Children’s Birthday Parties: Go Big or Keep it Small?

TN Birthday Parties Sq

Confession: sometimes when I look at Pinterest I get angry at all those moms who either have too much time or too much money on their hands to create such amazingly, beautiful birthday parties for their kids. But if I’m honest, I’m more jealous  than angry that I don’t have quite that much creative talent or near as much money to duplicate the incredible details they included in their superhero party, tea party, circus extravaganza or fairy wonderland. Lately though I’ve been softening my heart and relinquishing the Pinterest pressure I once felt. I’ve realized these moms are simply women with the deep need to create and in this season of life they are choosing to spend that energy on their children as they celebrate the day they were born. From one mom to another, how can I be jealous or angry with that?!

I too have tried my hand at creating a Pinterest worthy celebration for my children. I’ll admit that. I don’t imagine moms are flocking to my boards to grab my ideas but still, I had fun stretching myself to create a beautiful experience for my kids. Perhaps the most extravagant party I threw was my daughter’s 4th birthday tea. It had been my dream to host a lovely tea party for my little princess and I simply couldn’t wait any longer. So as she turned four, we invited her preschool friends and the ladies of our family over for a very pink, very girly, afternoon tea. Although I “went all out” (which is relative), I kept it small and gathered most of my decorations and props at our local thrift and craft stores. I enlisted family members to help with the details and menu so all in all, my investment of time and money was budgeted. There are many ways to create special memories for our children without breaking our backs or our bank accounts. It requires a different type of creativity that I believe lies within each one of us.

Hope Tea 1

4 Ways to Throw a Small Party Made for Big Memories:

1. Choose a theme each year that reflects something your child loves. Beyond their latest, favorite movie or characters. Last year I threw my daughter a very simple, family only, horse themed party because she had just started riding in the spring. For my son’s 3rd birthday we did a pirate party because that’s what he loved during that season. My daughter’s 5th birthday was rainbow themed because she loved all things rainbow and color at the time. This allowed for very easy decor and food presentation.

Hope Tea

2. Keep it Simple. Focus on one or two over-the-top details (if you want that sort of thing) instead of feeling like the entire shin dig needs to impress the masses.

3. Make it Personal. Include a few details that are all about your kiddo. A slide show, a special note or presentation. These are the memories that will mean the most in the long term and express to your child and their guests that the day is all about them. At my girl’s 5th rainbow party, I asked each guest to come ready to share what color they thought best represented her personality. This led to a wonderful time of sharing and affirming my daughter – a memory far better than how beautiful the table scape might have been.

Josh 1

4. Remember that your child likely only cares about the presents and the treats. He or she couldn’t care less how fancy the presentation is or how crafty the invitations are. They just want to eat cake and open their new toys! This perspective reminds me that my need to create a Pinterest worthy party makes it about me, not them.

Hope and Gigi

As with most things in motherhood and in life, the freedom to enjoy our children’s birthdays while creating meaningful memories comes in the balance. Some years you may feel led to throw a big party while others you may be compelled to keep it intimate. There are no requirements to how we celebrate the lives of our children except to remind them always (and especially on their birthdays) that they are beloved children of God, created with a unique purpose, for such a time as this. Although it may not translate to a viral Pinterest post, that’s the truth of it.

How do you handle birthday parties? Do you go big or keep it small in your family?

Jess Wolstenholm is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Jess became passionate about developing simple faith tools when she began to navigate the spiritual development of her own young children. She launched Gather & Grow in January 2017. Since the loss of her mom to pancreatic cancer in 2012, she’s focused on continuing the legacy of faith started by her wonderfully imperfect parents. Author of The Pregnancy and Baby Companion books, Jess contributes articles and resources about family and faith to Tommy Nelson, JellyTelly and The Huffington Post. When she isn’t writing, you can find Jess teaching kids at her home church or taking notes for the school PTO. She lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with her amazing husband, Dave and their two miracles, Hope (9) and Joshua (6).

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About Jessica Wolstenholm

Jess Wolstenholm is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Jess became passionate about developing simple faith tools when she began to navigate the spiritual development of her own young children. She launched Gather & Grow in January 2017. Since the loss of her mom to pancreatic cancer in 2012, she’s focused on continuing the legacy of faith started by her wonderfully imperfect parents. Author of The Pregnancy and Baby Companion books, Jess contributes articles and resources about family and faith to Tommy Nelson, JellyTelly and The Huffington Post. When she isn’t writing, you can find Jess teaching kids at her home church or taking notes for the school PTO. She lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with her amazing husband, Dave and their two miracles, Hope (9) and Joshua (6).