Fun Friday : Simplifying Birthday Parties!

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Here’s my philosophy on birthday parties (and parties in general): the more babies I have, the more simple it has to be! That philosophy has been born out of necessity, but I’m actually growing very comfortable and proud of the fact that I’m not a Pinterest Perfect mom. I’m just doing my thing, and I’m very happy with that.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE birthday parties. They were big in my house growing up, and I love running with a creative idea! But I’m also very at peace with just letting them be what they are. A few weeks ago when Lyndon turned two, I settled on the theme “Donuts and Dinosaurs!” (She adores both!) We grabbed a few boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts, bought two bags of plastic dinosaurs, bought plenty of snacks, and headed to a park.

(Funny story: Originally I planned to do a dinosaur excavation, aka “throw the toy dinosaurs into the sandbox and let the kids dig,” but when we arrived the sandbox was no where to be found because I was thinking of a different park in my mind, ha!)

All in all, it was simple and great. For each child’s FIRST birthday, I love making it a big deal : Paper Invitations from Minted, inviting everyone, decorating big. After that, I swear by Paperless Post and keeping it simple. I look forward to doing bigger parties / experiences for milestone birthdays, but being the mama who pulls it all together, I gotta think about what’s going to keep me sane!

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Here are a few tips to keeping birthdays simple, sincere and special!

  1. Use Paperless Post! - This is my favorite party planning tool. I keep my address book curated and limited to our dearest and closest friends, and I use it for every birthday party. They have amazing, free, customizable options for invitations. It’s easy to manage, to send invite reminders, and to glance and know how many people are coming. You can even send email blasts easily, and I prefer their interface to Evite or other online invitation companies. It’s so helpful!

  2. Ask a friend or family member to take pictures and video during the birthday song - make up your mind ahead of time to be present, to literally stare at your child and enjoy the wonder in their eyes. It’s much better to see them IRL instead of looking at them through a screen. I’ve done both :)

  3. Take it a year at a time, a kid at a time - Ask yourself these questions: What do they love? What season of life are we in? What is going to stress me out the least and allow me to feel present?

  4. Consider milestone traditions - Think about what you could do with each kid as they turn 1, 5, 10, 16, 18, and 21! We are dreaming of this now, and here are a few that we’ve come up with : some that we’ve borrowed from friends!

    1. One - Big Party at Home

    2. Five - Disney World Trip or a night away in a hotel with just Mom and Dad, sharing a King bed (something we don’t let our kids do at home but would feel so special to them!)

    3. Ten - Trip somewhere in the US, either as a family, or a Daddy-son / Mama-daughter trip

    4. Sixteen - NYC trip to experience broadway, shopping, food, Time Square, etc

    5. Twenty One - International Trip as a family

Obviously these take a lot of planning ahead, and might seem to be the opposite of simple. But keep in mind - I’m talking about keeping most birthdays simple, and focusing more on the traditions with the other trips.

I’d love to hear from you! Do you have any birthday party planning tips, ideas, or traditions? Our oldest is 4, so we are getting excited to start to plan for milestone birthdays!