3 Tips for a Great Birthday Celebration

No, I’m not having a party for my 3 year old. We’re not getting a face painter, fancy cake, putting up elaborate decorations, hiring a princess or two to come by, renting a bounce house, or anything like it. I’m not taking the “easy” route and having it at a kids’ play place where they mostly do everything for you either. Why?


Simple. I just don’t think it’s worth it. Parties are a lot of work. A lot of time and a lot of money. And, it’s not something she needs or wants. Previous parties have shown us that she doesn’t like us spending all morning preparing and moving furniture around. She just wants to have fun with her family and friends. So, why not make that the focus?


We invited our immediate family in the area over for lunch. We blew up balloons and used streamers to decorate the morning of and kept it REALLY simple. But fun and festive. It took me about 30 minutes, with two little ones helping, to decorate.

Simple, but good. Homemade gluten-free creme cake and a variety of store bought cupcakes. Yum!


Simple Food

Sweet Pea wanted pizza. Perfect- pop those things in the oven, cut and serve (or have it delivered!). Done. Not a lot of prep or clean up needed. We had cake and cupcakes (purchased from the store and not made by me! Shocker, right!?). We had simple games set up that anyone could do. And, that was that. Food. Drinks. Games, and good company. I had fun. Sweet Pea and Buddy Boy had fun. It was easy and relaxing for me, instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Focus on Activities

What about Sweet Pea’s friends? First, she was so excited about her party and having her family all come over at the same time, that she was content with that being her party. Even though it was simple, playing, bowling, ring toss, balloons, and family were all the entertainment she needed.  As for her friends, we’ll get together with them at the park when the weather is nice. I’ll bring simple, but fun stuff, like bubbles, chalk, cars, or balls for the kids to play with, in addition to the play structure. But, not having a party at the house makes it a LOT easier for me, and just as fun for Sweet Pea. I’m not a fan of indoor play places, so I’d rather skip those altogether. And, at 3, Sweet Pea doesn’t know the difference. When she’s older and does, I doubt she’ll care. Yes, I’m missing out on the invitation to glue into her scrapbook, but oh well. Photos of her events will have to suffice.  


Do what your child wants

Hopefully, what she will remember and what she’ll notice when she’s older is that this whole week is about her. Her dad took the week off to spend with us. He works long hours, and often works from home, so it’s a real treat to have him home AND not working as much (Vacation for him = work less, not free from work). We’ll go on a day trip for her birthday, to a place of her choosing. We’ll let her choose the type of food we eat for lunch or dinner that day, and do other little things this week to make her birthday special.  And, in the summer, we’ll probably do a joint party for both kids at a local animal rescue that Sweet Pea enjoys going to. I’d honestly rather rent that place out for a few hours, get all their friends together and let them see and touch animals, go for pony rides, and help out a local non-profit than spend a few hundred dollars on “stuff” for a party. It seems easier, less prep work and clean up, more fun, like a better use of money, AND we’d be helping out the animals. 


So, no. We’re not having an actual, typical birthday party for Sweet Pea. And, I don’t feel bad about it. Looking at the pictures from her party makes me even more sure of my decision. She had a blast. She’s smiling in all the pictures, which wasn’t the case at previous parties. She got to set the time frame, and things were much more relaxed. Who cares that she sat for 10 minutes and read a book instead of doing cake? No one. It didn’t matter with a smaller setting. And, I got to spend more time with her, as well as all of our guests, so it was a LOT more enjoyable for me. 
While it’s certainly not the norm, and definitely isn’t Pinterest Worthy,  no “party” in the traditional sense was the best decision we made. And, she is still being celebrated and recognized, and made to feel extra special, which is what birthdays are all about, right?


Find out more about our simple, but fun party ideas here, “6 Simple Indoor Party Games for all Ages”.