Why We Stopped Throwing Huge Birthday Parties for our Kids

Why We Stopped Throwing Huge Birthday Parties for Our Kids

It took our family 6 years and 3 children to figure out that throwing huge birthday parties for kids was not working for us. We struggled to make the events special each time and the more we tried, the more stressful it became. We finally switched the way we think when it comes to celebrating our kids and here’s why.

Why We Stopped THrowing Huge Birthday Parties for our Kids

We Have Too Many Kids

Seriously though,  we’re going to have 4 kids! All 4 of them have different birthday months.  July,  March,  January,  and (probably) September.  That’s just our immediate family’s kids! Add in cousin’s birthdays (4 Decembers,  1 November, another July, February, and June) and holidays, too.

Finn, our third kiddo, has an early January birthday, right after Christmas, and right after 4 of our niece’s and nephew’s December birthdays. While planning his first birthday party, it hit me that everyone needed a break in their schedules! We were running out of actual time to schedule without conflicting with another event! It was beginning to feel like we were always planning the next big party. Something had to give.

It’s Expensive

Booking a venue became too expensive.  In our area, it’s hard to find a place big enough for just our local family for under $100! Most places I could find with built in entertainment (bowling, sports parties, play places, etc.) got closer to $300, and that didn’t even include food for the guests.

Multiply that by 4. No, don’t.  It’ll make your budget cry.

Why We Stopped Throwing Huge Birthday Parties for our Kids

Trying to save money, we tried hosting in our home,  but with friends and family,  we simply ran out of space.  We live in Ohio,  which means the backyard (or parks) can only be used if it’s not 90 degrees,  raining, or snowing.  That almost never happens here, haha! At least not often enough to rely on. So everyone tries to cram inside, and it gets pretty packed!

Our Friends and Family Have Grown

When we first started out,  our family hadn’t grown to the size it is now.  Our oldest was the first grandchild on my side and the second on my husband’s.  Back then we could get the families together often and it was no big deal, easy even! We now have 7 nieces and nephews in addition to our (soon to be) 4 kids. Our family has grown and we are blessed to have such a large family in close proximity.

Why We Stopped Throwing Huge Birthday Parties for our Kids

We are also blessed to have so many close friends, our friends have lots of kids, too. You get the picture. We have run out of room, unless we want to book an expensive facility. When we were still throwing large parties, we felt awful to not include a family on the invite list when other families were invited. Picking and choosing from our friends caused stress and anxiety.

Reduce Stress and THINGS

When we finally decided to quit throwing huge birthday parties for our kids, the stress of it all cut back dramatically. It was like a breath of fresh air. Having to juggle all of the invite lists and the cost of feeding and hosting everyone was weighing on us, not letting us really enjoy our kid’s celebrations. We could take a step back and relax, and I really think the kids felt that.

Why We Stopped Throwing Huge Birthday Parties for our Kids

One thing I really didn’t think about until it happened was the reduction of things. I try to keep our home from being overrun with toys. We often give toys away that don’t get played with and we rotate as much as we can. When we had large birthday parties, our kids would receive way too many toys, too much stuff. Some things would barely get played with before the kids moved on to other things and we’d end up giving it away barely used. I felt terrible that our friends and family had spent the time and money to purchase these gifts, only to barely be touched.

In an attempt to reduce all of the toys, we tried to say “no gifts please” on the invite, but people tend to not listen. We love that our friends and family are so giving, but we didn’t like watching our kids discard thoughtful items just because there were so many of them.

Should You Throw Huge Birthday Parties for Your Kids?

Don’t get me wrong. Our way of thinking isn’t for everyone. There are some really great reasons that people love to throw huge parties, it’s literally ALL OVER Pinterest!

  • If you love hosting parties, go for it! If the thought of hosting and feeding a big group of people gets you excited, there is no reason to fight that. Enjoy it, celebrate big!
  • If your budget allows it. Maybe you don’t have a big family? Maybe you do but your budget still allows you to throw a big shindig for them all. GO for it!
  • Maybe you don’t have family close by? By all means, invite every friend you can to celebrate your kiddos. Even though we don’t throw big parties anymore, that doesn’t mean we don’t love celebrating our friend’s kids! Every family is different in what works for them. Do what works for your family.

Why We Stopped Throwing Huge Birthday Parties for our Kids

How We Celebrate Now

After we re-evaluated our parties, we didn’t cut out celebrating all together. We dramatically reduced the budget and size using these 2 guidelines.

1. Only Family. We still have a get together for each child. We invite family only. We pick a day and time and stress to the family that if they can’t make it, no big deal. My husband’s brother lives a few hours away, and we understand they can’t make it to every event. Letting our family know it’s a low key event relieves the stress on our end, and we hope it relieves the pressure of attending every event on their end, too.

Grandma still makes cupcakes. The birthday boy or girl gets to open a few presents. Cousins play and the family gets together to eat. It’s still special and fun, but on a much smaller scale.

