When the kids were little we had Birthday parties. We’d send out the 24 invitations to school and we’d have a smattering of kids. We’d do games, and give out goodie bags and when they got sick of house parties we had them at those game zones, or Sports clubs. It was upwards of $280 to reserve our space, party room etc. Plus you had to add on cake, and juice boxes, and pizza and also goodie bags. It was a huge expense.
When we moved from Massachusetts to IL we had a 7, 8 and 10 year old. They were still at Birthday party ages but what to do? Thankfully we moved after the boys 7th and 10th birthdays and they always had combined parties because there birthdays are both in mid to late August. So the next Birthday we had coming up was Meghan and she was turning 9. Without new friends to invite- being homeschooled and no longer sending in 24 invites- we opted for a small home-party. She has a December birthday which always robs her anyway. There was a year that even after sending out the 24 invites to school- nobody RSVP’d and 2 kids showed up. It was awful and she felt the pang of sadness over it.
Well the home birthday small thing worked that year for her and one big gift since we didn’t have to spend a fortune on a party. That was the kids gifts in years prior- we always told them that their gift was the fancy party. So that following August we took the boys to the Red Sox game against the White Sox here in Chicago. It was fun- it wasn’t superbly expensive and it was special. We have continued to do special events just for them. My daughter might want a sleep over with 2 good friends this December and I’m all for it or whatever she opts to do. I’m actually considering getting tickets for Hamilton. I asked the boys if they’d want to go and they said NOPE which as much as it was disappointing to learn this I realized I’d save about $500 if they chose not to go so there’s that! Whatever we do it will be special and be meaningful for them.
Do we ever regret not having a party? Maybe. This past August my youngest gave his brother “laser tag” as a gift. So one night we called up several of his friends and asked if they were free to go play and we got in the car for Cole and Meghan to take Quinn to play laser tag and all of a sudden our van stops at one of his friends house and then another and Quinn’s like “What is going on??” and he was so happy- Laser Tag and Culver’s Custard after and it was like a mini-party without all the work, hassle and cost.
So- it’s up to you and your family if you want to do Birthday parties or not but what I do want to share is you should make the Birthday child feel special and feel like it’s a pretty amazing day. If you have a December birthday like Meghan does and you want to have a big party – I’d suggest having a 1/2 birthday party and celebrating in June. That will allow more folks to be able to attend or have it early in November or late in January because quite frankly people will not show up on a Saturday in December for a party when there are so many family obligations during the holidays.
So have a GREAT BIRTHDAY everyone- have fun! I’ve got a December one to plan and I think I’d better get on it- especially if I want to score Hamilton tickets!
* and if you want some professional advice – I always go to www.Parenting.com and find answers there.