'Half-Birthday' Parties Are One More Example of Parents Going Overboard

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birthday presentLast year, when my then 11-year-old daughter came home from school and told me about how her friend got a Tiffany necklace from her parents as a "half-birthday" gift, I rolled my eyes and dismissed the occurrence as one extremely affluent family's odd, overblown tradition. Half-birthday?! Who celebrates half-birthdays?!

As it turns out, quite a lot of people do -- in fact, the practice of partying it up on the midway mark between one birthday and the next is now a bonafide trend. There's even a website, halfbirthday.com, offering tips and "half birthday party supplies"; Pinterest is getting increasingly populated with "half birthday cake" images and ideas.


Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear: I'm not trying to be the Half-Birthday Grinch here, okay? Lots of the cakes people make are super adorable, and any excuse to eat cake is a-ok with me. Plus, there are actually times when it sort of makes sense to do the half-birthday thing, I guess, such as when your kid's birthday falls over summer break and you don't want him to be deprived of the experience of bringing cupcakes to school: Bam! Half-birthday party in the classroom! Or when your kid shares his birthday with a major holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas and you don't want him to be deprived of the experience of having a special day all to himself: Bam! Half-birthday party (anywhere you want)!

But to engineer an entire full-scale celebration for a kid who had another full-scale celebration only six months prior just because? Including pricey presents like a Tiffany necklace?? To be fair, most parents probably stick to gifts like video games and Rainbow looms, but still. The very concept seems excessive -- yet another example of the YOU ARE SO VERY VERY SPECIAL, YES YOU ARE mentality that's supposed to be boosting kids' self-confidence but is, instead, setting them up for disappointment and failure. I mean, come on -- how is this preparing children for the harsh realities of adulthood?? Look, ain't nobody gonna bring cupcakes to your cubicle on your "half-birthday," I can tell you that right now. Unless your boss is AWESOME. And really into cupcakes, presumably.

Do you think celebrating kids' half-birthdays is excessive?


Image via Gabriele Diwald/Flickr

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Nanoo... Nanooksmommy

Birthdays are supposed to be only once a year.  Thats why its a special day, and half birthdays definitely take away from that...

keelh... keelhaulrose

Meanwhile, in the real world where most people's jobs don't let them automatically have their actual birthday off, these kids will be crying in the corner, wondering why they aren't as special as mommy and daddy led them to believe.
It's nice to have a little something to celebrate your birthday, it's asinine and self-indulgent to celebrate more often than that.

nonmember avatar April

I have done a "half birthday" party for my daughter, whose birthday is in snowy february, so that she can plan her out door party. But the difference? the "half birthday" part was her ONLY birthday party. For her real birthday, she recieved a card from family, and we let her pick a place to go eat. all presents and everything waited until her birthday party. I don't throw giant huge parties, but once you add in food/snacks, the cake and ice cream, drinks, and the gifts, a birthday party can easily run a couple hundred bucks. I only do it twice a year (one for each kid) I can't imagine doing it four times a year!

Lokis... LokisMama

I could just throw a party every day and celebrate my 364 UNBirthdays! 

That would make about as much sense as "half-birthdays."


mrsda... mrsdangelo

We catch some flack for celebrating my daughter's half-birthday until people stop scoffing long enough to hear that we don't celebrate her real birthday. It's 3 days before Christmas. While she's little we acknowledge her birthday with cupcakes, and a donation to charity (one that she can sort of understand: boxes of diapers to an organization that gives them, bags of pet food to a shelter, bags of food to a food bank, etc.). In June we give her presents and have a party (she's not old enough to have had a friend party yet (almost 3), but when she is we will request that guests NOT bring gifts). When she gets older she will get to decide when she wants to celebrate (but not both). My husband grew up with a December birthday and was almost always forgotten. I know that a lot of the difference is in the parenting, but we wanted to do it this way.

I cannot imagine giving my child a party two times a year, though, and I agree that would be overkill.

lulou lulou

Only for leap babies, then Id let them go up to 1/4s.

Net1957 Net1957

I'll be the half-birthday Grinch for you! That is ridiculous!

aeneva aeneva

My birthday is in January just 2 weeks after christmas and not often could my parents afford a party so I often had a half birthday party in the summer when my friends and I could swim in my grandparents pool and party.  Now my children's birthdays are May and June and they get a party then and there is no way they are getting half birthday parties.

Seanna Yeager

I do have photos taken at my son's birthday and half birthday, but that is the only thing I do for the half birthday.

xreds... xredstarsx

My step dd has half birthday parties but that's all she gets. Her birthday is December 23rd. She is about to turn 11 and much prefers having her party in June.

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