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Give and Play Birthday

When Patti Alexander, mother of two (Grayson, age 4, and Patrick, age 1) sent out invitations to Grayson’s first birthday party, she and husband Greg made a special request of their guests: “No gifts, please.” But on the day of the big celebration, friends arrived with presents and goodies for Grayson. Although grateful for their generosity, Alexander knew she would need to take a different approach for future birthdays.

This past April, the Alexanders celebrated Grayson’s fourth birthday with an altruistic twist. Instead of asking guests to refrain from bringing presents, Alexander requested that toys or clothing for a boy or girl close to Grayson’s age be brought so that they could be given to charity. After seeing something similar on a television show, the inspired mom wanted those gifts to be enjoyed by tots less fortunate than her own. Thanks to the compassion of the Alexander family, these kids became fortunate recipients of their benevolence.

Some children might be disappointed over a party with no presents, but not Grayson. “He was so anxious for the big day to arrive,” his mom says. And when it did, Grayson was overwhelmed with excitement. “The kids had an absolute blast.” Soccer Tots (972/509-5958, soccertotsdallas.com) organized the extravaganza at Extra Innings (469/241-1432, extrainnings-plano.com) and kept the little partiers entertained and active with obstacle courses and games. “Using Soccer Tots was great—they made it easy since they had packages with the cake and party favors included. They even clean up for you." Since Extra Innings also allows you to bring in your own snacks, Alexander was able to save money by bringing sandwiches, veggies and fruit for the kids to munch on. Spider-Man cupcakes were picked out by none other than the birthday boy himself. Soccer Tots provided the decorations and all the activities—leaving Alexander to mingle and visit with the other parents. “The kids stayed busy playing games and having fun—which meant the adults actually had an entire hour and a half to catch up and talk!”

All in all, Grayson’s birthday was enjoyed not only by party guests during the celebration, but those in need received something to smile about as well. Since the party, Alexander says Grayson now thinks of kids less fortunate than himself a little more often. She shares, “When he gets tired of a toy, he always asks me if we can give it away. I’m happy the party had that impact on him.”

Updated 7/27/12