Today is my son’s 7 year old birthday. It has been seven years since my tiny King was born and it has been quite an adventure ever since! In honor of his birthday, I decided to write a post on different ways you can save time and money on birthday parties. Here are a few tips and tricks that you may or may not want to try.
The first one is pretty obvious: not having a party at all. Nothing in the “Being a Parent Manual” says that birthday parties are a requirement for healthy childhood development. This would save a lot of money, time and energy. Let’s be honest; they aren’t really going to remember the party from ages 1 – 3 anyways. If photos are a concern, you can always use stock photos and create the best birthday party that they can’t remember! “Honey, you don’t remember Beyonce being at your second year old concert themed party? That’s too bad! It was a lot of fun!”
When they get older (and smarter), you might have to actively say no when they bring up the idea. This can be done in a few ways. First, you can join a religion that does not allow for the celebration of birthdays. Your options include Jehovah’s Witnesses who believe in only celebrating Jesus’s birth or Muslims who claim Muhammad didn’t celebrate his so why should you celebrate yours (You aren’t special, Junior!) Too much of an effort to change religions? “Because I said so!” also works.
In all seriousness, here’s what we practice in our household. I go all out! I grew up around family members who didn’t celebrate birthdays. I loved getting gifts from them year round or on other holidays, but really missed having one day that everyone celebrated me. So when I had children, I went a little crazy at first. My oldest daughter had a party when she turned one. Then we got together with friends on her second birthday. We had a full blown birthday party at the park when she turned 3 and then had a princess party when she turned 4. Finally having second child made me realize that I was headed towards a financial crisis with two birthday parties each year. We decided to come up with a plan. The kids would party with friends on even birthdays and have a simple dinner with the family on odd years. We plan to do this until they reached 10. After that, they will only get 13 and 16 year parties.
Another thing I tried to implement is a “no gift”policy. After overhearing my daughter talk about how many presents she was going to get, I put a note in the Evite saying “We are requesting no gifts.” Did that work? Nope! I tried again two years later, and it still didn’t work. Finally I decided that people thought I was joking or the meanest mother ever. Now, starting with the 8 year old birthday, they will chose a non-profit to donate the gifts. On the invitation, I still write “No gifts please. However, if you want to give, we are collecting for *blank* cause.” Works like a charm! The kids get to learn about the importance of giving and I get less clutter in the house.
In conclusion, my only real tip is to celebrate in a way that holds meaning and value to you. Whether that is not celebrating at all (which I totally respect) or having a 50 person party every year, take time to acknowledge the miracle of life and how precious our time on this earth is. Happy Birthday, King!