Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Birthdays ~ Our Style



There are as many ways to do birthdays as there are people.  Everyone has a thought on how they want to celebrate their birthday.  It could even change from year to year, or if it is a milestone type birthday (1, 40, 50, etc).  We, well we like to keep them simple and low key.  Even with kids, this is our preference.

Birthdays are important to celebrate and to take the special day to be around those who mean the most in your life if you can.  Does that mean you have to throw a big party every year and invite everyone and their neighbor? No, not unless that is your style and what you truly want to do.  Whether you are an adult or kid, input is key.  Knowing the person is even better to putting together just the right celebration.  As for kids, just know, as they get older, they come to expect certain things in a "well we did it that way last year" kind of way.

For our kiddos, well, my oldest is four, so we've done four birthdays now.  As for my youngest, well he is 18 months, so we've just had the one so far.

Their first birthdays we made a bigger deal out of them.  Yes, we invited a bunch of family over for both.  Granted my youngest's was bigger and more involved, but only because we did his baptism as well at the same time.  So everyone came to celebrate his baptism and his first birthday.

Both kids had a themed first birthday. My oldest was jungle themed because his room was that theme.  My youngest, Northwoods, because well, that is how his room is decorated.  So the decorations, colors, plates and the like, were all themed accordingly.

However, since the first birthday, we've kept them low key.  My oldest, when he turned 3, we did a small party with his few friends doing an art project and having some cupcakes.  Nothing huge, but we decided to take something he enjoyed doing and had been asking to have his friends join him and do that. Yes, we've been invited to other kids' birthday parties, but he has never asked to do that sort of thing for his.  Granted he is only four, but his memory is insanely detailed.  It won't be long before he makes the connection.  For the other two, we kept it family and food he likes.

That is our general plan overall.  Keep them low key and simple.  Food they like, with people they like, and cake they pick.  Over time, birthdays will change.  I get that.  But we don't want our kiddos to expect a bigger and better birthday party each year.  We may consider on the bigger milestone birthdays of doing something a little bigger, more elaborate...then again, we might not.

I've often wondered, when kids are this little, who the party is really for.  Have you ever noticed that more often than not, the people invited to a kids birthday is family, neighbors, and friends...of the parents?  There may be a few kiddos running around.  But generally a kid's birthday party seems to be overrun with adults.  I get it, if you invite a kid over you invite one or both their parents.  However when the adult to kid ratio is heavier on the adult side, then really, who is the party for?  So often we get caught up in the, well we were invited to their birthday, we have to make a bigger deal and invite a lot of people over.  I've known people to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on a kid's birthday party year after year.  But why? What for?

You can keep a birthday low key, you can keep it to just a handful of people, you can keep it budget friendly if you really want to.  Or you can invite tons of people, throw a big giant event, and more if you want to.  Whatever your style is, go with it.  Our style?  Low key and simple.

At this point, my four year is just excited to be four.  First words out of his mouth this morning "I am four now!" (his birthday was yesterday).  He thinks it's a pretty cool thing.  He was perfectly happy and content, grateful, for getting to spend the morning doing a play date with one of his friends and then eating his favorite food for dinner and a camping themed cake he picked out.  Opened presents after and then he played until bed with some of the new stuff he got.  During prayers last night, he said he was thankful for all the new clothes and the camper/car that was on his cake.

I like the idea of just letting the magic of the simple things bring the joy and smiles to my kiddos.  Maybe instead of thinking, "oh, I am 35, I feel old now", maybe I should wake up and shout "I'm 35!"  Age is a number, nothing more.  What means the most are the people around you and the moments you create with them.

Let's be excited for the simple things.