Why I Quit Throwing Birthday Parties for my Kids

why I quit throwing birthday parties for my kids

I know, I know, it sounds terrible to quit throwing birthday parties for your kids, but hear me out first. A couple of years ago after my daughter’s 10th birthday party I took a step back and looked at the money we spent on her birthday party and thought there might be a better way for my family to celebrate birthdays. I am not a Pinterest mom, and I’m not really in a season of life where I enjoy having lots of people over to my house. Truthfully, it stresses me out. All the cleaning, preparation, and planning is just too much when I already have a very full plate of life that I’m responsible for. Maybe you love doing these kinds of things, but I don’t. So, I tried the next best thing, I attempted to make birthday parties easier by renting out the local jump place, where they do absolutely everything for you. It was so much easier, I thought I had birthday parties whipped forever. But, it still cost a lot of money and it was over so very fast. I’m not opposed to spending money on my kids at all, but this whole “birthday party planning frenzy” equals lots of money on things that are consumable. Plus, I don’t know about you, but it seems like the standard “throw your kids a birthday party” has been hijacked by Pinterest craziness. I don’t even think I’m capable of throwing the kinds of birthday parties I’ve seen. And none of our extended family lives close to us. Coordinating everyone’s schedule to plan a big family party is almost impossible (Although we do celebrate birthdays with each of our family’s when we can.) Enter my grand idea.

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Instead of having “friend birthday parties.” We offered to take our kids away for the night or weekend for a fun getaway. What if we spent all of our time focusing on celebrating the birthday child and creating memories together as a family. I have learned the past couple of years that investing in experiences and creating memories with my family brings us closer and creates traditions that are both life giving to our family unit and immeasurable to our kids. After my big epiphany, the next birthday we celebrated was my son’s. We gave him the option of a birthday party or a night away with the family. Without any hesitation he choose time away with the family. For our first birthday celebration, we went to Wilderness in the Smokies, a resort and indoor water park. My son said it was the best birthday ever! For my daughter’s a couple of months later we went to Dollywood, a theme park in Pigeon Forge. We ate at her favorite restaurant while we were there, and spent the night in a hotel. She agreed with her brother, that it was way better than a birthday party. Since then we have celebrated several more birthdays this exact same way and my kids look forward to it all year long. It might cost a little more money than throwing a birthday party, but the memories that we create and the time we spend together are worth it. Plus, each family can tailor a birthday night away to fit their budget. I love how easy it is to customize an amazing getaway for each of my children.

As with every idea, what works for my family might not work for yours. You may love throwing birthday parties, if so by all means don’t feel like you have to change anything. At the end of the day, what matters most is that we create memories and traditions with our families. Keep pressing on momma!


  1. I love this! We started with an every other year because my kids birthdays are in the same month. But they just get to ask a few friends. We did popsicles after school this past week for one child. And they had a blast!

  2. We bought an outside movie projector and now the girls have bbqs, movies and then camp-out in the yard. So much easier and everyone has a great time!

  3. This is great! My hubby will love you for life if I show him this, haha! He never wants to throw birthday parties and like your family rather have family time. I was raised with a birthday party every year for my birthday and so this was a little bit hard for me to get used to. But, I understand where he is coming from. We went to the Dominican Republic (my country) two years ago for a family vacation to celebrate our three kids birthdays (all born in July) and it was the best! Last year we threw a birthday party for all three of them and this year we spent it in a hotel playing in a pool. It was way better than a birthday party. So I agree with you. Maybe once in a blue moon we will throw a birthday party but for now we rather enjoy it going on vacation or wherever our kids want to go.

    1. Sounds like you’ve found a great balance of what works for your family. I love it! Vacations are so much fun, and such a great way to create memories!

  4. I do this exact same thing with my kids! The trips are more meaningful and memorable. WE love destination birthdays!!

  5. The only party I ever had for my birthday as a kid was a sleepover for my 16th. Birthdays were always a family thing (probably because my brother and I are two days apart in the first week of December). When I got older my mom pointed out that if your child expects a party every year then it might not feel that special.

    We had parties every other year until my kids were about 10 then I explained to them I can pay for a party or I can pay for presents. They decided that mom and Dad get better presents than their friends. Now they are teens and we use a similar take on yours by sharing experiences over things. My son’s 16th last year we did one of the escape rooms. I think my daughter wants to go zip lining this year! This is way more meaningful than a party with kids they might not talk to by the best birthday!

  6. I just came across this post, and YES – to everything you said. We do the exact same thing now. Instead of having a birthday party, we go on a quick trip or have a birthday weekend as a family. So much less stressful and more fun!

  7. I decided to start doing this as well with my baby. I did a small 1st birthday but for his second we’re going to the zoo and my family is going to join us but I would rather spend my time enjoying ourselves somewhere he would love instead of stressing all day at a party for other people. I want to focus on him! It’s gonna be a blast!

  8. First off the above article is a fantastic idea and I 100% want to do it. But the grandparents and in-laws just don’t understand and want to throw a party. How do I explain to them without sounding cold hearted?

    1. We still celebrate with the grandparents by just having a cake and letting them give the kids their gifts. No big party…but enough that the grandparents get to celebrate with the kids, too. Keeps everyone happy!

  9. I am making a comment for a school assignment but I do agree with your comment on your statement you have to make parties for your kids. I think that is total cliche now a days. I have three daughters, if I did a party for each it would be ridiculous. Me and my wife both agreed for our oldest, we decided to make it a fun day for her and and the family. We took her to dave and busters, which she never been before, played games for hours and it was WAY cheaper then throwing a party. Which we did the year before, it was super small but cost us 140 still! (AND THAT’S CHEAP) All in all I liked your post and agree.

  10. Maybe take a break from Pinterest. You’re obviously under unreasonable expectations, and trying to compensate.

    It’s such a curiosity to me when parents make thier kids birthday party all about them. Your comfort level having people at the house, the amount of money you have to spend.

    A birthday party shouldn’t be for the parent. A kid isn’t looking on Pinterest and comparing their birthday to that, that’s an adult thing. That’s your hang up.

    I involve my kids in their own life. I ask them what they would like, and often times what they want is stressful or more expensive than another option, but being a parent isn’t about finding clever ways to shirk your responsibility, it’s about listening and providing what the kids want and need. If the kid wants a party with their friends, and you take a family vacation instead, I think that’s both insensitive and ultimately selfish.

    A couple times a year we get to spoiler our kids. we get to show them how important they are to us by celebrating them, it doesn’t have to be about money it doesn’t have to be about lots and lots of people but it should be about the kids and not about the parents.

    1. I appreciate your perspective. We can have different opinions and do things differently without being judgemental about other people’s choices and parenting. We have made decisions that work for our family. You are free to make decisions that work for your family.

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