So Here's My Life

The things we make,
the food we eat and
the shenanigans in between.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thoughts about Birthday Parties for Little Ones Under 5

Can we talk about birthday parties? Let's talk about birthday parties. I have birthdays on the brain because Cheese (aka the younger son - read the About Me section for a better explanation) is turning one. Exciting and sad all at once.

Birthdays are typically a big deal. Kids' birthdays seem to be a huge deal. After 4 years of planning birthdays, I have a come to a couple of conclusions.

Hosting a birthday party at your home is a LOT of work. Often times it's easier and cheaper to pay a venue to host a party.

I hosted Mac's first and second birthday parties at my house. It was a LOT of work. In addition to making sure our house was spotless, there were endless hours googling birthday theme ideas, food prep, and party details. Details, details, details...

When Mac turned 3, I was pregnant with Cheese (Such a weird sentence). Since I felt like sleeping (or puking) most of the time, the last thing I wanted to do was plan a toddler's birthday party. So, we ended up hosting his birthday at Chick-Fil-A, one of the most inexpensive places in town to have a party. Win!

Mac's birthday party was so easy and inexpensive that we returned for his fourth birthday. This time, though, it was at his request. (LOVE this kid).

We ended up spending so much less money by hiring a venue than we had by hosting it at our house. The decorations, activities and food ended up surpassing the cost of simply paying someone else to do it all!

The birthday party probably won't be remembered by your kid or their friends for longer than a couple of weeks.

Pinterest is awesome, but it also gives unrealistic expectations for hosting events. Specifically, kids' birthday parties. I've seen AMAZING birthday parties on there. The problem is after seeing those ideas, anything less than the immaculate parties you saw are going to seem lame. There's no way you want to give your child a lame birthday party, right? Let me ask you something, do you remember each birthday party you attended as a child? What about the cakes and decorations?

If you are anything like me, you can only vaguely recall two or three, but that's about it. I certainly don't remember any parties before I turned 5.

Every parent wants the best for their child, and birthdays fall in line with that desire. So, we spend hours upon hours planning, baking, cleaning and setting up for a birthday party. The thing is, they probably won't be able to remember it for longer than a couple of weeks. So, maybe we need to rethink how much time and energy we put into the inconsequential party details.

That hand-painted pendant banner probably won't be remembered by your guests and will end up sitting in your closet for a couple years before you finally convince yourself to toss it. Instead a couple of decorations from the Dollar Store will still provide a fun and celebratory atmosphere. Plus it's so much less work!

Keep your life simple and provide an easy and inexpensive party. Skip the hand-made decorations and hand-crafted party favors. 

At this age, (like under the age of 5) most kids aren't going to care WHAT you do at a party, they just want to play. And what about party favors? Really, party favors provide temporary amusement, but little else. Honestly, most of the party favors end up in the bottom of the toy box or trash sooner rather than later.

As a mom, some of my favorite party favors are fruit snacks and play-doh (Though I do have a couple mom friends that despise play-doh).

So, what am I saying? Give your kid a crappy party, because they won't remember it? Skip the party favors, because they'll end up in the trash anyway? Not at all! Let's just tone it down some. Immaculate parties are just not necessary, especially since most of it won't be remembered anyway. Let's simplify. The purpose of a birthday party is to celebrate a birthday. You can still celebrate without a meticulously detailed party.

Above all else, don't exhaust yourself over party details. It's just not worth it!

Cheese's birthday is in a couple weeks. We plan to invite both sets of grandparents over to our house, sing Happy Birthday to him, and eat cake. However, as my boys get older and if they want a spectacular themed birthday party, I'm totally game. But they're going to have to help. ;)

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