Having a Happy Birthday

Without the party

The day your child was born is a day to celebrate, but sometimes a party isn’t possible, practical or within your budget. A birthday party isn’t the only way to make your child feel special. If you decide to skip the party, it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate big. Here are some ideas to make sure your child’s birthday is special.

Create anticipation

As the birthday approaches, build anticipation by talking about it and planning what the day will hold. You can create a special countdown by making a paper chain and tearing off one chain per day or even just counting down the number of days on a chalkboard in your home. Explain that although there will not be a big birthday party this year, there will still be a lot of fun things planned.

Make the cake or cupcakes

You can splurge and buy a special cake from a bakery, or incorporate making the cake into the fun of the day. Choose flavors and colors or themes your child loves and get siblings involved in the preparation. Kids typically don’t care about whether the cake is perfectly decorated; they are happy with a cake that is made just for them.

Balloon avalanche

When your child goes to sleep the night before the birthday, decorate the house with balloons or birthday decor. Try taping a disposable tablecloth to the outside of the door jam and fill the space between with balloons, so you child will be greeted by a balloon avalanche to start the day.

Kid’s choice

When you are planning the day, consider your child’s favorites. Plan the day’s meals around your child’s favorite foods. Choose things that you typically do not serve to make the day more special. If you will go on an outing or if you will be dining out, let your child choose the location and activity.

Document the day

Create a list of questions to ask your child, such as “Who is your best friend?” or list favorite TV shows, songs, foods, school subjects and dreams for the future. Record the answers, store in a safe place and repeat each year. It’s fun to look back and see how your child has changed and matured over the years.

Tell their story

Kids love to hear stories about the day they were born, the cute things they did as a baby, or how you prepared for their arrival. Spend part of the day telling favorite stories about your child.

Have others reach out

Ask friends and family to wish your child a happy birthday with calls, texts, messages or cards. Consider talking to family members via Skype or FaceTime. This will help your child know that others are celebrating the day even if you aren’t hosting a big birthday party this year.

As parents, we often feel like we have to spend a lot to make our child’s birthday special when this is truly not the case. With a little extra planning, your child’s day can be just as special as any expensive party.

More Big Ways to Celebrate Without a Party

  • Go to the movies
  • Visit an amusement park
  • Have dinner out at a favorite spot
  • Go bowling, skating, swimming, biking or choose another activity to do as a family
  • Take a day trip to a neighboring town
  • Attend a sporting event
  • Be a tourist for the day in your hometown, visiting the zoo, aquarium, museum or other local attractions
  • Let your child pick a place to visit

Photo by Leslie Hoyt

Categories: Features, Party Planning