32 answers

Birthday Celebration Ideas for My 11 Year Old Son

Hi Mamas,
I'm at an absolute loss. My son has his 11th birthday on the 23rd of December. He doesn't want a party, which, quite frankly, is probably because the past 6 years have been a bust because of the holidays. It didn't matter the type of birthday party: bowling, park, movie, etc. usually only a couple kids showed up and that was the kids whose parents needed a babysitter while they were shopping.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

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We're still working on the plans, but thank you so much for so many wonderful responses. Will update when we have an answer.

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This won't help for this year (sorry), but what about having his party in June? We had a friend with a Christmas Day baby, and they always had her party on June 25th. They didn't ignore her actual birthday on Christmas, but kept it very simple with birthday cards.

As for this year, if he's saying he doesn't want a party, don't throw one. What about taking just a couple of kids whom he really likes out for a relaxed, fun dinner? Or having a sleepover? An (attempted) all-nighter of video games and snack foods sounds exactly like 11 year old boys to me.

1 mom found this helpful

Why don't you let him plan the day? You can plan it out beforehand, or else if he likes to go off the cuff, just let him get up and declare "waffles for breakfast!" and then "let's go mini-golfing!" or whatever strikes his fancy. You might need to give him a budget, but he can invite one friend to participate as well for as long as it makes sense. Maybe have the friend sleep over the night before, so you don't have to waste precious birthday moments arranging rides. That sounds like fun to me. And he gets to decide who participates - it might be fun for you to play against him at his favorite video game or crash into him with bumper cars.

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Maybe take him and just one good friend to Disney or Seaworld or Knotts or some other place that he really wants to go then dinner at one of his favorite places.

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Why don't you take him somewhere? Disneyland, an amusment park? Maybe 1 or 2 kids can come with him. Have you asked him where he may like to go?
Good luck! And happy birthday to your son!

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I would look into taking him somewhere GREAT for the day. Maybe just the two of you. I'm not sure which amusement parks you are near, but that would be fun!

The last time my husband deployed, I took my son to Magic Mountain, just he and I. We had a great time .. he was your son's age at the time. He's 13 now and still has really fond memories of our trip.

Hope that helps?
W.

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Today is my son's 11th birthday! this year what we decided to do was have him invite only 2 of his very best friends over for a sleepover. We're taking the boys to Mountasia in Valencia and getting them unlimited wrist bands for unlimited fun! The boys are very excited, it's quite intimate and if one or both of the boys were to not be able to make it, we were just going to have my son invite 2 other kids. It's a lot easier to manage and to pick and chose if there's only a few. He's very excited at the idea of an "all day" playdate.

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Dear S.,

I know it is drummed into us that somehow birthday parties are mandatory for a full life, but I think that family is always more important than friends. We are lucky if, when we die, we have one or two close (true) friends. Your son may be closer to realizing this than some much older adults.
I would just go with his wishes and do something as a family if he's ok with that. Or maybe he wants to invite one or two especially close friends to do something with. Small parties can be just as fun as large ones...if it does not feel like there are empty places that should have been filled.
Definitely acknowledge/celebrate the birthday...but there is a lot of flexibility in how that is done.

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I agree...Disneyland! My nephew has done this for the last 2 years now that he's getting a little older and loves it.

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My sons' bday is on New Years. I make sure that I make his day, his day even though it falls on New Years. My bday is on the 19th of December. When I was young, my family made sure to set aside time for me on the 19th and even on the 24th/25th of Christmas and for half of the day spent it was all about my bday and later that day it was all about Christmas.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure he feels as though it is his day. There were times I didnt want a bday party and was fine as long as I had cake, icecream, and a gift.

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I have a son whose birthday is December 12th and one of our most "attended" parties was at Dave and Busters. You can just do game time or book a party with food and cake and then play games. His 12th birthday was his first "all boy" party so that was a little easier to manage. Good Luck because I know from experience that the birthday boy can get discouraged easily when friends can't attend.

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I have had a few friends over the years that celebrate their 1/2 birthday and do a small cake or something with the family in December. Good Luck

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Hi S.!

