Children's birthday parties...

Brandy - posted on 04/21/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Hello. Ok, so my daughter is turning 2 this weekend and we have had a rough winter so I am trying to give her the best birthday I can without spending too much money. Just so you get how broke we are, pretty much spending anything at all would be too much. One of my friends has a son 3 weeks younger than my daughter so him birthday will be in a few weeks. I spent 2 days making my daughters cake from scratch, cutting out a 2 and flowers and butterflies from the cake and decorating it which wasn't easy for me because I've never done more to a cake than slather icing all over it and call it good so I had to teach myself how to use an icing bag and make designs. I called my friend and told her that I had finished the cake and she started telling me about the cake she ordered from this fancy bakery and all the details and the toy story theme and it's going to cost so much but be so worth it. So, I brushed that off and moved on to tell her about the craft they are going to be making which will be part of their goody bag because it's something that will be able to be used every day and I think they will really love and she went on to tell me all these awesome toys that she got for her sons friends to take home. I tried to keep my daughter's party smaller this year and invited only close friends and family while she invited over 60 people to her son's party. She is also having a second party on the day of his birthday just for family. She made me feel really bad for not being able to give Brooklyn a big party this year. Don't get me wrong, she's a very good friend and a sweet person and I don't think it was in her intentions at all to make me feel bad. I think she is just excited for her baby's party too.



Do you think kids need to have a big party every year? Do you like to go all out or would you rather make it more personal?



I prefer to have only the people who are closer to us but make it as special for those people as possible.

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April - posted on 04/21/2010

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this thread reminds me of how Tori Spelling threw a 1st bday bash for her son Liam and she HAD to have a real live monkey for the day. she HAD to have the moon bounce. (really, she threw fits like a 1 year old herself). She HAD to have a huge 3D monkey cake AND she probably invited about 100 people! The funny part was, little Liam looked like he could care less. He looked beyond exhausted and overwhelmed! Not to mention, he was too young for the moon bounce and didn't appreciate a real monkey. Seemed like it wasn't about Liam's day, but about showing off how much she could spend.

Amy - posted on 04/22/2010

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I don't think they need a big party every year. We are having a small quiet party for our son (well two because we can't have just one due to being out of town, etc). On his birthday we'll have a nice cake (that will also be shared by our son's little cuz who's turning one they day before his 2nd birthday). And I'm going to pick up a SMALL gift and wrap it for him. For the other side of the family we'll just have another cake and I don't think we'll have another gift.

Our son has enough, he really doesn't "need" much at the moment, he just got a lot of hand me down toys from a friend of mine and he's pretty much set.

As for the cake, were making it ourselves! It's not going to be special, just a cake with frosting, and put happy birthday on it.

We are only having it for family, at this point there really isn't a reason to have a huge thing because he's not going to remember it, and why on earth would we invite people to our son's birthday that don't see him?

The birthday party at this stage are more for the parents than the kid. Homemade stuff is amazing! Your child won't care if you made the cake or if you spent a fortune on it, they will like it because they like cake!

Look around for some good deals on toys, maybe you can get a little more that way. There's some huge sale near me today that I'm hoping to get our son's birthday gift at, but honestly we won't spend more than $10 on a toy for him this year.

[deleted account]

Your kid will have the better party because of all the love and attention you put into it. =)

My daughter is turning 2 next month and this is what we are doing:
Elmo theme
Cake: my sister is making cupcakes and putting them in the shape of Elmo's head then decorating them accordingly to make it look like him...she likes making cakes
Decorations: plastic table cloths that cost $1 and a Happy Birthday banner that I will probably make
Invitations: printed on colored cardstock with Elmo stickers stuck on
Favors: Elmo coloring book that cost $1 each at the Dollar Tree
Entertainment: our backyard
Guests: family, neighbors, church friends

Simple. That's all you need. Don't stress.

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Stephany - posted on 04/22/2010

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I have done both kinds of birthday parties for my kids- the ones that are all-out and the ones that are simple, personal, and done at home. I enjoy throwing the parties, planning them, and making the cakes. I even enjoy making the goodie bags. The thing is, I fully know that my kids couldn't care less! I admit that a big part of why I do this each year is that I enjoy doing it, and I know that the guests enjoy it. I will say, though- I've never heard of a 60-person guest list for a 2 year old's birthday party!
I heard a rule of thumb when it comes to presents once: multiply the birthday kid's age by 5 and that is the total number of minutes said kid should be opening presents. Therefore, at 2 the max minutes a kid should be asked to open gifts would be 10. That's maybe 5 or 6 gifts total- from all guests combined. In my experience this is completely true. With too many gifts kids tend to forget what they have opened or they open one special gift and don't care about the others.
Your daughter will never remember what was in the goodie bags or how many people were at the party. The only thing that will matter to her will be the one classic picture of her and her family while she blows out the candles on the awesome cake her mom made.

