A mom in the United Kingdom sparked an online debate after sharing how she simplifies birthday-gift giving.
“When we get invited to a kid’s party, I don’t buy the kid a present,” Sarah Clarke, 39, begins a now-viral Instagram video.
Hear her out.
To “save on the mental load,” Clark says she gives each child a gift certificate to a local cafe in the village where she lives.
“I get the same thing every time, no matter how old they are, no matter if they’re a boy or a girl,” Clarke says. The idea is that the child can enjoy a hot chocolate date with their parents.
Clark, who has 5-year-old twins, notes that if the mom or dad want to keep the certificate for themselves, “they’re more than welcome” to do that.
Clarke’s reel has been seen more than 4 million times, and while most of the feedback is positive, some say she’s being lazy.
"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)," one person wrote in the comments.
Added another, “If someone did this I would be annoyed it’s like no thought or effort to know what someone likes.”
Clarke says she's letting the criticism roll off her back.
“Gift giving isn’t my love language,” Clarke tells TODAY.com. “I suppose if gifts are your love language, you might think I don’t care about your child or the occasion. But I’m just trying to make things easier for everyone, not just myself.”
“Most parents are already overwhelmed with plastic toys in the house,” she continues. “And if your child is into Lego, you’re likely going to get so many duplicates and end up needing to do returns."
According to Clarke, a gift card to a local bakery is a win-win for everyone: You're supporting a local business, encouraging bonding, and helping the environment by reducing waste.
Hundreds of people agreed that a sweet experience gift is the way to go as evidenced by the comments on Clarke's video.
- "Using this! Looooove this idea! We already have a room packed full of toys, but not enough one-on-one time together! Thanks for the tip!"
- "**quietly tucks this tip into brain for the next birthday panic**"
- "100% going to start doing this. My smalls love a hot chocolate and cake date."
- "The negative comments on here are so odd … quality time with mom or dad and a sweet treat for the kid?! That is thoughtful and applicable to most children!"
- "Aww that’s a lovely idea I would’ve been happy with that for my child, I had four children so it’s nice to go out on our own with one child for a little date.
- "How nice!! My 6-year-old son would very happy knowing we will be out for a coffee date and he can pay for both at least one time."