My husband and I agreed that for the first several years, we wanted our children’s birthday parties to be simple familial celebrations. With just our immediate families, we have about twenty-five people in attendance. Therefore, the thought of inviting friends was slightly overwhelming.
Most of our friends were completely understanding when I shared that our birthday parties would be limited to just family. But some were, surprisingly, offended. Nonetheless, in the last four years of keeping this tradition, we have no regrets.
Less is Best … For Us
We have attended some elaborate children’s birthday parties. They are incredible, and we always have a wonderful time. But we are a one-income family on a budget — dropping several hundred (or thousand) dollars on one birthday party is just not practical.
We have all our parties at home, we cook a simple meal, and I either purchase a little cake from Rouses or make one from scratch. Our family knows that we do not expect gifts. Sometimes they choose to contribute to the girls’ college savings accounts instead of buying a toy. We explain this to the girls, and they are grateful all the same. Of course, our daughters love opening gifts; however, we are instilling in them that spending time and celebrating special milestones with family is the best gift.
Theme: Happy Birthday
Up until this past year, the theme of every birthday party has been… “Happy Birthday.” I hang up the same “Happy Birthday” banner I’ve used since my oldest turned one. I blow up a few balloons, hang a few streamers, and set out little vases of flowers. I print several photographs of the birthday girl from throughout the last year and tape them up around the house. At the end of the party, everyone may choose to take their favorite photos as their party favor.
This past year, each of my daughters asked for specific themes: My oldest, a race car theme, and my youngest, a frog theme. I made and purchased a few extra decorations, but we kept everything else the same.
Small … For Now
My daughters are now in preschool, and with that comes even more birthday party invitations. This, of course, results in them asking to invite friends to theirs. My husband and I have decided that we will allow them to start inviting a few friends on their fifth birthdays. But until then, I’m holding on to our intimate family celebrations.