Why We Stopped Throwing Huge Birthday Parties for our Kids

2. Special Kid’s Pick. We sat the big kids down and explained to them that we would no longer be doing huge birthday parties, but that we would celebrate in other ways.

We let them pick an activity to do with our immediate family, or with a friend or two.

So far, our daughter picked a spend the night with one friend and our son picked glow in the dark putt-putt with our immediate family. They both felt celebrated and excited that they had a say in how they got to celebrate. Eli, our oldest, always requests balloons hanging from his door in the morning of his birthday, it’s a little thing that helps him feel special and we’re happy to oblige those requests!

I’d love to hear from you, how does your family celebrate birthdays?

Friday 5

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Friday 5 | Make the Most of it Blog

Friday 5: Things We’re Thankful for this Week.

Each Friday, I want to take the time to really reflect on what we are thankful for as a family, called the Friday 5.

I hope to list 5 things that I am thankful for every week. It might be products that we loved and that really helped our family in some way, or it might be personal or family accomplishments that I just want to shout out and thank God for His help! Hopefully encouraging you along the way with helpful tips, products, and inspiration.

FIRST: My Kids

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder for a reason. I have to admit, I was feeling run down, tired, overworked and snippy with 3 kids and one on the way. Summer is no joke and our family dynamic has changed so dramatically in the last two years (we welcomed another dog, moved to a new house, had a baby 5 days later, and Olive started school!) that we’ve all been sort of trying to keep our heads above water. But the instant 2 out of 3 kids went to different camps at the same time, my head forgot all about the bickering and fighting and loud noises. I miss them dearly and I can’t wait for our family to be all under the same roof again.

New blog post is up! ♡link in bio♡ another Friday 5! I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for this week!

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Our family is a single income family. Keith is an amazing provider and I am so thankful for all of the hard work he puts in to take care of us financially. One thing that I believe honors his hard work is making sure to budget that money as best as we can. I struggled with this until I found a budgeting program called You Need A Budget (YNAB). When I first signed up for YNAB we were deep in debt and had no clue how to manage the day to day finances. The free classes offered when you sign up turned everything around and helped me get a handle on our money. As our family has grown, I have been even more thankful for this program and the progress we’ve been able to make on managing our money, helping us to pay off the debt (woooo!) and stretch our budget as far as it can with it’s zero based budgeting system. Seriously, life changing stuff here.

If you’d like to try it out, I have a referral {click the picture}. I’ll get a month for free and so will you if you sign up!


*If you do try it out, I can not stress enough to take advantage of the free classes they offer. These were so so so helpful!

THREE: Asher is still head down!

Week 34 check up was this week (the last of the bi-weekly check-ups!) and Ash is still head down. I am praying he really wants to stay that way, we’ve never had a problem with the last three, but every baby is different! I will continue to be thankful for this until D-day! He is still measuring a week ahead, which makes me a bit nervous. Olive, my 9 pounder, had shoulder dystocia when I delivered her, so the thought of having another big baby sorta scares me a bit. But I know I am in good hands and when Ash is ready, we’ll be able to make an informed decision.

FOUR: Carbonated Water

Anyone else obsessed with La Croix Sparkling Water? I love it and it is helping me stay hydrated this summer! I have also found that I love the Aldi version. Both are refreshing and bubbly and help me drink more when I’m not in the mood for straight up plain water.

FIVE: My Working Refridgerator

Ever been strolling through Instagram and someone posts something that makes you turn into a toddler, (I waaaaaaant it!!!). That totally happened to me this week with a refrigerator. She posted a beautiful picture of her fridge that fit a million times more things than my current side by side does, and I got super jealous.

You see, when we first got out of debt, in our old house, the first thing we bought without credit was a beautiful, huge, bottom freezer, fridge. Our old one had died, and we worked really hard to save up the money to buy that fridge. We lived out of a plug in cooler for months, until we had saved the money.

Plug In Cooler Fridge | Friday 5 | Make the Most of it

Picture evidence of our plug in cooler. Which just happens to be right next to our thankful tree that we do as a family each November. And, yes, that is someone’s artwork on the pantry door under the tree.

So we saved the money and got a brand new, beautiful, fully functional bottom freezer fridge that fit an insane amount of food. Then we moved. And left that fridge.

We now have a side by side. It’s pretty on the outside, it goes well in our kitchen with the other appliances, which is why the flippers put it in, I’m sure. But it’s small for a family of 5 (soon to be 6) and it makes weird noises ALL THE TIME…and the ice maker stinks.

You know what’s nice about it, though? It works. It keeps the food cool and makes it so we don’t have to live out of a plug in cooler.

Seeing someone else’s cool stuff can make you forget where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. I forgot that we have been in a position that we didn’t even have a fridge and we managed. Having a fridge, even if it’s not the one I would pick, is still a blessing and something to be thankful for.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

That’s my Friday 5! What are you thankful for?