Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Bucking the trend - Childrens birthday parties

I look back on my childhood birthday parties with great fondness. Though I always hated that my birthday took place in the dead of winter, my parents allowed me to have as many of my friends as I wanted in our home to celebrate. In fact, my average birthday party consisted of about 20-25 kids. We didn't do anything fancy, just played a few fun games, ate the typical hot dogs and cake and opened a few gifts. And you know what? It was great! I never felt deprived or unloved in any way shape or form.

These are the moments I'll always remember...
Things seems to be different now. Not everyone is affected by this (may I take this opportunity to give those of you who aren't a huge pat on the back?) And maybe it was just me, but I felt an immense pressure once I started having children to have an elaborately themed birthday party. I think social media is to blame for a lot of this. I saw via facebook, pinterest and parenting magazines the kind of parties parents were apparently throwing for their children and I felt as though I had to do the same. I felt like if I didn't put such great effort into my child's party it somehow made me a bad mom.

When my sons first birthday was only a few months away I started to plan and stress over everything. I bought craft supplies and spent hours making hand made invitations. I colour coordinated plates, table cloths, utensils and décor. Planned out the menu and guest list. I seriously considered making little labels for every little food item on display, but then I got exhausted. Oh. and I really wanted to make one of those fancy banners to hang up somewhere but admitted defeat the week before. Have I mentioned how un-crafty I am? And really, I didn't nearly go to the lengths I have seen done, and that was just simply because we didn't want to spend any more money on it.
Did the party turn out great? Yes absolutely. But I think it would have been just as great had I not done all that but was still surrounded by our friends and family.

...and this
I've heard from other moms that school aged children parties have even gotten so crazy that 9 year olds are going for limo rides downtown to the spa and spending hundreds of dollars. Are you kidding me!? What's the limit? Where does it end? Is it because children's parties are now such a big deal that they have to be topped every year which is leading to this kind of excessiveness?

Well, I've decided that I am certainly not going to try and keep up with it. Nope, not happening in this house! I'm going against the new 'normal' and doing things how I was raised. Noahs 2nd party this year will consist of the basics. Food, friends and family, a few gifts and an already coordinated table wear set from the dollar store.

Ahhh, now doesn't that sound easy?


  1. We just did a party for Cole at WC Blair pool. You rent a room for an hour or so and do snacks and cakes, then everyone goes swimming together. Really fun for the young kids! Also, the second Sunday of every month is free swimming between 2-4pm so we coordinated with that and had a good group of us in there. We did way less decorating and easy-peasy goody bags and you're right, we had just as much fun as if we had spent a ton of hours getting ready for it. And it was much less stressful since I didn't have to have my house cleaned or feel like I had to entertain anyone. Just a thought since you might be a bit tired after Asher arrives :)

    1. Love it Ali!!!
      Ps - listening via Facebook for your #3s arrival :)

  2. Just wait until Noah's older and you'll probably have a post about how much people spend on gifts :) ha

    I love celebrating my kids, however, we don't love spending tons of money on the party. For Kai's last party, we just went and played ball hockey at a local ball hockey box (free) and had an outdoor picnic there. Gary organized a `skills competition' and it was fun! Like Ali said, you don't need to clean your house :) The one before that, we just went to the waterpark at the Langley Event Center.

    Nya's birthday party will also be at a park with a playground for the bigger kids. However, I do like to have little themes when they are younger...Koen's train cake, Kai's dinosaur cupcakes etc. Those are fun to make. I enjoy it:)

    You have some friends and some cupcakes/cakes and some presents and it's a hit!

    1. I love that we can do outdoor birthday parties for our to boys! It's fun and cheap haha.

  3. My first two children have their birthdays five days before Christmas and within a day or two of Thanksgiving, respectively. My third child had her birthday in the middle of January. I always feel that this is a terrible time for birthday parties, both for my own expense and for the expense of other people having to buy another gift at that hectic time of year. The result is that we do don't ever have parties. I am also in awe of the parties that I see online. I am thinking more like you. Keep it simple. We have our grandparents up and let the children make and decorate their own cake. They think that is the best part of their birthday.