+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy

gift ideas

Parenting

Mom causes debate after sharing the surprising 'gift' she gives for every kid's party

Sarah Clarke swears that her idea saves on "mental load." But not everyone thinks it's very considerate.

Representative image from Canva

Has minimalism gone too far?

Having kids means not only prepping and planning their own birthday party, but making sure you don’t show up empty-handed to the plethora of other kid’s parties.

In a now-viral Instagram post, UK-based mom Sarah Clarke explains her trick that she does for every kids party to “save on mental load.” Though Clarke swears by it, not everyone agrees.

“I get the same thing every time, no matter how old they are, no matter if they’re a boy or a girl,” Clarke said in the clip, clarifying that the gift is not a traditional present, but a gift certificate to a local coffee shop, where the kid can have a “hot chocolate or cake” with their parents.


“They can have a little date, and it’s paid for, and it means I don’t have to think of something,” she added.

“And if the mom or dad who gets the present wants to go on their own, they’re more than welcome to,” she quipped.

The video, which has been seen over 4 million times, wasn’t met with 100% positive feedback. Some felt like the idea wasn’t completely considerate, if not a little lazy.

“If someone did this I would be annoyed, it's like no thought or effort to know what someone likes,” one person wrote.

"I like this idea but for old enough kids. I think my 3 and 4 years old would not understand and be very disappointed (I would love it as a parent! But I’m not the recipient)," another said.

Others shared how they followed a similar strategy but more universal gift cards.

“I just put £10 in a card (£5 if it's a tight month.) That way they can get something they want,” someone shared.

Others acknowledged that this type of gift giving could be seen as less materialistic and more focused on quality time.

“This is a great idea. How many more toys and tablets do your kids need? I gift my nieces and nephews a new book and $20,” one person commented.

Another echoed, “This is such a good idea! I think in this day and age kids have an overwhelming amount of toys and presents. But the gift of a parent’s presence. Genius!!”

Perhaps this is one of those situations where everyone's a little bit right. On the one hand, we have to let kids be kids, which means not forcing them to partake in what we’d prefer as adults. After all, they’re only that age for so long. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for swapping more stuff out for actual experiences and creating core memories.

Clarke’s video, whether you agree with her particular perspective or not, does highlight a collective mindset shift on how we view what gift-giving actually is. In a world suffering from inflation and needless waste combined with social interaction becoming harder to cultivate, it’s no wonder why we are starting to place more value on the little things. On simplification. Maybe in trying to find balance, we make a few missteps. But it’s still clearly what we’re all striving for.