.

I would not turn down the party on the grounds of political differences with the mother. I think if the party child picked the charity, then it would be nice to honor her wishes and donate there rather than standing on your own political grounds. On the other hand, if I were asked to donate to a pro-life organization, for example, I wouldn’t be able to do that — so I sympathize with your plight. In that case, if you really can’t give to the charity in question, then I would donate to one that is NOT politically opposite but rather is neutral (Humane Society, Head Start, pick a project on Donors Choose,com, etc). Then I would write something neutral in the card for the birthday girl that says “thanks to your generosity, $20 has been donated to charity” — without naming the charity. My two cents…


Comment by Becky.

Um, are you saying Spencer Pratt isn’t running for President? Dammit! There goes my “Heidi Montag, bra size F for First Lady” bumper sticker idea.

I would tell the Mom to get bent but that’s me and my loud mouth.


Comment by portmoresbygirl@aol.com.

i think just put a little bit of cash in the card, but for godsake don’t write a check. that ‘charity’ will hound you forever once they get your address off the check.


Comment by writingmama04.

Parties in my hood have escalated more than any nuclear arms race. It’s outrageous how much people can and now do spend on parties – giving them and raking in the loot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping the economy going, but it’s gotten out of hand.
We have done a ‘in lieu of gifts’ theme 2 times now – my son could care less about presents and we have way more toys and books than my kids would ever and will ever play with. The point of the party was not a political kudos to me or to win points with the neighbors – it was to celebrate our son. One year we ‘suggested’ that everyone bring a can of food – then my son and I went to the food bank to donate. This year, we adopted a boy my son’s age from Nicauragua through our church. We ‘suggested’ an amount if the spirit moved them to donate but I did not track which attendeds donated. We then sent out a blanket ‘thank you’ to everyone who came to the party and donated – they know who they are.


Comment by Plano Mom.

I’m in favor of attending the party, donating to the charity of YOUR choice, and giving a card that says a donation was made to charity. You don’t have to mention which one, however I personally would choose something that benefits children.


Comment by the mama bird diaries.

Since I have a real distaste for honesty, I would just buy a gift, bring it to the party and say, “I totally forgot you didn’t want gifts.”


Comment by kmdguerra.

How is the mom gonna know you donated anything at all? I agree with one of the other posters; let your kid go to the party, but let her choose what charity SHE wants to donate to on behalf of her friend.

Or you could send the kid with a fifth of vodka and say that she donated to the par-tay fund!

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