Birthday Overkill? Let’s keep it simple!

Birthday Parties. Back in my day, a birthday party meant a cake. It meant one present from my mom and dad…and maybe a friend over to celebrate. Every few years my parents would let us splurge, but that just meant a slumber party or putt-putt golfing with a few friends. Either way, it was SIMPLE.

You and I both know those days are long gone. I can appreciate making a kid feel special, but can I just say – that it has gotten OUT OF CONTROL! Please don’t get me wrong. I love matchy-themes, cute decorations, and most importantly making kids feel loved. But how did birthday parties get so crazy?!?! I recently took my 4 year old to a birthday party, and she left with a tutu, crown, stuffed animal, goodie bag full of candy, cup, and a t-shirt…AND SHE WASN’T EVEN THE BIRTHDAY GIRL!

So far {my girls are 1 and 4} we have managed to keep it low key. For both of their first birthdays, we made a big cupcake and my husband and I would sing and let them eat it. Just us.

PicMonkey Collage bdays

But trust me, keeping it this simple came with a lot of debate. Both of our families insisted on us doing something. And I’ll admit that I was tempted. I mean, who doesn’t love a good party? But it’s a slippery slope.  You start off with a theme. Then you have to decorate. Of course, you have to buy a cake AND a smash cake. You have to prepare a variety of Pinterest-worthy food {or cater food in}. The birthday boy or girl needs the cute little themed outfits. The goodie bags must be overflowing………. You get the point. Heck, I went to one birthday party that included a margarita machine! Sure, not a bad idea. I enjoyed a margarita or two and all of the fun festivities. But I can imagine all of that cost an arm and a leg! And what is it all for? Are we in some sort of birthday party contest where Facebook fans are the judge? Of course the goal is to make our kids happy – but at what cost?

I encourage you to take a step back for a second. I know that some parents really enjoy the planning and the hosting and the whole party experience. For instance, one of my best friends is using a fun birthday party as a way of celebrating a milestone after a challenging year. Another had a party to thank those close to her for helping out. Some people just like planning parties for the fun of it! And to those people I say this – GO FOR IT!

I just want to encourage moms not to feel pressured to go all out for every, single birthday party because you feel like you have to. No one is judging you. No one will think any less of you. And you know what? Your child will absolutely adore that homemade cake and the glow of the candle in your darkened kitchen and the sound of you singing “Happy Birthday” at the top of your lungs.  They don’t need the confetti and the jump houses and the real life character visits.  They just need you by their side celebrating another wonderful year.


  1. I totally agree. Birthday parties are going way overboard. Parties with just family at home are great, but just because you decide to invite friends over, doesn’t mean you have to go the whole nine yards with decorations everywhere, catered food, fancy cake, party favors. You can still have a simple, fun party without all that.

    • I agree! We ended up doing a simple cupcakes & playground party for our now 5 year old last week. She was beaming and excited and never once asked where the real princess was. (Thank goodness)

  2. I love this post! I have definitely felt the pressure of going overboard with a party. I have even had family upset with me for not doing a big thing for my daughter’s second birthday (come on she didn’t even get that it was her birthday!) I admit that I’ve gone a little overboard this year because she is now so excited about it, but after reading this post I feel a bit more grounded to remember what the day should really be about!

  3. Great post! The party should be about the child, not the entertainment! The gathering around the child for opening presents makes them feel special and the kids aren’t interested in that when they get their own gifts! Seeing the look on a child’s face as they open gifts and hear, “That’s from me!”, as the gift-giver looks on is priceless! Both feel special!! You’re right…simple is better and highlights what it’s about – the birthday kid!

  4. Agreed! We do not eat out, go to movies, amusement parks etc… We are a stay at home family who works our land as a family (in addition to full time jobs). Our daughter’s birthday is our “family” reunion. It’s when all our friends get together in one place and visit with each other. We usually get a bounce house every other year for the kids and grill hot dogs for everyone. No fancy, fancy decorations, just homemade goodies and the treat bags usually contain some stickers, a piece or two of candy and a $.50 toy. We have a “family” birthday on the day of and then the get-together on the weekend following. My house is usually a mess when it’s all over but everyone looks forward to it every year.

  5. I agree with not overdoing it…however my little one’s first birthday will include our closest friends and family. We are considering it a celebration for all of us…we’ve made it a year!!! They have all been a huge part of our support system and I’d like to acknowledge their role in her first big milestone. I sent out invitations via which was such a nice alternative and were super cheap.

    We are keeping it casual and no gift bags in sight! We are doing a brunch, and yes, there will be mimosas!


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