Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Best of’ questions are all about gifts

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: We dealt with this issue in our household by asking guests to bring a favorite book. The birthday boy opened them at the party, thanked the guests, read them and then we donated them to our local book drive.

– Worked For Us

Dear Worked: I love the idea of a book party. Thank you. – September 2012

Dear Amy: My daughter is turning five next month, and she has asked for a big party with her friends.

We’re concerned about gifts. Specifically, we’re worried about people giving Barbies or worse, those Bratz or Monster High dolls.

We don’t have Barbies in the house for all the usual reasons, and the Bratz/ Monster High dolls are simply disturbing.


At a recent party for one of her friends (also turning five), almost every gift was a Barbie, Bratz or some other “fashion” doll.

What? Girls don’t like books, nature, space, coloring, crafts, puzzles?

Is there any way to let people know that we don’t want “fashion” dolls in the house?

We could say no gifts at all, but around here, people bring gifts anyway. If we do nothing, most of her gifts will be Barbies – or worse. We won’t allow her to keep them, and that’s not a great outcome either. So, our choices seem to be either 1) cancel the party or 2) be “inappropriate” and include a small note on the invitation saying, “No fashion dolls, please.”


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