I’m going rogue. I am not having a birthday party for my toddler this year. Our little guy turns 3 this spring, and we’re not having a party. I just can’t do it.
Reason #1 – He doesn’t care.
Our son is at the age where he still doesn’t really understand what a birthday party is. He knows he’s currently 2. He knows that soon he will be 3. He’s not yet of the age where he “wants” certain things for his birthday or birthday party. I feel like this may be the last year where I can take advantage of that fact and just do a low-key family thing instead.
Plus, like most families, we do fun stuff with him all the time. We go to the farm, we go to the park, we go swimming, we have playdates, we visit the science centre, we sign up for activities at local playcentres, we check out drop-in centres and the library on the regular. My husband often jokes that every weekend is like our son’s birthday because every weekend is some kind of funtivity.
Reason #2 – The cost is extraordinary.
Invitations, food, drinks (both kid-friendly and adult-friendly), decorations, cake, loot bags, thank you cards…it adds up quickly. Super quickly. I only have a small circle of friends with children, and I still remember dropping quite a few $$ on his party last year. Which was just at our house!
And then there are the entertainment choices. Do we just play around at our house (that was the entertainment for his first 2 birthdays) or do we go somewhere for his party? Or do we bring entertainment to the house? I’ve been to both types of birthday parties. They are fun and exciting, but I just can’t help but think of how much these types of parties cost.
Reason #3 – We don’t need more stuff.
Our son is the only grandchild on both sides of the family. He’s also our first, and probably, our only child. When a holiday comes around, our little guy wants for nothing. It feels like it was just Christmas. And Easter is around the corner. I told people at Christmas that our son likes puzzles, then he received 7 puzzles! 7!!!! Help me before I drown in toddler toys.
Our son’s birthday will still be so special. He will still be getting birthday gifts from his family. We will still have cupcakes with a candle on it for him to blow out. We’re also planning a trip to the zoo with 2 friends. I’ve told them that this is just a zoo playdate. Our son loves animals and spending time with his friends and mama and daddy, so for him this is the best day we can plan. He will laugh and giggle and smile and eat ice cream and probably make weird toddler screeches at the gorillas. It’s going to be amazing.
I know this won’t be something I get away with much in the future, but I kind of like harnessing our toddler’s innocence. He’s so happy just to hang out with us and run around at the zoo while he tells everyone that now he’s 3. No food platter pick-ups, no mid-party meltdowns because he’s dropping his nap, no following up with outstanding rsvps….just the things he loves: friends, family, zoo animals, hugs, kisses, lots of love and practising how to make a “3” with his little toddler fingers.
This post originally appeared on VoiceBoks in April 2015.