41 answers

Do You Have Big Bday Parties Every Year? Why or Why Not?

How many parents out there plan a bday party for every child, every year? And by plan I mean inviting child's friends, family (either to your house, park or other kid’s party place) and providing food and/or activities and favors? I'm not trying to make a judgment here, I'm just curious if this is the norm and am I weird for not wanting to do this? My SIL thinks of her child's bday as annual event to be celebrated every year the same way one would celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. She considers it the normal thing to do, if not a necessary one.
I had a party at age 5 and a sleepover at age 9. My family acknowledged my bday every year with gifts, a special dinner and some kind of treat. I never felt deprived or even wanted more than this. My oldest has attended cousin's and neighbor's parties enough to start talking about what she wants at her parties, I am so not interested or willing to do all of that every year, not to mention the cost....How have other parents negotiated with their kids about bday parties?
This year for her 4th (in a couple of months) I plan to give her the choice of a visit to the kid’s museum or zoo, a choice of pizza or burgers for lunch and choice of dessert. We will do all of this as family (me, dad, and baby brother). We will give her a bike. Other family members can send cards or gifts, or give them when they see her (we live close to most family and visit many on a regular basis).
What do I say IF she looks at me and says, "But I want a party with all my friends at McDonald's/Monkey Joes/the park?"

Thank you so much for your ideas!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

We try to do more family things, get together with the grandparents, let them pick a movie, etc. Also, my husband travels quite a bit and has lots of hotel points. We let the kids pick each year -- big party with friends, or go spend the night in a hotel! With an indoor pool! (my kids have winter birthdays). They ALWAYS choose the hotel over a party, and we win because it doesn't cost us anything.

And can I just say how much I HATE goodie bags at birthday parties! Can we please stop this "tradition"!

3 moms found this helpful

I did b-day parties, small & big until they were about 7 - mostly including friends and family. That includes at Chuck E Cheese (easiest party I ever did!) to parties at the house. I never did the invite the whole class over party - that always seemed ridiculous to me. Now that they are 9 & 12, they invite about 2-4 friends over and have pizza, homemade ice cream and movies w/ flashlight tag in the backyard at night. They are pretty easy to please now....

3 moms found this helpful

Growing up I had a party every year, almost always at home, once or twice at a pizza place or a park. I think kids should be able to celebrate their birthday with their friends.
Right now we invite playgroup friends and family. It's rather big because of family, but just in numbers, I don't spend a bunch of money or anything. We do it at home and make food.
Once my children are in school, I plan to let them invite a friend for each year of age and we'll probably still do most of them at home.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

We always had big birthday parties when we grew up, with our daughter we held a pretty big party till she was 6, then she was in charge of what she wanted and usually it was a few friends..

The problem is that her birthday is right in the middle of summer so nobody is here, so we do a small gathering with family and in the Fall we would do a party (not birthday) with her friends kind of like a Back to school event.. Sometimes out at the lake or a sleep over..

I love meeting her friends and their parents. This is a great way to do it..
You are in charge of the budget.. Teach her how to make do with what you have.. Space money energy.. It is amazing what they can come up with..

3 moms found this helpful

Growing up I had a party every year, almost always at home, once or twice at a pizza place or a park. I think kids should be able to celebrate their birthday with their friends.
Right now we invite playgroup friends and family. It's rather big because of family, but just in numbers, I don't spend a bunch of money or anything. We do it at home and make food.
Once my children are in school, I plan to let them invite a friend for each year of age and we'll probably still do most of them at home.

3 moms found this helpful

We always have. Every year is not a blowout party but we always have a party of some sort.

When daughter (15) was younger, we did the house party with magician, Planet Pizza, and things like that. As she got older, we did limos with sleepovers, sleepover at a nice hotel, dance party at home. At 13 we had a blowout at the country club and I am planning another blowout for the country club now for Sweet 16. By "blowout" I am not talking about the parties you see on MTV that are 100K, I'm talkiing less than $3K.