Jane - posted on 04/21/2010

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I would much rather go to the party YOU are throwing for your child then the one that is being thrown for your friends child. First of all, at 2 or 3 years old, a party that large is just overwhelming for the child. They have no earthly idea what's going on except there are a ton of people there. Not to take away from the festivities of your friends party because if that's what makes her happy then that's great for her but you should NOT feel bad about what you are planning. I didn't have major budget constraints with my two kids birthday's when they were little and I still did small, intimate, simple but fun parties for the kids. My daughter, who will be 20 in July STILL prefers an at home party with her close friends and family. Simple bbq, cake made by me and always tells her friends "nothing big for presents please". My son, who's friends have their parties at bowling alleys, amusement parks, etc., always wants a home party where he can hang out with his friends and just laugh and have fun. Sometimes it's exhausting for me because SOMETIMES, I'd like the mess to be somewhere else and have someone else clean it up but they've grown to appreciate the simple things in life like friends and family. You're throwing, in my humble opinion, the PERFECT PARTY FOR YOUR CHILD. Enjoy it, relish in it's from the heart theme and enjoy!

C. - posted on 04/21/2010

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Brandy, don't you EVER feel bad about it.. You are giving her the best party that you can, and that's all that matters. At least you are TRYING. And you are doing more than going out and buying tons of stuff for favors.. You're actually putting thought into what the kids will be making. IMO, you should be damn proud of yourself! Don't worry about your friend. I have a friend who is the same way. I use the term friend with her loosely, though, as she has a tendency to go beyond making me feel incapable at times. Only God knows why I am still friends with her. But anyway, just look past that and know that your daughter is going to have a blast. She is going to be 2! She's not even going to remember the party and I'm pretty sure that when she's grown up, she won't be hating you b/c you didn't have a ton of money to spend on her. You're spending what you can and she'll be happy that you at least tried and put lots of thought into every little detail.



Personally, I like the personal birthday parties. Who cares how many people you have over, it's the quality of the company that matters.



And you know what.. I never once had a birthday party when I was growing up. My parents had 4 kids, my dad was in the military and not making much, was on disability leave (that's why he wasn't making much b/c he became ill around the time the testing was going on.. And they lost 2/3 of their income when my mom got out of the military b/c she was a higher rank, but she was in her 3rd trimester w/ my brother and had both my sisters already, so it was best for her to stay home.) Anyway, so we didn't have much money growing up. I even remember going to school with holes in my shoes in the 4th grade (true story, you can ask my mom if you'd like) and when my mom noticed after about a week (b/c it had rained really hard and when I stepped out of a puddle, water was running out of my shoes) she felt so bad b/c we had hardly any money and she couldn't buy me a much-needed pair of shoes.. And birthday parties? Nope.. Never had the money for them when I was growing up. I don't resent them one bit. I loved our little family gatherings for birthdays.. That's what made them so special! We were surrounded by people that loved us and cared for us deeply, and that's all that really matters.

Amanda - posted on 04/21/2010

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lol not every parent is going to do everything the same, doesn't make it wrong, or not as good. don't worry hon!!

but yeah, kids really could care less how expensive their toys are, unless they're older and they've been brought up thinking they're better... and if thats how a kid is... too bad, i'm not breakin my pockets to make 'em happy if they aren't my kid! lol

Brandy - posted on 04/21/2010

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Lol. Thanks guys. I felt good about what I was doing too until I talked to her and then I became unsure of myself.

@ Amanda,
The only reason I felt bad about the goody bags is because Brooklyn gets these more expensive gifts when she goes to the other kids' parties but their kids get toys from the dollar store. But I guess if they enjoy my gifts better then it doesn't matter lol

@ Amy,
I would hate having 60 people too!!

