Alright moms. Let’s talk birthday parties. A phrase, I am afraid, that has become the newest dirty phrase.
My daughter recently turned three. A few weeks before that? She proudly proclaimed she wanted a “purple” birthday. Easy peasy. I took her to the local party store. Let her pick out a few purple things. Purple balloons. A purple birthday whistle. And done. Sure, I thought about buying her a pack of purple necklaces so each party guest could have one. Then I immediately vetoed that idea. I am not a fan of receiving or giving party favors. So we left those behind. Just like that? Her party was planned. Well, a few more minor details remained—but planned enough.
I was excited, she was excited, a few friends and family had already confirmed they could come—despite it being Easter weekend. THEN. Then came the party haters. I heard it all.
“Ugh, I hate going to kids birthday parties.”
“Man, parties are so expensive.”
“Ugh, I hate all the junk my kids get that they don’t need.”
“Seriously?! I hate buying gifts.”
“Ugh, we HAVE to invite every kid in their class, so we don’t do parties anymore.” (Side note: my kid isn’t in school, but I have mixed feelings on this new rule.)
Just plain. UGH.
I don’t know if I have been living under a rock. But I had no clue that we don’t like birthdays anymore. Even as an adult, I love birthdays. I look forward to the day. Picking what I want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and especially dinner. It’s a whole day to justify dessert anytime I want. So that is really all I need. Dessert every meal and few sincere phone calls. (Birthday text are great, but lets start calling people. Mmmmkay?)
So, what do we need to throw some fun and excitement back into the idea of ours—and others—and kids’ birthdays?
Gotta invite twenty kids and all their parents because the school says so? DO IT. And keep it simple. Throw it back old school style with cake and ice cream. The end. Your kid won’t remember if you spent your tax return on Pinterest inspired decor. Also, think of it this way: What if one of the kids that desperately needs friends has awesome parents? I don’t know about you, but my husband and I are always looking for more parent friends…that we both like.
Tight budget? Have a party at the park. No strings attached. Just like a giant play date. You can even specify no gifts if that makes you feel more comfortable. Whether they say it or not, all parents can relate to money being tight. You may set the tone for birthday parties going forward. Win. Win.
Don’t wanna go? Don’t. Your kid doesn’t want to go? Don’t make them. We do far too much in life out of obligation or for appearances. It has sucked the joy out of too many things. Including birthdays. The ONE day of the year we all get to claim as our own.
Let’s chill it out. Log off Pinterest. Be thankful for the innocence of our children. And remember what it’s like to enjoy birthdays. Look forward to them again. Celebrate them.