I don't know if you live close to Disneyland but they are still offering that Birthday special of get in free on your birthday! You would have to pay for your ticket and other family members... but it is about the cost of a bowling party or other birthday bash. We did this for our December birthday recently and it was fun! A full day of fun with family versus a few hours with friends. And why not have a 1/2 birthday in June! This way friends may still be around, the weather might be better too for outside fun. Whatever you and your son decide... wish him the very happiest of birthday as he turns 11 years old!!! From one December birthday to another!

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Hey S.,
I have a birthday very close to Christmas as well and parties were always a flop due to the timing. Eventually, we (my parents and I) started to celebrate my birthday in July and what a huge difference. I was able to have parties with all my friends not to mention enjoy some outdoor fun. My parents always did something special with the family the day of my birthday, which still allowed my birthday to be special, but I also got the added bonus of celebrating with friends in July.

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Why don't you let him plan the day? You can plan it out beforehand, or else if he likes to go off the cuff, just let him get up and declare "waffles for breakfast!" and then "let's go mini-golfing!" or whatever strikes his fancy. You might need to give him a budget, but he can invite one friend to participate as well for as long as it makes sense. Maybe have the friend sleep over the night before, so you don't have to waste precious birthday moments arranging rides. That sounds like fun to me. And he gets to decide who participates - it might be fun for you to play against him at his favorite video game or crash into him with bumper cars.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter (10) hates parties for herself, and so she always gets to pick a fun place to go. This year she picked Magic Mountain and invited a friend. We have also done trips to Sea World, the Zoo, and Disneyland. You could always have him invite a friend or two over for a sleepover and let them stay up all night (with the promise not to keep everyone else up) playing games and let him have "his way" with food and games and stuff. Or, maybe a trip to nice (affordable) hotel and use their indoor pool and sauna, maybe with a bestfriend. Anyway, just ask him what HE wants to do, it may not be as big a deal for him as you think. Cake and icecream with the grandparents might be sufficient celebration, with gifts of course:) Good luck!

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Maybe take him and just one good friend to Disney or Seaworld or Knotts or some other place that he really wants to go then dinner at one of his favorite places.

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Celebrate his half birthday. Throw him a "friend" party in June. For now, allow him to choose to do something special with the family.

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Why not ask him what he would like to do for his birthday? I would think he would be old enough now to decide how he wanted to spend his birthday.

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Hello, What about taking him and maybe one close friend to Disneyland? Most kids love it there and to have a friend along would be even more fun.
Good luck with your precious son.
K. K.

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I wouldnt do a party..it is hard with the holidays and hes old enough to know disappointment. Take 1 or 2 of his close friends and go to an amusement park or paintballing or whatever they like to do for fun. He'll have much for fun with a best friend then ppl that dont really wanna be there anywyays

1 mom found this helpful

My friend's son has the same issue. They are taking one friend to Disneyland. We've done that every year for the past several with both of our kids. Our older son didn't like big parties -- too many people -- so we started with Legoland. The only downside (to our kids) is that that they don't get that many presents. It doesn't have to be just Disneyland; there are so many wonderful places to explore in L.A. Maybe you want to try letterboxing (www.letterboxing.org) which is this crazy activity that's kind of like a treasure hunt. If you're going to do that, pick kids who can tolerate the disappointment of a letterbox not being where its supposed to be. Again, that could be with just a good buddy. Another friend took her son and a couple of friends to stay on the Queen Mary for a night ... I don't know your finances, but with just one or two friends, the cost is pretty consistent with that of a party. Good luck!

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My kids often gave up birthday parties for trips - Legoland, Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland, Magic Mountain, camping. Depending upon the cost, it was either family or one or several friends.
What about a special Movie event with a few close friends? Take them to Hollywood to see the Walk of Fame and have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and see a movie at El Capitan. Or go to Universal City Walk for dinner and a movie.
Or take some boys paintballing or go cart racing.
Or, if you don't mine, wait and let him have a New Years Eve birthday party!

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S.:
MY daughter's birthday is around the first week of school and we never know who will be in her class and its a bad time for my husband and I who are both teachers. So I decided to have her birthday on Veteran's Day. All the mom's knew her birthday was over a month earlier but they were fine with it. The kids loved it and it was a perfect day for a park birthday party. Because your son's birthday is over Christmas break I would wait until it was over and have his birthday in late January. I'm sure everyone would be more available.

