How to Say “No Gifts” on the Invitation

Is your child’s room overflowing with gifts? Or are you just trying to raise money for your favorite charity? If so, you probably don’t want people bringing gifts to your festivities. I’ve been there, and I’ve been worried about sounding rude or crass. The last thing I wanted was for guests to feel insulted. Fortunately, you can learn how to say “No Gifts” on the invitation. 


What You Need to Say No

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to order people around, you probably are losing sleep over the prospect of telling guests not to bring gifts. But you don’t need a personality transplant to inform guests of your wishes. With the right wording, you can tell everyone to leave the presents behind. 

All you need to do this is your invitations! When you’re writing out your invitations, include a note about gifts. If your party is advertised on social media, make mention of your request there as well. 

Steps to Saying “No Gifts”

Are you ready to send out those invitations? Before you do, go through these steps. When you mail your invitations out, your guests will get the message about the presents.

Step One: Consider Your Reasons

You should always expect a few people to question your decision to say no to gifts. Therefore, you need to prepare yourself to give an explanation. Do you feel as if your home is too cluttered? Are you hoping for donations to a charity in your name?

Really think about your reasons and consider how you can convey those reasons to friends and family members. If they can understand why you don’t want gifts, your attendees are more likely to comply with your wishes. You don’t need to write a page about your reasons, but a few sentences can get the point across. If someone asks about your decision, you should be ready to respond.

Step Two: Know Your Audience

The way you address your guests depends on your relationship with them. If you are having a formal event with a diverse guest list, you should keep your invitation succinct and eloquent. You might say something like, “We kindly request that you don’t bring gifts.”

However, if your party is a small event with close friends and family members, you can make your statement more playful. For example, you might say, “We’re downsizing our crazy household. No present is the best present you can give us!” Word your invitation in a way that appeals to your audience and makes them feel comfortable. If you don’t, you risk offending some of your guests. 

You can look online for ideas and suggestions, and pick accordingly. However, avoid using wording that sounds like someone else. You want your invitation to seem personal, and not like a stranger wrote it. To keep your request genuine, change the wording slightly to reflect your personality. 

Look at Your Guest List and Your Type of Event

If you’re unsure about what your audience wants, look closely at your guest list. Is it full of business professionals, or friends and family members? How well do you know everyone on your guest list? If you have a large list, you may need to keep the message more general and professional. Meanwhile, a smaller event is more intimate and requires a more personal approach.. 

Of course, the type of event also matters. If your invitations are for a wedding, you don’t want to sound too business-like. Think of ways to sound eloquent yet enthusiastic. The audience matters just as much as the type of event does. You would word a request for no presents differently for a birthday party than you would for a wedding. 

Step Three: Consider the Placement

Where should you write your message? There are two ways you can go about this. First, you can include it on the invitation directly. After you state the time, date, and location of the event, you can add a sentence or two about your request. In the event that you have a two-sided invitation, you could write your note on the back of the card.

Secondly, you can incorporate a second card in your invitation envelope. Some party planners prefer to include a card that mentions party accommodations, and this is the perfect place to ask for no presents. If you’re not sure how to say “no gifts” on the invitation, you should look at sample cards. Choose the placement and wording you like.

In reality, the placement makes a big difference. If you position the wording in a place that no one can see, your request will go ignored. On the other hand, you don’t want to make your request the focal point of the invitation. You need to find the right balance of the paragraph being visible but not overbearing. 

Step Four: Mention It on Social Media

In this day and age, people pay more attention to social media than they do mail. In fact, some party information is only available online. If you haven’t already posted about the event on Facebook, you should consider doing so. It’s a great way to communicate information with people about the party.

You can create your own private events page, invite the attendees, and discuss your plans. If you make a post about not wanting presents, everyone on your invite list will see it. They’ll also be able to ask you questions about it, so you will have a chance to explain yourself.

Because social media is a little less formal than a traditional card, you can be playful in your approach. You might say something like, “No presents, please. We just want to celebrate with you!” Or, “Please give us the present of your presence, and nothing else.” For even more fun, you can create your own image or use a GIF. If you’re not social media savvy, ask someone to help you with the online invitation. 

Just make sure you’re responsive to your attendees. After you create the online invitation, keep track of your notifications. If someone asks a question, respond to it as soon as possible. Try to post regular updates about the party and remind guests of your request for no presents a week before the event. For a short-term event, no reminder is necessary.

Step Five: Offer an Alternative

No matter how you word your request, some guests won’t be willing to show up empty-handed. To appease everyone, you should offer an alternative. You can ask guests to make a donation to a specific charity if you have one in mind. Otherwise, do some research and find out which charity you want to help.

When you offer the alternative, don’t make it seem as if you are obligating the donation. Just as saying “no gifts” can come across as rude, requiring a donation to a charity often comes across as tasteless. You can say the following to avoid offending anyone:

“We ask that you don’t bring any gifts to the party. If you feel the need to provide a gift, please donate to our favorite charity. You can donate to (insert name of charity).” 

Then, include the details on how they can donate. If your invitation is online, include a direct link to make the process as easy as possible.

When you offer an alternative, you should include a short paragraph about the charity and what it means to you. In addition to raising money for the charity, you raise awareness. You also let people know why their donation matters, which makes their gift even more special. 

Charity Ideas

Picking a charity can be harder than it sounds. If you don’t already have a favorite charity, you may have no idea how to get started. Fortunately, a little research will help you find the perfect charity for your donations.

First, think about what causes are close to your heart. Do you know someone with a disease or illness? Have you always had a soft spot for animals? When you choose a charity, make sure it means something to you. 

Once you narrow down the cause, you can look up charities. Although there may be many charities supporting your cause, not all of them will be legitimate. Learn more about the charity’s reputation and find out where their donations go. If you’re not cautious, your guests could donate their money to a scam. Pick a well-known charity with a great reputation to ensure the money goes to the right place.

Step Six: Ask for an Opinion

After you write out your invitation, take some time to read it over. You should always reread what you write and make any edits that seem necessary. Next, pick a close friend or family member and ask them their opinion on the card. Does it come across as harsh or unwelcoming? Are the directions clear?

Typically, people make one of two mistakes when they ask for no presents. The most common mistake is to be too short. If you don’t want to come across as rude, you need to choose your words carefully and follow the tips above. But even if you follow every step in this guide, you should still ask for a second opinion. There may be room for improvement.

The other frequent mistake is to be unclear. If you only gently suggest no gifts, your guests will probably bring presents. It’s important to explain your directions in a way that everyone can understand. When you ask for a donation to a charity, provide all the information guests need to donate. They shouldn’t have to do a Google search to find out how to give your chosen charity a donation.

These are two things your friend or family member can look for. After they read your invitation, ask them for an opinion. Is there room for improvement? Be willing to take constructive criticism and change the wording based on their suggestions.

Learning How to Say “No Gifts” on the Invitation Isn’t Easy

Saying no to presents isn’t easy. For years, you may have been hoping to have a party with no presents. But finding the courage to say no to gifts takes planning. Now that you know the steps to saying no, it might be time to write out your invitations.

Did you enjoy this lesson? If you don’t want people to bring gifts to your party, you can finally get your wishes. When you know how to say “no gifts” on the invitation, you are closer to having the party you want. Comment and let us know how it worked for you.