Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Birthday Season

If you ask me the ages of my kids in December and January, I'll probably give you a very confused look and have to think hard before I answer. I have four children, and their birthdays all fall within a seven-week period surrounding Christmas.

So far, we've tried to keep birthdays simple. I'm just not a buy-a-fancy-cake, have-a-big-party type of mom. So here's our way of making birthdays special without a lot of fuss.

1) Cake: Each child gets to choose the flavor and shape of his or her cake, as well as the color of frosting and what will be written on the cake. (Example: "I'm 5 and I love trains.") Acceptable shapes are circle or rectangle. My youngest and oldest got creative this year and chose "cookie cake" and cheesecake, respectively.

2) Family Dinner: If we're home the evening of their birthday, the birthday child gets to choose what to have for supper. We also invite their grandparents and godparents; sometimes they can come, sometimes not.

3) Family Outing: To help cure the winter blues, we sometimes take a family outing for some or all of the birthdays. It might be a day trip to a museum, an overnight trip to a waterpark, or a stop in town for a game of bowling.

4) Gifts: Each child gets one gift from us, which usually costs $40 or less. Since they're still recovering from Christmas gifts, we keep the birthday gifts simple. (We also tend to get them a few surprises in the summer as well.)

5) School: Each child chooses a simple treat or trinket to share with all of their classmates on the school day closest to their birthday.

What about you? How do you celebrate your children's birthdays? Are we depriving our kids by not doing something more?


Heather said...

I think there is something to be said for both types of celebrations. My 2 oldest have summer birthdays (7 days apart) so we throw 1 big party outside for family and a few of their friends. It's the only time we see a few of the relatives and friends so it's an excuse to get together and enjoy the summer weather together.

Heather said...

One of the best things that we do with birthdays and birthday parties is to set a $5 or less price tag on gifts. It seemed so wasteful to have 5-10 children bringing gifts; my daughter couldn't begin to enjoy that many gifts, and high price tags only made me feel like it was more wasteful. We didn't want to make people feel obligated to bring something big or special, just a token gift would do. One year we even asked for gifts to be simple homemade things, like original pictures the kids had drawn or some simple food made from a recipe the child had followed.

My daughter has gotten some of the coolest gifts through the years and I think it's because people felt like it as ok to just bring a coloring book and a set of 8 crayons or a simple package of two plastic horse figurines.

susiej said...

The birthday fairy visits their room every night, and a present is waiting for the birthday boy the minute he wakes up. This, I think, is their favorite ritual. There's usually a package from a distant relative, as no family lives close, and depending on the age, we throw a small party with pizza and games. Presents... that's a tough one, because, they do have all that they need, but I've found the parents insist they buy something.