I like things simple, quiet and cosy; I don't fancy the idea of keeping up with the Joneses, in this instance, throwing lavish and elaborate birthday parties. I don't want my children growing up with a sense of entitlement just because it's their birthday. So for quite some time now, we always turn down our children's requests for throwing birthday parties.
Instead, we'd suggest going out as a family or inviting a few close friends of theirs for play dates. We hope to inculcate in our children a love for the simpler things in life, to be content and happy being in the company of their family and close friends. Also, birthdays need not be celebrated in a big way to be remembered.
We celebrated Missy's 8th birthday recently and while I wasn't as enthusiastic as she was about the party (I tried to keep everything really simple), we enjoyed the entire process of working together for the party.
After visiting Frozen By a Thousand Blessings previously, we've decided that we like the place enough to want to hold Missy's birthday celebration at this really clean and minimalist venue. The private party room was booked since June and we slowly got into the swing of things in making the birthday invite cards, list of guests to invite (which she was allowed to invite her very close friends). She asked about goodie bags and I gave it some thought, and decided upon birthday favours instead of giving out a bag of snacks/candies heavily laden with processed ingredients, food colouring and sugars.
I presented to her my idea for the birthday favour which got her really excited; she watched me as I prepare the materials for the handmade favours. In the process, she experienced the joy of creating and making gifts for the people that matter to her.
Since it was a very small group of guests we have invited, settling the food and beverage was made so much more straightforward, almost everything was homemade.
No games/activity was needed to keep the guests entertained. We cosy-ed up with the guests so easily, freely discuss and chat about anything and everything while the children entertained themselves together. Cleaning up was fuss-free and quick because there wasn't much to clean up after.
What Missy really brought back (besides the birthday presents) was fond memories of spending the afternoon with her close friends and I believe she's also learned that we don't need a lot (elaborate/expensive) in order to be happy.