Skip the Extravagant Kids' Birthday Parties, Moms -- They're Not Worth It

Kit Kat Birthday CakeI'm not sure about you, but around where I live, kids' birthdays are a big, expensive deal. They now often involve rented-out rooms, fancy invitations, and a whole lot of time, effort, and money.

Don't even get me started on this whole "half-birthday" party thing. What is up with that?

I did the big party once for one of my four children a long time ago, but never again. I've decided that my time, money, and sanity are much too valuable.

Now before you jump down my throat, you should know that I do think birthdays are important and should be celebrated. What I disagree with are the exorbitant bashes for little kids that have started to become the norm.

First of all, the places these parties are held at are expensive. I'm not talking Ritz-Carlton expensive or anything, but at least for me as a mom of four, even a few hundred dollars per child is a lot of money. And really, even if you're having the party at your own house, you still have to buy the food, the cake, and the goody bags, not to mention all the decorations and accoutrements.

But it's not just the money.

What about all those presents these kids are getting? I don't necessarily think they need to get 20 gifts from the other 20 children at the party.

And then there's the whole process of planning and executing the event itself, with the paper invites (really, still?), and the RSVPs -- or lack thereof. It's just a total time-suck and hassle.

So at our house, we've officially ditched the "big party" concept. My kids are greeted with a balloon bouquet at their seat at the table. And they get to choose their favorite meal for dinner, no matter how bizarre or weird it might be (we once had hot dogs and donuts; it was quite a hit).

Of course there are presents from Mom, Dad, and siblings, and there's cake. But it's a grocery store cake -- or even better, a homemade one by a dear friend. Either way, it's not a super expensive fancy concoction in the shape of some sort of animal or television character.

I realize as they get older, they might want to involve school friends, which I'm happy to accommodate for a small sleepover or fun outing.

But I know I can't be the only parent who is completely overwhelmed by the standard that's set these days for kids' birthday parties. I really love celebrating and I'm all for it. I just think more modest birthdays can be just as good, if not better -- with a lot less of the stress.

What do you think about extravagant birthday celebrations?

 

 Image via Janet/Flickr

kid activities, birthdays, parties, party food, trends

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Jaimy Bisbee

I'm with you. I've only twice had a birthday party with anyone except immediate family. I much prefer having cake and presents and then the birthday kid gets to pick where to go for dinner. It's what I've done with my own kids and it's worked out well so far.

nonmember avatar Lindi

Agreed. We keep it modest by doing a small, family party (and we get to avoid getting all those toys they don't need if we had a big party) - then on the weekend before or after their birthday they get to choose one "big" thing to do with a friend. Last birthday my daughter chose to see a movie with her cousins and have them spend the night. They all had a blast and it was easy.

Kimberly Diane Burkett

My girls are allowed to invite a couple friends over for a sleepover, and that's as extravagant as we get. I'm a baker, so I bake the cupcakes (or cheesecakes, as my oldest requested last year) and we have homemade pizza or something equally simple. I totally agree that kids' parties have gotten outrageous.

kayba... kaybayblee3

I agree. I don't understand when people make these huge parties for 1 year olds. For my kids we just had the family together for a simple BBQ and a little kiddie pool in the backyard. It's what we do with pretty much all of the kids in the family. The older ones we will go to their resturaunt of their choice.

Lucki... Luckicharmz

1. cake from co-worker


2. they get to pick supper


3. in-laws (grandparents, uncles) come over for said supper


One of my kids is lucky and has a summer birthday so they get to have a special toy for the pool but thats it. I can't stand people who spend hundreds on their 1 - 6 year olds, it's ridiculous and they won't remember a darn thing

Marcella Shambles

What I really don't get is the gifts given to the kids who attend the party.  When and how did that start?  I guess we go big, but not huge.  It'll get smaller as she gets older - we have a budget set, so if she wants a fancier place, she'll have to invite less people, and so on.  But what ever you can afford, it's your own choice.

lalab... lalaboosh

I think bigger parties are great for older kids who want them, but I think it's crazy to spend a bunch on a party for someone who won't even remember it. My daughter is having her 3rd bday party at our house next month. Although my husband is building a ball pit, but that's not for the party. Lol.

redK8... redK8blueSt8

Ugh, I agree Marcella Shambles, I'm sick of the goody-bag arrangement. It'd be great if all parents collectively agreed to STOP.


 

Blues... Blueshark77

My daughter is turning one in a month. I'd always planned on a simple, small party at home with a few close friends and family members, but now people keep asking me what kind of blowout I'm going to do for her 1st bday and I started to question my original plan. To have a party at her gym she goes to is $300, plus food, drinks, and goodie bags. For a party she won't even remember! I'm sticking with my original plan. When she's older she can have a slumber party with a few friends and pizza, or something along those lines.

nonmember avatar Kace

We have a rule in our family that there can be no more guests than the age of the guest of honor (so 5th bday = 5 guests). There's a wilton-decorated cake (because that's a tradition in my family, started by my mom), ice cream, and balloons b/c my daughter loves them. Her bday is in Aug, so dinner is usual grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. Last year, we set up the slip-n-slide in the backyard and had cake and ice cream on the patio. Lots of fun and no craziness inside. That's worked well for us so far...?

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