@LaCi,
I think she will be one of those party mamas who thinks she has to go all out every year

LaCi - posted on 04/21/2010

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geez, for his first we had his grandparents, great grands, and uncles. That was it, and I made the cake from scratch, and there were no other kids. I imagine it will be the same this year, honestly, because we don't know any kids. I think that much for a 2 year olds birthday is kind of ridiculous. What is she going to do when he's older? is he going to be one of the supersweet sixteen kids?

Amanda - posted on 04/21/2010

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holy cow i missed the 60 people part! lol thats insane, i would hate to have to be the clean up party after that lol... yeah we do the whole family party, mostly because i dont have any friends out in VA so we always have two little parties, one for my husbands parents and family(they live right in maryland) and then we have gone up the past two years to celebrate with my side of the family, one of my aunts has three kids and my brother has a daughter, all from 2-9, but they're the only kids in either side of the family that aren't graduated from high school lol.. hopefully we'll be able to go to CT with my family again this year for his bday, i would feel bad not having ANY kids at his party lol... if anything we might just let him play at the park for the day or take him to the zoo or aquarium, he adores going to either place. i'm also gonna let him pick out his own cake, he's been walking by the bakery at walmart for the past two weeks cuz he knows his bday is "next month" lol... he's keeping an eye on this thomas the train cake they currently are displaying, its too funny lol

Amy - posted on 04/21/2010

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In answer to your question "Do you think kids need to have a party every year? My answer is no. I decided with my first that we would have a Family party every year. Just Cake, Ice Cream, maybe a few balloons and such with only close family and friends. Until my children hit four and are in Preschool is when I started friend birthdays. And then we only do friend birthday parties every other year. I have four kids and it balances itself out perfectly. One year I spend a lot on parties for two of them and the next year the other two. My five year old still talks about the party where the family went to the park had Hot Dogs and played, more than she does about the party where all her friends were over and the played games, had a pinata, and all sorts of goodies. I think she felt more special at the park bc all the attention was on her and at the party the attention gets spread out over all the kids so they didn't destroy my house.

I think the birthday you're planning sounds great. The one your friend is having with 60 people sounds like a nightmare to me personally.

Suzette - posted on 04/21/2010

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I think you're right that your friend wasn't intentionally trying to make you feel badly. I have friends who sometimes come off as making me feel badly but I know that it isn't their intention. It's hard sometimes, I know. =)



Your little one is only 2 yrs old, I highly doubt that she'll remember anything but this awesome cake that her mommy made for her and all the people she loves there celebrating with her. And it's likely she won't remember the celebration, just the cake eating with everyone! lol.



Lyndsay is right, it's not about what you have to give to everyone. You're giving her a birthday party, a lot of kids don't get that. I remember there was a couple of times that my parents couldn't afford to do much more than bake a cake, slather some icing on it, and put up decorations from the year before. The only people we had there was family and a couple (and I really mean like 4 or 5) of my friends. I was also about 7 years old at that time too. Sometimes it's better to be thankful for those that are that close to us and have them around us, instead of worrying about what we can't do. =)



I also agree with Lyndsay, don't worry about what the cake looks like or whether it's from a fancy bakery or if the goody bags are packed with expensive stuff. The point is that you're doing something from your heart!! That's what matters. ;)

Amanda - posted on 04/21/2010

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lol two year olds aren't gonna remember half of what went on at their birthday parties... I think taking them to a park for the day and doing a hot dog and hamburger cookout with cake and ice cream would be just as good as spending sooo much money on cakes and toys and everything. kids are happy with any toys, whether they are 10 dollars each, or u got them from the dollar store. my son gets toys in both ranges lol he doesn't care which ones, he just loves toys. i do have to say though, that i made my son a cake last year and i was sooo proud lol, it wasnt even anything really that special, just a cake with some icing and some little decals on it that were storebought lol... and he didnt even take ONE BITE of the thing lol... good thing for pictures haha

i think some people tend to overdo little kid parties, more out of being excited and everything than wanting to outdo anyone or anything like that. we went NUTS for xmas this last year as it was the first year he would really get the hang of opening presents and all that stuff... he got so many presents we had to talk him into finishing opening them lmao... needless to say... we went overboard, and will not be doing quite that much this year for birthday/christmases lol

Lyndsay - posted on 04/21/2010

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I think what you're doing is fine. At least you're giving her a birthday party, some kids don't get even that. In the end, I don't think the kids really care what their cake looks like or what toys you're giving out to their friends in the goody bags.

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