Birthdays come around every year. Some families have set traditions on how they are celebrated, other families let the celebrations evolve as their children do. Either way, you can’t let the day pass by unnoticed.
Here’s my question though: does your child’s birthday party need to be a catered event? An event held at a party space? An event with entertainment, be it clown or petting zoo?
We did a family party for our daughter for the first four years of her life. We traveled three hours to host the party at my parents’ house, which is within an hour’s drive for the rest of the family. The parties were always fun, but I’d be lying if i didn’t say they were also exhausting. Last year, my daughter started talking about having a friends’ party. We told her that she had a choice- she could have a friends’ party or a cousins’ party. She chose a friends’ party and we hosted ten little girls at a local gymnastics place. She was DELIGHTED.
Honestly, the cost was comparable. Our family parties typically included up to 30 people, and we always served lunch, cake and alcohol. Actually, the gymnastics party may have ended up being cheaper, come to think of it. The ease of that kind of party is unmatched- I showed up with balloons and cupcakes, and the pizza was delivered. They set up and they cleaned up. It was heavenly.
I thought I’d seen every kind of birthday party there could be- gymnastics, dance, bouncy houses, petting zoos, animal shows, bowling parties, movie parties, parties at local venues, you name it, we’ve seen it these past few years.
And then we saw the mobile video game trailer at the 4th of July festival.
A quick Internet search tells me this is a booming concept. A trailer is decked out with typically four large flat screen televisions and outfitted with the latest gaming systems. The party then comes to your door, and your guests spend time in the trailer. There’s typically a video game coach who gets the party started and gives tips to anyone who needs them.
I don’t know if this kind of venue will ever appeal to my daughter. She loves playing video games when she gets the chance, but we don’t have a gaming system at home, and don’t intend to get one in the near future. But the idea of having her party at a “place” has stuck and now she’s scoping where she’d like this year’s party. And I’m not convinced yet that’s what we are doing. Something about my child expecting a party that costs more than a week’s worth of groceries (and then some) every year doesn’t sit well with me. But I definitely want to make her day special, and celebrate each and every candle on her cake.
How did you celebrate your birthdays as a kid? How do you celebrate with your children? Do you have rule about the type/size/number of parties your kids have each year?