It took a few trial runs but now we’ve secured our birthday party schedule. Just a couple years to figure out we didn’t have to spend a whole lot of money to have a successful birthday party. That it is more important to build memories together.

Simple. Easy. For us, it’s the way to go. Maybe our birthday habits will save you some hand-wringing and budget-busting and give you permission to just gather ‘round and blow out the candles.

Friend parties on odd numbered years. Early on we decided our children could have their first friend birthday party at age five. Five is a big birthday. Kindergarten. Plus all your years are one hand full of fingers. You can invite five friends (or your Sunday school class if the party falls on a Sunday).

Then each child can host a friend party every other year. This is reasonable expense-wise. So by the time a child turns 13 you host a big friend party. From there, our children can choose to have the next friend birthday party at 15 or wait for 16.

Family celebrations on even years. We are blessed with family close by so we are often celebrating for a week. Another something special we do is fly a birthday flag. When each of our children turn three, they are presented with a name flag.

We fly that flag in honor of the child’s birthday and on other occasions deserving extra recognition. This is yet another habit we learned from the Doorposts family. This year I’ll be putting together our fifth flag. All of the children’s flags are made of simple felt, glue, yarn and a few sparkles.

Keep birthday parties simple and homemade. One year my daughter dearly wanted a Max And Ruby birthday party. No pre-made BD plates with those bunny siblings were available. No cake toppers. So we picked what we decided were Max and Ruby’s two main colors. We bought those color paper plates and balloons.  I printed out a Max and Ruby coloring page. I colored them in my best coloring and decorated the cake with it. Put the colored paper right down on top of the icing.

This year, eldest boy loves the Redwall book series. Redwall birthday plates aren’t on the shelves of Walmart. So we’ve gotten some square, red, plastic plates. We’ll make some of Rosy’s Jolly Red Raspberry Rock Cakes, a recipe we found online.

Party games. Yep. You guessed it. I keep party games simple too. Something like a relay race where you run and sit on a balloon in a chair. See who pops it first. Paint a picture outside. Make a t-shirt. Have a tea party and visit. Meet at a park and just play!

Take it from a mother who’s burned up a few candles in her motherhood. Hosted a few parties. Planned a few celebrations. The best birthday parties are simple.

Twelve-year trip. This could be a whole post by itself. When you aren’t spending big bucks each year on birthday celebrations, you can plan ahead for an investment of a lifetime. A special twelve-year birthday trip is a habit we learned from our friends, littlesanctuary and stevewhip. I urge you to make this a priority and special time in the lives of your children. Please read both of these posts.

Turning 12

The most anticipated three days

Just last year, I had the privilege of taking our eldest child on her special trip: You Must Do This. Just mother and daughter went to Disney. We are now in the beginning stages of planning for Hodgepodgedad to take eldest boy on his trip this time next year.

A few last party tips for THE day:

  • Have birthday cake for breakfast on your child’s actual birthday. The birthday child is usually up early. It’s ok one day out of the year. Plus it’s sheer torture to have to wait until supper. Also, remember, Bill Cosby looked up the ingredients, “Eggs! – eggs are in chocolate cake!
  • Pull out the You Are Special Plate, the one you’ve been using to Celebrate Every Day. Use it at breakfast, lunch and dinner for the birthday boy or girl.

And a birthday gift for you! I’ve compiled a few, simple family favorites including Krispy Kreme donut cake and other birthday ideas on Hodgepodge.

Your turn. I’d love to hear your birthday tips!