Feeling feisty? Log onto a mommy message board and tell everyone you’re considering doing a "no gift, make a donation in our name instead" birthday party for your kid. You’ll be called everything from progressive and cool, to snobby, to a child abuser.

Me, I take the progressive p.o.v. although I do think it’s nice for a kid at least to get something on his birthday. Hey, kids like gifts.

ECHOage is an interesting service which aims to show kids both the joy of giving even while doing a little receiving, all in a way that’s kinder and gentler to the environment. This Canadian service founded by moms Allison Smith and Debbie Zinman will email attractive invites to your guests (cutting down on paper) and ask that each one, in lieu of gifts, makes a $20 contribution. Half of all the dough is sent to the parents who pool it towards a single gift for the birthday kid, the rest is donated to a charity of the host’s choosing. And ECHOage only charges a few bucks per guest to put it all together for you.

Only you know if this kind of a thing will fly in your circle, but I think it has great possibilities. Plus, think of how little gift wrap you’ll have to clean up at the end of the party. Nice. –Liz

[photo via emma c @ flick’r] 


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