I have a confession to make. My son just turned 6 this week. And…I dropped the ball, so to speak, on planning a big basketball birthday party like he had originally asked for.
There are so many moms out there who are far more creative than me. It’s easy to look at Pinterest (like this boy’s basketball party, which is awesome) and think that I’m failing when it comes to throwing my children cool birthday parties. My friend, Kelly, for instance, threw a birthday party in her backyard for her 3-year-old twins that should have been featured on HGTV. It was fun, intricate and impressive for adults and kids alike. She truly enjoyed it, too, because she is wired to serve her family and friends in that way. Me? Not so much.
I tried to have a big party when my first child turned one. It ended up being expensive, stressful for me, and he doesn’t even remember. Since then, I decided that our birthday parties need to be:
- simple (because it wasn’t worth the stress to our family to make it complicated and the kids don’t seem to care)
- inexpensive (out of necessity and because the kids don’t care)
- relationship-oriented over theme/event-oriented (meaning the people will be more important than the theme/details)
As my kids get older and more opinionated about their parties, though, I feel pressured into creating something more complicated again. For instance, I kept thinking that my son’s party needed to be big and full of basketball-themed games, foods, decorations, and lots of kids.
But, as the time drew closer to his birthday this year, I realized my limitations–Christmas travel, caring for 3 small kids at home, a part-time job, several migraine headaches from too much going on, etc. I started to stress out about it, as every good mom should, right?
My mom came to the rescue by offering a brilliant, simple plan, though! We’ll call it the Simple Cheap Low-Stress Basketball Party (SCLSBP for short, k?). The modified basketball party plan involved no invitations, no decorations, no cake decorating, no cleaning of my house, no planned out games, and only two other kids. I can feel you judging me. 🙂
Here’s what I did and how much money and time I spent on the SCLSBP, in case you’re wondering.
- Emailed two kids’ moms and invited their sons only two days before the “party”. ($0 for invites)
- Using cookie dough from the freezer, I made a cookie cake. Piped “Happy Birthday” in icing on it and bought candles. ($3 for icing & candles)
- Picked up my son and his two friends after school. Took them to our community gymnasium and played basketball with them for 30 minutes at the open gym. ($10.50 for admission)
- Had cookie cake, water bottles, and opened presents in the snack bar area. ($3 for water bottles; 30 minutes)
- Gave each kid a small baggie with goodies and some gum. ($6 for take-home bags)
Total Cost = $22.50
Total Prep Time = 1 1/2 – 2 hours (included emails, store run, wrapping gifts, goodie bags, and making cookie cake)
Total Length of Party = 1 hour (plus 30 minutes of driving kids to and from)
The Outcome = My son, the boys, and our family LOVED it! It was the perfect amount of time for 6-year-olds (and parents) and was a great way to get to know some new kids from school.
Are you a mom like me? A mom who loves her kids dearly. A mom who is barely keeping up with what I need to keep up with. A mom who is trying to save money and time. A mom who doesn’t really enjoy planning a big, elaborate party. If so, can’t we give ourselves a break? Can’t we pass on the Pinterest parties and still make birthday parties a blessing to our kids and the rest of our family?
What about you? How do you make birthday parties manageable for your family and fun for your kids?
Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/