We don't do gifts for parties. We encourage donations to the food pantry or animal shelter. We have no family within a 2 hr plane ride to us and her bday is 12/27. The Sweet 16 will be the first time the party is held in January, ONLY because her bday is on a Monday and the club is closed on Mondays.. She wants a Sat night so that is what we chose for this one.

Don't worry about what others do. Just do what is right for your family. I know I'll be judged because of what we do but.......to each his own!

3 moms found this helpful

We try to do more family things, get together with the grandparents, let them pick a movie, etc. Also, my husband travels quite a bit and has lots of hotel points. We let the kids pick each year -- big party with friends, or go spend the night in a hotel! With an indoor pool! (my kids have winter birthdays). They ALWAYS choose the hotel over a party, and we win because it doesn't cost us anything.

And can I just say how much I HATE goodie bags at birthday parties! Can we please stop this "tradition"!

3 moms found this helpful

I did b-day parties, small & big until they were about 7 - mostly including friends and family. That includes at Chuck E Cheese (easiest party I ever did!) to parties at the house. I never did the invite the whole class over party - that always seemed ridiculous to me. Now that they are 9 & 12, they invite about 2-4 friends over and have pizza, homemade ice cream and movies w/ flashlight tag in the backyard at night. They are pretty easy to please now....

3 moms found this helpful

Your ideas sound wonderful and fit your family. It sounds like yours is immediate family oriented with a larger gift. My budget went toward the party rather than the gift. I did give my children a birthday party each year. Although each were very special with different themes, I did limit the number of guests. When they were under age 5- 9, I did hire entertainment in the form of some of their favorite characters - Power Ranger, Spider Man, for my son. For my daughter, Ariel, Princess party etc. One year we even had a company come out and bring those electric jeeps and plotted a course with cones and had races. So fun. The budget was about $150 for the entertainment. I did wonder about doing this each year, but am glad I did. I was told by the owner who did the character parties that they outgrow them by age 9/10 and she was right on target. As they grew up - it was more about sleepovers and small bowling parties, movies etc. So I guess my perspective is enjoy it as they do seem to outgrow the birthday parties. I did insist on a Sweet 16 party for my daughter. Since then, she just goes to tea now with a couple of friends. My son would have nothing to do with 'birthday' parties by age 14. Only now at 17 did he say he'd like dinner with just a few friends. BTW - only once did I invite the entire Kindergarten class - I'm not going to say it was a big mistake, just way too many kids and overwhelming. After that, the birthday parties had limits on guests. Usually 8 -10. As they got older, even less for the sleepovers and movie parties about 4 - 6. In the end, each family has to do what works for them. Note, for my family, birthdays were the big occasion to celebrate more so than holidays.

2 moms found this helpful

We spend about $300/ birthday. It can be toward a party, a day at Disneyland, or a present. We don't do a party AND a present from us. They have say in what they want, but we ultimately decide.

Our 2 year old wanted to go to an inflatable jump house place and so after renting it and paying for everyone's food, no present from us. the adults can bounce and go down the inflatable slides. The parents love being kids again....even the stuffy ones relax. ;)

Our 4 year old got a birthday party at our home with about 12 kids and we had a lady bring reptiles, snakes, etc and the parents loved it more than the kids! My 85 year old grandmother said it was the best birthday party she'd ever been to.

Our almost 8 year old wants a robot for his upcoming birthday, so if we get him that, then we'll just make a cake together, have dinner at home and call it good.

We always ask for homemade cards and tell people that presents are not necessary.

Hope that helps!

2 moms found this helpful

If my children wanted a party, they knew that was their gift from us (mom and dad). More often than not, they would have rather had a bigger gift from us than the party. Parties bring in a range of smaller gifts and when they get older, they are wanting bigger (more pricey than $20) items. One of my daughters chose to have a party one year because she wanted to hang out with her gymnastics friends (we were new to the area so they were all new friends) rather than to get a gift. Other than that, most of the time we just have a birthday dinner and a simple celebration just as a family. Of course, I have 6 children so it isn't a quiet celebration by any means.

2 moms found this helpful

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