You'll have gathered by now that I strive to make ethical choices where I can, about how I live my life, what I spend money on and certainly how I raise my child.
I get a bit overwhelmed by the whole kids birthday party thing. There seems to be so much pressure to have big expensive parties, and too much focus on gifts, many of which are bought in a rush and end up shoved in the back of the toy box or broken before the party's over.
PAW sounds a much healthier, and ethical, option. It bills itself as "a cross between Just Giving and Oxfam Unwrapped", and allows conscientious parents to make donations towards a charity or cause chosen by the birthday child themselves instead of buying material gifts.The PAW process is simple: once a parent and child have chosen a charitable theme for their party they set up a party page and issue electronic or printed invites. Guests are invited to RSVP online and select a 'gift' worth £5, £7.50 and £10, or they can donate a larger amount at their discretion. The online-based nature of PAW means parents can donate quickly, easily and in an environmentally friendly way.
A total of 12 'child-friendly' charities are represented on PAW ranging from the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust to World Vision's buddy scheme, where the child can sponsor a child the same age to be educated.
Once the party has taken place the nominated charity receives 90% of the gift total from all the guests, along with Gift AID where applicable. The birthday child also receives a certificate showing how much he or she has raised.