Gift Giving: I Can't Boss You, but No Gifts

give with joy is a company based on a value of inspiring joy in all you and I do. Gift giving is part of it and I love designing cards for you to fill with your words, art for your walls and journals to share with others. I want GWJ to be a resource for you on how to give joy and love well by fostering authentic relationships and communities.

I was reading an article somewhere - an advice column. The question: Is including "no gifts please" on an invitation bad? The answer: Yes. But my answer is no and here's my why (you may have a different answer). Every celebration I have for myself or we have for our kids, we do say "we can't boss you around, but gifts aren't required..."

We say that for a few reasons. We aren't a huge toy family because we don't have the space and our daughter does prefer to play outside. She loves to color, use a toy hammer as a microphone and plays mama with her animals and dolls. That's usually my answer when people ask what to get her.

We also say that because everyone we invite over to celebrate with are usually close friends and family who already know our family and our hearts. They most likely already don't feel the pressure to go out looking for the best gifts, but if they do, we appreciate it. We aren't mad that people give gifts, it's just that we don't want gifts to be the focus or the burden. 

We try and emphasize that gift giving happens year round. We have a handful of friend and family that passed down toys or clothes and send us new stuff too. So, we make birthday about words of affirmation shared with each other - in person, FaceTime or in a card! 

How do you refocus? Start the conversations. I have told numerous people that we wouldn't mind a gift from a thrift store! There are so many almost new toys at kid's consignment shops that would make a great gift at half the cost. We don't mind, so we share that! We want others to know that all gifts - tangible and intangible, new or used are appreciated. When sending thank yous, make sure to mention the gift, but emphasize the relationship - that goes a long way! 

Here's a list of our favorite gifts/ideas for kids:

Ideas for the after party:

  • Create a coloring page with a thank you note
  • Take a picture of your child with their favorite toy to use for a thank you card
  • Do a Q & A for your child as a keepsake for friends and family

For Zayda's third birthday, we are celebrating with her friends in our backyard for some water fun! We'll have water balloon pinatas, coloring station and a water table! Simple + fun! I created two coloring pages - one for them to keep and one for Z to keep. I also designed a Q & A card that I will fill-in and share with grandparents! 

with joy,


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Planning for the Week Ahead: Notepads, Lists and Favorite Meals

I am a pen to paper kind of girl. I take an hour on Sundays to plan out meals and the week ahead. I've created a few products for myself with you in mind to help with list making and making life a little simpler. 

To Do Lists

To keep stress and anxiety at bay for me, I just make lists for everything. I have a running list of all the house and work projects just to clear my mind of all the to do clutter. I also make lists of everything to scratch off what I've completed because staying at home with kids, running a business means being constantly interrupted so it's nice to see things I've finished at the end of a day. My favorite GWJ notepad to use for running lists is this. I love that it's spiral bound allowing you to keep that running list going. There's room in the margin to star the important, urgent items. 

Another favorite product is this Floral Notebook. I went back and forth on whether I should line the pages or not and I'm so glad I chose leave them blank. It's canvas for you to make gratitude lists, make a list of people to send cards to, and my favorite way, to plan out a new business initiative! 

Meal Planning

This is one of my favorite GWJ products. I needed a notepad where I can plan my meals and create my shopping list altogether. Once you've finished your grocery list, you just tear it off to take with you to the store.

There's another notepad here for your shopping. 

Other Current Favorites (recipes, podcasts and more)

  • I've been loving Rachel's podcast here for business + life
  • Made these quesadillas last week and they were the best
  • Love this one pan parmesan chicken
  • This is my favorite face mask and this is what I use as a face moisturizer 

with joy,


Follow give with joy on social media -- and sign up for the newsletter as well! You’ll be the first to know about special deals and fresh ideas for letter writing and gift-giving.