When I decided I wanted to have a third child, I knew I was increasing the monthly budget needed to support ourselves as a family, but I didn’t take into account the side stuff, like birthday parties. Birthday parties have taken on a life of their own around here. I liken them to miniature Oscar parties, complete with swag bags and catered buffet. But I propose a move back to the basics.
We’ve had several of our children’s parties at home, complete with games, old school decorations and homemade cupcakes. One year, I printed out a picture of Darth Vader and a cut out a bunch of paper light sabers and had the kids play “Pin the Light Saber on Darth Vader.” We’ve also done the clothes pin drop competition and limbo, which were both met with excitement and the anticipation of victory by all. And my kids don’t even ask for store-bought cakes because they love being able to brag that they made the cupcakes themselves!
No need to fork over hundreds of dollars to cater your child’s party. Grab some pizza crust mix, organic pizza sauce, and low fat mozzarella to make plenty of delicious pizza for all. Prepare a fresh salad, fill a huge bowl with veggie chips, put out an array of juice boxes and you’re good to go.
Instead of expensive gift bags crammed with high-end candies and toys, grab a pre-made “Happy Birthday” rubber stamp and have your child help you make their own stamped goodie bags on 100% recycled paper bags. Fill them with organic lolly pops, granola bars, and kid-friendly lip balm.
There’s an innate, youthful jubilance in parties which harken back to the simple celebration of family and friends. Take this opportunity to remember the value in people and not things. Let’s leave behind the opulence and teach our children what it means to appreciate the beauty in sharing some cake and rocking a paper party hat with their peers. Let’s teach them that their value isn’t reflected in how many people they are surrounded by or how big the mountain of gifts may be, but in the memories we build when we strip away the pretenses and find true joy with our loved ones.