Extreme Birthday Parties

The child’s birthday party. Gone are the days in which cake, candles and balloons are considered an adequate celebration of a birthday. Nowadays it seems that a birthday party isn’t complete without pulling out all the stops. In the past few months we’ve received countless invitations to birthday parties. With each envelope opened, it seems that parties keep getting more and more elaborate. From exciting venues to expertly printed invitations birthday parties have gotten out of hand, and I for one refuse to compete.

Several years ago, I hosted a beautifully orchestrated first birthday party for my sweet daughter. As my guest list grew, so did my menu and my budget. Before I knew it, I was hosting a party the size of a small wedding reception complete with buffet meal. Several hundred dollars later we blew out the candles and watched our one-year-old play just like she did every other day. In that moment, I realized that none of the perfectly planned party even mattered to her. She just wanted to play like every other day, and all my stress and money spent on the party was simply for me (and the mostly other adults in attendance).

Fast forward several years and I’ve learned quite a few lessons about throwing birthday parties. I have realized that a scaled down, inexpensive celebration with close friends and family means more than beautiful invitations and a fancy cake. This year my daughter has been invited to several fun, but expensive parties for friends and classmates. As a parent, I’ve definitely felt that there is a pressure to out-do and compete by hosting extremely elaborate birthday parties, and it’s a pressure I refuse to succumb to. Each party has been unique and fun, but each has set an expectation for my daughter that her birthday party should be just as grand as all of her friends’ have been. With her birthday quickly approaching she’s ready for her turn … her turn to pass out her invitations, her turn to have a party and her turn to blow out the candles. I want her party to be memorable and special, but I refuse to spend a fortune to make her day special. If I host the most elaborate birthday parties now when my children are young, what will they have to look forward to when they are older?

My family has and always will recognize birthdays as a very special day. We each have our turn on our special day to celebrate another year of accomplishments. In celebration of birthdays, we have a special dinner, cake and take part in a memorable activity. The day is surely not forgotten and made just as unique as the person we are celebrating. But when it comes to birthday parties, we keep it small and simple. The celebration of a child is what truly matters about a birthday … not the venue where their party takes place or the height of the cake.  

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