Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Lazy Girl Guide to Simple (and Frugal) Kids Birthday Parties

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Yesterday was my daughter's 9th birthday.  The first things she said when she got up was: "I'm almost 10!"

Kids, they are in such a hurry to grow up.

As, I have said before, my girls are adopted from foster care and although they don't look like they have special needs, they do.  Any exciting event, holiday, change out of routine can really put them in a tail spin.  So, my experiences put our family to the extreme end with this type of thing.  But on a lesser scale many families are no different.  Most kids thrive on routine. 

Birthday celebrations are so hard and in my mind I want to do all sort of fun things, let them run around like a lot of goodies (you know the drill).  But the other part of me knows I have to keep it as controlled as I can otherwise things could end up in a bad place.

Over the years we had done different ways to celebrate and I thought I would share them with you. We have been to over the top parties where parents spend too much and days planning.  In the end, for us that is too much and we have grown to like a smaller festivities. You might, too.  It's ok for things to be simple.  Kids just want to feel special and family party or great dinner out may be just the ticket.

Choose one of these to celebrate special days and keep the stress low:

1. Family Party.  Keep it simple, cook your kids favorite meal, have cake and ice cream and open gifts.
2. Go out to eat.  Let your child choose the restaurant and stop for a treat on the way home.  Make sure to tell the staff it is your child birthday and they will probably sing to them.
3. Let your child choose a special outing. Give them a couple of choices and go as a family.  If you want let them bring along a friend.
4. Small Party/No Gifts.  I find that the no gifts party is contoversial for many people.  But we have successfully done them and personally I feel that it cuts down on a lot of craziness of the day.  Do family gifts before or after the party.
5. If you do a party, keep it simple. Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE Pinterest, but I am also a realist.  Schedule a simple party with a few of your child's friends at around 1 pm-3 pm.  This way you don't have to feed people.  Have cake and ice cream only.  Organize a few games, let the kids play, no goodie bags and then on their way.  Seriously, the kids have just as much fun at these parties as those $500 ones.  These parties cost about $20.

Birthday parties are big these days and you probably get invited to so many.  I personally feel that it is to much, but that is me.  I want my kids to feel special and for my family that doesn't usually have to mean a huge party.. and we are good with that.

What are your feelings on this topic?  Are you a big fan of parties or do you feel it is too much?  have any good tips on celebrating in simple ways?  Leave them in the comments below.


  1. Growing up, birthdays were no big deal in my family. Since I share a birthday with another family member, I always ended up feeling forgotten. I am one of those moms who tries to make a big deal out of my son's birthdays. I get really stressed and put a lot of work into it sometimes, but I think that seeing the smile on his face and making him feel like the most important person for a day is worth it to me. Last year, I didn't do anything big, but he did want to include all of his friends. This year, he wants to do the same, but with more of a theme. It's exhausting sometimes, but you can do it frugally. Like I said before, to me, it is so worth it.

    1. Thanks for sharing!! I think it is great to evaluate what is really important to you and your family. I think sometimes we end up doing things simply out of expectation or "keeping up". It is great to really sit down and decide what you love to do, even if it is a bit stressful.

  2. I love your thoughts - it's so true. . .so much is done because we think it's expected. We have opted for an "every other year" birthday party routine. One year it's a party with friends, the next year they do something special and invite one friend along with our family. It has worked really well so far (our kids are 7 and 9)

  3. We live on a pretty tight budget so I really appreciate your perspective. Our twins will be one year old in April and I'm already starting to stress over a get together. Your ideas are great and we might just go with the toned down Birthday. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I'm so relieved and happy to find another voice similar to my own on this issue! Having only one child who is about to turn 4, I have limited experience putting parties together. Also, birthday parties were not such a big deal in my family either but they are to my husbands' so I feel a lot of pressure to do bigger, fancier parties but your article reminded me that it is not about what the grown up's think but rather, the birthday child and the children who attend. If they have fun, then you've done it right!


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