When “birthday time” comes around each year for my kids, I find myself struggling for something interesting and fun, but still manageable for me, that tops the previous year’s celebration. Planning the actual party is enough pressure (and keep in mind, this is what I do for a living!), so I am very thankful to have found a great resource for managing invitations, RSVPs and gifts! (Ugh, the gifts! I could write a whole entry about this!)
ECHOage is a charity-driven, eco-friendly, online birthday party service where children learn the value of giving and receiving while celebrating. It works in a fashion similar to Evite, only guests make an online contribution in lieu of a gift. The best part is that half of the money contributed goes to your child and half goes to your choice of several charities that support various environmental causes and children’s organizations. While ECHOage was originally started by two Canadian moms looking for a way to make birthday parties more environmentally-friendly, the benefits of this service are much more far-reaching. Certain events throughout the year remind me how fortunate my family is, and teaching my kids to share in this way becomes really meaningful and important. Birthdays have a tendency to bring out the little greed monster in my kids (and sometimes get to be a little over-the-top as a whole), and this is one way to reign that in a bit. We have a bunch of fun together finding treasures in the toy aisle, but feel good about the spending-spree because we know we’ve already “bought” a special gift for someone else, too. And, let’s not forget the other added bonus of reducing paper waste, too… trifecta!