Saturday, January 31, 2015

Why we don't do BIG birthday parties

I can count on my hand the amount of times my kids have had a birthday party that has been at a venue.
Yes. twice.
And both of them have been for Maddie.
Poor Aidan. He got the short end of that stick.

Is there a reason for my lack of venue birthday parties?
Well - yes...
And it really boils down to money. I just can't bring myself to fork over hundreds of dollars for a party.
It seems like such a ...waste. I know. I know. The kids will have fun memories. .

But you know what?  - they can still have fun memories - whether I spend $500 at a venue, or I spend a lot less and have a party at home.

Being the frugal person I am, I have done plenty of research trying to find the best bang for my buck for kid parties. Let me tell you  - there aren't a ton of great deals out there. Most parties entail a limit of 8-10 kids and then the amount is around $300. Then if you want to add more kids on - it will run you about $12-$15 per head. What to the what? That's a lot of money for a kid birthday party. So - we have just kind of not done it. And the years have passed. And you know what. My kids have survived.

So here's what happens in my household. My kids get a family party at our house.  Gasp. I know. The horror. How simple. How boring. How cheap.

But you know what? They can still have fun without having a party at another location. Kids adapt. And they get over the fact that they aren't having some big bash.

My kids actually seem perfectly happy with their family parties at home. Once they have it in their heads that this is what we are doing, they just move on and look forward to what is planned, as opposed to what they are NOT getting.

Maddie gets the better end of that deal once again because she is a Memorial Day baby. So we often have a big Memorial Day cookout and her party is outside and it kicks off the summer. Aidan on the other hand is a December baby. So there are no outside parties for him. But, instead we have a nice indoor family party. Since it's close to Christmas, our tree is always up and the house is decorated for Christmas and everyone has a good time. And he knows once it's his birthday - then Santa is coming a few weeks later. It's all good in his eyes.

I am not going to lie and tell you that my kids don't ask for parties. Maddie particularly is always asking. She dreams big and wants spa parties, rollerskating parties, movie parties, and slumber parties. I almost broke last year and let her have a spa party. But -we were in the middle of planning our beach vacation and I had to put a hefty deposit down. So I straight out asked her, "Would you rather go to the beach for a week, or have a 2 hour birthday party?"

Once she thought about it - she realized the correct answer.

This year Maddie turns 10. That's a big deal. That is the type of age that calls for a party, or something a little bit above and beyond the norm. I am not sure what I will do for her. I have some thoughts rolling around in my head. But none of them involve a big birthday party bash. Instead, I am thinking a small sleep over with 3 girls. Or I am thinking of a movie and lunch date with 2-3 girls. Or - maybe a mani/pedi day with 2-3 girls. She actually hasn't asked yet. Of course - it's only February.  There is still plenty of time for her to dream up something.

Whatever we decided to do - I can assure you that it won't involved goody bags. Because you all know my thoughts on that. And if you don't - you can read about that here.

Happy February!

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