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take one friend and go to a theme park, or just go as a family! i've been in your shoes - my younger one has BD that sometime falls on Mother's day - good luck getting attendance! And I don’t not want to move the celebration because then I’d have to make both days (the actual BD and the party day) “special”- so one year we went to Knot's, another to Lego Land, both were not as crowded as they might have been on the off-holiday time.
Good Luck
V.

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Celebrate the day with him as best you can and make it a special day for him.See if maybe he wants to have a party a few weeks later. My cousin's birthday is dec. 27 (he is 25 now) but all growing up when people would ask when it was he would say (bummed out) "2 days after christmas." For him and his friends my aunt had his birthday parties in June. We had a family gathering around his actual birthday. I also had a friend whose birthday was in NOvember right before thanksgiving. Her parties were always in February. So see if he might be up for it if you change it up.

** I was just reading the responses about disneyland. While I love Disneyland and am amoung the first to reccommend them on a regular basis, IT WILL BE SO CROWDED on his birthday. If you want to take him you may want to think about letting him play hooky from school once it starts back up.**

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Have a party near the end of January. Some people have it in summer for the 1/2 birthday, but that's so far away and birthdays forgotten. I would have it in January. Rock climbing places at that age is popular.

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Wow, I feel you on this one, my oldest daughter's birthday is the 24th & most of her parties would only have family there--& sometimes not even that--because if you have it during break, then the holidays make it too hard. What I started doing (for all of them) is on the birthday make a big deal for her: favorite meal, presents, small cake, just the family in the house, then let her pick, either before or after the break, a Saturday for the bigger party, with both family & school friends. She's had an Ice Skating party, a Covette Diner Party--Lino & all--jumpy, parks, face painter. Just as long as it's not competing with the Holidays or during the break-people leave or just plain forget, it works okay. Before I figured out to move it, she would be so sad that her school friends forgot to come to her party.

Last year she decided she wanted a small sleepover with 4 girls--NO SISTERS--go to the drive in, eat KFC (a forbidden food) & do make-up half the night. Cost me $100.00! I sat in the back of the van with a blanket, a flashlight & a good book & just let them be the goofiest girls in the world! They couldn't even watch the movie because they fogged up the windows, but they had a great time! Of course, she STILL got the family thing with cousins, etc on the weekend I choose, which this year will be in January.

Luckily, she wants a version of the same thing--more girls, 8 I think!! DVDs at home & no sisters, which we can do--for cheap!

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My kids loved lazer tag at that age. Doing it after Christmas would probably be best.

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Why not pick a date in the summer and have a 11.5 birthday party? Have something special planned with family and possibly a friend or two and then plan a big party when it's more convenient with most people.

1 mom found this helpful

This won't help for this year (sorry), but what about having his party in June? We had a friend with a Christmas Day baby, and they always had her party on June 25th. They didn't ignore her actual birthday on Christmas, but kept it very simple with birthday cards.

As for this year, if he's saying he doesn't want a party, don't throw one. What about taking just a couple of kids whom he really likes out for a relaxed, fun dinner? Or having a sleepover? An (attempted) all-nighter of video games and snack foods sounds exactly like 11 year old boys to me.

1 mom found this helpful

I vote for the 1/2 birthday...for next year. My friend is 45 and born on December 24. Since she was very young she has her half birthday the last week of school. It was great.

All kids want a party...adults too! What about taking a couple of his friends rock climbing or something really different that HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE HOLIDAYS. My daughter turned 14 last week and we did indoor rock climbing for 4 hours...she loved it.

B.
Family Success Coach

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Hi S.,
My son is 12 & he's also not into the pary thing anymore. But he does love Dave & Busters! You could also do a small Birthday lunch/dinner there too. If you've never heard of it look it up, it's awesome for kids their age : )

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Oh, I can so relate. My birthday is December 26th!! You should do something special as a family on the 23rd, and maybe include one friend if you want. Then have an official birthday party in January...maybe January 23rd.

I can relate, my birthday is Dec 21st. Why not celebrate with family in December and then have a party in January? It will be fun for him and his friends after the holidays.

This won't help this year but in future years you should probably plan the party for at least a week before his birthday and invitations should go out a month in advance. Does he have a core group of friends? What do they like to do together - play video games, bike, skate? Try planning something that involves what they normally do. Or just have it at a restaurant - I am sure preteen boys love to eat! Are you friends with his friends' moms? Talk to them about it, too!

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