Birthday parties – do we have to?

Kieran is now of an age when he gets birthday party invites. He himself hasn’t had a big party, we do a family thing, a day out etc because to be honest, organising a birthday party for a load of reception kids is like my personal idea of what hell must be like. The venue, the invites, the food, what type of party, who to invite (being careful not to leave someone out!), the entertainment, the goody bags…. so much could go wrong!

Birthdays are all about playing with the boxes anyway aren't they?

I went to a party for a five year old last week and it was brilliant! It was in a local community hall, there was an entertainer who did games, music, karaoke, a magic show etc and no-one was left out, the food was fab, there were loose balloons everywhere so kids could basically run around like lunatics should they so choose and still be occupied by said balloons… great stuff. But not for me.

Kieran will turn 5 is July and to be honest I have no plans to throw him a party. It’s expensive, time consuming and the worry that I’d not quite get it right would drive me insane!! he isn’t (yet) bothered about not having a party. We go somewhere special, make a big fuss of him, do the family thing, lots of treats (and cake) but that is it. When he’s older, if he wants to go bowling with a couple of his friends and Macdonalds afterwards, that is fine.

Will I make a social pariah out of him though, being a Mum who doesn’t do the birthday party duty? Do you? It seems like a hellish expense for one day – I’d rather spend some of that money on bigger gift. What do you think – birthday parties – do we have to?


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  1. Nope, don’t do birthday parties. They scare me. Plus I have a personal vendetta against party-bags. We have told our kids they can have a big party for turning 5 ( start of school) 10 (reaching double digits) and 15 (before booze becomes an issue). Otherwise it’s a one or a couple of mates and a trip to the pools or something. I don’t entertain them or organise any entertainment, and they still have fun, still get invited to other parties and don’t have ever increasing expectations…

  2. I’m with you here! We tried to organise parties before only to send out invites get no replies and loose deposits. It’s costly and someone always gets left out not intentionally mind.

    Yes, sometimes I feel bad. Especially now my boy has an opinion, but he doesn’t have the credit card to go with it.

    I love my son to bits but would rather spend the extra on him directly.

      1. The only big party we did for Laura we did when I was pregnant with Daniel because we thought we were leaving the area and she was leaving playgroup. We actually had people who didn’t reply and then turned up expecting to be fed and given a party bag! :oO I have to say I love it but we have 4 friends for tea now cause you can make it more special, I’ve convinced Laura it’s more grown up!! 🙂

  3. I feel the same…I think most children’s parties are about the parents comparing each other to see who can do the best party.

    I did one for Andrew when he turned 5. We invited the WHOLE class, I did all the food myself, had a bouncy castle, balloons and a whole load of games…all of which I did myself.

    It cost me about £30 to do, with everything, and we had a great time…Andrew hated it.

    He thought it was too noisy and that there were too many people there and he would rather have gone to the Railway Museum…

    So, dont feel bad about it. Unless he asks for it, dont bother…I wont again. Like you I would rather spend the money on a nice present and going somewhere with the family.

    As for making him a social pariah…its unlikely.

  4. OK I’m the mummy who throws a party every year including his first which he slept part way through. I really enjoy doing it. Yeah it costs loads and as they’ve got older the children have become slightly more brattish and expectant of their goody bags but it’s only once a year. The only thing I wouldn’t do is have it at home. Complete nightmare. We had a swimming party last year which was really good and now I have a girly I can have a princesses tea party for her 1st. Please don’t shoot me!

  5. I have done partys at home which i will never do again as my house was destroyed. Also I have taken the children and 1 or 2 select freinds on a day out this last year we went to the royal armeries in leed (which was free)
    however my 4year old wanted a party this time so we booked the local hall at avery reasonable price. I enlisted freinds and family to help with food. and we hired a bouncy castle we all had a great party alfie was happy and I twasnt too stressed. I would deffently do it again as the cost was much cheaper than some days out such as theame parks.

  6. We don’t do big parties for E and she is 8 now.
    Sometimes we have a birthday tea for her at home, with 3 or 4 best friends, other times we take 2 or 3 friends to the theatre and then for afternoon tea.

    Makes a really special day for everyone.

    1. Thanks for your comment.
      This is it – we make birthdays a big deal, lots of fun and treats but just don’t do the big party thing. I guess it’s a decision we all make as a family, big party or not. For us it’s a no but for others a must have and I expect regardless the kids enjoy themselves just as much.

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