In a world where children can register for gifts at Toys R Us and where lavish, over-the-top birthday parties have inspired reality television shows, it’s nice to hear about kids like Nora Lo Nigro.
The Wichita girl will turn 9 on Saturday, and her birthday gifts likely will include dog treats, laundry soap, spray bottles and peanut butter.
For the past several years, Nora has asked party guests to bring donations for the Kansas Humane Society instead of gifts for her.
“It’s never too early to start being philanthropic,” said Nora’s mom, Laurie Lo Nigro, a special-education teacher at Robinson Middle School.
I saw Laurie recently at a neighborhood Easter egg hunt — yet another example of unbridled avarice! — and she told me about her daughter’s birthday tradition.
Maybe you could write about it, she told me, not to brag on Nora but to plant a seed with other local parents and kids: Birthday parties can be fun without being indulgent.
According to the Minnesota-based parent group Birthdays Without Pressure (and just about every mom and dad I know), out-of-control birthday parties are a symptom of a larger problem: a consumer culture of excess and entitlement.
If you’ve ever complained that birthday parties are too stressful, that your children receive too many gifts or that gifts are too much of a focus at parties, here are some ideas you might consider:
For lots more ideas, go online and search “Birthdays Without Pressure.” (The group’s Web page is hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Department of Family Social Science.)