I'm just curious! Do you have a big party with all of your LO's friends? Just a family party? Take a trip? Do you get your LOs gifts?
Other than covid years we've had relatively big parties for my oldest. However, he has two younger siblings who are now much more aware of birthdays, parties, gifts, etc and my wallet can't handle three big parties a year and my house cannot handle the influx of gifts and toys so I'm trying to scale back this year.
kiwi / 556 posts
I don't enjoy hosting, so we don't do big parties. For now, we just have close family over for a meal or even just cake and ice cream and they get some gifts. Just grandparents and my sister and her husband that we are very close to. We also do some type of fun outing as an immediate family that weekend- the zoo, a different park, a local beach, etc- nothing wild.
My kids are still little though. This was the first year my daughter asked to have a friend party, and I just said maybe in the future. I don't think we'll do a friend party every year, but maybe we'll do a small friend party once in a while when she's older- or maybe just a special play date with one or two friends.
persimmon / 1483 posts
When my son was younger, pre-covid, we did have a few years with bigger parties in our backyard with maybe 15ish kids, but we typically enjoy hosting and it felt less expensive than renting out somewhere. When he turned 9, I encouraged him to choose a few of his closest friends and we took them to a small amusement park near us. I think we'll keep doing small parties with close friends now that he's getting to be a tween
For DD, she's just 3 and her birthday is in the winter, so we haven't had any parties for her other than a few family members both because of covid and we didn't want to invite her whole class and have them running around inside our relatively small house. I'm not sure what we'll do when she turns 4 this year - probably suck it up and rent out a space. It's tricky though with parties with daycare friends because you never know who is going to come and you have to rent out the space so far in advance. I don't want to pay for somewhere and then have only 5 kids come, but I don't want to assume it will be only a few kids and do it at our house and then have 15 kids rsvp yes. These winter birthdays are harder for sure!
nectarine / 2010 posts
For DD's 1st-4th birthdays we did just family parties at our house. We did our first friend party at a local gymnastics place when she turned 5 but we also did a family party. Her 6th birthday we didn't really do anything because of Covid - but two of her best friends (and their moms) surprised us with cupcakes in our backyard. For her 7th we did a separate dinner with each set of grandparents (3) and had a friend party - it was supposed to be sledding but we ended up with freezing rain all weekend and switched to the movie theater at the last minute. For her 8th we did the 3 grandparent dinners and then a friend party at her karate studio.
DD's birthday is in December, we live in Maine, and our house is small. If we do friend parties we have to use a venue of some kind. She is an extremely social extrovert who LOVES parties. But man, December becomes such an expensive month for us.
The crazy amounts of gifts she gets two weeks before Christmas makes me feel like my house is stuffed. We've tried to say no gifts please but 80% of people still bring them and then the others feel bad. I considered the idea of a "Fiver Party" to help with the gift issue but was worried how it would be perceived. This was the sample I found for invitations:
"Your presence is the only present that we need, but should you want to give something to the birthday girl, please consider giving $5 that she can put toward something special."
Still thinking about doing it next year, but not sure if I am brave enough to possibly anger people...
kiwi / 544 posts
My one kid just turned 5 and we did outdoor park parties for her 4th and 5th birthdays. We invite her whole preschool class (12 kids) plus a few of our friends with kids. It’s easy and cheap. The playground is right there, we get pizza, cake, cheap snacks, and the kids are happy. I love it bc my kid is so happy playing with her friends and having cake and it’s pretty easy. Almost all the birthday parties we’ve been to have been at parks but we live in CA so can always be outside. We always say no gifts but people often bring a book or something small like stickers. No gifts is very much the norm where we live. We give her one gift from us and then she gets gifts from. Grandparents and cousins.
pomegranate / 3230 posts
My oldest has had some pretty excellent birthday parties starting from age five: the Intrepid Museum; a very large and chaotic house party that featured a Star Wars screening plus a lot of chaos with inflatable lightsabers; a skateboard lesson in our driveway (with a vendor); gel ball, which is basically paint ball lite, in our yard (with a vendor); and this year a video game truck. Next year will be his tenth birthday, and I think we may try to scale down to something smaller.
My twins are turning five this summer. They are expecting a repeat of their last two backyard birthday parties. We own a few backyard inflatables / water toys, and I think we will just set them up and tell their classmates to show up in their bathing suits. Last year, we put a ton of effort into the food — I baked and decorated two birthday cakes plus my husband grilled hamburgers and hot dogs — so it was still not super cheap plus all the work for us. But at least we did not have the additional cost of a vendor.
pomelo / 5563 posts
For us, it depends on the kid. My older son is pretty social and outgoing, so we've had big parties for him - he's soccer obsessed right now so for the last couple of years we've rented out a soccer field and then had pizza and cake, but before that we did a gymnastics place, and one year we had a wildlife rescue place come to our house with rescued animals.
My younger son is much more of an introvert - when he turned three we had his entire class at a gymnastics place and he spent the whole party hiding in the party room overwhelmed by the number of people. When he turned four he wanted a special family thing instead, so we did a Star Wars dessert party at Disney, where we happened to be a few weeks before his party. Last year he just wanted two friends over for a playdate. This year he went big, which surprised me, so we invited his whole class to the local pool and then did hotdogs and cake in the attached party room.
clementine / 918 posts
We have done a variety of things between our two boys. Each of them had a 1st birthday party with family and close friends. The next few years we celebrated with only immediate family.
Starting around 4 we would invite their whole class. As they have gotten older we have let them choose which friends to include since they now have more across other activities.
We have hosted at our home a few times with food and an activity (lawn games, treasure hunt), rented a pavilion at a local park and a trampoline place.
persimmon / 1079 posts
@LadyDi: I’m trying to figure this out too! I posted something similar! We are doing. BD for our almost 6 year old. We usually celebrate with just us and will do the rest with the other 2 siblings. Same. Not doing 3 big parties each year!!! Tired of all the toys too LOL!
pomegranate / 3966 posts
From age 1 to 5 we had family-only parties at our house. DS's bday is right around Thanksgiving so we end up just hosting T-day and celebrating his bday same day.
6 and up we invite friends but we started out with just the neighbor kids, so we knew them and their parents well. Drop-off parties with 4-6 kids.
This year my 8 year old invited 8 classmates for an indoor sports themed party which was crazy, lol but we survived. I so wish they had summer birthdays so we could move the party outside!
I don't see us ever doing a whole-class party, I think 8 is my limit. Some of DS's friends have done pool parties or bowling parties, or even rented out a gym for a couple hours. DD hasn't had any class parties yet.
clementine / 940 posts
For ages 1-3, hosted our friends+ their kids at a park, pool, or our house. Ages 4-5, whole preschool class, both genders at park, event space or our house. Kindergarten + older we invite all of the boys or girls in the class depending on if my sons or daughter. I hosted elementary boys at our house once as a drop off, never again… Only event spaces from here on out. They were so wild. I’m hoping that we can continue to host the girls in my daughters class at our house.
But the cost definitely adds up for 3 kids!