I feel like we’ve had birthday after birthday this summer and most recently Mr. C turned four. Four! I can not believe it! It’s so cliche but time really does fly. We have had our share of elaborate birthday parties over the years especially with my firstborn as he was an only child for a long time. Now however, with three busy boys, I’ve been looking for ways to make their birthdays & parties equally special yet keep them much more simple. Seeing as we’ve been ankle deep in birthday parties since the beginning of July, I thought I would share some with you some of the ways we’ve learned to keep it simple yet fun over the last few years.
1. Designate a Party Table. The idea of decorating for a birthday party can sometimes seem overwhelming. That’s why we have a “party table” for each birthday. I focus the decorating on one area (ie. table) in our house, often our dining room table, and we suddenly have a very festive looking spot where our birthday gathering can take place. It doesn’t need to be expensive either. You can find tons of free printables online and the dollar store is a great place for bright, colorful, fun yet inexpensive decorations.
2. Make yearly birthday photos a tradition. Every year around their birthdays I take each of my boys for a little on on one photo session and then to do something special after (like an ice cream date). That way I know I’m guaranteed one good set of portraits of them each year. To make it a little more fun I will often throw in some props like fun glasses or balloons. Always be sure to display a final framed photo somewhere in the house so they see their birthday photo session paid off.
3. Make the cake yourself. Ok, this one can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. In the past I’d always bought birthday cakes but honestly it got expensive. Then hubby got hooked on the show Cake Boss and set off last year to make each kid their own cake for their birthday (see this post). It was a lot of work but oh so worth it! The kids liked it so much! It was better than any store cake we could have come up with, largely because Dad was making it. In fact, this year when I suggested picking out a cake from the bakery to my 11 year the response I got was “no way!” so the tradition continues.
4. Let them choose. Instead of always planning a party for them get them involved in the party planning process by letting them choose some of the decorations. [see no.1 on this list]
5. Invest in a nicer set of party decorations that you use year after year. We bought a Happy Birthday sign years ago and to this day pull it out and hang it somewhere in the house on their birthdays. It’s familiar and the kids have come to recognize it and miss it if we don’t get it out.
6. Birthday breakfast. Have you ever started the day off with a birthday breakfast? The possibilities are endless. Stick a candle in pancakes, waffles, donuts, muffins etc and you’ve got an instant memorable birthday tradition. Not to mention a happy way to start the day for the birthday boy or girl.
7. The Birthday Door. The birthday door is a huge hit at our house ! I would go so far as to say this is probably the favorite tradition. I borrowed this idea from a friend of mine years ago. On the eve of your child’s birthday (after they are asleep) decorate their bedroom door so they awake to a festive birthday surprise.
So there you go! That’s how we do birthdays around here. Do you have any simple but fun birthday traditions? I’d love to hear about them!