DEAR MISS MANNERS: For my son's upcoming birthday party, we will be inviting his class and baseball team, as well as a few cousins. He has lots of toys already and doesn't really need any more.
I know asking for cash, or any gift for that matter, is tacky, but since it is customary for people to bring gifts, I thought it would be convenient for us and cheaper for the guests to just give him a $5 bill instead of a toy that would not be used. The money would go into his piggy bank.
Not sure how to word this, though, without sounding awful. Please help. I don't want to offend anyone, but it would be cheaper than an unused $20 toy that we don't have room for.
GENTLE READER: It would also be cheaper for you not to have a party at all. After all, your son has probably had a lot of them already.
Miss Manners finds that practicality does not factor heavily into the rite of passage that is celebrating children's birthdays. However, handing over a fiver as a price of admission seems particularly insulting and takes any small pleasure from the guest in choosing a present.
That is why it sounds awful, even to you. When you have too much of something, the kindly thing is to think of giving things to people who don't have such problems.
But return the toys and keep the money if you must. For goodness' sake, just don't ask for an admissions fee up front, or inform your guests of your intentions -- much less your motivation.