Do We Have to Have a Birthday Party?


simple birthday partyI have a confession that I’m sure it’s hard for any parent to admit. I hate kids’ birthday parties. I don’t like hosting or attending them.

One-Parents go nuts for their kid’s birthday, often spending way more than they have or should for one day that will likely not be remembered down the road.

 Two– Feeding small children large amounts of sugar almost never turns out well.

 Three– People feel they have to buy some sort of cheap gift so the birthday boy or girl can have a huge stack of presents that likely will get played with once or twice then get lost in the shuffle. Plus, the hosting family has to dole out take home gifts that really will break or get lost almost immediately.

 Four– Most parties we attend these days have a pinata. Whoever decided that blindfolding the child hopped up on sugar and giving them a bat to swing was a good idea needs to be shot.

Who Likes Birthday Parties?

I can only remember having two birthday parties when I was a kid. My birthday is in January, and my Mom always said we coudn’t really plan anything because the weather might be bad. I think I know the real reason behind the lack of parties. They are not fun for the parent.

I do realize that kid birthday parties are not meant to be fun for the parents, and I need to suck it up and get something planned for our daughter’s birthday next month. Our last three birthday parties have looked something like this.

Last year– Bowling and pizza. You might remember this one if you are a long time reader, but I scheduled well in advance, ordered the kid’s package, which included bowling and pizza, and showed up to find that the bowling alley has never served pizza and the person who I spoke with on the phone must have been high. Worst customer service experience of my life.

Year before that– Had a few friends over to the house along with several parents. It went OK, but I really hate cleaning the house, having kids over, then cleaning it again. We also served dinner, so it was probably as expensive as the bowling alley fiasco.

Year before that-Had several friends over to the house. We bought our daughter a trampoline for her birthday, which literally blew away two days later and took out a section of our neighbors fence about a half  mile away. That one was really expensive! Plus, someone peed all over my bathroom floor, which in hindsight was probably better than peeing on the carpet.

Keeping Birthdays Simple

So, after the past few years, my goals this time are to keep it simple, very simple. I think we might have 2 or 3 friends at the most  for games and cake only.

We plan on taking a trip to San Diego right after her birthday, which falls on spring break. I’ve already explained that this is her big birthday present, and she is really excited because we will likely go to Sea World.

My best frugal trick this year is kind of a fluke. I admit that I am lame. I am the kind of person who calls the radio station when they are giving something away. I haven’t won anything since college, but last week, I was caller number 7 and won an ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery. It’s a gift certificate to use when we want. The daugher was super happy to use this for her birthday cake. Free cake and ice cream all in one!

I think all kids deserve to feel special on their birthday, but in reality, they don’t require a huge party or lots of presents. I’ve learned this the hard way over the years. I often wonder how many parents go over the top because they have to work so much, spend free time on Facebook, then feel like they owe their kids a blow out party.

As I get older, I am more and more against commercialism, especially on holidays like Christmas ,Valentine’s, and birthdays. Let’s all try to challenge ourselves to spend more time withour loved ones instead of spending more money to replace our failures or insecurities. Although, don’t hate me if I cave and end up with at pinata!

Do you remember birthday parties from when you were a kid? Should I require safety glasses to swat at the pinata?

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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of


  1. I had forgotten about that bowling alley pizza problem. That was terrible!
    Here’s to this year turning out better. Your daughter will remember the trip to San Diego way more than a birthday party, I think you’re golden. Plus, free cake, yum!

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