Every child wants to think the world revolves around them and I love using their birthday as a way to make that happen. Despite what Pinterest may show you, you can have special AND keep it SIMPLE! Growing up my family never went over the top on our birthday, but I always felt like it was a special celebration of me. As a child my husband was always served breakfast in bed on the ‘birthday tray’. His mom still has a special birthday chair that the grandkids get to sit in when they open presents at our monthly joint family birthday celebrations. For my kid’s first birthday we celebrated with both sides of the family complete with lots of presents and decorations, but I can’t keep up that kind of party going forward as I don’t have the money or the gumption to do a big party every year. At some point we’ll do a party with friends, but that will be many years from now so I’ve been on a quest to find simple ways to make birthdays at our house special.
Simple is going to look different for everyone, but for us it is dinner at home with grandparents. We are blessed to have grandparents and great-grandparents living close by, but you can always substitute with a couple close friends or celebrate with just your immediate family. As my kids get older I intend to let them choose their meal and type of cake (lasagna and ice cream cake were always my favorites as a child), but for now I choose the menu based on food they enjoy eating. (Personal note: this dinner party doesn’t always happen ON their birthday – it depends on schedules or what day the birthday falls on and this year the impending birth of another sibling by the actual birthday).
With only a meal it’s not essential to have a giant pile of decorations; however in my opinion, balloons are always a must for a celebration, although my daughter disagrees and was adamant that she didn’t want balloons for her party this year – oh the joys of an opinioned almost 2 year old. Every child Most children love balloons and playing with them the next day doubles their impact. (And you never know when you’ll get lucky and have a helium balloon last for months like the one at our house). I also love to pick up cute paper plates because any time I don’t have to do dishes I’m a happy momma. Our simple party only consists of eating dinner and cake, then opening presents. This is perfect because the birthday girl is the center of attention and no one cares if it takes 45 minute to open her presents and wants to play with them all as she went along.
In addition to our simple dinner we always try to do a special activity ON their birthday – either as a family or just a special outing with just the birthday girl. Again, this doesn’t need to be complicated…a movie at the theater, going to look at pets at the local store, or even a fun new craft. I know this will get harder as they start school, so my husband is already looking forward to serving breakfast in bed, the way he celebrated as a child! I look forward to being able to put special notes in their lunch or send flowers/balloons to their dorm room like my parents did.
Regardless of if you choose to celebrate with a big party with friends and games or just have dinner at home, I hope you can find ways to make your kids feel special. As your kids get older I bet they’ll turn around and spoil you too!
How does your family celebrate birthdays? Do you have ways you keep it simple or ideas to make an over-the-top party less stressful? I’d love to hear them!
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