How to Request No Gifts for a Birthday Party

gift image by Albert Lozano from

When celebrating a birthday party, it is customary for guests to bring some sort of gift for the host or guest of honor. However, because of religious or personal reasons, not everyone is comfortable receiving gifts. If you would prefer not to receive a gift during your birthday party, or if you're throwing a party for someone you know would be uncomfortable with gifts, you should inform guests beforehand to avoid any awkward situations.

Specify on party invitations that guests should not bring any gifts. Make sure the invite includes phrases such as “No gifts please” or “Your presence is enough of a gift.” Try putting this notation in smaller font on the bottom of the invitation, in either the left- or right-hand corner to allow space for the rest of the invitation.

Call guests and inform them they are not expected to bring gifts to your or the guest of honor's birthday party. Be polite but adamant; otherwise, guests may think you or the honoree are just being modest.

Visit invitees at their homes, if necessary, to appeal to them personally not to bring gifts to the party. Limit this last-resort approach to those who might stubbornly disregard your "no gifts" request or tend to make a big production of giving gifts. Inform them face-to-face of your preference and, if you are comfortable with the discussion, explain the reason behind your request.