Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Not-So-Annual Big Birthday Bash

Around the time my first child was born, I became aware of the trend for really big kid birthday parties. And to be honest, I just couldn't see the point. What two year old is going to remember that 35 people showed up to celebrate his birthday? Yeah, yeah, yeah, you've got it on video and you can show him and say, "Remember when..." But honestly, he will NOT remember it at all.

Besides which, parties are expensive and time consuming to plan. I love to throw a party but EVERY.SINGLE.YEAR?! Not so much.

So hubby and I talked it over and decided most birthdays would be pretty low-key with family and maybe a couple of friends. Except every five years we'd throw a big blow out of a party. Which is great except my kids were born five years apart. So guess who got to throw TWO big parties every five years? Coulda timed that one better.

Anyway, overall it worked out great. And I would highly recommend a similar plan for anyone who's just starting their family.

Now another thing...we never had the money to throw parties at Chuck E. Cheese's or the skating rink or wherever. There's nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned party at home (or the park) with homemade goodies and games. More work, yes. But remember, I only did this every five years! And creativity goes a long way towards having a unique and memorable event.

Their fifth birthday parties I organized myself. For their 10th birthdays, I let the kids decide what kind of party they'd like. My son decided to do a reverse-kidnapping party wherein we "kidnapped" a bunch of his buddies (their moms knew what was going down) early in the morning when they were still in their pjs, and we had sort of a pirate theme going on with the games and food. Our daughter (who is now a communications major in college I might add) wanted a commercial themed party. As in TV commercials. In the invitation we asked every kid to come prepared with a skit advertising their favorite toy, food, whatever. For the game where the kids competed to be the best used car salesman, we picked up a plaid polyester suit at a thrift store along with a cowboy hat for them to wear while following the script from a real-life commercial that everyone had seen for a local dealership.

You get the idea. Brainstorm with the kids and you'll come up with unique, crazy, wonderful ideas. (Our daughter's combined high school open house with a good friend had a Napoleon Dynamite theme and was SO MUCH FUN!)

Both our kids turned 15 overseas. We were visiting Argentina when our son hit fifteen. Daughter celebrated her 15th birthday during our year in Uganda. Big trips = Big expense = No big party. They were totally cool with that. For them, traveling was a huge treat and more than made up for the lack of a party.

But to assuage the guilt I felt anyway (it's a Southern thing; we're big on guilt) I threw surprise parties when they turned 17. And that, my friends, was the end of my birthday party throwing. Done, finished, finito.

Now I throw bridal showers (someday baby showers!) and such :-)

And for more helpful hints on various and sundry topics, skip on over to Rocks In My Dryer for this week's Works For Me Wednesday. Lots of ladies with lots of ideas!


Heart of Wisdom said...

I love your idea. You can really go in so many different directions with this. Thanks for sharing.


MCC said...

Our kids are 8, 4, & 2...all girls. We decided to have parties only on even b-days. It works great and gives me 2 whole years to plan and save for a BIG party.